All posts by Lisa White

Even more dairy-free white chocolate inspired recipes

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post called ‘3 White Chocolate recipes you can make at home. Well, since then we’ve created a few more recipes. So if you can’t get enough of that white chocolatey flavour,  check out these options:

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Biscuit Slice

As a child, I always loved the chocolate biscuit slice that my mum made. So a couple of years ago, I created a dairy and gluten-free version of that cake (yum). After achieving that, I thought it would be fun to try a ‘negative’ version of that recipe (e.g. use a ‘white chocolate’ and chocolate biscuits instead of milk chocolate with white biscuits). Anyway, this tasty slice was the outcome of those experiments.

The chocolate biscuits are a spin on my Vanilla Shortbread recipe, and the ‘white chocolate’ was inspired by my original white chocolate recipe.

White Christmas Slice – an alternative recipe.

Although not a typical white chocolate recipe, this one definitely has ‘white chocolatey undertones’, so I’ve included it in this list.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

In this recipe, Hayley gave her cheesecake from the original Cheesecake Episode a white-chocolate twist. You can watch her make this White Chocolate Cheesecake here, and you can get the recipe, here.

If you haven’t tried making chocolate before, check out this video here The Kids Party Food Episode where Hayley shows you how to make a dairy-free milk chocolate (it’s the second recipe in that episode). In my experience, making a dairy and soy-free white chocolate is a little trickier than making a dairy-free milk chocolate but it’s not impossible (as you can see above)(unless you can’t tolerate coconut – if you can’t tolerate coconut, then unfortunately these recipes aren’t for you).

If you’d like to give these recipes a try, you can find these (and more dessert recipes) in the following books:

Sweet Free-from Snacks for Morning Tea, Recess or After School (For Kids and Adults)

After realising how many savoury snack and lunch ideas we had, I decided to gather some of our favourite sweet snack recipes. These make great options for morning tea, recess and after school snacks:-)

Sweet Spreads for Breads

  • Choc-Tahini Spread (dairy-free)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers) (we’ve also got a nutty spread in the book too if you can tolerate nuts)

Snack bars

I like a snack that I can make in bulk, and that’s easy to package to take on the go. (One of the reasons why I like muesli bars!:-) Our muesli bar options include:

These muesli bars are pretty quick and easy to make, and they’re so versatile. Instead of sultanas you could use choc chips (suitable for your diet), and you could make them gluten-free by using quinoa instead of oats (more options are listed in the blog post in the link above).

Bliss Balls

  • These chocolate bliss balls (contain nut) and are delicious. (I confess, there have been days where these bliss balls have become my lunch ;-)(This recipe isn’t in one of our cookbooks because I started making it after they were published. But the recipe is in the blog post. Just click on the name).


I like slices for the same reason I like snack bars. One baking dish can make quite a few serves, so it saves time. (Plus they’re yummy:-)

This Chocolate Raspberry Slice, Glenys’ Choc Orange Slice, and Hayley’s slice can be made in bulk and frozen too.

Find the recipes in these ebooks (Available through Amazon, ibooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and more).


If you’re looking for some savoury lunch ideas (or snacks) check out this post.







Tasty Free-from Lunch Ideas

It’s that time of year again that I find myself thinking about what I can make for lunches, snacks and after school snacks (and not just for the kids, but for myself and my hubby too). We’ve got quite a lot of options now. So if you’ve been getting bored with the usual free-from fare, you might like to check out some of these options:-)

Lunch Ideas

Savoury Spreads & Sandwich Fillers

  • Dairy-free butter/ margarine alternatives (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers)
  • Dairy-free creamy cheese spread (contains cashews)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers)
  • Dairy-free mayonnaise options (including some egg-free options)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Tasty Toppings)
  • Hoummus (a variety of options – including one without chickpeas)(from The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Snack & Party Food)
  • Tuna without tuna (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers)
  • Chickpea Smash (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers)
  • Curried egg (without egg)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers)
  • Guacamole (including an option without avocado)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Tasty Toppings)
  • Mild Cheddar (dairy and soy free)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers)
  • Tasty Cheddar (dairy and soy free)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Snack & Party Food)


  • Cold rolls with a twist (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Light Meals)
  • Nori rolls (the filling in this picture is Hayley’s vegan Nutty “Tuna” from The Little book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers)
  • Sausage rolls (meatless, gluten-free, dairy and soy-free)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Kids Party Food)(watch Lisa make the pastry here).
  • Mini savoury tarts (including an eggless quiche alternative)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Kids Party Food)


These dinner left-overs can also make a good lunch box filler. Especially if you’re looking for some gluten-free options, or an alternative to sandwiches.

