Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars

I was busy doing Christmas baking on Saturday and whipped up a batch of these for Christmas. I must say Nanaimo Bars have always been one of my favourites and a staple on my Christmas baking list. A few years ago, I doctored up a few recipes and came up with this modified version for a delicious gluten free version. I thought it might be worth a repost with so many busy baking for Christmas . If you love Nanaimo Bars you must try this recipe…you won’t be disappointed.

Yummy Cookie Dough Truffles with Sea Salt

Anne's Cookie Dough Truffles

Anne’s Cookie Dough Truffles

Okay, this post is definitely not intended for those of you that dazzle your guests with homemade truffles every holiday season. I am a newbie! I have never even attempted to make truffles before, probably because I was so afraid of  failing miserably. I have done a few things with melted chocolate before and I have found my skills to be a bit hit and miss. I hate waste and worried about ruining a whole batch of truffles. However, when I saw this recipe for a cookie dough truffle, I just had to face my fears and give it a try. Traditionally, I usually only bake cookies when I have a desire to fill  up on cookie dough. It is rarely about having cookies in the house and more about satisfying my craving for raw dough. So, with that in mind, what could be more amazing than a cookie dough truffle with a hint of salt. I love that whole salty sweet trend that is the rave right now, and these truffles did not disappoint. I am not going to say that these are super easy to make, but they  weren’t too difficult either. I was struggling a bit, but figured out a simple solution that made the process much easier and less frustrating. I will share it later in the post.

Cookie Dough Truffles with Sea Salt

Anne Thorton shared this delicious recipe on the Food Network and I followed it exactly. If you get all worked up over raw eggs then this recipe is not for you. Over the years I have eaten more than my share of raw cookie dough (with raw eggs in it) and have never gotten sick. Anne posted a warning at the end of the recipe and I have included in my post as well, but if you are concerned don’t bother making these. However, you need to know you are passing up one incredibly scrumptious treat.

1/2 recipe Chocolate Chip Blondies (I think you could use your standard Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, but I did use the recipe that follows at the end)
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chipits (about 3 cups), melted over double boiler for dipping (I melted mine in the microwave, but you need to do so in short spurts and stir in between. My microwave actually has a “melt chocolate setting”, so it is easy to do and less to clean-up after)
Fleur de sel, for decoration (coarse sea salt)
toothpicks for dipping

Anne suggests several other options for decorating instead of dipping the balls in chocolate, but I stuck with the dipping and sea salt and they turned out well. Being my first attempt, I really wanted to keep it simple and knew I would like the salty/sweet contrast.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out 1 heaping teaspoon of chocolate Chip Blondie mixture and roll it into a ball. Place onto the parchment paper and repeat with the remaining batter. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer for at least 2 hours and up to 1 week. (Keep the cookie dough balls in the freezer until needed prior to dipping in the chocolate, otherwise they will melt into the chocolate when they are dipped.)

Remove 1 baking sheet of truffles from the freezer and skewer your toothpick into the truffle ball and dip into the melted chocolate. Use a spatula to paint the chocolate onto the toothpick and place the truffle back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Remove the toothpick and cover up the hole. Sprinkle the truffle with some fleur de sel. Finish dipping all the truffles and garnish with desired toppings. Place them into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let the chocolate to set up. They will keep for 1 week in refrigerator.

Cindy’s Tip: I was a little frustrated trying to dip the ball nicely and found that the end of the ball opposite the toothpick looked nice, but the “bottom” of the ball around the toothpick ended up not looking as nice. I really wanted this to be the bottom of the truffle, but couldn’t slip the toothpick off and get the less pretty part sitting on the bottom. But alas…I figured out a solution (the pros can ignore this as I am sure you have your own little system). I set my parchment paper on my wire cooling rack which sits about 6 inches off the counter. With the toothpick pointing down and the ball on top, I carefully poked the toothpick through the wax paper and the bottom of the cooling rack. I then pulled the toothpick from beneath the rack and right out of the ball. It allowed me to have the toothpick hole on the bottom and the nice smooth surface on the top. Once I figured this out, I was able to work much faster and they turned out better. I didn’t even bother filling in the toothpick hole on the bottom of the truffle.

Chocolate Chip Blondies:


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine sea salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Beat your butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the brown and granulated sugars a little bit at a time, pouring them in on the side of the bowl. While you’re adding your sugars, stop the mixer occasionally and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure that everything is fully mixed. Cream the butter and sugar mixture until it is light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. (Creaming creates air pockets in the dough, and therefore these Blondies have a light and delicate texture.)

