Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Spice Cookies and Hot Cider

I don't know about you all but we sure have been doing a lot of Christmas baking these days. The girls just love to roll out the dough and cut out Christmas cookie shapes! The cookies are fun to give away to Christmas carolers and friends. Today I wanted to share one of my newest creations for you to enjoy this holiday season.

Sort of like a sugar cookie, but with the addition of a few warming, sweet spices. I used my favorite cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon. The flavor reminds me of the red hot cinnamon candies that were a favorite of mine as a child. I added nutmeg and cloves, and then a little freshly ground star anise. You can also find the star anise in the bulk spice section of your local co-op.

To grind the anise, simply remove the seeds from the pod (the star) and grind in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle (I used the later). For a more intense anise flavor grind the whole star (pod and seeds) in a coffee grinder. The aroma is intoxicating and the flavor exotic. You can use it to make your own chai spice tea, or try making a stove top potpourri with water, orange peels, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and star anise. Simmer on the stove during a holiday gathering or on Christmas eve and enjoy its sweet aroma wafting throughout your home.

Serve these delightful little cookies with hot mulled cider on a chilly winter afternoon. You can make a cookie glaze if you wish by mixing powdered sugar with a very small amount of non-dairy milk or water and a dash of vanilla. I used palm shortening in these cookies but organic unsalted butter would also work. The flour I buy from Authentic Foods in California. If you live on the east coast you may want to order it from the Gluten Free Mall.

Christmas Spice Cookies

1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
1 cup organic palm shortening or unsalted butter
1 cup maple sugar or coconut sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place the dry ingredients into a bowl (rice flour through ground star anise). Whisk together.

In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add the applesauce and vanilla and beat about 30 more seconds.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Sprinkle a clean, flat surface with a little four and roll out your dough until about 1/8 -inch of thickness.

Cut out with your favorite cookie cutter shapes. Place cookies onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.

Enjoy cookies with a cup of freshly mulled hot cider. If you don't have any apple cider on hand then try using a container of organic apple juice. You know the kind in the large glass jars, the not-from-concentrate-type found at your local health food store or co-op. Basically you simmer apple cider on the stove with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, sliced fresh ginger, and a few orange slices for about 30 to 60 minutes. Strain and enjoy! The girls use the cinnamon sticks as straws to suck the warm cider up. Mmm.

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. These look great! Thanks for your blog :-)

  2. I love that you added star anise to the cookies. And thanks so much for the detailed instructions on how to grind it!

    I will keep this in mind for my next cookie craving!

  3. I just finished baking these cookies for my son's class holiday party. I did not have any palm shortening so I used coconut oil. I also used sucanat instead of brown sugar. I used 1T of vanilla extract and 1tsp of orange extract, instead of the spices you used. I also added 1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips. They came out very delicious. I love the texture and flavor. I am sure they would be lovely if I followed your recipe exactly, but I was just missing most of the ingredients...

  4. I LOVE spiced cookies and have recently gone gluten-free. I haven't played too much with some of our family favourites, but I am definitely making these! Thanks so much for sharing!


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