Every year when I was young, I looked forward to my Christmas cookie marathon. For weeks before, I would scour cookie recipe books picking the perfect combination. One chocolate mint, one oatmeal chocolate cherry for my mom, a challenging stained glass butter cookie, and a sliced peppermint. I’d get so carried away that we would have pounds of cookies to hand out to all the neighbors. Out of the countless Christmas cookies I’ve made over the years, my absolute favorite is the classic cut-out sugar cookie. The taste, the flavor, the hours spent decorating, it was all perfect.
Needless to say, I was determined to make a gluten free, dairy free version to share these sweet memories with my daughters. I think we nailed it! The testing was strenuous 🙂 We invited our gluten free friends over for a cookie decorating party, see below.
The kiddos added about two drops of frosting and then wanted to eat them. Which was fine, and also so hard for me to let them do. Decorating is the best part! Perhaps in time, my daughter will share my love of crafting the perfect cookie this time of year.
For those of you wondering how we approach the holiday seasons with a healthy mindset and avoid eating tons of sugar many times a week.
- We are choosy about the events we attend. If we know the main event will be consuming large amounts of sugar, we might pick a different event for that morning.
- When we are in a situation where there is an unlimited amount of sugar. First of all: don’t panic! Remember the division of responsibility. You are in charge of what and when they eat. They are in charge of how much. This way of thinking has relieved so much stress at meal and snack times. It was (still is) an incredibly difficult thing for me to do. I am always tempted to restrict her on sweets. This is how I grew up. Even this morning, we had green juice and I did not want to let her have a second glass. This way of thinking not only emphasizes that sweets are better than other food, but it gives the signal that your toddler cannot be trusted around sweets. How many of us feel like we cannot be trusted around certain foods? I want to allow my daughters to navigate unlimited access to sweets, because that is how the world is. One day they will need to be able to exist in a world where they can eat whatever they want all the time. I want them to develop the skills and the trust in themselves to be able to do that. Does that mean we have sweets all the time? No.
- It helps to have these unlimited sweets experiences at times when you know you have patience for a toddler that may be extra excited about the food and whatever other exciting events may be going on. I try to have them early afternoon and on weekends when my husband is around to help. Plan for success.
- Don’t stress too much about sugar and neither will your child. Yes, they will always prefer the cookies over the broccoli. That is not the goal. The goal is that they also like broccoli.
Cut Out Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup dairy free butter alternative
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I highly recommend Namaste gluten free blend)
1 tsp baking soda
white sugar for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, blend powdered sugar, butter alternative, egg, vanilla, and lemon juice until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Gradually add to wet ingredients, mixing in between additions.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out into shapes.
- Sprinkle with sugar and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Shapes will expand only slightly.
- Bake 7-8 minutes or until shapes start to lightly brown.
- Decorate with icing.