Baking With Your Food-Allergic ToddlerPosted: December 22, 2010
Just because your little toddler has food allergies doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fun of baking Christmas cookies together! My Certain Little Someone and I had so much fun together the other day, making a mess… and making yummy cookies! Here are some tips to help the process go smoothly and incident-free:
- Choose a simple recipe that includes some fun elements that your child can do with you or by himself. I chose Peppermint Snowballs (see below), which require rolling in powdered sugar after baking. My Certain Little Someone had fun helping out with that part!
- Don’t do anything on the stovetop. Your child will want to be part of the entire process, and of course that’s not possible with a hot stove! And it goes without saying that the adult in charge should handle all the responsibility of putting the cookies in and out of the oven.
- Clean the work area thoroughly. Choose a counter (or table-top) where the mixing will take place and make sure it’s free of all potential allergens.
- Gather all the ingredients, measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls and pans before you begin. Toddlers have famously short attention spans, and if you have everything collected beforehand, there will be less time spent searching for necessary items and losing their interest.
- Involve your child in the process. Even toddlers can help with scooping and pouring (with a little assistance on occasion!).
And now for a great recipe you can make with your food-allergic child: Allergen-Free Peppermint Snowballs. I adapted a recipe from the Holiday Cookbook produced by the FAAN. The only flour it uses is rice flour, which makes it super easy and inexpensive. The peppermint adds a touch of holiday flavor, making these little bites delicious enough for anyone, with or without food allergies! They don’t have to be rolled in powdered sugar, but they sure taste great that way! These little morsels will remind you of “wedding cookies” or “tea cookies” as they’re sometimes called.
Allergen-Free Peppermint Snowballs
1/2 cup palm oil shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP water
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups rice flour
1 tsp cornstarch
Beat shortening in mixer together with sugar until well blended and kind of creamy. Stir in water and peppermint extract. Add flour and cornstarch; mix well. Add more water if dough is too crumbly to form a ball. When the dough is firm enough to form a ball, but still flexible, begin rolling it into small balls. Drop onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes at 375F. When the bottom is just beginning to turn golden brown, they are done. Transfer carefully to a wire rack to cool. (They can be crumbly, like all rice flour-based goods, so be careful). When cool enough to handle, roll in powdered sugar.