Alisa Fleming ~ My family is dotted about geographically, so we aren’t always together at the holidays. To fill the void, my husband and I have created some of our own holiday traditions. One, for me, is cookie baking (his is cookie eating, naturally). Though most baking is done in the weeks prior to gift to friends and family, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are my times to relax in the kitchen … no one to email, no posts to write, all the stores are closed, errands can’t be run … the perfect moments for some low-pressure experimental baking combined with some Christmas cheer.
This year, I will be working on making the scrumptious, seasonal gluten-free snickerdoodles recipe below both egg-free and vegan. Gluten-free vegan cookies are actually not very difficult, but up that a notch to grain-free and Houston, we have a problem. True, almond flour works pretty well, but my husband won’t touch almonds (and neither can many of you nut-free foodies), so coconut flour it is. Coconut flour actually offers a wonderful texture and a lightly sweet flavor that lends itself perfectly to gluten-free snickerdoodles. But, it has zero binding power. Most coconut flour recipes use loads of eggs (yes, the one below uses quite a few) to add both liquid (coconut flour soaks it up!) and baking “glue.”
Those of you who can eat eggs will likely love this recipe. The original base recipe is from JamieOliver.com, but I adapted it to be dairy-free, changed the sugars up a bit, and expanded on the directions. As is, this is a slightly cakey cookie (but with a rather addictive texture) that is just sweet enough – a nice step back from the sugar-rich holiday season.
I decided to use some coconut sugar to add depth to the flavor of these gluten-free snickerdoodles. If you prefer a refined sugar-free cookie, then I think you will really like my Grain-Free Coconut Crazy Cookies recipe in Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free: A Whole Food Cookbook.
- ½ Cup White Sugar (see note above for unrefined)
- ¼ Cup Coconut Sugar, Evaporated Cane Juice, or Brown Sugar (I used the coconut sugar from Blue Mountain Organics)
- 4 Eggs, brought to room temperature
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ½ Cup Coconut Oil, melted (I buy Nutiva brand here)
- ¾ Cup Coconut Flour (I buy Bob’s Red Mill brand)
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the ½ cup of white sugar, coconut or brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and coconut oil together (make sure those eggs aren’t cold, otherwise the coconut oil may solidify and leave little chunks).
- In a small bowl, stir the coconut flour and salt together, and then stir them into your wet mixture.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes. If the dough appears too soft or wet to handle, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. It will set up quite a bit as the coconut oil chills and solidifies.
- Combine the two topping ingredients in a small bowl.
- Scoop the dough and roll it into balls. Jamie suggests using a small melon ball scooper, but I did them by hand and they were just a little smaller than a golf ball.
- Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, place the cookies on a baking sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat – I use a baking mat), and flatten them a bit. They don’t spread much.
- Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. They will darken slightly. Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for a few minutes, before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.