  • Glenys’ BBQ meatless sausages (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Light Meals)
  • Meatless burger patties (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Light Meals)
  • Fishless “fish fingers” and Chick-pea nuggets (also from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Light Meals)


  • These are better grown up lunch box options- or great to have on hand in the fridge if you work from home. My personal favourite are the:
  • Four bean mix salad,
  • the Tabouli and
  • the creamy potato salad.
  • If you’d like all these recipes in one book, you’ll find them in The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Light Meals book.

Savoury snacks

  • Hoummus or other dips such as Babaganoush and Tepenades  served with crackers or veggie sticks (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Snack & Party Food)
  • or Guacamole (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Tasty Toppings)
  • or Dukkah (from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Snack & Party Food)
  • Sweet potato jerky or zucchini chips and corn chips (without corn)(from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Snack & Party Food)
  • Cheese and crackers (Mild Cheddar from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Sandwich Fillers, Tasty Cheddar from The Little Book of Allergy-friendly Snack & Party Food).

One day we’d run out of crackers and I felt like cheese and crackers. My hubby suggested slicing a large carrot into “crackers” and serving the cheese that way. It’s now become one of my favourite snacks:-)

Find the recipes in these ebooks (Available through Amazon, ibooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and more).


If you’re looking for some morning tea, recess or sweet after school snacks, check out this post.










Rich Dairy-free Chocolate Bliss Balls

My kids are currently going through a growth spurt and they’re hungry all the time lately. These bliss balls are currently their favourite weekend snack. I love them because they’re rich, chocolatey, easy (and quick) to make and they’re pretty healthy too.

This recipe contains nuts, if you need bliss balls without nuts, then check out our Christmas Recipes book and see our top tips below:-).

Rich Dairy-free Chocolate Bliss Balls


  • 1 cup raw cashews*
  • 1 cup raw almonds*
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts*
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (refined is ok if you don’t want a coconut flavour)

Makes about 20 bliss balls

*see Top Tips below.


  1. Add all the nuts to a food processor and blend until a crumble texture is achieved (a bit like with making a cheesecake base).
  2. Add the cacao powder and blend again to help mix it in. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spoon or spatula in between pulses so that it is completely mixed in.
  3. Add the chopped dates to the food processor, a few pieces at a time and then blend until the dates a broken up and the mix has began to stick together a little (again it’s like making a cheesecake base).
  4. Add the melted coconut oil to the mix and mix again.
  5. Once the mix has a dough-like consistency, remove the mix from the food processor and form into balls (use approximately 1-2 tablespoons of mix). You can eat the balls immediately (they’ll be soft and delicious and this is my favourite;-) otherwise place them in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 hours and they’ll firm up.
  6. Store them in the fridge in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.

Top Tips

* Don’t pre-soak the nuts for this recipe (unless you plan to dehydrate them before blending) because they’ll go soggy and taste terrible. Alternatively, you could buy activated nuts and use those instead.

  If you’d like a bliss ball recipe without nuts,  check out the recipes in The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Christmas Recipes (2nd Edition) (you can also make the two recipes in that book without coconut free by omitting the desiccated coconut and rolling them in cacao powder instead).


Super Easy to Make Muesli Bars

My children were looking for something a little different for recess recently, and so I had a play in the kitchen and created these super easy to make muesli bars (and they’re very tasty too).

I love that they don’t take a lot of time (or energy) to make:-)

Super Easy Muesli Bars


  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup puffed rice, suitable for your diet  * See Extras & Alternatives below for more options)
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar (or suitable sugar for your diet, see top tips)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground


  1. To a large bowl add the oats, sultanas,  and coconut sugar and mix.
  2. Next add the olive oil, and mix again.
  3. Add the eggs and mix again.
  4. Add the puffed rice and cinnamon and mix again. Aim to mix for 30sec to 1 minute.
  5. Line a glass baking dish (dimensions 21cm x 17cm) with baking paper. Add the mix and cut into muesli bar shapes it makes 8 “full size” museli bars (with a little on the edge. Transfer dish to oven and bake at 180degrees C for 40 minutes, then leave in the oven with the fan on, to stand, for another 20-30 minutes.
  6. Once the bars are cooked, lift out the baking paper and re-cut along the slices you made before putting it into the oven. Store in an airtight container and eat within 3 days).

