|My sister made the same candy as Mindy!|
My sister Ann already sent out her Christmas cards and she's gotten a head start on the sweet treats too. She's the one who inherited our grandmother's knack for all things sweet. Nanny used to send us a big box of homemade cookies and candy that would arrive right before Thanksgiving. The goodies were stored in the cold garage until Mom's Open House. But we'd sneak a piece now and then.
Now, me? I hang up Mom's Christmas apron:
|Mom loved poinsettias.|
And revisit all the old memories with Mom's and Nanny's original recipe cards.
But every year recreating those memories is a challenge because of my allergies to wheat and corn. This year I added financial concerns. Baking and candy making are not cheap ventures. I know so many other families who are in the same situation. This year I know folks who have gone vegan or vegetarian, have discovered their child has celiac disease or other allergies, who developed diabetes, or are unemployed. Whew!
I'm all about keeping stress low this holiday season. So what to do when you are trying to recreate Christmas memories for family members with allergy, sugar or vegan concerns without breaking the bank?
1) Give thanks for that one recipe that you can eat or afford to make. I looked at the picture of the recipe cards and, wow, there was one that didn't have wheat or corn and wasn't overly expensive, Forgotten Cookies. What a find! Bonus? It's a star on the Pinterest gluten free Christmas cookie lists. So a recipe that's been around for decades before folks talked gluten and celiac stays on my list. (Recipe at the end of this post.)
2) Think flavors, not recreating the exact recipe. My other favorite recipes featured in the above picture are fruit cake cookies (expensive ingredients and allergy issues), Date Nut Roll cookies (wheat), and peanut butter roll candy (corn syrup). Cane syrup does not work the same way as corn syrup does. I don't like xanthan gums that lots of GF baking recipes use and it's not cheap. So I focused on the flavors: fruit and nut, dates and short bread, and peanut butter. Then I did what I do when I'm desperately in need of help and low on creativity, I headed to....
3) Pinterest, go to Pinterest! The mecca of all things helpful with food challenges. Thanks to www.finecooking.com, I could savor that date and shortbread combo. It wasn't a pinwheel cookie recipe but I found a date nut cookie substitute .
Now for a corn syrup free substitute for Nanny's peanut butter candy roll . Thanks to Pinterest, I found the recipe on www.justapinch.com. I'll use confectioners sugar with tapioca rather than cornstarch.
Fruit cake cookies? I started looking, got distracted by Christmas decor pins, and then...
I GOT LOST ON PINTEREST FOR HOURS!
Ah, hem. Back to the blog. Here's the recipe I promised you:
2 egg whites (large eggs)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
Beat egg whites, sugar and salt til stiff peaks form. Add chips and nuts. Line cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper, drop meringues by teaspoonful. Put cookies in the oven preheated to 350 degrees. TURN OFF HEAT IMMEDIATELY and leave in overnight. DO NOT OPEN DOOR.
Makes about 2 plus dozen.
PS. No pictures of the making due to the weather. I don't make these on high humidity or rainy days.
So what challenges are you facing this year in your baking or candy making? Have you been able to adapt family recipes to preserve the memories while sticking to food restrictions or your budget?