Whisk your flour, baking soda and sea salt in a bowl. Add your eggs 1 at a time, adding the second only after the first is fully incorporated. Once the second egg is fully incorporated, add your vanilla. Turn your mixer down to low-speed and slowly add the flour/baking soda/sea salt mixture. Once the dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the wet ingredients, add in all those chocolate chips. Your machine will seem to be struggling to mix in the chocolate chips because there are so many of them, but don’t turn it up, leave it on low and allow it to fully mix the chips in.

* Raw Egg Warning: There is a slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness when consuming raw eggs. To reduce this risk, it is recommended that you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

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Santa Cookies

I haven’t made my Santa cookies yet this year, but have made them for the last few years. I use my basic brown sugar recipe and a heart cookie cutter. These sugar cookies are super moist and chewy, so it is my “go to ” recipe for cookie decorating. The down side is that you do have to be a bit careful with the cookies so they don’t break. When I decorate cookies that require more time, I generally will not do a full batch. I will make a few dozen and add one or two to a baking tray, or if I am sending them to school, I will make a class set. They take quite a bit of time to make and some times the fun is lost when you have already decorated 4 dozen and still have 24 cookies left to do. I find that I do a better job when I decorate the cookies in a variety of ways. I get bored easily and like to switch it up, so will often used a few different cutters within the same batch of cookies.

Santa Cookies


  • Brown Sugar Cookie Recipe
  • Heart shaped cookie cutter
  • icing (I often use a buttercream icing, but you could use the Royal Icing recipe as well)
  • red coloured sugar crystals (Bulk Barn)
  • red and brown mini M & M’s (I buy these at Bulk Barn and carefully pick through to get mostly brown and red with the scoop – no fingers, of course!)
  • red candy sprinkles


  1. Cover the tip of the heart with icing and then add the red sugar sprinkles to cover it completely.
  2. Pipe on the fur on the hat, pom pom and the beard around the two round parts of the heart.
  3. Carefully set in two of the red candy sprinkles to create a mouth for your Santa.
  4. Use Royal Icing or melted chocolate to glue the M & M’s on for eyes and a nose.

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Cashew Almond Chocolate Crunch

I had cut this recipe out of Chatelaine about two decades ago…seriously, I haven’t had a subscription since I first started teaching. (Too bad I am old enough to actually count back in decades…UGH!)  Anyways, have never made it, not once. I often make something called Almond Roca. I had totally planned to make it again this year (and may still), but came across this recipe and thought I might try something new. It was super easy to make and turned out to be very tasty. Although it is not the same as Almond Roca, it somehow seems similar to me. I think the recipe might have originated from Hershey’s, but I couldn’t seem to find it to post the link.Cashew Almond Chocolate Crunch

Cashew Pecan Almond Chocolate Crunch


1 350g package of semi-sweet chocolate chipits

3/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews (I used pecans because I had them on hand)

3/4 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons corn syrup


  1. Line 9″ square pan with foil, extending over the edges. Grease foil. Cover the bottom of the pan with the chocolate chipits. *You may want to reserve a few to sprinkle on top at the end.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in large frying pan. Cook the mixture on low, stirring until butter has melted. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes together and turns light golden in colour.
  3. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate chips. Spread evenly. (I sprinkled the top with a few extra almonds and chocolate chips.) Cool until chocolate is firm. Remove from pan. Peel off foil. Cut or break into pieces. Store in a cool, dry place.

Makes about 1 1/2 pounds of candy.  I am not sure, but I think this might be impossible to mess up. It was so easy to make and very yummy alternative to the Almond Roca that we usually make.

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Ginger Snap Cookies

I am not quite sure why these are called Ginger Snap Cookies, there is no snap. These cookies are super moist and chewy, you know the melt in your mouth kind. I always make these at Christmas, but my family loves them, so we make them several times throughout the year as well. We are doing a baking evening and cookie exchange with Eden’s Girl Guide unit on Monday evening. I think baking 12 dozen cookies in two hours might be pushing it slightly. I think we’ll do a few batches on Sunday and leave a batch or two for the Monday evening baking blitz.

Ginger Snap Cookies


Ginger Snap Cookies
2 cups of flour
1 Tablespoons ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup of shortening
1 cup sugar (+ extra for rolling balls in)
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses


  • Cream sugar and shortening.
  • Beat in egg and molasses.
  • Sift dry ingredients and add. Mix.
  • Form into small balls and roll in sugar. B
  • Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (Cookies flatten themselves as they bake.)


Let cool and then place in freezer immediately to avoid the potential tummy ache that may result from eating the whole batch fresh out of the oven! No kidding, these have a serious addictive property and may result in weight gain.