Extras & Alternatives

The above recipe is DELISH but if you’d like to shake it up a bit try these alternatives

in place of the puffed rice try activated buckinis (for a bit of crunch), pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or desiccated coconut.

In place of the sultanas try chopped dried figs, or any dried fruit you like.

In place of the coconut sugar try rapadura sugar or you could even use a liquid sweetener that’s suitable for your diet. I used rice malt syrup when I was first making them, but they hold their shape better with the coconut sugar and I prefer the taste.

In place of the olive oil try liquid coconut oil. Don’t use flax or chia oil as they don’t tolerate heat well.

In place of eggs see Lisa’s Muesli Bar from this episode

In place of oats try quinoa or rice flakes

Also, if you can tolerate nuts, obviously you can add nuts.

Looking for more snack bar & slice recipes?

Check out The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Breakfast Recipes



Mushy Pea Soup (aka Pea & “Ham” soup without the ham)

Recently while we were all sick, my son asked me to “Please make Nanna’s Pea & Ham soup.”

I’ve made a lot of my mum’s recipes over the years but I’ve never made her Pea & Ham soup. Years ago when we first began eating a lot less meat, I planned to make a meatless version of mum’s soup. So when my son asked me to make it I took the opportunity to have a play in the kitchen:-)

I think it came out pretty well and I’d definitely make it again. The shitake mushrooms give a really great chewy texture, while the liquid smoke and BBQ coconut aminos give the smokey flavour.

By the way, if you love yellow split peas, make sure you check out our Yellow Split Pea Dahl episode:-).

Mushy Pea Soup (aka Meatless Pea & Ham Soup)


  • 1 packet dried, sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 3 cups water (or more if you like it runny)
  • 1/2 swede, grated
  • 1 /2 parsnip, grated
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1 small stalk of celery, chopped finely
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 1/8 teaspoon natural liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon BBQ coconut aminos


  1. To a saucepan, add the yellow split peas and water; bring to boil then simmer for 45 minutes.
  2. Prepare the shitake mushrooms by soaking them in boiling water for 30 seconds then drain and rinse off the water and add the mushrooms to the water and split peas. Simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables, liquid smoke and coconut aminos, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Top Tips

  • If you’d like a runnier soup, add more water.
  • Make sure you check the ingredients of the BBQ coconut aminos and liquid smoke to make sure they’re suitable for your diet
  • The next day you might find the leftovers “settle out” a little, if this happens, just stir it up before you heat it up.
  • This is a simple, but yummy recipe that is great for those cold winter nights (or days:-).

Looking for more recipes for cold days?

Check out our book:  The Little Book of Allergy Friendly Main Meals

Valentines Inspired Free-from Sweets for Your Sweet

 What do you give to the free-from love in your life who can’t eat anything? 

Over the last 4 years we’ve covered a lot of free-from options for almost every occasion… but it only just occurred to me (this morning!) that we’ve never covered Valentines day. When I think of Valentines day inspired sweets, I usually think of anything chocolatey, cherry, strawberry or apple based. So, if you have someone (adult) and special in your life that can’t eat dairy, soy, gluten, egg or nuts (but is ok with coconut) then check out some of our ideas for a sweet (free-from) Valentines day:-)

Self-saucing chocolate pudding

You don’t need a fancy heart-shaped ramekin to make this self-saucing chocolate pudding (but it would look really cute in one and I just found some this morning in my local supermarket – see pic above:-). If you’d like to make this recipe, watch me (Lisa) make this recipe in the video here, and get the recipe in our Dessert Recipes book.

Homemade chocolate (milk chocolate or white chocolate – both free-from friendly)

Again, you don’t need cute little heart-shaped molds to make these chocolates (although I just found some today when I found the ramekins) see pic above:-). Any shaped small silicon mold will work, although I’ve used mini cupcake patty-pans before too. Making your own chocolate is surprisingly easy and quick (if you have the ingredients). You can see the video of Hayley making milk chocolate here (second recipe in the episode). The process for making the milk chocolate and the white chocolate is very similar. You can get the milk chocolate and the white chocolate recipes in our Kid’s Party Food book.

