There are a lot of date ball recipes floating around the blogosphere, but the vast majority of them feature nuts as an essential ingredient in the recipe. In this version, I’ve replaced the nuts with sunflower seeds, which seems to work perfectly.
My Certain Little Someone calls these, appropriately, “Snowy Balls” because I roll them in coconut.
Snowy Nut-Free Date Balls
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried dates
1/4 cup raisins (or dried cranberries or dried cherries)
1-2 tsps coconut oil
1-2 tsps orange zest
drizzle of vanilla extract
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
Grind the sunflower seeds until fine in a food processor. Add the dates and raisins. Process until the mixture begins to hold together; adding coconut oil 1/2 tsp at a time until you have achieved the desired consistency. Add orange zest and vanilla. Roll the mixture into 1″ balls; roll each ball in the coconut. Refrigerate to set (or you can enjoy right away, but they’ll be kind of soft); and keep leftovers in refrigerator.
I started out making pigs in the blanket, and ended up with these. They’re not bad, but I still want to tweak the recipe a bit. I found the dough to be a little crispier than what I was looking for, but they still tasted pretty good.
All you have to do is make this short pastry crust. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll them into balls; then flatten the balls and place a small cube of chopped hot dog in the middle. Roll it back up, then bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes. Done!
These babies are a lot of work, but totally worth it for a spectacular Fourth of July celebration! Everything is made from scratch, except the chocolate, which is just melted chocolate chips. If you want to make these, plan on making the marshmallows first (giving them adequate time to set), then the graham cracker stars, and then assembling them.
I found the marshmallow recipe on Food.com, and made it pretty much as it described. I like that it’s also corn-free, which I think is healthier, and also great for those with corn allergies/sensitivities.
2 TBSP gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups sugar (I used raw)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
powdered sugar or colored blue sugar
Pour 1/2 cup water in a small bowl, and sprinkle with gelatin. Set aside. In a large saucepan, stir together sugar and remaining 1/2 cup water. Cook over medium heat until dissolved, stirring constantly. When sugar is dissolved, add gelatin and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Remove from the heat, and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer; allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in salt and vanilla, then beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until fluffy and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes or so. Sprinkle sifted powdered sugar over the bottom of a 9×13 pan and pour marshmallow mixer into it, smoothing the top. Allow to set until you can touch the surface with your finger and it doesn’t stick. Using a greased spatula to help release it from the pan, turn marshmallow onto a surface sprinkled with either more sifted powdered sugar or colored blue (or red) sugar. Cut out stars with a metal star-shaped cookie cutter, dipping it into a bowl of hot water in between each cut. Roll each star in your sugar of choice until all surfaces are covered.
For the graham cracker stars, I simply used my allergen-free graham cracker recipe and rolled and cut it into star shapes instead of squares.
Graham Cracker Stars
2 1/4 cups sorghum flour mix
1/2 cup turbinado (raw) sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
7 TBSP coconut oil
3 TBSP cold water
3 TBSP honey
1 tsp vanilla
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add coconut oil and blend with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add remaining ingredients and stir until dough can be manipulated into a soft ball, adding cold water 1 TBSP at a time if necessary. Cover dough and refrigerate one hour. Roll out half of the dough into a large rectangle between two plastic zippered bags (Rip the bags down the sides to form long sheets of plastic. This is sturdier than wax paper or plastic wrap). Leave it pretty thick, around 1/4″ or so. Peel off the top bag, and use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out stars. Continue until dough is gone. Place the stars on lightly greased cooking sheets and bake in a 325F oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the pan to cool on a wire rack.
1/2 cup safe chocolate chips
Melt the chocolate chips at in the microwave at 50% or 60% power, stirring every 15 or 20 seconds. Use immediately.
Use a knife to spread a small amount (about 1 tsp or less) onto the surface of a graham cracker star. Immediately top with a marshmallow. Leave as is, or spread chocolate on another graham cracker star and place it on top of the marshmallow to form a complete sandwich. Allow to cool until the chocolate is set.
It was all eerily and devastatingly familiar:
I wasn’t really super interested in The Royal Wedding and I had no plans to get up at the crack of dawn to watch it… until I kept seeing all sorts of fabulous ideas on the blogs I frequent for yummy British treats and high tea delicacies. Still, I resisted temptation, but then all my friends on Facebook started sharing their plans for Royal Wedding parties, and high tea menus. I have to admit I got sucked into the excitement and yes, I got up at 5:30 this morning to watch the royal nuptials.
I even made some British-inspired little jam tartlets last night. Yes, I did! And I made them allergen-free because I knew my Certain Little Someone would be waking up at his usual extremely early wake-time; and even if he wouldn’t want to watch the wedding, he’d certainly want to join me in enjoying the treats!
