Christmas time is all about love, family, generosity, blasting Mariah Carey's carol All I want for Christmas, and my favourite part... FOOD!
No matter what your religion or beliefs, the end-of-year holiday season is also about treating your taste buds to something extra special. This Gluten-Free Cookie recipe is perfect for all our eczema warriors or anyone looking for that Christmas treat, without causing an itch, as the recipe is low salicylate, dairy free, gluten free (etc) AND still delicious.
This gluten-free cookie recipe calls for gluten-free oats or gluten free flour (to make it gluten free) but you can use regular oat flour if you don't need to avoid gluten.
Why I love oats
Okay firstly, oat flour makes everything taste great. Be sure to eat some of the raw cookie dough before you bake them in the oven ... it's the best.
Did you know...
Oats are an ancient skin-soothing and healing grain which was consumed by hunter and gatherers more than 32,000 years ago! Just goes to show what a powerful ingredient oats must be to still be so popular in 2019.
And topically, colloidal oats have been used for centuries to calm skin inflammation and eczema and now has been scientifically proven to soothe and hydrate itchy skin, which is why it is an approved eczema product ingredient (ref). It's also the star ingredient in Skin Friend's Oat & Zinc Bath powder (that's one of my products... okay promo over!).
But back to why I love to cook with oats ...
Oats are a good source of vitamin E, zinc, potassium, manganese and silica which is an essential mineral for strengthening connective tissue within the skin.
The oat fibres called beta-glucans also work to feed our intestinal bacteria, which helps to support and nourish the healthy bacteria in our large intestine. So oats are gut-friendly too.
Why maple sugar?
Maple sugar is our sugar of choice as it is low in salicylates (salicylates can irritate eczema so this sugar is a much better choice than honey or coconut sugar in this case). However, maple sugar can be hard to find (and a little pricey), so normal sugar may be used as a replacement, if you're desperate, as refined sugar is low in salicylates... It's Christmas, so feel free to treat yourself, but don't eat refined sugar on a frequent basis (sorry, that was the nutritionist in me speaking up!).
This recipe is suitable when following FID, which is the Food Intolerance Diagnosis program from The Eczema Detox. However, be sure to enjoy these gluten free cookies in moderation - i.e. share them with your family and friends, don't hog them even though you might want to.
Tip for gluten intolerance peeps:
If you have celiac disease, avoid oats (even the gluten free ones), and use gluten free flour as described in the recipe.
Festive Gluten-Free Maple Cookies
Makes 23 thin cookies, made with a cookie-cutter 7cm (2.7 in) in diameter
Preparation time 20 minutes; Cooking time 7-10 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups of GF oat flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour - check here is no bicarb soda or baking powder in the gf flour)
- 1/2 cup of maple sugar (or sugar of choice)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon (20mL) sunflower or rice bran oil
- 1 tablespoon (20mL) plant milk of choice or use water (only if the mixture is too dry and needs more liquid)
- 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour and sugar and set aside.
Important tip: the next process is quick so be ready with a wooden spoon and the bicarb soda measured out.
Place a small saucepan on medium heat and pour in the maple syrup and the oil
Once the maple mixture begins lightly bubbling, add the bicarb soda and begin stirring, the mixture will bubble up. It's quick so don't burn it. Quickly and carefully remove from the heat and then pour it into the dry flour mixture.
Mix well, and press into a dough ball. If it is crumbly and a little too dry, then add the milk. This should be exactly enough to create a mixture that is slightly crumbly but holds together well. If it is too dry you can add another dash of milk. If the mixture is too wet you can add a little extra flour.
Place the dough on a clean bench (or pastry mat) and kneed well as this will allow the mixture to come together. Once the dough is flexible and easy to handle, lightly flour the bench/mat and begin rolling out the dough with a rolling pin, flouring each side lightly as you roll.
The dough should not be sticking to the bench so ensure each side is floured well so you are easily able to remove the cookies.
Roll out the dough to about 2 to 4mm thickness (we tested a few times and found that about 3mm (0.11in) thickness is perfect). Use a cookie cutter of your choice to create your cookie shapes. We used a crinkly scone/cookie-cutter which was 7cm (2.7 in) in diameter.
Tip: Make them crispy and thin as they are nicest crunchy.
Remove each cookie shape as you go and place them onto a baking tray which is lined with baking/parchment paper. You might need two trays.
Place the cookies into the oven for about 7-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them after about 5 minutes. The time may vary depending on the type of oven and thickness of the cookie. It will also depend on the type of cookie you prefer, the longer you leave them the crunchier they will be, which (we think) is the best way to enjoy them. Keep an eye on the cookies to ensure they do not burn.
Once they are cooked to your liking, remove the cookies and leave to cool on a cooling rack. They will continue to firm as they cool.
Have a wonderful festive break no matter what your religion or beliefs, as we all deserve a break at this time of year.
Karen and the team at Skin Friend x
P.S. When I took the photo of the cookies, I sprinkled maple sugar on them, using a tea strainer, to get a lovely festive effect. Then I used my Christmas decorations for the display (they are now back on the Christmas tree). I went a little overboard, but it's been a long year and you guys are worth the effort. Here's to a well-deserved two week's break ...
Food photos and recipe by Karen Fischer