Easiest Almond Cookies + Review of Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free

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Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free is a new cookbook by my Toronto-based friend, Ricki Heller. Many of you know Ricki as the long-time blogger behind the recipe blog, Diet, Dessert, & Dogs (which is now Ricki Heller.com). Her first cookbook, Sweet Freedom, is a cherished book in my collection so I was grateful to receive a review copy of her latest work.

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Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free features 100 dessert recipes all free of gluten, eggs, and dairy. Many recipes are also free of corn, soy, or nuts. Ricki transforms classic dessert favourites that we all know and love, such as cinnamon crumb cake or cheesecake. As she writes in the intro, “you won’t see any ‘out there’ recipes in this book – no seaweed cookies, miso frosting, or mushroom pudding.” Sweeteners like stevia, coconut sugar & coconut nectar, and agave nectar are used throughout this book and all of the flours she bakes with (such as millet flour, garfava bean flour, potato starch, almond flour, and more) are gluten-free.

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60 lovely photographs, shot by the talented Celine Saki, are scattered throughout the book.

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I’m sharing a recipe straight from the book with you today – Easiest Almond Cookies. These cookies require just one processor bowl and about 10 minutes of prep time. If you are a fan of ultra-soft, nutty cookies these are for you. I made a couple minor substitutions in the recipe so be sure to see the footnote for details! Congrats again, Ricki, on your new cookbook!

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Easiest Almond Cookies by Ricki Heller

This recipe is from Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free by Ricki Heller. Recipe re-printed with permission from Sellers Publishing, 2013.

Yield: 15 cookies

Print, email, or text this recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (12 oz or 340 g) natural raw skin on almonds, preferably organic
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) finely ground flax seeds (from about 2 Tbsp or 30 ml whole)
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water, if necessary

 

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
  • 2. In the bowl of a food processor, whir the almonds, flax, baking soda, and salt until you have a very fine meal (it should be the consistency of a coarse cornmeal or fine breadcrumbs, with no large pieces of almond visible). Watch that you don’t blend so long as to obtain almond butter, however!
  • 3. Add the agave nectar, oil, and extracts, and process again just until the mixture holds together and leaves the sides of the bowl. It should look like a moist dough. If the mixture is too dry, add the water and pulse quickly to blend.
  • 4. Using a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon (15 ml), scoop the dough and roll into balls; place them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Wet your palms (or use a silicone spatula) and press down to flatten each ball to about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
  • 5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets about halfway through baking, until the edges are barely golden brown and the cookies are dry in the center (the tops will still be light). Allow to cool completely before removing from the cookie sheets; the cookies firm up as they cool.

 

Angela’s notes: 1) I swapped agave for maple syrup, 2) I swapped sunflower oil for virgin coconut oil, and 3) I baked the cookies on 1 baking sheet for a good 10 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottoms.

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On an unrelated note – Is anyone having problems with the new recipe tool that I’ve been using over the past week or so? (see the No Bake Elvis Bars post for an example, if you don’t know what I’m talking about). I heard from a reader that it’s printing out ads along with the recipe for her. This hasn’t happened on our end before, so I’m just wondering if it’s happening elsewhere too. If you have experienced this issue please let me know what web browser and operating system you are using. Hopefully we’ll have it fixed soon! Thanks for your patience as we work out the quirks. :)

Happy Friday the 13th!! 

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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

Ash September 13, 2013

I am having the issue with ads printing out along with the recipe :(

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2013

Thanks for letting me know Ash. can you tell me what web browser and operating system you use? this will help us determine if it’s a certain type where the issue is popping up.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2013

Oh, I also wanted to confirm that you are hitting the green print icon within the recipe?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2013

Ok, I have an update for you! Are you by chance using Internet Explorer 8 browser (or below)? Eric found an issue with that browser – it’s fixed now. Let me know if you continue to experience problems. :)

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Ali September 13, 2013

Yum! I’m always looking for more homemade sweets recipes to A) cut out dairy more and B) cut back on my refined sugar addiction! I’m allergic to almonds, do you think cashews would work?

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Ricki September 13, 2013

Ali, I think another firm nut like hazelnuts–or cashews–would work just fine! I’m guessing that, since cashews have a little less natural fat than almonds, they might be drier, so you might want to add a wee bit more oil if you use the cashew variation. Let me know how they turn out!! :)

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Ali September 13, 2013

Thank you so much, Ricki! I’ll try to get my hands on some cashews or hazelnuts this weekend and try them out!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2013

I was going to suggest hazelnuts too – their flavour would be so nice with the almond extract I think.

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Tracy September 13, 2013

Thanks for the recipe Angela. I have a question though…I am searching for a granola you posted, nut-free, with sunflower seeds and millet. I made it a few times and now I cannot find it. Do you remember what it is titled? Thanks!