I don’t claim that these are authentic English tea-time treats… but I did find them at an authentically British website here. That recipe didn’t give ingredients or directions for the crust, which was just as well, because I had to make it allergen-free anyway. I found the recipe in Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids: More Than 150 Recipes That are All Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free and Low in Sugar. It uses a combination of rice flour, tapioca starch, honey and shortening and is really very easy. I made some very minor adjustments, and following is how I did it:
Jam Tartlets with Allergen-Free Shortcrust
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup palm shortening
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
dash of vinegar
1 cup jam
Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until pea-sized crumbs form. Cut a gallon-size zippered plastic bag into two sheets of plastic. Dump half the dough onto one sheet, and form it into a firm ball with your hands. Place the other sheet of plastic on top, then use a rolling pan to roll it into a large circle. Use a medium-sized biscuit cutter to cut out uniform circles. Place the circles on top of the openings in a mini muffin tin, like this, using your fingers to push the outside of the circle of dough, so that it falls into the cup:
Gently press into any tears with your fingers:
Place a scant tablespoon of jam into each tart. If desired, use extra bits of dough to decorate the top of each tart. The only mini cookie cutter I had was a circle, so I made a half-hearted attempt to form little fluted flowers with it (or random lumps of dough, which was the actual result!). Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is lightly golden. Allow to cool, then carefully use a table knife to remove each tart from the muffin tin.
Like most holidays, the celebration of Easter seems to revolve around food… especially eggs! I feel badly that my Certain Little Someone can’t participate in the traditional Easter fun of egg dying, so I have been trying to come up with something fun, edible and safe that he can do. A popular Easter treat this year (at least based on its prevailing presence in the blogs I frequent) is edible nests filled with some kind of candy egg. It took some searching, but I found two different recipes that were either allergen-free or easily made to be allergen-free. Try both and see which one you prefer!
For both, I used Walmart’s jelly beans as the eggs, although I have to say that Jelly Belly actually uses real fruit flavors, so those would be preferable. Either way, they’re both free of the top 8 allergens, which was good news for my Certain Little Someone! He found a new favorite candy!
Chocolate Coconut Nests
from Show Tell Share
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe’s brand, but it does have soy lecithin. If that’s a problem, use Enjoy Life brand.)
2 oz. un-sweetened chocolate
2 TBSP coconut oil
1/2 of 14 oz. package dried coconut
Combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals until melted and smooth, stirring each time. Stir in coconut until completely coated and covered. Drop a tablespoon at a time onto a large sheet of wax paper. Make an indentation with your finger or thumb in the middle of each mound. Place a jelly bean (or other Easter egg-like candy) in the center of each “nest”. Keep refrigerated or frozen.
No-Bake Easter Nests
From the Polka-Dot Umbrella
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coconut or rice milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 TBSP cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup dried coconut
Combine sugar, milk, cocoa and oil in a saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue boiling for about 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring all the time. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Stir in oats and coconut until combined; allow to cool to room temperature. With damp hands, shape into balls, then press an indentation in each center with your finger. Fill the indentations with jelly beans or other Easter egg candy.
For a more refined Easter treat, check out my allergen-free Coconut Lime Mousse.
Find more allergen-friendly Easter treats at Cyble Pascale’s Thank God it’s Allergy Friendly Friday.
I was totally inspired by This Chick Cooks’ “NutriGrain Bars’ knock-offs! Her recipe looked so easy, and so delicious, I knew I had to try it. What’s more, as I read through the ingredients and method, I knew that it would be super easy to make allergen-free as well. And it was!
The end result tastes a LOT like a “Nutrigrain” or other cereal/fruit bar, even with the allergen-free substitutes. In fact, you won’t even notice the absence of wheat or egg, I promise!
I used homemade low sugar raspberry jam, but you can use pretty much any allergen-free jam or fruit spread.
Raspberry Cereal Bars
1 TBSP ground flax seed
3 TBSP warm water
1 cup oats
1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup apple juice
2/3 cup low-sugar raspberry jam
2 TBSP water, divided
3 TBSP oat bran
In a small bowl, mix together the ground flax seed and water. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oats, brown rice flour, baking powder and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, mix together apple juice, vanilla, coconut oil and flax gel. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until you have a crumbly mixture. Press 2/3 of this mixture into the bottom of a 9×10 baking dish, and reserve remaining. Melt the jam for about 15 seconds in the microwave. Stir in 1 TBSP water, then spread evenly across oat mixture in pan. Add remaining tablespoon water to the reserved mixture and stir. Sprinkle on top of jam and spread as evenly as possible over the surface. Sprinkle oat bran over all. Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes or until dough is cooked through. Allow to cool thoroughly and slice carefully into bars.