Easiest Almond Cookies + Review of Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on September 13, 2013


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.


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.


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


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!




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


  • 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.


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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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

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Brandi September 17, 2013 at 12:37 am

I made these today and they were delicious! So simple and quick, which is what most people want. I have a vegan blog so I’m usually real busy writing my own recipes, but was drawn to this recipe for the almond factor, gluten-free and how easy it was. My hubby, daughter and I all loved them. I made a couple of changes: I used 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice in place of the oil…they were plenty moist with all those almonds, I added a 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for some warmth and instead of almond extract (I didn’t have any) I used 1 teaspoon maple extract and the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Oh my…the maple extract made them amazing and my hubby couldn’t get over the smell of them as well. Thank you so much for sharing such an easy, delicious and versatile recipe! I’ll be making them often I’m sure :)


Katie September 17, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Yum!!! Just made these and they are warm fom the oven and delicious. Love your blog, I’ve just discovered it and have been on a spree as I’m trying all your recipes…


Ashley September 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

These look so good! Do you think I can use almond meal instead of the raw almonds? If so, how much almond meal would you recommend that I use?


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 19, 2013 at 7:35 am

Hey Ashley, Yes I think you could – usually 1 cup whole almonds makes 1 and 1/3 cups almond meal, hope this helps!


Ashley September 19, 2013 at 8:26 am

Thank you! That is so helpful!


Alexis September 20, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Angela or Ricki–Do you think this would work with soaked almonds? I prefer to soak my nuts if possible because it makes them more digestible for me. Thanks!


Ricki October 20, 2013 at 8:13 am

Sorry so late, Alexis! You’d have to dehydrate the almonds first, and then grind them. Hope that helps!


Wendy September 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Hello Angela, Do you think using Almond milk pulp would work instead of ground almonds, have you tried this, so far I have used the pupl to make a quick bread but these cookies sound delish, thanks.


Victoria R. October 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I didn’t like these as much as I wanted to right when they came out of the oven. But once they cooled and hardened, they almost became sweeter. Their crunchy, nutty flavor intensified and these became such a tasty morning snack!


Althea October 14, 2013 at 1:40 am

Just wanted to let you know I tried these and they are the best cookies in the world. So chewy. I loved the texture and will be making these a lot! Thank you so much for sharing. So happy.


Ricki October 20, 2013 at 8:14 am

So glad you liked them, Althea!! :)


Colleen Elisabeth Chao November 17, 2013 at 10:41 pm

These are RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. Wow! Thank you for my new favorite GF/DF/SF cookie recipe!


Jen January 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm

I LOVE these cookies! They are so easy and quick. The third time I made them I ran out of almond extract so I used rum extract and added a little shredded coconut….REALLY amazing! Love your blog and I’m constantly using your recipes!


silvia February 22, 2014 at 7:56 am

Wow, this looks delicious



Fran April 25, 2014 at 10:21 am

Hi, fantastic mix of ingredients, thank you. I have just started making it & then realised that i’m using ground almonds instead of the skin(?). The mix is now wet & sloppy & minimal volume. How can i rectify? Thank you. I only had 1 cup of almonds (ground) available.


Frances Wu June 27, 2014 at 7:37 am

Hi Angela,

Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I made these last night and they turned out great! I subbed maple syrup for honey and added hemp hearts as well. They were such a hit. This is definitely my favourite cookie recipe to date simply because they’re healthy and delicious. Most cookie recipes I’ve tried without butter, flour, or sugar are never that tasty but these are fantastic.



Diane January 19, 2015 at 8:03 pm

Hi, do you know the nutritional info for these cookies? They sound great but I wanted to know the calories per serving, protein, fat, fibre, etc.


Lyuda April 14, 2015 at 11:23 am

Just to clarify…..2 cups make 16oz, so why there is 12 oz given in brackets?


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Hi Lyuda,

I think Ricki was referring to a 12 oz weight measurement not liquid.


Patty November 13, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Hello there, Love you’re blog! Regarding this recipe can u substitute or omit the flax seed?

Thank you


Roopal March 6, 2017 at 8:00 am


I just made them and they have turned out to be quite cakey in texture. Not like a crunchy cookie at all. I used honey instead of agave nectar but everything else is the same. Could you please help me? what went wrong?


Angela Liddon April 3, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Hey Roopal, Of course! I mention in the blog post that these are supposed to be “ultra soft” cookies, so they aren’t supposed to be crunchy unfortunately. I hope this helps and that they were still enjoyed! :)


Siobhan March 23, 2017 at 10:52 pm

Hi there do you think I could use walnuts in replace of almonds? If so would you recommend toasting?

Thanks so much


Alexis Nikitopoulos November 30, 2017 at 10:13 pm

If I wanted this to be oil free could I use almond butter or tahini instead?


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 1, 2017 at 9:31 am

Hey Alexis, I’m sorry I’m not sure! I think if you did use almond butter the cookies would be a bit more dense and thick, and they could need a bit less bake time. If you try anything please let me know how it goes. :)


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