Gluten-Free Cookie Baking Tips + Recipes

Gluten-Free Cookie Baking Tips + Recipes

Being in my kitchen and going after my family’s hearts via their stomach is a passion of mine.

A gluten-free and dairy-free diet was recommended for my son thirteen years ago when he was diagnosed as high functioning autistic with Asperger tendencies. In all honesty, that put me into a tailspin when I started looking at all the labels of the food we consumed at that time and realized how much gluten and dairy are used as fillers in food along with many ingredients I could not pronounce and had no clue what they were.

That was when I decided that if I could not pronounce it, we likely shouldn’t be eating it and it was also the time when I started to transition to all home-cooked food rather than processed foods. What a life changer!

At first cooking and baking gluten-free and dairy-free was quite the challenge until I really dug in experimenting and researching. I also spent a whole year taking the time to learn how to make all my son’s favorite foods both gluten-free and dairy-free WITHOUT giving up flavor and texture. I have to say with great excitement, that year was a success and that is why I enjoy sharing my knowledge and tips with others so their journey will be successful and fun.

I love making my families favorite dishes and a sweet treat always seem to be high on the list. I have conquered a gluten-free and dairy-free pumpkin roll which is a family favorite and you can find the recipe in my book The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook (Homesteading The Traditional Way) Amazon. You will also find some of our favorite cookie recipes in the cookbook as well. My cookbook shares a lot of the tips and tricks I have discovered and learned over the years as well as our favorite recipes for our homestead.

Choosing Flour

Let’s first talk about some of the tips and tricks when working with gluten-free flours. Unlike regular flours, gluten-free flours like being beaten very vigorously. There are many different types of gluten-free flours and flour blends available.

When we first started this journey, gluten-free foods and flours that were available were quite expensive and even hard to find, but now as many more people are in need of specialty diets these flours are much more readily available. Because things can be costly to experiment with the different types of flours I often recommend using blended flour such as these Gluten-free flour blends (found on Amazon) to get started. This is a non-GMO flour blend that can be used cup-for-cup like regular flour which makes using family favorite recipes a breeze and also makes transitioning from whole wheat and gluten flour cooking and baking to gluten-free so much easier and less stressful for beginners.

When using a gluten-free flour blend that you can use cup-for-cup like regular flour, you will not need to make any adjustments to your current favorite cookie, cake or dessert recipes.


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Solar Cooking 101

Solar Cooking 101

Solar Cooking 101Can you really use the sun to cook your food?  Absolutely!!

There are SO many incredible benefits to harnessing the sun to cook your food.  Being that our home is 100% solar powered, it only seemed fitting to utilize our free resource to do our cooking and baking as well.  Believe it or not, but you can cook and bake everything you can make in a conventional oven in your Sun Oven with the exception of fried foods.

I spent a good portion of last year doing a solar cooking series here on our website and also on our YouTube channel.  I also was asked to share my knowledge in an Outdoor Cooking Class at Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS.


  • When using the sun to cook our food, we are using a free, renewable energy source.
  • Solar cooking is sustainable and betters the environment.
  • It has all the benefits of a slow cooker meal, without the need for electricity!
  • My family and I are able to work hard all day and then relax with a delicious meal just waiting for us.
  • It is simple, easy, and achieves tremendously flavorful meals.


There aren’t any… 🙂  As long as you can see your shadow, you can cook or bake in the Sun Oven….

I’d like to share with you the Sun Oven, the convenience of this product as well as how it works and important tips and tricks.

The Sun Oven is made in the USA and is lightweight and extremely easy to transport with the built in handle.

Setup is super simple:

  1. Place your alignment leg in the back of your oven and snap it in place using the middle hole on the back of your oven.  Your Sun Oven will come with stakes that can be inserted down into the holes in the bottom of the alignment let to make your oven wind resistant.  We built our solar kitchen out of repurposed skids and I have utilized paracord to secure the alignment leg to the table.
  2. Next unsnap the strap that holds the reflectors in place, life and unfold the reflectors and use the thumbscrew in the front of the unit to secure the reflectors by inserting the thumb screw into the reflectors and turning it one-quarter turn to hold the reflectors in place.
  3. Locate the white EZ-Sun Track indicators attached to the bottom corners of the glass door.  You will want to point the front of your Sun Oven towards the sun and using the indicators you will want the sun shining through the top hole of the indicator to be nicely aligned with the hole on the bottom of the indicator.   You may need to move your oven to the left or right and you may need to adjust the alignment leg on the back to get your perfect angle.  Once your holes are lined up you are ready to proceed.  the key to consistent cooking in the Sun Oven is having the right angle with the sun and keeping your unit in line with the sun during the cooking process.


When using your Sun Oven for the 1st time you will want to place 3 cups of straight vinegar in an open dish and place it in your Sun Oven for 90 to 120 minutes. You will want the glass door latched down tightly so that the vinegar will steam your Sun Oven. After the oven has been pre-heated you will want to wipe the inside of your oven and the inside of the glass down with the hot vinegar. Be sure to scrub hard on the interior glass especially where the glass touches the black rubber seal. This will clean your unit and give it a good tight seal to hold your heat while cooking.


When using a Sun Oven you want to place it in an area that will be free of shadows through the cooking process.  So you want to be sure that you place it away from large objects such as trees or buildings so that as the sun moves across the sky, shadows will not be cast on your Sun Oven.

What Was Included

My Sun Oven was part of what is called the Preparedness and Dehydrating Package from Sun Oven International.

Included in my package was:

· A leveling rack

· 3 multi-level dehydrating & baking racks with a roll of parchment paper

· 2 non-stick even heat bread pans

· 2 easy stack pots with interchangeable enamel and a glass lid

· Mutli-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAPI)

It is important to have your leveling rack in place and place your stacking pots or baking dishes on the leveling rack to eliminate spillage while you are cooking and to keep your breads or desserts from baking unevenly.

It is also very helpful, but not necessary to preheat your oven prior to cooking.  If you are making a dish that can cook on low heat all day such as a roast or meal it wouldn’t have to be preheated, but I enjoy preheating my Sun Oven when I am on a time schedule or would like to make multiple things in the unit for the day.

Do I Need To Stir My Food

Another perk of the Sun Oven is that you do not need to stir your food or rotate your food if you do not want to.  When baking a meal I typically do not stir or reposition my food because every time you open the Sun Oven you allow your heat to escape and add roughly an additional 15 minutes to your cooking time.


Let’s talk about the dishes that I have found to work wonderful for cooking and baking in the sun.  Thin walled, dark dishes work well, glass, pottery and cast iron.  Both the pottery and the cast iron may take a little bit more time to heat up and start cooking, but the benefit to them is when the sun goes behind the clouds they will also hold the heat and continue to cook your food.  Enamel pieces work great too.

The only disadvantage to cooking in the Sun Oven is if the weather changes and you get a lot of cloud cover.  The only time this is a real disadvantage is if you have time constraints, but if you are using the unit like a slow cooker for the day it just means it will take just a bit longer for the food to be completed.  Oh there is one more disadvantage and that is the smells do not permeate your home when you are cooking outside, but trust me your food will be amazing!


Note:  All your recipes can be easily made in the Sun Oven.


Fruit Crisp

Here is a simple dessert recipe that I would like to share with you that is super simple to throw together.  You can use your favorite  fruit such as peaches, apples, blueberries, strawberries, etc.

The recipe is as simple as halving the peaches, removing the pit and skin and slicing as you would for a pie or add blueberries or sliced strawberries.  Once your fruit is rinsed or sliced and ready to go all I do is add a tbsp of Better Batter Gluten Free Flour as a bit of a thickener as well as 1/3 cup of sucanat and a tbsp of water.  I then take a cup of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Oats, 1/3 cup of sucanat and a 1/2 cup of coconut oil or butter to make my crumble for the top of the crisp.  Honestly, most of the time I double the crumble recipe because my guys love the topping.  I finish it off by sprinkling the entire top of the crisp with cinnamon.  This is a quick and easy recipe and you can do this with any fruit.

I also added an almond flour pie crust on the bottom of this crisp which is totally optional, but something we enjoy.


Almond Flour Pie Crust

2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 egg

Mix all the ingredients together well and press dough into a 9″ pie dish or in this case into the bottom of your peach crisp pan.  If you were to use this for a pie, you would want to bake at 350ºF for 8 to 12 minutes.

Here is another family favorite that I thought you would enjoy, Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake.


How To Make Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake In The Sun Oven

How To Make A Gluten Free Pineapple Coconut Muffin In The Sun Oven

Baking Breads

I LOVE making breads or anything starchy.  I am truly a starch girl.  I also love baking my bread, pizza crust, English muffins, bagels, hot pretzels and rolls on or in pottery dishes as much as I possibly can and in the Sun Oven.  You will be so surprised at how wonderful they turn out in the Sun Oven.

Our Homemade Kaiser Roll is a family favorite recipe and we enjoy our Trayer Wilderness Hot Mustard to go along with our sandwiches.


How To Make Whole Wheat Bread In The Sun Oven


Your bread will have that nice brown crust on the outside with a nice moist soft inside.


For Sun Oven baking you will want to preheat your Sun Oven, set your timer for the required minutes and see how it looks.  It will all depend on the whether you have constant sun.  Constant sun will typically provide you with food cooked within 5 minutes of your timer.


 Meats & Meals

When cooking meat via the sun, just like when using the slow cooker, you must place your dish in the sun at an early hour, and rotate the oven every half hour to allow your meats to cook at a low heat all day long. I season my meat with minced dried garlic, dried onions, fresh basil, and homemade seasoning salt. I also add a bit of water to the bottom of the dish to create a nice meaty broth.


How To Make Chicken Breasts In The Sun Oven


Dehydrating Vegetables, Fruits and Meats

Yes, you can also use your Sun Oven to dehydrate which for me is awesome!   By simply leaving the cover just slightly cracked so the air can move around what you are drying you will have great success.  The Sun Oven comes with the racks and parchment paper which makes it very easy to just start doing things.  I love being able to utilize the dehydrated foods during the winter months.


The Sun Oven is an incredibly universal tool for your home or cabin.  I highly recommend the Sun Oven for one of your backup cooking methods in the event of an emergency, to eliminate extra heat in your home in the summer months and all your backyard and camping.  The Sun Oven quickly pays for itself, is great for the environment and utilizes a free God given resource!!

Your questions are always welcome!!

Have you used a Sun Oven yet?  Share your story or share why you would like to own one..



#TrayerWilderness  #SolarCooking

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A Collection of Christmas Cookie Recipes – Featuring Mammy’s Sour Cream Cookies

A Collection of Christmas Cookie Recipes – Featuring Mammy’s Sour Cream Cookies

A Collection of Christmas Cookie RecipesTis’ that time of year again….  WOW, where did 2014 go…  I am convinced that Idaho is in a warp time zone…

I LOVE baking and one of the special benefits for me is that my Mountain Boy enjoys spending time with me in the kitchen helping…  Most kids would be in the kitchen to be able to eat as much batter as can go undetected, but I believe my boy enjoys just spending the quality time with me in the kitchen with good music and good conversation.   Trust me – he is the 1st to sample the warm cookies, but we do really have a good time and this has become a tradition just as much as doing the summer canning together.  SO I am looking forward to a weekend of baking and memory making….

I thought I would share one of my favorite cookie recipes with you today.  This particular recipe holds a lot of special memories for me.  My Mammy would make these cookies special for me EVERY year and when I got my 1st apartment a gazillion years ago (as the Mountain Boy would say), this was the first recipe I sought after!  My Mammy is in heaven now, but I think of here ALL the time and I have special thoughts of her while baking these cookies and also while canning…  Those were some special times in my life spent with her and I am so thankful that I had that time with her and my Pap.  Be sure to create traditions with your children and grandchildren and enjoy the memory making times…



Mammy’s Sour Cream Cookies

♥  4 cups flour                                      ♥ 1 3/4 cup organic sugar or sucanat

♥  1 tsp soda                                         ♥ 1 cup thick sour cream

♥  1/2 tsp salt                                       ♥ 2 eggs

♥ 1 tsp baking powder                       ♥ 1 tsp vanilla (I use my homemade vanilla)

♥ 1 cup butter


Combine all dry ingredients together and mix well.  Cream together butter, sugar and unbeaten eggs.  Add sour cream and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Drop on a greased cookie sheet and add sprinkles.  Preheat oven to 425°.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

NOTE:  The cookies do not taste the same unless you use those EXACT sprinkles… 🙂  I will swear to that forever…  I don’t know what it was or why, but the cookies with those sprinkles ALWAYS tasted the BEST!!

I’d like to thank my dear friend’s for taking the time to share their wonderful recipes with me so that I can share them with you….  There are SO many wonderful recipes below and I hope that you have as much fun going through them as I did….

Viennese Whirls Sandwich Cookies Ginger Bread Cookies
 Christmas Cookies From The Pantry My Absolute Favorite Cookie Recipe
 Chunky Chocolate Pecan Currant Cookies Ginger Creams with Maple Icing
 Cookie Month Archives Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies
 Molasses Cookies Raspberry Squares
 World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies  GF Chocolate Chip Cookies
 Soft Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies  Chocolate Cookies with Andes Mint Chips
 Coco Mocha Cookie & Raspberry Ribbon Cookies  Chocolate Almond Bon Bon Cookies
 Lemon Shortbread Cookies Caramel Mocha Sandwich Cookies
 Potica Cookies  Mexican Wedding Cakes
Mum’s Oatmeal and Stuff Cookies  Tie Dye Cookies
 Hot Chocolate Cookies  Chocolate Dipped SunButter Cookies
 The Best Oatmeal Cookies  Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
 Husarenkrapfen  Vanillekipferle
 Dark Chocolate Quinoa Sugar Cookies  Rob Roy Cookies
 SunButter Cookies Sesame Wafer Cookies
 Paleo Dandelion Cookies  Russian Tea Cookies
 Sprouted Wheat Welsh Cookies  Cheesecake Cookies (Grain Free)
 Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars  Ultimate Earthquake Cookies
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies  Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
 The Perfect Cookie  Lemon Crinkle Cookies
 Double Chocolate Salted Cookies  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
 Chocolate Almond Joyful Cookies  Brown Butter Gingerbread Cookies
 Honey Gingerbread Cookies  Ma Horton’s Sugar Cookies
 Cacao Dusted Peanut Butter Cookies  Monster Cookies
 Molasses Sugar Cookies

 What is your most fond memory from this time of year?

 What is your favorite cookie recipe?


Tam † ♥

Photo Credit:  A Special thank you to my dear friend Tessa Zundel from for being so kind to share her image with me when I was in a pinch!


#TrayerWilderness  #ChristmasCookies

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Paid Endorsement Disclosure:   This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting and keeping us up, educating, inspiring and running!  ♥

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake in the Sun Oven – Solar Cooking Series

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake in the Sun Oven – Solar Cooking Series

Oh how I LOVE the sun!  I am as solar powered as my home and now I have an All American Sun Oven to do all my summer cooking.

As most of you know we are very frugal and try to eliminate as many extra expenses as possible.    So being able to cook with the sun in the summer months is AMAZING!!  A power free slow cooker if you will…  ♥

Today, I did the unboxing of my All American Sun Oven and decided to make my Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake for my men.  Below you will find the video on how to use the Sun Oven and my new solar kitchen.  You will also find the recipe below.  My hope is that you will find this informative and realize the resources you have at your fingertips which could provide a meal at the end of the day and no money out of your pocket to do so.

I was very impressed by the construction, quality and ease of use for the All American Sun Oven.  It is light weight, easy to setup and even easier to use.  I am excited about the endless opportunities I have to cook and bake in this oven, the time saved on busy days and the beauty of a meal being ready at the end of a long hard busy day here in the wilderness.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake in the All American Sun OvenSun Oven Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake 2


NOTE:  If you would like to have this recipe in a handy format, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and receive this recipe on page 57 and many more for FREE in my 72 page e-book titled The Trayer Wilderness Cookbook ~ Homesteading The Traditional Way ~ Volume 1.  You can also purchase it for a friend here or suggest they join our newsletter too!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake in the Sun Oven

Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Tammy Trayer ~ Mountain Woman Journals
  • 2 1/2 cup flour (Better Batter Gluten Free Flour or Oat Flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup organic raw sugar, rapadura, sucanat or for sugar free use erythritol or xylitol
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar or make your own Sugar Free Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  3. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy in a mixing bowl and then add eggs. Beat well.
  4. Gradually beat in the flour and then stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. You can choose to drop the cookies on a cookie sheet with a spoon or you can place this whole batter into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for roughly 30 minutes. If you are making individual cookies the cooking time is roughly 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. You can also use the All American Sun Oven and bake for roughly 2 hours.

For those of you that are on a low sugar or sugar free diet as I am, I found a Sugar Free Brown Sugar recipe that I would like to share with you.  A special thank you to Gwen’s Nest for sharing the recipe which can be found here.  Eating healthy is a BIG concern of ours and everything we make here on the homestead is homemade which includes a lot of our main ingredients that are either freshly ground or as in this case the Sugar Free Brown Sugar is homemade to provide us with the healthiest ingredient.

Stay tuned for many more solar meals, desserts, breads, pizzas, sourdough breads and baked goods and casseroles, oh and all our fresh garden vegetables.

Thanks so much for joining me today….  God bless! ♥

What would you like to try cooking or baking in the sun?

This was shared on Green Thumb Thursday Blog Hop

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Homemade Peppermint Patties | Today, I'm really thrilled to share my homemade peppermint patties -- a treat my family loves. Only I've made them a little more nutritious. Enjoy the minty freshness -- not only will you catch the attention of your loved ones' taste buds, you given them a relatively healthy sweet treat! |

Do you remember the peppermint pattie commercials where a person would be swept away by the sensation of a cool minty breeze? Those images are still stuck in my mind! And great memories, too – I remember sharing peppermint patties with my Pap.

I love preparing food for my family because I know we’re making memories woven from tantalizing smells, scrumptious tastes, and who’s there enjoying the good food together. I share so many wonderful memories with my men and my besties, often involving food and specially-prepared coffee or tea in some way or another. To me, good people and good food go hand in hand!

Today, I’m really thrilled to share my homemade peppermint patties — a treat my family loves!

Only I’ve made them a little more nutritious. :) Instead of using commercial confectioner’s sugar, I make my own by grinding unrefined sugar in my grain mill (you can also whizz in a blender). And the dipping chocolate is homemade, too, and based with coconut oil.

Enjoy the minty freshness! Not only will you catch the attention of your loved ones’ taste buds, you’ll give them a relatively healthy sweet treat!

So today, I’m sharing my Homemade Peppermint Candy recipe over at GNOWFGLINS.  ♥


Honey Candy Plus Other Things From The Heart ♥

Honey Candy Plus Other Things From The Heart ♥


I love giving gifts to my loved ones, no matter what time of year it is. Most of the time, my gifts go straight to someone else’s belly. 😉 Because I desire to keep things as traditional and simple as possible, to me there is nothing better than receiving a handmade or handcrafted gift. Even handwritten cards are becoming a thing of the past, but I think it is important to keep these traditions alive.

It warms my heart to craft something unique and special for someone, whether it be knitted, carved, painted, penciled, or baked. Each gift is made with special thought, care, and love wrapped into it. Baking, which has become something of an art in our home, is a wonderful way to give cookies, breads, or candies to your friends or family. I also keep an eye out for little trinkets at local antique stores or thrift stores that remind me of special people in my life, so I can add them along with handmade gift tags, to my gifts.

My most recent idea for gifting is to turn old flour sacks into gift bags filled with scrumptious goodies. As you can imagine, they were well-received, and fun to make as well! Recently, at an antique store, I found many old, small flour sacks at an unbelievable price. I bought them, washed them, and learned how to embroider a simple wildflower pattern onto them, coordinating the color of the flowers with the recipients’ favorite colors. This gift has a piece of the past from a kitchen long ago, in addition to the tasty goodies inside. If only each bag could share the story of where it has already been.

My favorite foods to place inside the gift bags are maple roasted almonds, homemade apricot and cranberry granola, and our delicious hard honey candies.

So today, I’m sharing my honey candy recipe over at GNOWFGLINS. ♥