Free From Christmas Range by Co-op

It’s the most wonderful [foodie] time of year! Food has always been the central part of Christmas for me and my family and some of my fondest memories from my childhood involve the delicious tastes and smells of the festive season. Since going gluten free however, it has not always been easy to source Christmas treats.

Co-op – a supermarket I have known and shopped in for years – is really ahead of the curve this year, and has introduced a delicious range of sweet treats which, unlike most free from items available in the shops these days, are totally affordable. More importantly, they’re 100% coeliac safe and honestly do not taste gluten free. So, I suggest you have a read below about the products in the range (which I’ve listed in order of personal preference!) and give them a whirl with your family and friends. Gluten free or not, your crew will definitely appreciate these! These products are all available in Co-op stores across the UK now!

1. Cranberry and Orange Tiffin Stackers

I am a massive fan of Tiffin bars in general – there’s something amazing about combining crushed biscuits with chocolate and dried fruit… These Christmas-tasting Cranberry and Orange Tiffin Stackers have a wonderful tang to them, whilst staying true to the origins of a Tiffin. They’re also gorgeous, and covered in edible glitter. What’s not to love?

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2. Iced Fruit Cake Stackers

Another traditionally festive item that Co-op has nailed. I am particularly a fan of these as they come in bite-sized form. As fruit cake is traditionally rich, the size means you can indulge without going overboard (or, eat more of them – whichever works!). Beautifully presented and wonderful on a platter.

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3. Ruby Reindeer Cupcakes

I don’t need many excuses to tuck into a cupcake, especially not if they’re as cute as these! Delicious moist vanilla sponge topped with fluffy marshmallow and a chocolate reindeer. It’s not always easy to find a gluten free cupcake that is springy and flavourful so I am over the moon with these! Perfect with a cuppa!

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4. Free From Mince Pies

Most of you who know me well will know I have never been a massive fan of mince pies. I have grown to realise however that this meant I just had not had a good one! Co-op’s Free From Mince Pies have won me over and are WONDERFUL warmed up in the oven with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side. The pastry is so flaky you will not believe it is gluten free and the filling is tangy, sweet and perfectly spiced for Christmas.

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5. Irresistible Spiced Salted Caramel Cookies

Another winner, these decadent cookies are not only jam-packed full of caramel goodness, but are also partially covered in Belgian chocolate, making them very decadent indeed! They are also incredibly moreish, so be warned that the pack will not last long! I would recommend enjoying these with a post-meal coffee!

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6. Hand Finished Yule Logs

Co-op has also delighted us with their free from take on a classic – the all mighty Yule Log. Conveniently again, these beautiful yule logs come in small slices, the size of which makes them even easier to polish off! The chocolate sponge base is moist and light, completed by the rich fudgy chocolate topping, decorated beautifully with more glitter. A real crowd pleaser!

This post has been sponsored by Co-op.

Massachusetts Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies

Baking cookies is something I will always associate with my time in Massachusetts when I was little. I would visit my Nana – who still practised law well into her 90s – for the summer months. I accompanied her to the office most days armed with toys and activity books, apart from when she had to appear in court. It was then that she would leave me with her dearest friend for a few hours who was always baking something delicious, even in the 90 degree summer heat (that’s a whopping 32 degrees in European terms). She taught me many valuable lessons including: 1) no brownie is complete without the addition of nuts and 2) blueberry pies made with blueberries from any state outside of New England will never be as sweet.

I love a chocolate chip cookie as much as the next person but I have found that the addition of cranberries – in true New England style – adds an extra special dimension. There’s something about the sweetness that comes out in dark chocolate after baking that goes so well with the tart nature of the cranberries. I hope that you cookie lovers out there enjoy trying this simple and foolproof recipe and that, time permitting, you will share your top baking memory with me.

Massachusetts Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies
(Makes 20 Small Cookies)

Ingredients

1 ¼ x Cups Gluten Free Flour
½ x Teaspoon Gluten Free Baking Powder
½ x Teaspoon Gluten Free Bicarbonate of Soda
1 x Cup Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Chips
½ x Cup Dried Cranberries
¾ x Cup Light Brown Muscovado Sugar
1 x Large Egg
8 x Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
2 x Tablespoons Water
½ x Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients except the chocolate chips and cranberries in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix the oil, sugar, water and vanilla extract together in a large bowl.
  4. Beat the egg separately and add to the liquid.
  5. Gradually add the dry mix to the liquid, stirring in small amounts at a time. Mix until smooth.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and cranberries until equally dispersed in the mixture.
  7. Form cookies out of 1 tablespoon of dough on the baking trays, giving them enough space (the cookies grow in size in the oven!).
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown on the top.
  9. Leave to cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before eating. The cookies will remain soft and chewy!