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Tuesday

Shortbread Cookie Deliciousness!

The first day of our 12 days of Allergy friendly holiday cookies is one of my hubby's favorites ... shortbread! This recipe is one of Elizabeth Barbone's a Gluten free chef. I know you may be wondering why a mom with an little with an egg and peanut allergy is reading gluten free recipes. Well it's simple. I want to do my best to provide cookies that edible for all of our little friends. These cookies do have dairy in them but could simply modified to dairy free by using Vegan Butter.  If you haven't tried allergy friendly baking before you may be surprised to find that with the exception of a few missing and a few new ingredients baking allergy safe foods is simple and fun! 

Just be sure to remember that if you are cooking for an allergy family it's not just the ingredients that need to be allergy friendly your cooking practices and storage need to also be allergy friendly.  Make sure you cooking surfaces and utensils are sterile and free from allergens, that you store them in allergy safe containers away from known allergens, and always let the family know what allergens are present in your kitchen. 

Ingredients

5 1/3 ounces (1 1/3 cups) white rice flour
2.5 ounces (1/2 cup) sweet rice flour
2 ounces (1/2 cup) cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (this prevents the cookies from spreading)
7 ounces (14 tablespoons) butter, softened
5 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Step 1- Prep:
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In small bowl, whisk together white rice flour, sweet rice flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla extract together, on medium-low speed, until a thick paste forms, about 30 seconds. Shut off stand mixer. Add dry ingredients. Turn on mixer and mix until a dough forms, about three minutes.

Step 2 - Mold:
Lightly spread white rice flour your countertop. Turn dough out onto counter and shape dough into a disk. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out, about 1/4-inch thick. Cut using a round cutter and place cookies on prepared baking sheet, about two inches apart.

Step 3 - Bake:
Bake until cookies are lightly golden brown on the edges and aromatic, about 30 minutes.Allow cookies to cool on the pan for five minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Repeat using remaining dough.

About the author: Elizabeth Barbone is an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America and Mount Mary College. With her solid professional baking background, Elizabeth is known for creating gluten-free recipes that taste just like their wheat counterparts. She is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking.

Monday

Water Play & Color Mixing!


Water play always seem to be a great way to entertain, engage and educate my littles.  I have seen a great many ideas for using water play to teach color mixing theory.  I have tried a lot of them.  They worked wonderfully and proved to be great fun.  However, most of them involved using multiple vessels full of water.  In our house that tends to lead to less time exploring color theory and water and more time exploring how to quickly mop the floor before the baby slips.  Then I had an idea. 

I use a BPA free take a long lunch box with three comparments.  I fill all three compartments with water and the tint the two smaller compartments with two easily mixable colors (i.e. red/blue, yellow/blue, yellow,red).  Then I provide mixing and pouring tools (i.e. a measuring cup that fits into all compartents, a spoon, little dipping ladel) It's amazing how much longer and independent the play for my littlest became as a result of the change.  It's also amazing how many dishes I can get done while he happily makes purple!!

The Wasting Nothing Philosophy

Playing, cooking, reading, exploring, loving, laughing, and making a mess with your little one is NEVER a waste of time! It is priority one! It's not just about getting to know your little one. It's about letting your little one get to know you!