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12 Days of Holiday Treats, Day 4: Dreena Burton's Wheat-Free Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies


Posted by : foodnetworkcanada, Thu, Dec 04 2008

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This month, instead of the usual Cooking Club Challenge, we wanted to give you the opportunity to choose from a lot of different holiday recipes. Because, let's face it, baking season is in full swing and you need all the inspiration you can get. For the first 12 days of December we're featuring a new holiday treat every day.

We don't want to leave out the allergy sufferers out there who want to get in on this month's Cooking Club Challenge, so the fourth day of Holiday Treats brings with it a  wheat-free cookie: Dreena Burton's Wheat-Free Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies.

Here's how the Foodtv.ca Cooking Club Challenge works:
• Make the chosen monthly recipe. In this case, there are 12 recipes, so you'll have to keep checking back for the entire 12 days
• Feel free to follow it to a "T" or add your own creative flair

• Email a picture to blogATfoodtvDOTca (in .jpg format) and a short descriptive paragraph (100-150 words) before December 31, 2008 for your chance to win prizes. If you have a flickr account, you can post to the Foodtv.ca flickr group.
• Do check out past Cooking Club Challenge results

Wheat-Free Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies
Yield: 12

These cookies combine that classic home-made chocolate chip cookie taste with chewy dried cherries and crunchy buttery pecans! You will have a hard time believing that these tasty morsels have no dairy, eggs, or wheat. Recipe by Dreena Burton.


  • 1 cups + 3 tbsp spelt flour (see note)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pecans, lightly crushed or chopped (or can use pecan pieces)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract (see note)
  • 1/4 cup organic canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dried unsulphured cherries, sliced in half


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda, mixing well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup with the vanilla and almond extracts, then mix in the oil and cherries. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir through until just well combined (do not over mix).
  • Place large spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a little.
  • Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out). Let cool on the sheet for no more than 1 minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.

Note: Look for a sifted spelt flour, or sift yourself through a fine sieve to remove any grainy textures. If you prefer to use wheat flour, you can use unbleached all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat pastry flour). You will need less flour though; 1 scant cup of unbleached flour (about 1 cup less 1 tbsp) to replace the spelt flour.

Note: The almond extract echoes the flavor of the dried cherries. If you aren't overly keen on almond extract, try these cookies with just ½ or ¾ tsp the first time round.

Idea: Make a really special dessert treat: ice cream cookie sandwiches. Using two cookies that have been completely cooled in the refrigerator, spread some softened soy ice cream on the underside of one cookie, then place the other cookie on top. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until firm!

See the rest of the 12 Days of Holiday Treats:

Posted: Thu, Dec 04 2008 by foodnetworkcanada
Filed under: Recipes, Holidays, Christmas

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