Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Gluten-Free Christmas Baking

Last year at this time, I wrote about how we were able to rediscover Christmas baking in our gluten-free kitchen. The fun continues this Christmas season.

Today we made Almond Kisses, a meringue cookie with almonds. The recipe is from my KitchenAid owner's manual (we made the 144 servings version):
3 egg whites
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. sliced almonds

Place egg whites in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Gradually turn to Speed 10 and whip about 2 minutes, or until soft peaks form.
Reduce to Speed 4 and gradually add sugar, beating about 1 minute. Stop and scrape bowl. Add almond extract. Turn to Speed 10 and whip 1 1/2 minutes, or until very stiff. Fold in almonds with rubber spatula.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased and floured or parchment paper-covered baking sheets. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Yield: 36 cookies

Variation: For Gift Giving
12 egg whites
6 c. sugar
1 Tblsp. almond extract
6 c. sliced almonds

Prepare as directed above, using a 6 quart mixer bowl.
Yield: 144 cookies

I substituted vanilla, just because that's what I had on hand. I also made half without almonds for nut-phobic children. I think that next time I'll try it with mini-chocolate chips.

Next on the menu is:

Cream Cheese Mints
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 drops peppermint oil (or 3/4 tsp peppermint extract)
food coloring, if desired

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and confectioner's sugar. Mix in peppermint oil. Color as desired with food coloring, or leave white. Roll mixture into small balls, and place on waxed paper. Flatten with a fork dipped in confectioners' sugar. Let dry for about 2 hours on waxed paper, then freeze or refrigerate.

We made these last year and they were great!

We're also going to try Peanut Butter Cups from Danielle Bean's website.

And we must make the fudge wreaths again. Those were a huge hit with everyone!

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