Pillowy mounds of delicately sweetened gluten-free almond-flavoured shortbread cookie balls, made with finely ground almond flour. A perfect addition to a holiday cookie tray!
Last week, I baked these gluten-free Almond Shortbread Cookie Balls for Christmas. Instead of packing them away in the freezer or even in a cookie tin, however, I left them out on a cooling rack. You can guess what happened next! We now have freshly baked batch #2, tucked away safely for the Big Day.
Coming from a family of English and Scottish descent, shortbread cookies were always on our family Christmas cookie tray when I was a child. My mother used my grandmother's recipe, which in turn, had probably been passed down from her mother. Our shortbread cookies were usually served plain or with a tiny piece of candied red or green cherry pressed in the middle.
I love traditions, so, along with Butter Tarts, Zebra Cookies and Crispy Salted Coconut Cookies, shortbread is always served in our home at Christmas time, too. This year, I decided to try a gluten-free version and I baked these Almond Shortbread Cookie Balls. I was happy to see that they turned out light and soft, just as I had hoped. Using Super-fine almond flour was the key to their delicate texture.
The next day, I made another batch, formed small balls of dough as usual, but this time I flattened them slightly using the base of a glass. I pressed a small piece of pecan into the dough before baking.
These cookies are subtly flavoured with orange zest and vanilla and are lightly dusted with cinnamon. Best of all, this recipe requires a minimal amount of sugar.
Variations of Almond Shortbread Cookie Balls
The variations on this recipe are almost limitless! You could change the flavouring, incorporate spices in the dough (chai spice anyone?), add finely chopped cranberries and/or nuts, or decorate with nuts, dried or candied fruit, or chocolate. Bake, cool, and hide!
Gluten-Free Almond Shortbread Cookie Balls
- 2 cups Super-fine blanched almond flour, (not almond meal)
- 6 tablespoon butter, softened
- 6 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
- 2 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Cream softened butter and sugar together. Add Superfine almond flour, orange zest, salt and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Use a cookie scoop to scoop 1 inch balls of dough. Space 1 ½ to 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Roll balls in the palm of your hand until round.
- Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden brown. Meanwhile, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon sugar. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. These cookies freeze well.
Loved these! They reminded me of a traditional German Christmas cookie with their nutty flavor. Always appreciate cookies like these that don't give me a sugar headache.