Allergy Friendly Friday Hanukkah, Christmas, and Quanza 2011


Allergy Friendly Friday


Bring on the winter holidays!  My favorite.  And I’ll tell you why: the lights and the candles rock my world. When I was growing up, I used to just lie under the Christmas tree gazing up at the colored lights. We lived in the middle of the woods, and would go out, choose a tree, chop it down, and drag it home on a sled. No, I’m not Laura Ingalls Wilder. But we did have a Little House on the Prairie type childhood in many ways.  The trees we brought home weren’t “pretty” trees like the ones I buy today at the Christmas Tree lot, they were always irregular, and had a lot of space between the limbs, but that meant we could load them up with lots and lots of lights and decorations, and also, the cat could easily climb the tree, which resulted in a lot of broken glass ornaments. One year my cat ate the tinsel too, but I digress. I’ve always had a fondness for scrawny imperfect trees. I want to hug them. TMI?   Another fond memory about the lights: there were spaces between the boards in the walls of our house (which I will go into another time when there is more room to explain the weird house/barn I grew up in), so another thing I loved to do was lie in my parents bed and look at the beams of colored light that were streaming through the cracks in the walls. It was magical.  You could literally see the colored light beams shooting through the cracks and flying through the air.

And of course, the winter holidays are also about food.  Particularly baked goods, in my opinion.  I even like fruit cake. Yup, there, I said it.    What are your favorite Hanukkah, Christmas, and/or Quanza recipes?  Or memories?  Please share your December Holiday recipes below.  This linky event will go for TWO WEEKS. So post up to DECEMBER 23rd. Nogs, punch, cookies, cakes, soups, stuffings, casseroles, whatever you got, share it here. Even if it’s a Christmas Goose. Or I should say, particularly if it’s a Christmas Goose. We want to know what you’ll be cooking for your Allergy Friendly Hanukkah, Christmas, or Quanza.  (apparently Coconut Cream Cake is a Quanza dessert. I want that NOW!)

Some fabulous allergy-free and gluten-free highlights from the last week’s are:

Please add your allery-free and gluten-free Christmas, Hanukkah, and Quanza recipe links to Allergy-Friendly Friday. PLEASE remember you have to link back from your post, for me to feature your recipe. That means link WITH A HYPERLINK THAT LINKS BACK HERE. When you link back to this post,  you can share both your own and other’s fabulous allergy-friendly recipes. Am I repeating myself? 🙂 And remember, I specialize in creating gluten-free recipes that are free of the top 8 food allergens, but yours don’t have to be. They just have to be allergy-friendly in SOME way.


  • Please add only ONE post per blog.
  • Please LINK back to this post so that your readers can find ALL the recipes linked to here. This is a sharing page.
  • Link to your individual recipe post, NOT your homepage.
  • Recipes DO NOT have to be completely allergen-free, just ALLERGY-FRIENDLY in some way.
  • When you link, let us know who you are. For example, I might add  old fashioned gingersnaps (cybele

Gluten Free Hemp Seed Wedding Cookies



(Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan, Allergy-Friendly)


Just in time for Christmas! And, surprise surprise, they’re good for you too! One of the greatest challenges of living with food restrictions is getting proper nutrition. So I am always looking for ways to sneak nutrient dense ingredients into my allergen-free recipes.

Hemp seeds (also called “Hemp Hearts”) are a fantastically nutritious source of protein, and Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, which are often hard to get enough of when you can’t eat nuts or fish. These little seeds are not only nutritional powerhouses, they are also seriously tasty, and great in baked goods in place of tree nuts and peanuts. Contrary to popular belief, they are mild and “nutty”. They are great in cookies, tossed in a salad, or sprinkled over your oatmeal. In fact, I’m beginning to think, their possibilities are endless.

These cookies are not only fabulous for holiday parties, they’re good enough for any wedding, allergen-free or not.

What nutrients do you find it hard to get enough of on an allergen-free and/or gluten-free diet? Leave me a comment below.


Gluten-Free Hemp Seed Wedding Cookies

Makes about 40 1 1/2 -inch cookies


These little gems are normally made with walnuts, pistachios, pecans or almonds. This tree nut-free version is made with hemp seeds, is equally delicious, and highly nutritious. A perfect little sweet, full of  “Hemp Heart”, to share with lots of love!


  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix or Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shelled hemp seeds* (Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds are allergen-free)
  • Confectioners sugar, for rolling

1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, shortening and vanilla extract. Blend well.

2. In a separate bowl, measure out flour mix by spooning flour into a dry measuring cup, then leveling it off with a straightedge, or the back of a knife. (Do not scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup or you’ll wind up with too much flour for the recipe). Combine flour mix, xanthan gum and salt. Stir flour mixture and hemp seeds into sugar mixture, stirring until dough holds together. Cover the bowl and chill about 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, pressing together like you would with Play Dough.

4. Place balls 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. Bake cookies on center rack in oven for 18-20 minutes until set but not brown.

5. Cool for 10 minutes on cookie sheets. Gently remove cookies with a thin spatula (be careful, cookies are delicate) and roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Cool completely and re-roll in confectioner’s sugar.

TIP If cookies aren’t eaten within a day, store them in the freezer. Layer them in single layers between parchment paper. Enjoy them at room temperature.

© 2010 by Cybele Pascal

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.

Allergy Free Old Fashioned Gingersnaps


Gluten-Free, Allergy-Free Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps

(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan)

Makes 24 1.5-inch Cookies

It’s cookie season (my favorite)! And if your house is anything like my house, then you’re thinking about what you can bake up that’s safe for everyone, regardless of his or her dietary restrictions. This recipe harkens back to your grandmother’s cookies. These old-fashioned treats are richly flavored with molasses, spices, and bitter orange marmalade. In fact, they were inspired by my own Grandmother Catherene’s love of all things ginger.


  • 1/4 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for rolling cookies
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons bitter orange marmalade
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix (see recipe below), or Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8th teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, mixing on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, molasses, orange marmalade and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture and beat on low speed to combine, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
  5. Using your hands, roll teaspoon-size pieces of dough into balls.
  6. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar into a shallow bowl or plate. Roll the balls in the sugar and place on the parchment paper.
  7. Bake cookies in the center of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until puffed into perfect little domes and just starting to crack.
  8. Let cool about 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Each cookie contains 66 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 47mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g protein.

Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps © 2009 by Cybele Pascal

This recipe was first published in the December/January 2009 issue of Living Without magazine.

Cybele’s Basic Gluten-Free Flour MIx

4 cups superfine brown rice flour**
1 1/3 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
2/3 cup tapioca flour/starch

Measure out flour by spooning into a dry measuring cup, then leveling off with a straightedge. Combine all ingredients. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

**Tip: Superfine brown rice flour is available from Authentic Foods ( To make your own, process brown rice flour in a clean coffee grinder.