Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gluten-Free Almond Spice Cookies for Martinmas!

This past evening we celebrated Martinmas, the day of St. Martin, with a lantern walk. My daughter's kindergarten class all made their own lanterns using watercolor paper and tissue paper. With their candles burning bright, we headed out into the cold, starry night to walk the wooded trails, singing our lantern songs. This time reminds us to bring light into the world at a time of year when the Earth is beginning to turn inward. We carry this light with us as we journey deeper into the colder, darker winter months.

Typically, the end of the lantern walk is celebrated with hot cider and sugar cookies cut into the shapes of stars and moons. Our kindergarten classes opted out of this part of the festivities this year but my other daughter's 3rd grade class will be needing a gluten-free, egg-free recipe to accommodate everyone in her class. So I created this recipe for the next lantern walk coming up in a few days.

This is another xanthan gum-free recipe. It is also egg-free and can be made dairy-free as well. I used organic butter in my test batches. To make this dairy-free and vegan, I would consider using Earth Balance buttery sticks in place of the butter. Another thing to note: you can use either organic cane sugar or coconut sugar in this recipe. If you use coconut sugar, or even Sucanat, be sure to give it a whirl in your Vitamix or coffee grinder to create a finer, more workable texture for cookies.

Gluten-Free Almond Spice Cookies

These cookies are speckled with currants and a hint of spice....a perfect pairing to a mug of hot apple cider on a cold starry night. I have kept the sugar to a minimum but you can add up to 1/4 cup more per batch if you feel like having a sweeter cookie is important. I grind my raw almonds in the dry container of my Vitamix, though a coffee grinder would work too, but you would need to grind them in batches. Make sure to grind them as finely as you can without turning them all into nut butter!

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups finely ground raw almonds
3/4 cup superfine sorghum flour
3/4 cup superfine sweet rice flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Wet Ingredients:
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup coconut sugar or organic cane sugar
3/4 cup softened organic butter or Earth Balance
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

1/4 cup currants

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk together well. You may need to use your hands to sift though and crumble any ground almond clumps. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the chia seeds and hot water. Immediately whisk together well. Then add applesauce, sugar, softened butter, vanilla, and almond flavoring. Beat together using an electric mixer. Add dry ingredients to wet and beat again or use a large spoon to combine ingredients. Fold in currants.

Place dough onto a long piece of waxed paper. Gently form it into a 11 to 12-inch log (the dough will be soft) and roll the wax paper around it to help form the shape. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove log from your fridge or freezer and place onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/2-inch rounds. Place cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. You can bake half of the batch and keep the other half of the log frozen until ready to convenient! Source:

More Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes:
Peanut Butter Cookies
Oatmeal Heart Cookies
Flourless Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. These cookies look scrumptious. I'd never head of Martimas before, but it sounds like a lovely tradition.

  2. Hello,

    This looks like a great ( and healthy) recipe. I appreciate the tip about how to make the almond flour in the Vitamix-
    1. How long do you need to put it in for? what should it look like

    2. could I substitute coconut flour for the sorghum and rice flour?

    Thank you

  3. These cookies look amazing, delightful & ooh so tasty too!

    I really love your unique recipes & your lovely blog too!
    Your recipes never fail me!

    Many greetings from a recent gf foodie from Brussels, Belgium!

  4. What a lovely, lovely post, Ali! It made me "tear up" a bit with your words on Martinmas. Beautifully written! And, those cookies look just perfect, especially since you made the dough into a roll for slicing--great idea! I bet these are absolutely delicious. Last, love the beautiful lanterns. :-)


  5. These look wonderful! I'm thinking of substituting chopped dates or dried cranberries for the currants in a batch, too. Love it that the log freezes!!

  6. Thanks for your comments gals! :)

    Judee - I am not very skilled at using coconut flour or substituting it for other flours. Kelly @ The Spunky Coconut uses it a lot with great results. You could check her blog for ideas. The ground almonds should be a fine powder with possibly a few small almond chunks here and there that wouldn't grind up. I haven't timed it but I'm imagining that it is about 60 seconds with time for turning the machine off to tap down the almonds, or stir them up from the bottom using a knife.

    Enjoy! -Ali :)

  7. The lanterns and the cookies are beautiful, Ali :-) What a lovely school your girls go to :-)

  8. These sound lovely! And so pretty, with the flecks of currants. :)

  9. Lovely lanterns! Our lantern walk was a little less glamorous - we used our ikea christmas lanterns and walked around our neighborhood with a little more attention being given to our cat, who was following us, than to the lantern songs that we should have been singing. ;-). The recipe looks great. Will try these cookies for advent.

  10. Hello,

    Do you think I could substitute ground hazelnuts for the almonds? I've never tried grinding hazelnuts and I'm not sure if they would turn into nut butter too quickly.

    Looks tasty!



  11. Thanks for the comments everyone! :)

    Robin - I actually thought about using ground hazelnuts, I think they would work great! Bob's Red Mill sells finely ground hazelnut meal that would be perfect. I use it quite often for other recipes. I can't find it here in Bellingham so I order it directly from, but you could also grind your own too. :)

  12. GREAT flavor! The recipe went together easily, and was fun to make with children. We were in a bit of a rush though, so we used almond meal in place of the ground almonds, and pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and nutmeg. Also, we could only freeze the dough for 30 minutes, which was fine, except they cooked a little faster 12-13 minutes. If you find yourself in the same rush, watch the bottoms. I love using the chia seeds, so nutritious! Thanks Ali :)

  13. Thanks for the cookie tasting, Ali! These are amazing - not too sweet and I love the fact that there is no "grainy" texture like you would get from using brown rice flour! My daughter even liked them! These are definitely going to be part of my holiday cookie baking tradition!

  14. I've yet to try making a sliced cookie dough - gluten-free or not. This looks like an adventure worth trying.

  15. Ali thank you for this recipe! looking for a cookie recipe with almond meal and this looks delicious! can I substitute any other flour for sorghum flour? I have all kinds besides that! Natassa

  16. This recipe looks delicious, but I have one complaint. Why don't you ever put how much a recipe makes? Just because healthy ingredients are used, does not mean I want to spend my ww points on them. Could you please include this information - it would make it so much easier.

    Nutritional information would be great too, if you had it, but not necessary.

    Thanks you!


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