With the weather outside so frightful during the holiday season, many families choose to spend their time indoors, where it’s warm and cozy. In addition to our fun holiday themed winter activities and crafts for kids, many families engage in the old-age tradition of baking treats. Below are some of our childcare professionals’ favorites to make.
No-Bake Cereal Treats
Hot Chocolate Cereal Treats are a fun twist on Rice Krispie treats. Since there are only four ingredients, it’s easy to make! They are as follows: 1 ½ tablespoons of unsalted butter, 3 ¾ cups of miniature marshmallows, 4 ½ cups of Chocolate Toast Crunch cereal, and 2 tablespoons of mallow marshmallows, found here.
First, coat a 9”-square pan with cooking spray. Then, melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the miniature marshmallows after the butter has melted. Stir with a spatula until the marshmallows have melted as well.
Next, take the pot off the stove, and stir in the Chocolate Toast Crunch cereal. Stir carefully until all the marshmallows are sticking to the cereal.
Finally, evenly spread the cereal into the 9”-squared pan using a spatula coated in cooking spray. Sprinkle the mallow marshmallows on top, gently pressing them into the cereal to ensure they stick. Make sure that the cereal has cooled completely before dividing into pieces.
Additional no-bake treats include Trail Mix Cookies and Chocolate Peanut Butter Puff Balls. Delish and Better Home and Gardens also have no-bake holiday dessert lists up.
Easy Gluten-Free Christmas Cookie Recipe
For families that don’t have the time or patience to construct a gingerbread house, why not try the next best thing? Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men! Featuring 13 ingredients in an 8-step process, this recipe is less than 90-minutes from start to finish. The ingredients are as follows:
- 5 cups almond flour
- 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 5 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 50g white chocolate, melted
The first step is to combine almond flour, flax seed, baking soda, ground ginger, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined. Next, add coconut oil, honey and egg to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until everything has blended together. Roll mixture into the shape of a ball and wrap in saran wrap. Put it in the freezer for a half-hour and then transfer into the fridge for another half-hour. After removing the dough from the saran wrap, place it between two large pieces of baking paper. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to around 3mm thick.
Using a gingerbread cookie cutter, cut your mixture into shapes. Make sure to be careful, as the dough is delicate. Bake for ten minutes or until golden. Allow the cookies to completely cool and then serve with a glass of milk!
Diabetic-friendly gingerbread cookies can be found here. Good Housekeeping and Betty Crocker also have gluten-free treats lists up.
Sugar-Free Holiday Cookies
This recipe by Sugar Free Mom is a healthy alternative to regular sugar cookies because it calls for gluten-free flour. These sugarless, low-calorie sugar cookies are easy to make, and best for when you have holiday guests over. You can make 48 servings in one batch! The ingredients are as follows:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup Swerve or 3 tablespoons powdered Stevia
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon liquid vanilla Stevia
- 2 eggs
- 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a stand mixer, combine butter, powdered Stevia, vanilla extract, and liquid vanilla Stevia. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, and then beat in the eggs until the mixture is well-blended. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, slowly adding flour. Using a tablespoon, roll into balls, flatten and then bake for 10 minutes on a parchment lined baking sheet.
To make cut-out shapes, spread the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll to ¼ inch thickness and use cookie cutters to shape. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet for 10 minutes.
Additional healthy options for sugar-free holiday cookies are Chocolate Cookies with Pecans, Snickerdoodle Cookies, and Peanut Butter Cookies.
Vegan Holiday Cookies
During Girl Scout cookie-selling season, many families buy boxes of Thin Mints because of their deliciousness. For a healthier option year-round, why not try to replicate it at home with this recipe? It makes 30 servings. The ingredients are:
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
- 1 cup vegan sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup arrowroot
- 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup melted refined coconut oil or canola oil
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup vegan gluten-free chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons mint extract
First, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set to the side. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, arrowroot, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt. Add the coconut oil, applesauce, and vanilla and mix with a rubber spatula until a thick dough forms.
Next, drop the dough by the teaspoon full onto the prepared baking sheets about 1 ½ inches apart. Carefully flatten each mound of dough, smoothing it with your fingers. Bake for 7 minutes, rotate the baking sheets, and bake for 7 minutes more. Let stand on the baking sheets for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips and mint extract in a small saucepan and place on medium heat. Stir until the chips are just melted, and remove from the heat. Dunk the top of each cookie into the melted chocolate and place in a single layer on a platter. Refrigerate the cookies for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate sets.
Contact the Nanny Authority Today!
It can be difficult to find the time and energy to coordinate and organize healthy meals, let alone bake during the holiday season. Parents should try to enlist the services of a part-time nanny or mother’s helper, who can assist with putting together healthy meals, purchasing the necessary groceries and supplies, and engaging children in fun, holiday activities like baking cookies. Contact the Nanny Authority at 973-466-2669 or via e-mail for more information today!