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Suzanne @ hello, veggy! September 13, 2013

These look awesome! They remind me of those Walnut Peak Frean cookies I used to love so much! Thumbs up for low sugar, gf, and vegan!! PS I like the new banner :)

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Suzanne @ hello, veggy! September 13, 2013

And it’s gone! :S

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Emily - It comes naturally September 13, 2013

Mmm…I was just wondering whether to make cookies or chocolate mousse cake this weekend – maybe I’ll use these as a base for my mousse… Thanks Angela and Ricki!

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Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat September 13, 2013

Love these cookies and love that they’re super easy and are naturally sweet!

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Stacy L. September 13, 2013

Yes, Angela, I have been having difficulty printing recipes too. When I printed The Big Salad it printed ads and ended up being scattered over 3-4 pages.

Thanks for all the awesome recipes! I get excited to check your blog every day!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2013

Hey Stacy, Thanks for letting me know! Are you by chance using Internet Explorer 8 (or below) for your web browser. Eric just detected a problem with that browser and it’s fixed now. Let me know if you continue to have any issues with printing! Thanks :)

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Ricki September 13, 2013

Thanks so much for this, Angela! That’s one of my favorite recipes, too! (And I have that same plate in the top photo!!). I should just note for your readers that my blog name has changed–it’s just rickiheller.com now (much easier to remember). ;) I know that agave browns/bakes much faster than maple syrup, so that may be why your baking time was a bit longer. In any case, your cookies look beautiful! :D

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2013

Ah, yes I don’t know why I can’t remember the name change! Sorry about that. I guess I’ll always know you as DD&D. hah. Will update the post. :)

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Tracy September 13, 2013

I couldn’t find it so I made the lightened up granola (one of my favorites) with sunflower seeds instead of almonds…I want to send it to my son’s school and I cannot send nuts. I will let you know how it turned out. Also, I used date sugar instead of sucanat. We will see!

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Lauren @ The Highlands Life September 13, 2013

Yes, these look so good! I need to make these for my GF friends stat!

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Alex @ Kenzie Life September 13, 2013

Lucky for me I’ve got a ton of homemade almond flour just waiting to be used!

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erin September 13, 2013

I LOVE almonds, especially recipes that involve almond extract. When I made your superseed protein balls, I added in some almond extract along with the vanilla and they were SO good.

Thanks for this recipe; I will try it out this weekend!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien September 13, 2013

I LOVE how easy these are! I think I would use your swaps as well, like the pure maple syrup and coconut oil. Can’t wait to try!

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Ricki September 13, 2013

I think those sound fabulous, too, Alexis! Sadly I no longer consume maple syrup as it’s too sweet for my metabolism. . . but I sure do love it. :)

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Katy @ Katy's Kitchen September 13, 2013

Definitely easy and they looks delicious. They kind of remind me of a vegan version of amaretti cookies. I could justify these as a healthy snack for sure :)

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Mandie Marie @ The Fruitful Turtle September 13, 2013

I love easy cookies!
I also love that cookbook :)

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Kathy September 13, 2013

I was wondering if the oil is a necessity in the recipe. I have eliminated oil from my diet. Can I substitute apple sauce here? These look yummy. Thanks!

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Ricki September 16, 2013

Kathy, you could probably leave it out, but I wouldn’t expect the texture to be as nice. . . they would tend to be a bit gummy without it. What about adding almond butter? I’d use 2-3 Tbsp and see how that works.

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Kathy September 16, 2013

The almond butter is a great idea! I’ll try that. Thanks.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks September 13, 2013

Congrats to Ricki on her book. Such beautiful recipes and love the looks of these cookies with all that texture going on!

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Ricki September 16, 2013

Thanks, Averie! :)

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Alex September 13, 2013

these look just right up my alley.
Any thoughts on using almond pulp instead of raw almonds? I’ve been making so much almond milk lately and have been freezing the pulp to make energy bars – but there’s only so many energy bars a girl can eat.
What would the substitution be? 1 cup almonds for 1 cup pulp?

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Ricki September 13, 2013

Alex, I think if you used almond pulp, you’d need to adjust the other ingredients, especially the fat content (since the milk will take some of the fat out of the almonds). It’s worth a try, but not sure how they’d come out! Normally, I’d use less pulp than full almonds, maybe 2/3 cup pulp per cup of almonds (but that’s just a guess, since I’ve never done it). Worth experiementing, though! :)

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Jane September 16, 2013

I used 1 cup of almonds and the pulp from making 1 batch of almond milk. I’m not sure exactly how much pulp it was, it was1 cup of almonds before I squeezed all the water out. They worked really well! I didn’t sub in any extra oil.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 13, 2013

I love the simplicity of this recipe! This is how cookies should be made – with real ingredients. Congrats on your new cookbook, Ricki! :)

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Ricki September 13, 2013

Thanks so much, Angela! :)

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Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty September 13, 2013

Looks yummy!

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Marissa@ohhhsolovely September 13, 2013

really looking forward to your book coming out….for both the food & photography!

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McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped September 13, 2013

I’m instantly attracted to recipes that have the word easiest or easy in them. These looks spectacular Angela!

