This is Bakes for Breast Cancer volunteer and Miss Boston contestant, Michelle, again. Christmas is a week away, I can hardly believe it! It’s time for me to buckle down and ramp up my holiday cookie baking or I’ll have some family and friends to answer to if they don’t receive my annual box of Poppy-Raspberry Kolachkes!
With Miss Boston two months away I’ve been working out and eating healthier to train for the swimsuit portion of the competition. I talked to a wonderful nutritionist who suggested I try a gluten-less diet to help me incorporate more vegetables and lean proteins. This new diet and clean eating has been amazing – I’ve been eating more vegetables than I ever have before and actually feel better – but it does throw a glitch in my usual holiday cookie making!
Luckily, I have a friend and former New England Patriots Cheerleader teammate who is allergic to gluten yet going to culinary school to become a pastry chef! It is a very unique and awesome combination. Her dream is to have her own cooking show one day with the theme of “Naughty and Nice” giving viewers the option to bake beloved desserts with or without gluten, all the while making sure both recipes are delicious, as every good pastry should be!
I’ve asked my friend to share a gluten-free cookie recipe for the holidays. Her “nice” and famous “5 Minute Chocolate Protein Balls” recipe is below along with my “naughty” Poppy-Raspberry Kolachkes recipe. The chocolate, no bake, protein balls combine a healthy chocolate protein powder, all natural “Sunbutter,” oats and your choice of extra treats like nuts or raisins to make the perfect, quick and taste-bud-satisfying treat! The Poppy-Raspberry Kolachkes combine a cream cheese and poppy seed dough with raspberry jam and almond glaze making them delicious and terribly irresistible treats! I will definitely be including both of these scrumptious desserts in my Bake Sale for Bakes for Breast Cancer this year! Have you checked out how to have your own bake sale to benefit breast cancer research yet?
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
1 pkg (3 oz.) cream cheese softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons poppy seed
⅓ cup raspberry jam
½ cup powdered sugar
4 to 5 teaspoons half-and-half
¼ teaspoon almond extract
*Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour and poppy seeds. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured board, roll half of dough to ⅛ to ¼ thickness. Using a 2½ inch round cookie cutter, cut circles into dough. Place circles 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Spoon about ¼ teaspoon raspberry jam onto center of each circle. Fold top half of circle over bottom half. Press edges with fork dipped in flour to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and jam. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely.
In small mixing bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cookies. Let dry completely before storing.
No Bake Chocolate Protein Balls
3 scoops Raw Chocolate Sunwarrior protein powder
Handful of raisins
Spoonful of Sunbutter
½ cup of dry oats
*Makes about 10 balls
Mix ingredients together and add a bit of water so you are able to roll ingredients into balls. After you have rolled them out, stick them in a sealed tupperware container and refrigerate them to let them set before eating. These are a great quick snack or breakfast!
For other options you can add in chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts) or try dried cherries or PlumAzins (you can get these at CVS, they have less sugar than raisins).