Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookies

A stack of gluten free almond cookies
Almond flour cookies with the nutty crunch of pecans.

Here I am again. Baking cookies. It's one way I cope with the world. Which, in case you haven't noticed, is totally moon bat crazy. So what do you do? The older I get the more I let go. And it's not just letting go of the obvious stuff, like that box of canceled checks from your first marriage or those hideous platform shoes you bought after seeing Saturday Night Fever. I'm letting go of things I once cherished. Stuff I used to believe. Opinions. The Right Way To Do Something. Why?

Because the older I get the less convinced I am that I know what is best. Sometimes it's hard to tell. I know from experience that the best laid plans can will often fail. And that sheer dumb luck can plop in your lap and splatter you with an unbidden opportunity. I've lived long enough to see the truth in my favorite line from Little Big Man. Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't. So I don't grasp anything too tightly anymore. 

Which brings me to Cheez Doodles and why you need to let go. 

My grandmother was a saver. The type of woman who, if you gave her a pretty new night gown, she'd just stuff it in the closet and never wear it. She'd go on wearing her crusty pink K-Mart gown. The one with mysterious brown stains down the front of it.

If you asked her, Why don't you wear the new nightgown we gave you? she'd swat away your question and begin rummaging around her kitchen cupboards. Rooting for food objects. To give you. A prize to take home. A dented can of baked beans from the reduced shelf at Walgreen's. Candy canes from Christmas past. And yeah. Cheez Doodles.

One particular visit, on our way out the door, my grandmother turned in the February light that slatted through beige vinyl blinds and stared at my two sons- twelve and nine at the time. 

You hungry? she barked. The boys shrugged. Take these, she told them, thrusting a giant bag of Cheez Doodles in their direction. The youngest carried the bag to the car. It was bigger than his head. We buckled in and drove off.

Can we open the Cheez Doodles? 

Steve and I looked at each other. Well. It's risky, I warned. God only knows how long she's been hanging on to those. 

Smell it first, offered the oldest. They tore the bag open in unison. And that's when it hit us.


The most duodenum wrenching rancid odor you could imagine. Filling the car's interior in an instant, thanks to the car heater cranked on high. Accompanied by - of course!- Seal's Kiss From a Rose on the radio.

That is some serious heinous-ity, gasped my husband, rolling down the window for some air. 

I think the expiration date expired, offered one son.

Smells so funky, said the other.

Close the bag, I yelled. Have mercy on us!

After airing out the car we rolled up the windows. 

Why does she keep old stuff? my son asked. Yeah. What good are old Cheez Doodles? said his brother.

Exactly! said I.

Almond flour cookies with a nutty crunch
A stack of sweet temptation. No Cheez Doodles in sight.

Nutty Crunchy Almond Flour Cookie Recipe

Almond flour and brown sugar give these slightly chewy cookies an almost caramel flavor. Seriously good.

You'll need roughly 3/4 cup chopped pecans set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients:

1 cup Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

In a separate bowl, cream together these ingredients:

1 1/2 cups organic light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon light olive oil
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey- or raw agave nectar
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water till frothy or use 2 free-range organic eggs

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed brown sugar mixture a little at a time and beat to combine until a dough begins to form.

1-2 tablespoons organic almond milk, as needed
Beat until a smooth cookie dough is achieved. Not too dry- not too wet. Somewhere in the middle.

Stir in by hand:
1/2 cup chopped pecans 

Cover the bowl and chill the dough for half an hour.

Take a walk. Weed the herb garden. Twitter.


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Ready your baking sheet. I use an Exopat liner* on my baking sheet; but you could also line a baking sheet with parchment paper. *These handy liners keep gluten-free cookies from scorching on the bottom.

Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop wads of dough and form them into 20 to 22 round balls; place them on the lined cookie sheet, about two inches apart. Press down on the dough balls to flatten a bit, but keep a slightly mounded shape- not too flat. They will spread.


Add a sprinkle of chopped pecans to the top 

Bake the cookies in the center of a pre-heated oven for roughly 17 minutes (a bit longer if you chill the dough), until the cookies are golden, and fairly firm to the touch.  Resist the urge to over-bake them. Do a test run, if you want to determine the exact baking time to your liking.

