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Holiday Baking

One of my absolutely favorite holiday traditions is baking Christmas cookies in the first few weeks after Thanksgiving.   I have 3-4 cookies I always make, and then if I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll throw a new one in there, just to make it interesting.  Unfortunately none of my traditional cookie recipes are Paleo, so last year I simply didn’t do much holiday baking to avoid temptation… but that was officially a crappy solution.  It took away one of my favorite traditions, and that made me sad…

And I refuse to be sad during my favorite time of the year.  So this year, I’m back to holiday baking, Paleo style!

Here are some of the goodies I made:

  • Banana Bread – This is E.J’s favorite holiday treat.  I’ve always made mini-loaves to give away and one big one for E.J. to enjoy for breakfasts.  This time, it was so good I did it twice.  Both loaves were moist and delicious – every bit as good as the original
  • Almond Butter Bars – the original treat I was going for was my mom’s Peanut Butter Squares recipe, and these are a great substitute.  This is officially the easiest Paleo dessert recipe ever, and is easily whipped up in 10 minutes or less.
  • Gingersnap Cookies – Ok, so have you ever bought one of those tins from World Market that they have at Christmas time?  I absolutely adore those gingersnaps and wanted a paleo equivalent.  I think these are as good, if not better than the originals.  This recipe is absolutely perfect and gives you the perfect wafery crisp that you’re looking for.
  • Almond Biscotti – I used almond extract instead of the lemon and these turned out OK, but weren’t the best of the bunch.  I think they needed more extract or sugar or both… they just seemed a little bland.
  • Cran-Orange Macaroons – I had some leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving and some of those mini-orange cuties, so voila!  I think the time in the oven is a little long, as mine came out with fully toasted coconut instead of lightly toasted, but otherwise they taste really good.
  • Sand Tarts (Wedding Cookies) & Orange Spritz Cookies – these are two traditional family recipes that I have from my mom which I really wanted to recreate.  The first time I tried it by subbing out ingredients and then adjusting for texture at the end.  Oddly enough, they both turned out PERFECT the first time…. Which sucks, because now I have to figure out what I did so I can recreate them.  In general I substituted palm shortening for vegetable shortening, maple sugar for granulated, and for a standard 2 cups of flour I used 1 1/2 cups of almond flour, 1/2 cup coconut flour and 2 tbsp arrowroot combined together.   I’m still trying to prove this out, but it’s really close.

Have you experimented with any Paleo holiday treats?  I’m always looking for new ones!!

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