Ever notice how the seasons have their own smell? To me, summer is freshly-mowed grass and barbecue smoke from the patio grill. Fall is fireplace smoke and raked leaves. Spring is gently-warming soil and spring rains. But certain holidays have unique smells, as well.
What do the Christmas holidays smell like?
For me, it is spices―like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. One whiff and I’m in the holiday mood. This is Christmas week, so these smells are everywhere.
Experts say that we encounter new smells as children, so it makes sense that the experiences we associate with different aromas conjure up childhood experiences.
The moment I smell the heavenly aroma of these spices wafting from the kitchen I am transported to happy times and ready to break out the tree decorations, address holiday cards, and wrap presents.
Gluten-Free, Plus Dairy-Free and Egg-Free, Too!
This cookie is perfect for those who avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and corn and they are so delicious you can serve them to any holiday guest—or all winter long. Even if you’re an inexperienced baker, these cookies are super-easy and always a success. Don’t be put off by all the spices; they are essential for this incredible flavor.
These sturdy little gems freeze well so if you have any leftovers (fat chance!!) they can be thawed at room temperature. And, they are sturdy so they travel well and will survive the trip to Grandma’s house.
Plus, the sorghum flour and bean flour boost the health profile of this cookie with protein and fiber so you can indulge with a little less guilt. But best of all, their heavenly aroma and marvelous flavor will delight you and your guests! So get in the kitchen and start baking!
Gluten-Free Spice Cookies (without dairy, eggs, corn, or soy)
Adapted from 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Fenster (Avery/Penguin Group, 2011)
Moist and very flavorful, these cookies are perfect for snacks, cookie exchanges, or dessert for your family. Or, process them into crumbs in a food processor for a pie crust (about 1 ½ cups for a 9-inch crust) that is perfect for a pumpkin cheesecake. Adding the optional black pepper turns them into Pfeffernüsse, a traditional German treat served during the holidays.
½ cup butter or buttery spread
¼ cup molasses (not blackstrap)
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup bean flour (such as garbanzo/chickpea, black bean)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons (turbinado or coarse) sugar, for rolling
 Place rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9×13-inch metal baking sheet (not nonstick) with parchment paper.
 In medium mixing bowl, beat butter, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Add sorghum flour, garbanzo flour, ginger, cinnamon, xanthan gum, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, salt, and black pepper (if using) and beat until well blended.
 With #50 (1¼ tablespoon-size) metal ice cream scoop, shape 18 balls, roll each into smooth ball with hands, and then roll in sugar for pretty crinkly appearance. Place 9 of the balls at least two inches apart on the baking sheet.
 Bake just until cookies look firm and began to show little cracks on top, about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool cookies on baking sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Bake remaining 9 cookies in same way. Makes 18 cookies.
Per cookie: 130 calories; 2g protein; 6 g total fat; 1 g fiber; 20 g carbohydrates; 14 mg cholesterol; 55 mgs sodium