The Sweetest Day of the Year

O, Christmas Tree! 1 of 3 that currently grace our home. We dig Christmas – a lot!

A: Aside from decorations and music, food is a big part of our Christmas celebrations. Last year, being determined to stick to my paleo-ish—

D: How can one be paleo-ish?

A: By being a real-food foodie: agreeing with the basic idea (which, I do – for health reasons) but also acknowledging that my enjoyment of food and life is not going to be overwhelmed by the foods I “can” and “cannot” eat according to some strict diet regime that is not medically imperative. I avoid wheat, grains, white potatoes and tomatoes – they all make my autoimmune/inflammation issues flare. After that, I moderate those foods that are ridiculously high in fat and sugar, and have no nutritional redeeming qualities whatsoever. Potato chips and wine are exempt from all of these rules. There’s only so the world can ask a girl to sacrifice.

D: This is what you call a first-world problem, isn’t it? Because I recall just being happy and quite prosperous if we had enough foodstuffs and game stored by to last a Highland winter.

A: Welcome to the 21st century, D. Anyway, it turns out one can be a real-food foodie and have eggnog, so long as you REALLY like coconut milk (actually, real eggnog, provided one is not dairy-intolerant, is totally a real-food thing). One can be a real-food foodie and have gingerbread. One can even have real sugar plums , but one cannot be a real-food foodie and have satisfactory cut-out cookies.

D: Cut-out cookies? This is a diatribe about cut-out cookies?

A: Cherished traditions at holiday-time, D. It’s a potentially stress-filled, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation– debacle-filled time of year. Sweet blobs of dough that bake up nice, filled with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves are important.

D: And here I thought it was about the whole rebirth of the world thing.

A: As symbolized by cookies.

D: . . .

A: Fine, it’s not about cookies … it’s only mostly about the cookies. As I realized last year that I was not going to get a satisfactory coconut flour cut-out cookie (we can’t do almond flour variety-anything)  I was very nearly despondent, until I tried just-one-more-recipe. I didn’t roll it out – I was too tired for that – but I did use it as the base for every other type of cookie I used to make. And you know what?

D: I’m breathless with anticipation.

A: They were perfect. It made our holiday. (Alright, fine – good health, family, friends, sparkly lights and fantastic music made hour holiday – but the cookies helped).  They don’t make a lot, but they’re ridiculously simple and easy to manipulate. I did this year by turning them into gingersnaps.

D: And so, Christmas was saved?

A: Christmas was saved in a spicy-sweet puff of heated air from the oven. And maybe some spiked eggnog.

Grain-Free Holiday Cookies

Basic Dough Ingredients

Based on this recipe from Real Food Forager

  • ¼ lb butter (1 stick) or ½ cup ghee, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup honey & 1 dropper stevia (or ½ cup plain white sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ – 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Apologies for the horrible photo quality, but these are the four cookies I wrest from 1 simple recipe. Holidays = saved.
Apologies for the horrible photo quality, but these are the four cookies I wrest from 1 simple recipe. Holidays = saved.


  • Blend together the softened butter or ghee and honey/sugar.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Add the egg and beat until fluffy.
  • Mix the dry ingredients.
  • Add dry to wet. Caution: Coconut flour absorbs quite a bit of liquid. If it doesn’t look thick enough, wait a few moments before adding more flour.
  • Attend to variations, below
  • Roll into 1-inch balls – flatten, turn into thumbprints or leave as-is, per recipe/desire.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes
  • Let cool
  • Try not to eat all of them in one sitting. And if you do, have a lot of water on hand (see note above, re: moisture retention of coconut flour!)

Eggnog Cookies Variation

  • Add: 1 tsp nutmeg to dry ingredients
  • Roll into balls, and create divot with thumb/forefinger. Bake as directed.
  • Once cool, top with swipe of eggnog frosting, which I spied at Smitten Kitchen (best food blog ever. I’ve converted quite a few of Deb’s recipes to the gluten and/or grain free variety) – best version I’ve seen to-date. Yes, that is a lot of sugar. Yes, it’s totally worth it.

