Holiday Baking with Nigella

I love Christmas.  There are many parts of Christmas that I love, but three of my favorite parts of this holiday season are decorating the tree, making holiday cookies, and Christmas music.  David has decided this year that we should have a new holiday tradition that involves him putting the lights on the tree while I make cookies and then he eats cookies, while I put on the ornaments.  I’m happy with this ‘newly created tradition’ as long as we listen to Christmas music too!  Since the night of tree decorating, I’ve been baking a lot and exploring new cookie recipes, so I thought I’d share some of my cookie experiments with you.


I recently received Nigella Lawson’s new Christmas cookbook.  This is a great seasonal cookbook with lots of great entertaining ideas, and I particularly like the section called ‘All Wrapped Up’ that has great gift ideas, many a which are gluten-free.  While there are definitely some naturally gluten-free recipes in this cookbook, I decided to dive right in and work on making gluten-free versions of her cookie recipes.  My first cookie recipe was Nigella’s cranberry and white chocolate cookies.


These cookies make great holiday treats because they look like Christmas to me.  The red from the cranberry and white from the chocolate chips are festive but not too ‘Christmasy.’  I love the combination of dried fruit, chocolate, chocolate and pecans.  Trail mix in a cookie!  Even if you don’t like fruit in your dessert, I suggest giving these a try.  Everyone who ate these thought they were delicious, despite those who were hesitant about mixing fruit and chocolate.


I kept Nigella’s recipe exactly as is but changed the flour mixture and added xanthan gum.  I don’t usually like nuts in my sweets so I didn’t use as many pecans as Nigella called for, but I will actually use some the full ½ cup the next time I make these cookies.  This recipe works well gluten-free because it only calls for one cup of flour, resulting in fewer components of the cookie needing to be altered.  These are great for a holiday party and can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen for 3 months so you can make them in advance.  Enjoy!

Nigella Lawson’s Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • ¼ cup white rice flour
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup soy flour
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats (Nigella says to use ‘quick cooking oats’ but I just used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 stick plus one tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup roughly chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Measure the flour, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and oats in a bowl.

Put the butter and sugars into another bowl and beat together until creamy.  (I used an electric mixer.)  Then beat in the egg and vanilla.

Beat in the dry ingredient mixture, then fold in the cranberries, chocolate chips and pecans.


Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls with your hands, then place them on you cookie sheet and squish dough balls down with a fork.


Bake for 15 minutes; when ready, the cookies will be too soft to lift immediately so wait 5 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack.


What will you be baking this holiday season?  If you don’t have time or ingredients to bake, I’m still baking away and taking cookie orders.

  1. Laurel says:

    I can attest that these cookies are amazing! I’ll definitely be making them. I saw another interpretation of this recipe that used pistachios instead of pecans to heighten the Christmas colors. I might try that, though I do love the pecans! Thanks Betsy! :)

  2. Thomas says:

    Yum. These sound delicious. I always make my mom’s secret recipe sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies. Half the fun is decorating them once they’re baked.

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