These Christmas cookies have all the elements of a mince pie - they are crumbly and delicate, filled with juicy, plump raisins and just taste like Christmas. They have the added bonuses of being incredibly easy to make and are sugar free (apart from natural fruit sugars). Like everything else on this blog, they are also dairy free and soy free.
I love that we are creating new traditions as a family. One of the traditions I fondly remember about my childhood Christmases was getting the Christmas tree.
I grew up on a farm that was covered in pine trees - the mountain behind our house was one big pine forest. So we didn’t go to a lot to choose our Christmas tree - we went to the forest… with a saw. Every year we tried to judge a tree that would fit inside our house - and every year we ended up having to chop increasingly large sections off the trunk to try and get it to stand upright. I don’t think we ever had either an angel or a star on the top because inevitably we never made it quite short enough and the top was always bent against the ceiling.
The trees were also always wonky. Growing on the mountainside meant they had one good side that faced the sun and one side that was always in shade and therefore almost bare - so the Christmas tree was always pushed into a corner, trying to hide the distinct lack of any needles on half of it.
We stuck to the tradition of putting the tree up on Christmas Eve and decorating it with much fervour - with vasts amounts of 25 year old tinsel from my grandmother making up for any missing branches.
However, the kids all lost interest in the tree immediately after Christmas day and Dad was back at work early in the New Year so we left my poor mother to pack away the multiple boxes of decorations we threw at it and to haul off a tree four times her size. To add insult, the traditional day for taking the tree down (the day after Twelfth Night) is the 5th of January - my mother’s birthday.
My family still gets a homegrown wonky tree every year on the farm on Christmas Eve, but we are doing things a bit differently in London.
We decorated our tree last weekend on the 1st - I made these healthy Christmas biscuits first thing in the morning, then we ate them while Little Goat hung all of the baubles on the same branch of our little tree. (It was like he was sticking to the family tradition of only decorating one side!) He then sat and stared at the lights for a good 20 minutes. The Christmas tree is still a great source of fascination and I regularly find the baubles piled up neatly in the fireplace - I can only think it’s some kind of Santa trap.
Dairy Free Christmas Cookies
Makes: ~ 20 biscuits
Prep time: 10 minutes (or 20 minutes with toddler help!)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 cups self-raising flour (or plain / all purpose flour + 2 teaspoons baking powder) (~200g)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
60g coconut oil (2 oz)
1 large orange (zest and juice - juice should be about 65ml)
~100g mince meat (3.5 oz) - to make this sugar free use this mince meat recipe here
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F)
Wash and zest the orange
Melt the coconut oil
Combine the zest, coconut oil, spices and flour and rub together with your fingers
Add the mince meat and combine lightly
Add the orange juice a little at a time to create a smooth dough (you may need to add a bit more flour if it’s too sticky or you can add a bit more mince meat liquid or more orange juice if too dry)
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes
Place onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, they should be lightly golden
These keep for a few days in an airtight container, but are best on the day they are made