Short Breads

I used to love the buttery taste of shortbread, but when dairy went seriously off the menu, so did shortbread. It wasn’t until I created a butter alternative last year though, that I realised I could now make a free-from friendly shortbread. If you don’t have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you could also use a scone cutter. They’re pretty easy to make, watch how to make them in the video here, and get the recipe in our Christmas Book.


We’ve also got a chocolate shortbread recipe in our Kid’s Party Food book .


Jam Tart

There are two ways you can make this jam tart. One is using the shortbread pastry e.g see this pic:

and the other is with our Basic Sweet Potato Pastry (you can get both recipes in our Dessert Recipes book).

(I made my own plum jam in the jam tart in this picture – I haven’t written that recipe up yet, so you can save some time by using a commercial jam that’s suitable for your diet. If you can’t find one, let me know, and I will write up my jam recipe. When it comes to jam, my personal favourites are black cherry, forest fruits (I think that’s the fantasy/ romance writer in me that loves the imagery of that;-) and plum.

Apple Pie

Historically apples were associated with Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love), so when it comes to baking for your sweetheart, I think it’s hard to go past a rustic homemade apple pie, made with love. We’ve got a simple apple pie recipe (with the Basic Sweet Potato Pastry) in our Dessert Recipes book.


Free-from friendly Cheesecake

If you’re after a ridiculously decadent, and fancier looking cake, then you might like to check out my new cheesecake recipe. This one is very very rich but delicious! Watch how to make the filling here and learn how to make a free-from base here, and you can get the recipe for the filling in our Dessert Recipes book.

Anyway, hopefully this gives you some ideas and options. We’ve got a lot more dessert recipes that I haven’t listed in this post so to check them out, look at the pictures on each of the individual book pages.

In the ebooks we’ve included the links to the recipes that have accompanying videos too – so don’t worry that you’ll have to keep coming back to this post. It’s all in the books (with more details too).

Kids Party Food

Dessert Recipes

Christmas Recipes (2nd Edition)

Cinnamon & Cherry Cake with Cinnamon Syrup (Gluten, Dairy & Soy Free with Egg & Nut Free Options)



  • 1 cup Orgran® self-raising flour (or suitable alternative for your diet)
  • 1/3 cup rice malt syrup (or liquid sweetener suitable for your diet)
  • ¼ cup rice milk (suitable for your diet)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg (if you need an egg-free version, check out The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Christmas Recipes 2nd Edition)
  • 3 tablespoons safflower cooking oil
  • ½ cup canned, pitted cherries in juice, drained


  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped

*This mix makes one 5″ sponge, one small log cake, or 4 mini (single-serve) log cakes.


  • ¼ cup rice malt syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon



  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°
  2. Add all ingredients except optional ingredients to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth and combined (approximately 4 minutes).
  3. Add the optional ingredients if suitable for your diet and mix briefly again.
  4. Pour mix into baking tray (see Top Tips).
  5. Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes if making a round cake or for 15 minutes if making mini single-serve logs cakes. (The cake is cooked when the skewer comes out clean). While the cake is cooking, prepare the syrup.
  6. Remove cake from tin and allow to stand on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes and then transfer cake to the serving plate.


  1. Prepare syrup by mixing agave, coconut oil, and cinnamon in a jug. Once all ingredients are combined, pour it over the cake while the cake is still warm and serve.



Top Tips

It’s delicious served “plain” or you could add a dollop of whipped coconut cream, or coconut yoghurt (if suitable for your diet).

You could use any milk alternative that is suitable for your diet.

If you can’t tolerate nuts, don’t add them.

If you can’t tolerate egg, we have an egg-free version in The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Christmas Recipes (2nd Edition).

Making Vino Cotto with Mum & Dad

While all my Australian friends were having gingerbread and Christmas pudding, in our house we were having crostoli covered in a wine syrup (otherwise known as “vino cotto” – cooked wine). Although it was strictly a Christmas treat in our house,  I remember a few times when I was young, during winter when it hailed, my Dad would catch some of the hail on a plate and then drizzle a bit of the vino cotto over the top (apparently it’s what they did when he was a kid in Italy).

