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?
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
1.5 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.
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.