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Pfeffernüsse {grain free Christmas cookies}

When I was a little girl (and even now, as a “grown up” girl), my dad and I shared a love for Peffernusse cookies.  I loved the splurge of that Archway package, and I was always torn between Pfeffernusse and the Cherry Nougats.  Now I’m not just grown up, but always looking for ways to enjoy good food and nourish my body as well.  (Did you know molasses has iron?  Cinnamon has all kinds of beneficial properties?)




This week, I was longing for spice (truth be told, also longing for the company of my parents), and I decided to dig deep and create my own grain free Christmas cookies that are a gluten-free, naturally sweetened version of that spicy cookie.




I have to say as an honest disclosure – sometimes my kiddos describe “healthier” desserts as “tasting that way.”  But this one was a hit with them (two batches devoured in a week) and with the staff at the conference where my husband works.  So I can say with confidence, make this.  And Merry Christmas memories to you, too.




You may notice, there are two different “looks” to the cookies in this post.  I first wanted to really replicate the look of the Pfeffernusse cookies of my past memories.  I rolled the dough into little balls and then rolled those balls in the natural “powdered sugar.”  Well, can I tell you, this dough is STICKEEEEEEEEEy?  I’m a hater of baking-waste (oh how I despise on the cooking shows when they barely scrape the bowl and plop it in the sink), and I was losing far too much of the precious dough on my hands.  So I got lazy efficient and just went with a “drop cookie,” which I sprinkled at the end with the sugar.  It tasted just as delicious, and was a heap easier.




Beautiful round balls?  Or pretty, rustic little cookie nuggets?  It’s your call which matters most when you bake yours!




Yes, i knooooow there are a lot of sugar-shower photos in this post.  But I love them, and I couldn’t weed them out.  Forgive.


Paleo Pfeffernüsse Angela Sackett b


(For a natural, paleo-friendly version of powdered sugar, try processing one cup coconut sugar with one tablespoon arrowroot in your blender.  It has an earthy tan color, but that texture that looks great adorning baked goods.)


Pfeffernüsse {grain-free Christmas cookies}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A grain-free Christmas cookie sweetened with natural sweeteners, that is Paleo-friendly and Celiac-friendly. Although it looks like a hefty ingredient list, it's actually easy to make in one bowl - your food processor.
Recipe type: Paleo Dessert
Serves: 24 cookies
  • 3 cups pecans or pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¾ teaspoon cardamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • generous pinch sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Process pecans in food processor until they form a "butter" (a grainy texture like almond butter), stopping several times to scrape sides of bowl.
  4. Add molasses, egg, and coconut sugar and process again until well blended (about 45 seconds), scraping bowl again.
  5. Add spices and flour, soda, and salt.
  6. Process for an additional 30-45 seconds, or until well blended.
  7. Use two spoons to round dough and drop by medium sized tablespoons onto cookie sheet (mixture will be very sticky).
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes, or until top has just set.
  9. Sprinkle, if desired, with all-natural powdered sugar.



What is your favorite-est Christmas cookie?  What memories is it tied to for you?

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grain-free sourdough honey grilled cheese {gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich}

yes, i said grain-free sourdough grilled cheese sandwich.  otherwise known as a gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich.  the most amazing grain-free honey grilled cheese sandwich.  sourdough-melty-cheese-and-honey-heaven-on-a-plate.  or you can just call it the sandwich that will make you cry (happy tears).


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if you haven’t believed that eating gluten-free, or grain-free, could include sourdough bread crisped into a sweet, buttery grilled cheese sandwich, that changes today.


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if you haven’t always eaten your sandwiches with a fork, you’ll want to start today.