Peppermint Snowballs Variation

  • Add: 3 crushed candy-canes to wet ingredients
  • Roll into balls. Roll balls in a mix of powdered sugar (of any kind: coconut, truvia, plain ol’ white, etc) and 2 crushed candy canes before baking.
  • Bake as directed.
  • For real decadence, roll in same powdered sugar/candy cane mix after baking as well.

Cardamom Cookies Variation

  • Add: 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon and Cardamom each to dry ingredients.
  • Prepare cookie in 1 inch balls, roll in a mix of sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Flatten rolled cookie with cookie press, bottom of a pretty glass or with forks, and bake as directed.

Gingersnap Variation

  • Add: ¼ – ½ cup molasses to wet ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger to dry ingredients (more if you’re a spice addict – I swear I should have the blue-blue eyes at this point).
  • Measure coconut flour to 1 cup instead of ¾ cup
  • Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes. Roll into balls, roll balls in white sugar (or your sugar substitute as desired) and flatten with the tines of a fork. Bake as directed.

But wait!

D: Aren’t you going to share a song?

A: Yes, I am. And it is one of the best songs – The Christmas Can-Can. Enjoy (and spike the eggnog)!


Published by Katie Sullivan

Descended of pirates and revolutionaries, Katie Sullivan is a lover and student of all things Irish. Born in the States, she is a dual US/Irish citizen, and studied history and politics at University College, Dublin – although, at the time, she seriously considered switching to law, if only so she could attend lectures at the castle on campus. She lives in Milwaukee with her daughter, two cats and a pesky character in her head named D (but you can call him Dubh). Her first series, The Changelings Saga, a young adult historical fantasy trilogy is available on Amazon. She can be found writing with said character at her blog, The D/A Dialogues.

23 thoughts on “The Sweetest Day of the Year

  1. That photo of your home is absolutely stunning! It looks so cozy and warm. And I enjoy seeing how that warmth contrasts the cold outside. Simply a gorgeous pic, Katie!


    1. Thank you, Jack! I like a cozy home, and nothing says cozy to me like the fairy lights of the tree, especially when I can see the snow outside. Hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas!


  2. Gotta love a post about cookies. Been far too long since I had good homemade cookies. I do wonder something after what D said about the Highland winter. How did people with dietary restrictions and issues survive in those days? Was it an eat and deal with the aftermath thing?


    1. Cookies make the world go round (she says with a gingersnap in her eggnog laced coffee).

      You know, I’ve wondered about that too. In my exposure to the paleo thing, it has been inferred that there weren’t a lot of intolerances because food was real, and people ate truly local – their bodies adapted to eat what was available. Whether that is true or not is hard to judge as they didn’t document that sort of thing as extensively as we do now.

      I’m guessing they just ate what they could when food was scarce and if they had a choice, at the foods that made them feel better.


      1. The addition of fake food does make things a little more difficult. Though, I’m curious about the peanut allergy increase over the years. My son has that and it doesn’t run in our family, so we’ve no idea where it came from.


      2. I’ve never understood how the peanut allergy became so widespread. I remember them telling me not to eat it while I was pregnant with Tom. I did anyway and luckily he’s not allergic (which is good, since he eats it by the spoonful). All the food issues make it difficult to enjoy food – and I’m really really fond of food – but they’re also a good way to try new things, too.


      3. I wish I had an answer. I’ve heard everything from no exposure during pregnancy to too much exposure during pregnancy. Then people have pointed at vaccines, air pollution, water pollution, government plots, etc. I really don’t remember the peanut allergy being that common when I was a kid.


      4. I don’t think they really know why. One day, they’ll come up with an answer and solution, but until then, I hope he never has to cope with it as a life-threatening thing.


  3. What a delight to have you blogging again! Cookies!! Thanks for the recipes, although I’m notoriously for burning cookies 😉 I also thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas Can-Can. *Hugs* and Merry Christmas to you, your family and D 🙂


    1. *big hugs back* thank you, Marie! I burn cookies all the time, but luckily, have a teenager who will eat them regardless. Handy! I hope you and yours have an absolutely wonderful Christmas, Marie!


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