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Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen September 13, 2013

These look fantastic! These will actually be a perfect treat to bake for my friend for her birthday on Sunday, since she’s gluten free and can’t even have GF oats!

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kimmythevegan September 13, 2013

This cookbook sounds awesome! Vegan, gluten-free, soy free and healthy – sounds great =)
Thanks for sharing this recipe for the cookies – they sounds super tasty =)

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Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} September 13, 2013

These cookies look absolutely delightful, thanks for sharing Angela!

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Lindsay @ Shiny Love Affair September 13, 2013

These look great! Will definitely have to try them out soon. That book also sounds like a great resource to have in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing :)

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Carl White September 13, 2013

The pictures have not only caused salivation but I can practically taste the food. Magnificent. Its so good. I guess i would make at least one or two at kitchen. Pray they turn out fine.

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Heather Williams September 13, 2013

I make these same cookies and use stevia instead of the other sweeteners and LOVE them. I love Ricki! She’s awesome and I’ve been reading her blog for about 2 years. By the way Angela, I mentioned your “The Big Salad” recipe in my favorite finds for this Friday on my Fab Finds Friday Post!:) Here’s the link: soulfulspoon.com/2013/09/fab-finds-friday_13.html#.UjPkjMZOOSo.

Thanks for your lovely work!!:) You’re incredible!

Heather @ The Soulful Spoon

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 14, 2013

Thanks Heather! :)

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Ricki September 14, 2013

Thank you so much, Heather! I’m thrilled that you like the cookies–AND have made them with just stevia! That’s great to know (and now I can tell others they can do the same, too!). And thanks so much for your kind words!! :D

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Laura @ The Green Forks! September 14, 2013

I saw another review of this cookbook just yesterday on another blog. It’s definitely going on my Amazon wish list! Thanks for sharing.

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Ricki September 14, 2013

Thanks so much, Laura! :)

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BerryBloomXO September 14, 2013

The almond cookies are huge right now and I can’t say the taste isn’t amazing!! Thanks for the recipe!
I have a slightly different recipe using almond flour and coconut oil on my blog: berrybloomxo.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/berrybakes-sugar-free-cookies.html
xoxo

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Ricki September 14, 2013

So glad you like them, BerryBloomXO!! I’ll be checking yours out as well. :)

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Del September 14, 2013

I don’t understand the line about the flax seed. Am I using 1/4 cup or 2 Tbsp?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 14, 2013

Hey Del, Use 1/4 cup ground flax. The two tbsp is referring to the amount of whole flax seeds that would need to be ground to make 1/4 cup. Hope this helps!

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Julie September 14, 2013

I have almond meal, I would like to use instead of grinding up whole almonds.
how much would I use instead of whole almonds?

Thanks,
Love all your recipes !!

Julie

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 14, 2013

Hi Julie, generally 1 cup of whole almonds makes 1 and 1/3 cups almond meal, so I suggest using 2 and 2/3 cups almond meal. Hope this helps!

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Erin September 14, 2013

Hi,
What are other oil options instead of sunflower?
Thanks

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 14, 2013

I used coconut oil with great success. Hope this helps.

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Marcela September 14, 2013

Hi Angela,
I love your recipes. I am planing party favors for my baby shower and I am betwee your nut granola clusters and these almond cookies. Which would you recommend in terms of easiness of batch preparation (enough for 30 people)?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2013

Hey Marcela, The nut granola clusters (this one? http://ohsheglows.com/2012/12/07/granola-nut-clusters-easy-portable-holiday-gift-idea/) stores/transports very well, so I’d probably pick that recipe.

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Jennie September 14, 2013

Easy indeed. Thank you:]

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Allison September 15, 2013

Angela- I’m LOVING all the great posts you have been putting up for your lovely readers! I can feel a new energy and spark in your recipes and in your writing. So glad to feel your passion back in full force! Thanks for all of the awesome recipe inspiration— I am dying to make the Elvis bars and the almond cookies! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 15, 2013

Aw thank you Allison! That means so much to me :)

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char eats greens September 15, 2013

These sound absolutely delightful!! And love the ingredient list!!

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Christina @ Pinch of Healthy September 15, 2013

These look fantastic! I love simple baked good recipes…pinning and making :)

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Hillary @ The Friendly Home September 15, 2013

I just made these to take to book club tonight. I gave one to my husband to try…he said they’re terrible and I should leave them all at home with him. You know what that means. :)

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Ricki September 16, 2013

Ha ha!! Thanks, Hillary. :)

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Brandi September 16, 2013

These look yummy! I love your photos! I’m going to make these today because they look so easy. I have a really easy almond butter cookie recipe on my blog that I make all the time too, a crispy version. I like the soft look of these. I like your sub of maple syrup too, that’s what I use 90% of the time. I love the smoky, deep flavor it provides. I like agave too, but it’s definitely sweeter. I don’t use oil anymore, so I will just add a tablespoon of apple juice or as needed. With all the almond flour providing so much oil/moisture, thy should still turn out plenty moist. Can’t wait to try them today! :)

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