Grain Free Mexican Wedding Cookies

Grain Free Mexican Wedding Cookies

These cookies should come with a warning: Utterly addictive. Be forewarned. They are everything that I love about Mexican Wedding cookies – nutty, buttery, lightly sweet, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. They also happen to be grain and gluten-free.

(These cookies are also commonly called Mexican Wedding Cakes or Russian Tea Cakes.)

If I was just going to make one cookie recipe a year, this one would be it. Mexican wedding cookies and I go way back. They are a deeply impended favorite, so I am thrilled that I finally have an allergy-friendly version to enjoy for a special treat!

We made these for our daughter’s “Frozen” themed birthday party – we went with a snowy theme, and “snowball cookies” fit into that well, and looked lovely on the table with the décor. But truthfully, I would eat these if they looked like reindeer poo’ because they simply have such a wonderful flavor!

I used just two flours in this recipe – almond and tapioca flour. I’ve been noticing many, many paleo-ish recipes using this combination, and so have started experimenting with it myself. It really works well in this recipe! I’m excited to continue to experiment with other recipes with this flour combination.

(Amazon links below are affiliate)

I adapted this recipe from The Joy of Cooking. I continue to be amazed that often I get better results adapting from old gluten-filled recipes, then when starting with a gluten-free recipe.

I use a very finely ground almond flour (like this one). I am not sure how they would turn out using a more coarsely ground flour. I also choose to go ahead and use organic powdered sugar for this recipe. Because I was making these for a crowd of friends, I wanted the flavor to be very similar to traditional Mexican Wedding Cookies. However, I think that they could be very delicious with coconut sugar! Coconut sugar tends to add a caramel undertone to baked goods that I actually like; it’s just not quite as delicate. You can also powder coconut sugar for a more delicate texture (and even add a little arrowroot powder to it to mimic store-bought powdered sugar). Regardless, one of the aspects I love about these cookies is that they aren’t very high in sugar.

I choose to use chopped almonds in place of the more traditional chopped pecans simply because I was making a double batch, and it was so much cheaper. However, they tasted just perfect! So use whatever nut you prefer.

I did use a food processor in this recipe, and made the cookies small (they will hold together the best this way – and they seemed very much like regular cookies!).

Grain Free Mexican Wedding Cookies 2

Grain Free Mexican Wedding Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped almonds (or pecans or walnuts)
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) room temperature butter (I recommend organic and/or pastured butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup organic powdered sugar (see notes above)
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup finely ground almond flour
  • Extra powdered sugar for dusting, as desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. On a large sheet pan, place the chopped nuts, and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 5-8 minutes, or just until you start to smell their aroma released. Set aside to cool, and turn off oven. Once cool, grind further in the food processor (you want fairly fine bits, not chunks). Don't over-process and make it oily or powdery.
  2. Dump out into a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Now place the butter, salt, ½ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla extract into the food processor and process (scrapping down the sides as needed) until smooth and fluffy. Add the nuts back in and process until combined. Now add the two flours. and process once more. If you have a small food processor that can't handle all of the ingredients, simply scrap out the butter/sugar mixture into a bowl, and hand mix the flours into it.
  4. Now place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes at least, or until the dough has firmed up enough to be able to roll into balls (You may find it necessary to leave for up to 2 hours, depending on how cold your refrigerator is).
  5. Once ready, preheat the oven again to 350F, and use a teaspoon to scoop out batter and roll lightly into balls, and place on a parchment covered sheet about 1-inch apart (there will be some spreading). Baking one sheet at a time (placing dough back into the fridge between batches), bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool on sheet for about ten minutes to firm before removing to cool rack. Repeat rolling/baking/cooling process until all of the cookies are cooked.
  7. Using a sieve, lightly dust the cookies with powdered sugar, if desired, for that snowy sweet look.

 

Nourishing Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Nourishing Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer- www.thenourishinggourmet.com

Written by Katie Mae Stanley of Nourishing Simplicity

There is something lovely about wrapping your hands around a cup of hot coffee – it is soothing for the soul. Hot drinks always make me feel a sense of calm, whether it is in the quite hours of the early morning, with a friend or on a hectic day when kids can’t seem to get along. Just that brief moment of lifting the mug to my lips and taking a sip makes everything right, even if only for the moment.

I am by no means a black coffee kind of gal but I also can’t bring myself to use overly processed creamers as appealing as they might be. I tend to stick to a bit of raw cream, vanilla and maple syrup. In fact, I mixed them together to make my own vanilla creamer. With autumn here I couldn’t resist adding a bit of “fall” to my cup.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are all the rage at the moment. When I have the time I like to make my own pumpkin pie latte but sometimes I want that bit of fall flavor without taking the time to whipped up a latte. I put my thinking cap on and decided to make my own pumpkin spice creamer.

Homemade creamers only take minutes to make. Once they are made you just store them in your fridge until you are ready to add them to your coffee. How easy is that?

(You can make your own pumpkin puree using this easy crockpot method here.)

Nourishing Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk (I use pastured raw milk)*
  • 1 cup pastured cream (I use raw cream)*
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Liquid stevia drops to taste (optional)
  • *If you do not want to use raw milk, you can use organic milk or two cups of a dairy free milk of your choice. If you are using canned coconut milk, use one cup of the milk and one cup of water.
Instructions
  1. Pour all the ingredients into a blender. Blend on high for about 1 minutes. Or, you can pour the ingredients into a 1-quart jar and blend with an immersion blender.
  2. Store in a glass jar or bottle.
  3. Shake before use.
  4. Lasts for at least one week in the fridge.

