I remember a scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding in which the aunt breezily stated “That’s alright, I’ll cook lamb” for a vegetarian. Cooking for friends has broadened my horizon on various diets but navigating the holiday season can be challenging with food so steeped with traditions. My holiday cookie dessert extravaganza is coming along nicely and I am only a couple batches short of the target 16. The latest two additions were made especially for my friends on gluten-free diet.
There are many ways to gluten-free dessert nirvana but I have to admit most recipes share a very health-conscious angle. While I am quite happy to nibble on a date nut bar (think Larabar knock off), it is not my idea of holiday cookie. I want decadence! I want festive! I want indulgence!
Aside from that, I also want cookies made without uncommon ingredients. Any recipes calling for specialty flours, xanthan gum, ground flax seed, stevia, or agave nectar I automatically toss aside. I don’t have anything against those ingredients. I simply don’t want to stock my pantry with things that I may not use often. After a lot of research, I narrowed down to two recipes: No-Bake Coconut Snowballs (recipe from The Kitchn) and Flourless Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprints (recipe roughly adapted from Epicurious).
No bake cookie is a breeze to make. I wonder why I don’t make them more often. The coconut snowball dough started off crumbly and loose but once the oil released from the grated coconut, it was amazingly easy to work with. I shaped the little balls into 2-teaspoons size coated with more coconut. When the coconut oil hardened at room temperature, the cookies set up beautifully. This is a must for any coconut lovers. And I thought macaroons are easy to make!
The 5-ingredient flourless peanut butter cookie has been around for ages. A simple concoction of peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, and vanilla baked up sandy shortbread-like texture. What’s not to like? I was inspired by Joy The Baker to jazz up my cookies into thumbprints filled with elderberry jelly. Alas, mine flattened in the heat of the oven and they were not little buttons like I envisioned. My cookies looked rather…rustic. No matter, the texture was spot on and I loved the little dab of jelly in the middle. Or perhaps I should have stay with the bacon peanut butter cookies instead.
I have a third recipe bookmarked. I have a soft spot for macaroons made with almond paste and these Vanilla Almond Orange Cloud Cookies fit the bill to a T. Let’s hope I will not be too tired this evening after the gym and can give it a go. I can’t wait to show you the full assortment once everything is done!