Simple freefrom cookies to make with groups of children 

This is a recipe I wrote to bake with a group of thirty Primary six (age 9) school children in a very basic kitchen classroom after I had been invited by my son’s teachers to share a cookie recipe that was safe for all the children in the class. My son has multiple severe food allergies and to get to bake safe cookies with his class mates was a hugely enjoyable and inclusive experience. For me it was the joy and lack of stress of him baking in a room where allergens were not present. The children were aware the recipe was safe for my son but we did not focus on it being a free from cookie and they were really just excited to be baking cookies! The children were divided into groups of five and the recipe made them two cookies each.

The following shopping list was enough to make 60 cookies with a little spare.

Baking parchment

1kg bag Doves Farm gluten free self raising flour (contains raising agents and xanthan gum

500g tub Vitalite dairy free margarine

1kg bag caster sugar

Carton rice milk

Bottle/tin golden syrup

Dairy free chocolate chips – I brought in a catering bag of Plamil dairy free chocolate drops from home (dairy, gluten, nut free but may contain traces of soya) Moo free also sell dairy free chocolate drops (may contain traces of nuts). If you cannot find chocolate chips safe for your needs buy bars of safe chocolate and get the kids to break it into pieces to make chunky chocolate chips.

Equipment needed 

Each group should have-

A large mixing bowl

A large spoon for mixing (dessert spoon fine)

Tablespoon measure (ideally. Some of the kids actually used a regular spoon and it worked out ok)

2 Teaspoons

A baking tray

Baking parchment

* I brought in a safe set of baking equipment from home for my son and his group to use*


Makes 10 cookies

3/4 cup gluten free self raising flour (make sure it contains xanthan gum)

1/4 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup dairy free margarine

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 tablespoon rice milk

2 heaped tablespoons of dairy free chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 190 C (we had access to 2 ovens and were able to bake the cookies in two batches)

Line the baking trays with parchment

Measure out the caster sugar and margarine and mix well together (all the children took turns measuring and mixing. Some groups mixing skills were better than others but all the cookies turned out well)

Add the golden syrup and rice milk and stir well

Add the gluten free flour and mix till combined

Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks

Using one teaspoon to scoop and one to push the mix onto the baking tray measure out 10 cookies.  Each child placed two spoons of mix onto their group’s tray. Try to leave space between each scoop as the cookies spread in the oven.

The children wrote their group number in pencil on the baking parchment so they could keep track of their tray

An adult should then place the trays in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Cookies on a lower shelf may need a couple of minutes longer.

The whole class were very enthusiastic about baking cookies and worked really well together. Despite fairly haphazard measuring and mixing everyone ended up with a lovely tray of soft style chocolate chip cookies. The cookies are best left till completely cool before handling.

The children wrote out the recipe as part of their extended writing which had a Christmas theme including baking cookies for Santa.

A huge thank you goes out to my son’s teachers for organising such an inclusive and fun baking session.

Cafe Lauderdale Dunbar

I’ve been wanting to visit Cafe Lauderdale for some time so when we found our selves with no plans and a drizzly damp day today I suggested a road trip to Dunbar. It turned out to be an excellent plan as while only an hour away it was five degrees warmer and dry in Dunbar! The cafe is run by and is open daily during the school holidays and at weekends during term time, remember Scottish holidays can be different so double check the Facebook page before visiting.

It’s a small cafe in Park Lauderdale which I can totally reccomend if you have kids as it has an excellent play area. Also a nice spot to visit minus children as the play area is far enough away from the cafe not to cause too much noise pollution and the park while small has beautiful flowers. There is ample parking.

Everything baked on site is free from gluten, egg, milk and nuts. There are soya products in the kitchen but all allergen information is available for the goodies on sale. The dairy free ice cream on sale is Iced delight. There were regular fresh scones and sausage rolls available but these are ordered in and stored completely separately from the allergen free baking. I can’t comment on the lunches as we just had tea and cake. Can you imagine going into a cafe as a family and ordering safe chocolate brownies for all of you? They looked so good it was really hard to believe they were completely allergen free! (For us that meant milk, egg, wheat, peanut, tree nut, pea and lentil free) *Always check the ingredients to ensure food is safe for your needs*.

I’ll admit to a little chest pain ordering one for my son as we have never had safe baking from a cafe before but the proprietor’s daughter has severe allergies and if you can trust anyone it’s an allergy mum! (But always check to make sure you  are happy!).

Wow. Moist fudgey chocolate brownies. We all enjoyed them including the allergen eaters amongst us. I could have eaten a second bit no problem but I have excellent self control……kidding! I didn’t have a second bit though I had a mini lemon loaf instead, also delicious, I’m needing the recipe book used here!

So if you’re in Dunbar or frankly if you’re in Edinburgh it’d still be worth the drive, visit Cafe Lauderdale. We’ll be back.