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i realize i’ve gone off the deep end, and i’ve created an entire album of grilled cheese sandwich photos.  i’m sorry.  it’s worth it.  if they seduce you into making this sandwich, they will have served their purpose.


grain-free sourdough honey grilled cheese {gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich}
A fork-style sourdough grilled cheese sandwich that is gluten-free and grain-free.
Recipe type: Grain-Free Sandwich
  • 6 ounces raw blue cheese, crumbled
  • 6 ounces raw gouda cheese, sliced
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 1 loaf grain-free sourdough bread
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  1. Slice bread
  2. Place bread into buttered non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Top each slice bread with ¼ of gouda and ¼ of blue cheese.
  4. Top with additional slice bread.
  5. Toast each side until cheese melts and bread is brown and crispy.
  6. Serve warm, drizzled with raw honey to taste.



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if you haven’t always been a sourdough fan, you are now.


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make this?  let me know if it melted you, too.


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orange-herb amazing sourdough bread {grain-free sourdough bread recipe}

as our journey toward whole health continues as a family, the hardest things i’ve struggled with, food-wise, are breads and desserts.  funny enough, growing up i was never a “sweets” girl.  the more i read about thyroid functioning, adrenal issues, and other health sensitivities, the more i realize that beyond incorporating more whole foods into our diet (translate: get back to green and colorful stuff!), i need to find some alternatives that we really enjoy.

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enter: grain-free sourdough bread.


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ok, traditional sourdough bread may be my all-time favorite food group.  no red wine, dark chocolate, or arugula needed – just give me the sourdough.  with some salted butter, please.

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here’s the thing, though – it doesn’t make me feel good.  i eat it, then i’m all puffy and unhappy.  so when i found this recipe from my beloved blogger, the urban poser, i had to try it.  i was nervous – it looks like a lot of work, and not cheap.  but can i tell you?  it was worth. every. effort.  (definitely click over to her blog to get hints that will really help you in the process!)

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ultimately, i found an easy-to-follow version of the recipe here at the saffron girl (another beautiful food blogger), which i then tweaked to make my herbed version.  full disclosure: these photographs might appear to be herb-less.  that’s because our first batch was true to the original recipe.  which, by the way, does not need herbs.  but because i can’t leave any recipe untouched…

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here’s my version of this insanely delicious bread.  which you must make now.  please promise you will.  kiss me later.

{grain-free sourdough bread recipe}

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 13 hours

Yield: 1 full loaf

Gluten-free, grain-free sourdough herb bread.


  • 2 3/4 cups ground, raw cashews (see note)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 20-30 billion probiotic strains (we used a powdered probiotic we give our children to reach this amount)
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • coconut oil (we used this one for amazing flavor variation!)


  1. To make a starter, grind the cashews and water in your food processor. (I tried this in my high-speed blender first, and for this recipe, it was NOT a good idea - it globbed up and was very hard to remove. I prefer this food processor instead.
  2. Pour the cashew mixture into a glass bowl and add probiotic powder. Stir with a non-metal spoon and cover with tightly sealed lid or plastic wrap.
  3. Place the bowl in your oven with the light (NOT the heat) turned on, and let sit overnight. Again, see The Urban Poser's version for wonderful culturing tips.
  4. Once your mixture has cultured for 12-24 hours, preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  5. Grease a standard size bread pan and line with parchment paper, overlapping on the sides.
  6. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites just until soft peaks form.
  7. Meanwhile, stir egg yolks, 1 tablespoon water, baking soda, herbs, and salt into the cashew mixture.
  8. Gengly fold egg whites, 1/3 at a time, into the cashew misture. Do not over-mix.
  9. Pour your batter into the pan - it should be 3/4 full to achieve the proper height; we doubled our recipe.
  10. If desired, mix an additional yolk with 1 teaspoon water, and brush gently onto top of batter, to create a shiny crust.
  11. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes, and use a cake tester or toothpick to test center for doneness. (We doubled the recipe so it took 48 minutes.)
  12. When bread is baked through, increase temperature to 375 degrees for an additional five minutes to brown the top of the bread.
  13. *Very important: COMPLETELY cool your bread before removing from pan and slicing. We did ours early the first time, and while it was RIDICULOUS AWESOME, it also crumbled to bits.


one. happy. consumer.

grain free sourdough recipe a

grain free sourdough recipe b


do you have a foodie “weakness?”  a favorite healthful version of it?  please share – i’d love to give yours a try!


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