So a little while ago when Mum and Dad were replenishing their stocks (basically they make the vino cotto like they make pasta sauce: they do a huge batch every few years), I asked if Brenton, the kids and I could come and check out how it was made. Because although I’d made “alternative crostoli” before and substituted the vino cotto for molasses, I hadn’t ever made the “real thing”.

So if you’re curious to see how it’s done… check out the process below:-)
This recipe, and the crostoli recipe can also be found in our book:
The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Italian Recipes.

How to make vino cotto:

The process starts out a little like making wine; you need (ideally) wine grapes, and a grape press.

First, place the whole bunches of grapes, into a clean container; taking care to remove any leaves (stems are okay). Crush the grapes, and ensure all the berries are burst (this is the grape must). Cover, and leave the crushed grapes for 4 days to allow the juice to develop colour and flavour from the grape skins).

2. Transfer grape must (crushed grapes) to the press, and press to extract the liquid. Strain out any of the skins and stems by passing it through a mesh.

3. Take the pressed grape juice and transfer it to a large saucepan.

4. Once the juice is in the pan, bring it up to the boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Every now and then as the juice heats up and boils again it’ll froth and rise. You’ll need to stir it all in (otherwise it’ll overflow and make a big sticky mess).

5. The liquid will be a purple colour when you start. As the liquid reduces, thickens, and becomes syrupy the colour will change to a dark brown colour (it’ll look a lot like molasses in colour and consistency when its done).

6. Once it’s ‘done’ (and cooled), pour it into sterilised glass jars.

Some top tips:

My Dad says to (ideally) get the grape juice from the last press because its thickest and will take less time to cook, whereas the juice from the first press is more watery and will take a lot longer.

Mum says to keep an eye on it when it is cooking because once it starts to thicken and brown, if you’re not careful it can easily burn and then you’ll lose it all.

I asked about quantities, and they both said approximately 20 Litres of grape juice will yield about 4 Litres of vino cotto. (The average person is unlikely to be making such a large quantity, but basically it looks like you can expect about a 1:5 ratio, so from 1 litre, you’d get about 200ml (this will cover a lot of crostoli). If the vino cotto is too thick for dipping the crostoli in, you can thin it out by adding a little wine (if it suits your diet) or a bubbly drink such as carbonated water or lemonade (not exactly the healthiest, but, it’s a traditional Christmas dessert).

Time wise, it’ll all depend on how much you’re cooking down, but Mum and Dad said cooking the above volume takes approximately 3-4 hours. So if you give it a go, make sure you’ve got the time to stand around and keep an eye on it.

Use sweet red grapes. Ideally wine grapes.

Last few top tips…

Mum said she’s heard of people actually making it with wine (which would make sense since the Italian name for it translated is “cooked wine” and not “cooked grape juice”;-).

I asked if using grape juice from the shop would work. Mum and Dad had never tried it (though I am tempted! So I’ll report back here and update this post when I do). Our thoughts are that using wine will give you a sharper tasting result (e.g. it wont be as sweet as using the grape juice, so you may want to taste it and add a little sugar if needed), and using the grape juice from the shops may take a little longer (that is, if the juice has been watered down). Dad also said to be mindful of other additives in the juice (and commercial wine – he of course, makes his own).(While I’m not feeling inclined to produce another cooking show at this point in time, if I was going to, I’d follow mum and Dad around with a camera and film them making everything from scratch!!:-)

Check out my alternative crostoli recipe here (it’s gluten-free, egg-free, vegan friendly).

You can get the Vino Cotto and Crostoli recipe in our book:
The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Italian Recipes.


Recipe method on this blog updated: January 2021

Making Alternative Crostoli (Gluten-free, Egg-free Crostoli)

Every family has their “It’s not Christmas without…” recipe, in our family that recipe is my Mum’s crostoli dipped in homemade wine syrup (otherwise known as vino cotto). But the original version is made with wheat flour, and some people even make them with egg. So a few years ago when my niece was diagnosed with coeliac disease I developed a gluten-free recipe. That original recipe had egg and,  I said at the time that one day I’d give an egg-free version a try. Here is the outcome of that experiment…

Christmas “Crostoli”


  • 250g Orgran® All-purpose gluten-free flour (due to my own food sensitivities, I haven’t tested this recipe with other gluten-free flours).
  • 2 ½ tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or refined liquid coconut oil (liquid coconut oil is an isolated coconut oil that doesn’t set at cold temperatures, see Top Tips)
  • ¼ -½ cup water
  • Olive oil for frying



  1. Measure flour out onto a flat surface (you’ll need a bit of room and its going to get very floury!). Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the sugar, and olive oil; mix together to make a dough.
  2. Add warm water (10-20ml at a time) until the dough is stretchy, but not sticky.

3. Roll the pastry dough out with a rolling pin to ~1cm thickness and cut in strips ~4cm wide. Use a pasta machine to roll the pastry through the thickest setting and then repeat through thinner settings until the final thickness is ~1-2 mm without tearing it. If you don’t have a pasta machine, use your rolling pin with a lot of flour and patience. My family makes the crostoli very thin, but I’ve seen them also prepared much thicker and biscuit-like.

4. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, cut the thinly rolled pastry into ribbons ~2-3 cm wide and 6-8cm long for a bow or holly-shaped crostoli and 10-12 cm long for wreath shapes. If making holly-shaped ones, just pinch the centres. For wreaths, pinch every 2 cm along and then cross over 1 pinch in each end to make a wreath. Although, because the gluten-free dough is not as flexible as the wheat-based dough, I’d recommend not cutting the strips too wide (so they don’t break when you pinch the centres) and not making wreaths as they may break when you’re cooking them.

4. In a frying pan, heat approximately 250-500ml olive oil. Don’t add the crostoli until the oil is hot otherwise they will become soggy and taste too oily (also the vino cotto or molasses won’t stick). The oil is hot enough when the pastry sizzles and floats; if the pastry sinks and looks sodden, it isn’t hot enough.

5. Once the oil is hot enough, place enough crostoli to cover the pan’s surface; as soon as they turn a golden colour turn them over (just be very careful of oil splashing; I use tongs) and remove when both sides are cooked (try not to overcook or allow the flour to burn because the taste of the burnt flour sediment permeates the cooking oil and detracts from the flavor of the pastry).

6. When the crostoli are removed from the heat, place them onto an airing rack for a few minutes and then transfer to a separate rack where they are directly on a paper towel to remove some of the oil. Change the paper towel to absorb the excess as needed. The crostoli may be served at this point by sprinkling vanilla sugar and some ground cinnamon atop.


  1. Although you can eat them “plain” with a little vanilla sugar, my favourite way to eat them is dipped in vino cotto (cooked wine). To do that, heat 250 ml of vino cotto in a frying pan on low (don’t let it burn or it will taste very bitter) and dip the crostoli for 5 seconds on each side when the syrup is runny.
  2. Transfer the dipped crostoli to a plate (or a glass container) and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. If you have enough to layer, sprinkle the ground cinnamon between the layers.


  1. Since not everyone has access to my family’s special homemade vino cotto, a couple of years ago, I found that an alternative was to dip them in molasses. Yes, the taste is slightly different, but they still taste pleasant (although, considering how many memories are tied up in the vino cotto version for me, that will always be my favourite:-). Anyway, to coat the crostoli in molasses, heat 250 ml of molasses in a frying pan on low (as with the vino cotto, don’t let it burn or it will taste very bitter). Once heated up and runny, dip the crostoli for 5 seconds on each side in the syrup.
  2. Drain off the excess syrup and then transfer the crostoli to  a plate (or a glass container) and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. If you have enough to layer, sprinkle the ground cinnamon between the layers. I find the taste evolves and they tasted even more like mum’s traditional wine syrup the next day!

Top Tips

If the crostoli are too oily the vino cotto won’t “stick” so make sure you soak up what you can with paper towels first.

My mum makes her crostoli very thin, these wont be as thin as those because the dough isn’t as stretchy as the wheat-based dough. So I’d suggest using the thinnest setting on your pasta machine that you can without making the dough tear as you roll it through.

If you find the molasses too thick, you can thin it out with carbonated water  (use ¼ cup soda water to 1 cup of molasses).

You could make the crostoli with olive oil, or any liquid oil, suitable for cooking, that you like the flavour of. I made this batch with a new liquid coconut oil as an experiment, but my Mum’s original recipe contains olive oil and I’ve made them with olive oil previously.

You can find this crostoli recipe in The Little Book of Italian Recipes.

If you’d like some more “traditional” Christmas Recipes (e.g. ginger bread, shortbread, Christmas pudding with custard and more, check out The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Christmas Recipes (2nd Edition)(available now).