Spotlight Recipe: Gluten-Free Almond Drops
These gluten-free drop cookies are a soft holiday sweet that you can make now -- or give as gifts -- and be confident they'll taste great. Sweet, spicy and fragrant right out of the oven, they still taste as fresh two weeks later. Store them in a tin for best keeping and beautiful presentation. --Linda Simon, Kitchen Therapy
If you are new to gluten-free baking, here is a little background information that might be helpful. Gluten is naturally found in wheat, rye and barley. So, when cooking gluten-free dishes, you can’t use ingredients made from these grains. That includes wheat flour, the main ingredient in most baked goods.
Gluten-free baked goods used to be dry, gritty and crumbly. They hardly seemed like treats. To get a lighter texture, food manufacturers relied on highly refined starches to replace enriched wheat flour. They often added large volumes of sugar and fat to improve flavor, too -- not exactly healthy! A gluten-free cookie or cake often has many more calories, carbohydrates and fat then the regular wheat version. That comes with little or no fiber or nutrition.
Then xanthan was introduced to improve the texture and give structure to many gluten-free baked goods. Breads, muffins, cakes, and pizza crust rely on xanthan so the dough can rise. Size matters -- for little treats like these cookies, you don't need xanthan.
When I’m baking gluten-free, I like to use a single whole-grain, gluten-free flour, for three reasons:
2. It is easier.
3. You get more nutrition when you leave out all the starches.
- Buckwheat -- despite the name it is wheat and gluten free.
- Oat -- they are naturally gluten free but are often contaminated with wheat during processing, so be sure to chose only certified gluten-free oats.
Each of these flours has a distinct personality. Some play well with others; some are picky partners. A common one, sorghum is easy to work with and that's why I use it here. Look for it in the health or special diet area of most mainstream markets.
These drop cookies feature one nutritious flour, no xanthan, no special equipment, no hard-to-find ingredients and no huge time commitment investment in time.
I adapted this recipe from Almond Crispies on the Bob’s Red Mill website. The original version used their gluten-free flour blend, but I prefer mine with just sorghum flour. A little almond extract goes a long way, so I have reduced it. Also, the original cookie was not crispy, so I changed the name.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil a baking sheet. In a medium bowl mix together sorghum flour, almond meal, slivered almonds, dark brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl stir together honey, oil, water and almond extract until thoroughly combined.
Add the honey mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until all the flour is mixed in. Shape by hand into 1 1/2-inch balls. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool and roll in powdered sugar.
Calories: 110; Total Fat: 6 grams; Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams; Total Carbohydrate: 15 grams; Protein: 2 grams; Sodium: 45 milligrams; Cholesterol: 0 milligrams; Fiber: 1 gram
Want to Try More?
Check out more whole-grain, gluten-free treats I’ve come up with on my site, Kitchen Therapy: