Tim and I had a holiday gathering over the weekend, but it was a bit hard to get into the festive spirit – in large part because it was 70 degrees outside! I know I should not complain because I am sure there is plenty of wintry weather around the corner, but it just doesn’t feel like Christmas if it’s not cold out.
So, I made my own snow. Well, snowball cookies anyway. As an added perk, they just happen to be gluten-free! I had some gluten sensitive guests, so I wanted to make something that they could eat. But I also wanted it to be something everyone could enjoy. Sometimes gluten-free treats taste, well, gluten-free.
Since I cook vegetarian at home, I am well versed in the stereotypes of any atypical diet and tend to think about what someone can eat versus what they cannot. Tim and I do not sit around and nibble carrots sticks all day, but I am also well aware that a vegetarian pot roast just is not going to happen. So, when I think about making gluten-free desserts, I am aware of the limitations, but also of the possibilities. When I saw these Chai-Spiced Snowball Cookies by A Couple Cooks, I knew these were worth trying out. I love almond meal in desserts for the flavor and texture. Plus they seemed so festive.
Of course, I had to make some changes. While I like cardamom, there is not currently any in my spice rack. Instead, I decided to focus on the classic fall spices and added some nutmeg instead. I also used almond meal instead of almond flour, since that is what I had on hand. And they turned out great. They are similar to Mexican wedding cookies, but with a lot more spice. You can really taste the clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg, which are all spices that I love. These are a great addition to your holiday baking, even if you aren’t gluten-free!
- 1/4 cup butter, at room temp
- 3 tbs. white sugar
- 1 1/4 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. cloves
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter till light and fluffy. Add in almond meal, cornstarch, white sugar, vanilla, all the spices, and the salt.
- Beat together on low till a cohesive dough forms. It will seem crumbly at first, but it will come together.
- Gather the dough together, wrap it in wax paper or plastic wrap, and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and shape into 20 balls, working quickly so the dough doesn't get too warm. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet. They don't spread much so they can be fairly close together.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes till just starting to brown, but still soft. Do not overbake.
- Leave cookies on the cookie sheet to cool till they firm up, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let them cool completely.
- Once cool, place the powdered sugar in a shallow dish and roll each cookie in the sugar till well coated.