Gluten Free Almond Cookies

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I got an early Christmas present this year! It's yet another cookbook but I am so excited about it!

It is the Ultimate Gluten Free Cookie Book by Roben Ryberg. A lovely little book full of - yes, you guessed it - gluten free recipes for cookies and bars. Roben Ryberg has a lot of experience with gluten free cooking and baking. She has written two more books all full of delicious gluten free recipes. In this one she concentrated on developing gluten free recipes for all the all-time classic and favourite cookies. They are easy to make and most importantly affordable; she only uses two different types of gluten free flours instead of a mix of many which can be very expensive and quite difficult to track down.

There are so many cookies in this book!!! Definitely more than 100... and I have decided to bake them all!

Yes, I made the decision the moment I opened the book and I realised that there were no pictures of the cookies! What a disappointment that was. Such a useful gluten free baking manual and it only has no more than 20 - let me be honest here - very ugly, poorly lit and unappetising pictures! I was seriously heartbroken.

I am a very visual person, I love looking at the pictures in cookbooks and magazines and blogs, analyse them and try to understand how the stylists and photographers went about creating all these delicious looking and inspiring images. I have no professional photography training, I learn as I go and looking at food pictures, trying to recreate them in my own way is a great source of inspiration and training. 

So I decided then and there that I was going to set myself a challenge: Bake all the recipes and photograph all the cookies in this book. By the time I finish with it I am going to be an expert at photographing cookies :)

I should have waited for the new year to set myself  a challenge. It is customary that way but I was never a person to follow custom very faithfully. I mean, I never start a diet on Monday, it's either Sunday or Tuesday; or even better, Thursday! So now I will start baking ten days before the end of the year and don't really think about New Year's Resolutions. And since its Christmas I might as well use the decorations to make a few festive cookie pictures.

So let's begin...

The first recipe in the book is Almond Flower Cookies. A classic very soft and moist cookie. If you like almonds you are going to love this one! It is made with brown rice flour and almond meal. Both are very easy to find either at your local organic foods store or online at Amazon or here.

I blanched and ground the almonds into almond flour by myself. It is dead easy and kinda fun especially when skinning the almonds. Just follow these simple steps:
  • Bring a small pot of water to a boil and place the raw almonds into the water.
  • Let them boil for exactly one minute. If you boil them for longer they will start to soften!!.
  • Drain the almonds immediately in a strainer and rinse them with cold water to cool them. Their skins are now loose and easy to peel away. You can squeeze them out quite easily. 
  • Resist the temptation to start an "almond launching war" between you and your husband or children :)
  • Let the almonds dry off completely. 
  • To grind them place about 1/2 a cup in an electric coffee grinder and pulse several times until a fine meal forms. 
  • Don't over-grind them because they will release their oils and turn into almond butter!!
  • Shift the ground almond meal and place any large particles of almonds into the coffee grinder and give it another go. 
Now let's get on with the recipe....

Gluten Free Almond Cookies
Adapted from "The Ultimate Gluten Free Cookie Book" by Roben Ryberg
Makes about 25 cookies

65 gr oil
100 gr sugar
125 gr brown rice flour
60 gr almond meal
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon almond extract
25 whole blanched almonds


Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.

Lightly oil a cookie sheet/tray. 

In a medium size bowl, combine the oil and sugar and beat well. Add the brown rice flour and beat some more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once during mixing. 

Add the eggs, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt xanthan gum and almond extract and mix well. 

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough (it is quite sticky don't worry) onto your prepared tray. Wet your fingertips and press the cookies to 0.5cm/0.25inch thickness. 

Place one whole almond at the centre of every cookie.

Bake the cookies for 8 - 10 minutes until there is the slightest hint of colour. Let them cool on a wire rack before serving them.