Easy to make gluten free Halloween cookies and why I love this time of year

Fall apples in bucket

Autumnal apples from the tree by the swimming pool. Tasty.

As I make a batch of super tasty and easy to make Halloween cookies, I reflect on the emotions that are linked to this time of year for me.

I smile at the concept of ‘The Holidays’ and how I have come to embrace it. When we first moved to the U.S. just over 5 years ago, I didn’t really understand what The Holidays meant and why people got so excited about it as soon as summer and back to school was done with. It all felt a bit early for people to be focusing on Christmas and I questioned all of the fuss and decorations. Then I came to learn that The Holidays is so much more than Christmas Day.

I’ve come to love the build up to Halloween – the gateway into the Holiday season – and although I’m still pretty discreet with my decor, I squeeze in a few more pumpkins into the house and on my outdoor staircase every year.

2 years ago, however, Halloween became a little tainted for me. It was on Halloween in 2008 that I realized that I had breast cancer, within weeks of my mum being diagnosed with the same disease. I’ll never forget the Halloween party that we went to that year. The merriment all around me with everyone in silly costumes and children exited about trick or treating beyond belief. Me – I just wanted to drown myself in a big glass of red wine and hope that the lump I had discovered might somehow miraculously go away.

The lump did go away. But it didn’t disappear quite as miraculously as I had hoped. Well, at least it didn’t seem like it at the time. On reflection, however, I do think it was miraculous after all. Ok – so it took dose dense chemotherapy, several surgeries and 50+ days of consecutive, tedious bouts of radiation treatments (wiping out at least 10 months that I would have much rather spent with my kids), BUT, it worked and here I am finding myself more focused on how to make a tasty gluten free Halloween cookie than thinking about the fact that I am a stage 3 breast cancer survivor. I wasn’t at that stage this time last year. Now I am, and it’s really cool. I don’t need to worry about not having the energy to get food on the table for my kids anymore. In fact it’s the opposite. I care more about what we put into our bodies now, and take more time to labor over it, than I ever did. Everything happens for a reason. Right?

Tasty and easy gluten free Halloween Cookies

Our yummy Halloween cookies

When I make a batch of easy gluten free Halloween cookies and I see the looks of joy on my children’s faces that I’ve managed to make them this treat and managed to make it gluten free for all of us to enjoy, I realize that it’s something that I should share.

Here’s how to make them:

Easy to make gluten free Halloween cookies

1 cup of butter, softened

1.5 cups of raw cane sugar

1 egg

1.5 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

just under 3 cups of all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill for this recipe)

1 teaspoon of fine salt

1. Beat the sugar and butter together until well blended. (I find it really therapeutic to do this with a wooden spoon, but an electric mixer would speed up the process)

2. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.

3. Add the flour and salt and mix until well blended

4. Preheat the oven to 350F

5. If using a cookie pan (I found a cool one with Halloween shapes), then grease the pan shapes with a little butter (brush the butter on with a pastry brush, or wipe the pan with some kitchen paper covered in butter).

If you don’t have a cookie pan the lightly grease a cookie sheet.

6. The mixture will be a bit sticky, so spoon the mixture into the pan and press it into the shapes. Alternatively, spoon rounds onto the cookie sheet.

7. Bake for 10 minutes

8. Cool for 5-10 minutes and then turn cookies out onto a plate and decorate.

halloween cookies with sprinkles

The result of T decorating his Halloween cookies

October also happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness month. There are always ways to contribute to help find a cure. Check out the Susan G. Komen website.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Eve says:

    Sounds delicious. I must try this. I love T’s decorations!!

  2. Oh, Nicola, you are a doll! I sooo love this post … the bucket of apples, those lovely cookies, and most of all you embracing life and The Holidays! My one friend doesn’t believe in the saying, “things happen for a reason.” As she says how can there be a reason for horrid things to happy to us and others? Instead she says “things work out.” And, they do.

    As I think I told you, both my mom and my mother-in-law are breast cancer survivors. I would so like to see the focus be shifted to prevention and the causes. Gluten can be a contributor to cancers because of the inflammation it causes and our bodies attacking ourselves. So much more to be done in that area and I don’t see it happening … yet. Gluten intolerance/celiac is genetic and it manifests in different ways. One can usually look at a family tree and see lots of illnesses that were related in hindsight. Food for thought, dear.

    Much love to you, Nicola!
    Shirley

    • nstockmann says:

      Oh Shirley. Food for thought indeed. As always! I’ve just started reading ‘Anticancer, A New Way of Life’ by David Servan-Schreiber. It provides quite an insight. My take-out a few pages in is to drink more green tea. ;-).

      I also recently bought ‘Supernatural Home’ http://supernaturalmom.com/book/. There are SO many things that we can do SO much better. A lot of them aren’t even that complicated once you’ve undergone a shift in mindset. Needless to say my kids are now in organic cotton pajamas, parabens are all in the trash (I wrote a post about it) and although it’s with a heavy heart, I’m thinking of trashing all of our paraffin wax candles and going out on the hunt for beeswax only candles.

      So much to learn. I truly appreciate your insights and all of the information that you share on your Blog.

  3. Minivan Mama says:

    Those look so good. We have egg allergy, I wonder if I could use an egg substitute? Love the Bob’s gf flour too! Most importantly, congratulations for beating cancer! What a new perspective that must put into your life.

    • nstockmann says:

      Hi! I’m so pleased that you like these. I’m not very clued up about the whole egg substitute thing, so I suggest that you maybe hop over to another gluten free blog: http://www.adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com. Heidi’s son also has an egg allergy and she has recently been baking and experimenting with egg substitutes. Hope this helps!
      Best
      Nicola

  4. Nicola, what a beautiful post. What a difficult journey with such a wonderful outcome. My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer one week before Christmas and I still so vividly remember how that year I kept thinking that this could possibly change the holidays for me forever. But after a recovery journey similar to yours, she is doing better than ever.
    You are doing such a wonderful thing for your family and I love your new outlook on life. You are such a delight in person and I can only hope that we get many more opportunities to get together!

  5. Alisa says:

    Those are adorable Nicola! They look so wonderfully flaky too.

    Kim is so right, you are an amazing spirit. It was seriously an honor to get to be around all of that positive energy in person!

    • nstockmann says:

      Alisa,

      I am humbled by your comment. I was so nervous that day and so so grateful to have met you all and to have felt so welcome. Thank you. xo

  6. Suzanne says:

    I recently bought a cookie pan with halloween shapes, but hadn’t decided what to do with it. Thanks for the great idea, I’ll be making these for tomorrow!

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