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Healthy Holiday Baking with Leah

By: Leah Nimmo, Company Dancer & Professional Baker

Eating healthy is quite the challenge around the holiday season. Well actually, maintaining healthy eating habits is a challenge for me all year long.

Along with being a dancer, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and went to pastry school last year. While staying healthy is important to everyone, it is especially important to dancers since our body is our main tool for displaying our art.

One of the easiest way I cut out some of the “yucky stuff I don’t need” is to experiment in gluten free baking. One thing I learned while doing this is that there is gluten in basically EVERYTHING! Now, I am definitely not here to bad-mouth gluten, because I could not survive without pizza and bread, but we do not need to be eating so much of it at every meal and snack! So, any time i can sacrifice gluten without sacrificing taste, I will jump on it!

One of my favorite resources for gluten free baking is King Arthur Flour. My gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe is from their website. It is a great tool to use for all your baking needs, gluten free or not, because they have recipes for anything you can think of.

Here is my favorite gluten free cookie recipe as well as some tips to make them everyone’s favorite cookie at you holiday parties this season:

GF Chocolate Chip Cookies:

*Yields about 3 dozen cookies*


butter- 1 cup

brown sugar- 1 cup

granulated sugar- ½ cup

gluten-free vanilla extract- 2 tsp

salt- 1 tsp

eggs- 2 large

King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour- 2 ⅓ cups

xantan gum- 2 tsp

baking powder- 1 tsp

baking soda- 1 tsp

chocolate chips- 2 cups


1. Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and salt until fluffy.

2. Beat in the eggs one at a time being sure to scrape the bowl to make sure everything is evenly combined.

3. Whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl.

4. Beat dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then add chocolate chips.

5. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour

6. Scoop dough into tablespoon size balls and leave space between them on the baking sheet because they will spread.

7. Bake at 350°F for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown

8. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

A few tips from me: 1. If you are going to double the recipe to make more cookies GO FOR IT! But please make sure you are using weight and not cups to do so (there is a conversion tab on the King Arthur website)

2. When beating the butter, sugars, and vanilla, let the mixer run for about 5 minutes and scrape the bowl halfway to incorporate everything evenly. The butter will get to be a lighter, pale yellow color.

3. Xanthan gum… weird ingredient but do NOT leave it out because you don’t know what it is. Grocery stores carry it in their baking aisle, I swear! (and so does amazon!) It is important for the cookies texture since there is no gluten in these babies!

4. You can make any size cookies you want, just be aware that change in cookie size could change your baking time. I made GIANT cookies in my picutre.

5. For instagram worthy cookies, I like to push some extra chocolate chips into the tops of my cookies before they are baked so that they look full of chocolate chips after they are baked.



#careers #healthy #lifestyle #balance

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