Gluten Free For the Holidays

Introducing the Teatime Romance Holiday Foods Event

Throughout the month, our Teatime Romance authors will each do a post related to holiday foods.  The posts will fall on different dates, so keep checking back.

Here’s a confession that probably won’t surprise most of you: I can’t cook.

Over the course of the five years I’ve been married, I’ve learned to boil water for pasta and make a decent set of cheese enchiladas.  Other than that, I’m not your girl.


Yep, this is about what happens when I cook.

So when e-mails started circulating about a Teatime Romance Christmas Foods event, that’s what I thought of.  I grew up in a family of people who didn’t like to cook, and did not cook often. (Whatever my mother might claim, you so want to believe me instead, right?) But don’t let it be said I’m not a smart chick, as I married a man who went to the premier culinary school in all of America.  While he now works in IT, he’s still retained that chef education.

Now, because of the man referred to on Twitter as MrMonroe, I have a passable knowledge of food. I can’t for the life of me tell you how it’s made, but I know what dish goes with what and sometimes I can tell you what it’s called. Miracle of all miracles, I know.

Despite my inability to cook, I love to eat.  I’ve often said flattery, a latte, or a meal will get you anywhere with me.  If you place a pastry in front of me, it’s as good as gone, for you will never see it in one happy piece again.  I love cookies, cakes, lemon bars, torts, pies…and the list goes on and on.  From Thanksgiving onward, I’m wearing a perpetual gigantic grin at the montage of unhealthy sweets around me.  And if those sweets are made for me by my husband? Then all the better.

At a recent RWA chapter meeting, I remember hearing a conversation about how food incorporates into an author’s book.  We spoke about how often in romance novels, to show a hero’s devotion to the heroine, he’ll cook her some type of meal because the act of cooking is in itself romantic.  It is the idea of the hero providing for our heroine, going back to those old archetypes of the hunter and the gather.  But we don’t often see certain details like a hero’s attention to detail, in regards to things like food allergies or personal preferences.  That started to get my mind thinking.


Y’all know this is true.

As appealing as a man who cooks is–I can’t tell you how many women have asked to clone my dear husband–for me I think my husband is at his sexiest when he is listening to my preferences on food.  I loathe broccoli and can’t stand grapes because of the contrasting textures.   The taste of coriander in food irritates me, and I don’t like celery and onions in red curry.  Now, with a food allergy on the horizon that means damage to my intestines if a strict diet isn’t followed, my husband has a challenge in crafting meals that we both like and won’t make me sick.

And by crafting meals, I really mean…HOLIDAY DESSERTS. Because you can leave the turkey and lamb behind, ladies, I want the good stuff.  Recently, I’ve been undergoing testing to see if I might have Celiac’s Disease–in laments terms, an ability to process gluten properly.  While I don’t yet know the results of the tests, the possibility of this condition has changed a lot of how I think about food.  The more research I do, the more I see that this disease and other forms of gluten intolerance are becoming more widespread every day. My aunt has gluten intolerance as well, and I’m sure that some of you readers out there do too.

Fellow blog sister Amy Pfaff enjoys posting what she calls “Food Porn” onto her Facebook, leaving me in a constant state of hunger. (Hey, thanks Amy, my increasing waistline thinks you are just dandy).  Several of the recipes she highlighted were gluten free, and that started to make my little heart gleeful. Sweets! Candy! Chocolate!


Amy, this is what I imagine you do all day.  Don’t shake my delusions.

I wanted to share with readers some gluten free holiday recipes.  Now bear in mind, I’ve not tested any of these.  I can barely make boxed pasta, people, you don’t want to see me bake things.


2008 © Teri Lee Gruss

Gluten Free Lemon Sugar Cookies

Courtesy of:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 48 cookies 


  • 1 1/2 cups superfine brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup cold, cubed butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel (takes about 2 lemons)
  • Gluten Free Cookie Sprinkle Decorations (optional) (see tips)


Preheat oven to 350° F

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, silicone baking pads or light butter.

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a large whisk to thoroughly blend.
  2. For a finer flour, sift the dry ingredients.
  3. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Place the cover on the processor and pulse about 3 times.
  4. Add the cubed, cold butter and pulse about 10 times. The mixture will be crumbly.
  5. Add the egg, lemon extract and lemon peel and pulse about 5 times. The mixture will look crumbly but should form a ball when squeezed together.
  6. If the mixture is too dry to form a ball, add 1 tablespoon milk and pulse about 5 times.
  7. Scrape the dough onto a large sheet of waxed paper and squeeze the dough into a ball.
  8. Use hands to shape the ball into a long cylinder, about 2 inches in diameter.
  9. Wrap the sheet of waxed paper around the cookie dough “log” and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or freeze the dough to use later.
  10. When you are ready to bake the cookies, remove from refrigerator or freezer. Slice in 1/4-inch rounds and roll each section into a ball. Place 12 balls on each prepared baking sheet.
  11. Dip a glass in fine sugar and press each ball of dough into a flat circle.
  12. Alternatively, cut chilled dough rolls into 1/4″ slices and bake. This method makes a slightly thicker cookie.
  13. Optional- Sprinkle with gluten free colored sugars.
  14. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden brown around the edges.

Gluten Free/Vegan/Sugar Free Gingerbread Cake

Courtesy of All User Mandi_In_Toronto

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 35 Minutes

Ready In: 50 Minutes

Servings: 24


  • 1 cup amaranth flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, or more to taste
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  2. Mix amaranth flour, buckwheat flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  3. Stir flax meal and 6 tablespoons water together in a separate bowl. Add agave nectar, canola oil, molasses, grated fresh ginger, and lemon zest; stir to combine. Pour wet ingredients into the well in the flour mixture; mix well. Gradually stir boiling water into the batter until fully incorporated. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

May your holiday season be merry no matter what kind of food you like! If you have a favorite gluten free recipe, please share it with me.

This post brought to you with the help of 


9 thoughts on “Gluten Free For the Holidays

  1. Very cute post. My husband and I both cook and take turns. I love all the food porn posts, but diabetes runs in both sides of my family, and I had it when I was pregnant, so I basically don’t eat sugar.

  2. Love these recipes! I’ll have to try them. I’ve got a friend who tries to go Gluten-free and my oldest daughter could probably use these recipes too.

    Best of luck finding out the results of your tests, Erica! I pray that everything checks out all right!! ❤

  3. I love scenes where the hero cooks for the heroine, but I love them that much more when he’s really not a dedicated chef, but a regular guy just trying to do something nice. I wonder how many romance novels actually take into account food sensitivities and really incorporate them into the story line though. How many can you think of? I can’t think of many at all. Thanks for the recipes too!

  4. Great post Erica! I am with you in that I am not a cook and avoid the kitchen when at all possible. But these recipes look great! One of my favorite parts of the holidays is all the delicious food. Especially the special things like turkey for Thanksgiving that we only have once a year. I hope you and the doctors get to the bottom of what’s going on and if it is indeed celiacs I hope the lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments won’t cause too much upheaval and disruptions!

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