 

How to Throw a ‘Frozen’ Party (without gluten, dye, or eggs)

Frozen party ideas! Food, games, and crafts

Whether you are looking for “Frozen” theme party ideas, or ideas for a winter/snowflake themed party, this is for you! Those who are gluten, egg, and dye-free may find it especially helpful.

My sweet Elena just turned eight, and we threw, per her request, a “Frozen” themed party. It was so much fun, and I found a lot of great ideas online. Unfortunately, many of the ideas were simply decorated junk food or well dyed blue food, which isn’t really our style. Throw in a gluten-, egg-, and most dairy food intolerances, and many of the ideas were also not an option.

Thankfully we got creative, made up some new recipes, and had a wonderful, and beautiful party! I thought that it would be fun, and perhaps helpful to parents in a similar party planning mode to see what we did (and I’ll be sharing all of the recipes I used too!). While ours was a Disney Frozen themed party, it would easily work for any winter themed party as well.

I will be sharing each recipe in a separate post in the coming week and a half (and I will keep adding links to this post as I publish them), but meanwhile, here is the outline of our party.

Décor for Frozen Party:

When people heard our theme, a bunch of friends donated their Christmas lights, snowflakes, and more to use. We also got blue and white streamers and blue balloons. A poster provided by a great grandparent certainly helped the Frozen theme along as well.

Menu for Frozen Party:

  • Grain-free Snowball Cookies (i.e. Mexican wedding cookies)
  • Snowmen Cupcakes (chocolate gluten, dairy, egg-free cupcakes, with a vanilla buttercream)
  • Popcorn
  • Snowmen noses (carrot sticks).

Frozen themed crafts and games!

Crafts & Games for Frozen Party:

  • Epsom salt painting of snowflakes – This is so fun! It dries into crystals on paper (use black so you can see them). To give them time to dry, we did this first thing in the party.
  • Coffee filter snowflakes
  • Pin the nose on Olaf the snowmen (my husband drew the poster for me!)
  • Pinata (full of small toys from the dollar tree)
  • Snow pick up (with one hand behind the back, a blindfolded child tries to scoop as much “snow” – that is cotton balls – into a bowl with a spoon for 30 seconds. Whoever gets the most wins!).

Favors for Frozen Party:

  • We made Frozen themed playdough to give out as favors (more on that soon)
  • Frozen pencils
  • I made simple snowflake bags for their pinata toys, homemade snowflakes, and favors. I took plain brown paper bags and traced clear Elmer’s glue in the shape of snowflakes. I then sprinkled glitter on the glue, put the bag on the side and gave a simple tap on the table to remove excess glitter, and then lay flat to completely dry. We especially liked the results when made with a (affiliate link) light blue glitter.

While truthfully this was the most we ever did for a birthday party before, it was a lot of fun, and fairly simple as well. Keep watching for the yummy recipes of desserts we served! 

Super-Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Chips

Super-Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Chips - The Nourishing Gourmet

Peanut butter, unrefined sugar, coconut oil and vanilla are combined, hardened in the freezer then sliced into bite-sized morsels of bliss. These silky, sweet & salty little chips taste divine on their own, but this is a dangerous path to tread! I try to reserve them for a special treat atop ice cream or in cookies and other baked goods.

You may also want to check out the many other mouth-watering peanut butter recipes on this blog!

It was my 3-year old daughter who first opened the door to peanut butter chips. We were shopping at Trader Joe’s when she made the decision to place a bag into her kid-sized cart. My knee-jerk reaction was to quickly and nicely veto it, then redirect her to the dried mango. But I paused and skimmed the ingredients. Could have been worse. I decided to stroke her confidence and bring them home.

Last time she did this I ended up with 5 cans of sardines! I got a little creative them them.

Super-Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Chips - The Nourishing Gourmet

How these chips act in baking (it’s a little different)

When you take out the additives, and use unprocessed ingredients, peanut butter chips melt at a lower temperature. So you have to store these in the freezer then take them out immediately before you use them.

  • In cookies and scones they work perfectly, leaving little pockets of gooey goodness.
  • In muffins they leave somewhat concentrated pockets of peanut butter but they get absorbed by the muffin so there is no change in texture. Could be a good thing, but I’m just letting you know what to expect. (I’ve only tried them in coconut flour muffins, so they might act differently with less spongy flours.)
  • In waffles & pancakes – I haven’t tried this yet but I’m assuming they will work similar to the cookies since they are cooked quickly.
  • Over ice cream they are absolutely delicious!

Super-Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Chips - The Nourishing Gourmet

Using unrefined powdered sugar

You’ll need to use powdered sugar in these. Thankfully making your own unrefined powdered sugar is easy!

I have also tried a different method, leaving the sugar un-powdered and melting all the ingredients over the stove. For whatever reason, I had a surprisingly difficult time getting the coconut sugar to melt so powdering your sugar first is definitely the way to go.

I hope you enjoy them!

Super-Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Chips - The Nourishing Gourmet

Super-Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Chips
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Topping, Add-In
Serves: about 4 cup
 
These simple and delicious peanut butter chips come in handy for many purposes.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup powdered coconut palm sugar or powdered sucanat (it's easy to make your own)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sea salt, to taste (if your peanut butter is not salted)
Instructions
  1. Stir together the ingredients until smooth.
  2. Pour into a parchment paper lined baking pan (mine was 9x13)
  3. Freeze for 1 hour
  4. Slice up into chips (for best results, place the pan on cooling packs when doing this)
  5. Store in the freezer until immediately before use
Notes
You can certainly reduce the sugar! I put in a fair amount because we usually make our baked goods not-too-sweet so we like a sweet chip inside them.

Almond and sunflower seed butters would also work well.