Remove the cookies with a thin spatula and place them on a cooling rack. They will crisp as they cool.

Delicious warm. Perfect for dunking. 

This recipe makes 22 cookies.

Recipe Source:

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More gluten-free cookie goodness:

Date Almond Cookies at Stuff 2 Eat
Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies at Gluten-Free Easily
Laura Schmitt's SCD safe Almond Flour Cookies
Oatmeal Buckwheat Cookies from A Gluten-Free Girl in Austin
Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Almond Butter Cookies at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free


Jen said...

Love it. The older I get, the more I'm letting go of too. ^_^

That said, I don't think I'll ever give up my opinion that cookies can change the world. ^_~

Cookin' Canuck said...

Oh my goodness. What a thing to hold on to! These cookies, however, look fresh and inviting.

Lori Jablons said...

Lordy, these cookies sound perfect! Must try them.

Your post transported back to the summers when I was 5-7 when my brother and I used to fight over the bag of Cheez Doodles on our way home from Jones Beach. Then I discovered Cheetos and let him have all the Cheez Doodles he wanted. :)

Susan said...

Karina, I must have missed the post that said you can eat nuts again... Yay! Less allergies!

Carrie said...

Thanks SOOO much for the link love Karina!! :-) And I can't WAIT to try these cookies!! My mouth is watering at the thought of cookies that taste like caramel!! YUM!

JW said...

Your recipes always make want to get up and try them out right away!

Speaking of Cheez Doodles - I don't suppose anyone has figured out a GF dairy free version of those??? We miss them and Goldfish crackers.

Rach said...

I want cookies - but it is waaaay to hot to bake. I love the story and the message.

The InTolerant Chef said...

My grandmother held on to things forever! We knew whenever we gave her a gift, it would come back to us in about 6mths. After my pop died, she started gifting his (used) belongings for Christmas and birthdays. The best was when she gave away his monogrammed hankies to my hubby, who doesn't have the same initials!

Lauren Denneson said...

Yum! Just what I need after my recent failed attempt at a crunchy cookie - are they really crunchy, somewhat like a mild biscotti? Or is the 'crunch' in the name from the pecans on top?

And, definitely hear ya on the letting go. I think those of use with food intolerances are very practiced at that :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Ah, letting go... I am all for it. And these cookies? I'm all for those, too!

Tracey Mardon said...

Can you hear me howling with laughter from Edm.? My boys and their Dad came into the office to find out what's so funny! Thank you for the laugh and the recipe, sounds delicious!

Kalyn said...

Seriously, once again I am stunned at your writing. (When I sit in front of the computer, ready to introduce a recipe, nothing this profound comes to mind for me!)

Letting go. I probably need to work on that!

The cookies look amazing too.

I Am Gluten Free said...

Friggin' genious, that's what you are!

Spring said...

Karina, I love your stories as much as I love your recipes... which have never failed me, and I've made a ton of them!

My great-grandmother once gave us a dead bird she had found on the side of the road, and saved in her one knows why. She decided we might like to "play funeral" with it. So we did.

It has been in the high 90's even here in Maine, but I am so baking these cookies tomorrow... I'll just eat them while floating in the pool afterward!

Dorami said...

hey is it possible to substitute the two types of flour with just rice flour? i don't have the almond flour or the sorghum flour. and where can i get xanthan gum? any substitute for that?


gfe--gluten free easily said...

Gosh, how so many of us can relate to that story, Karina! You never forget those incidents ... never. There are some lines in this post that are brilliant--thank you! And, thanks, too for sharing my recipe. It's a bit finicky, but a family favorite. I took some peanut butter cookies and my blueberry honey pie to my parents last Friday for lunch and my mom said, "You know it's your chocolate chip cookies that your dad really loves." LOL, but true. Of course, once they ate the other goodies, Dad was plenty happy, but that cracked me up. And, these cookies of yours look sensational. I'll sub another flour for the sorghum and let you know how they come out! :-)

Hugs to you this Friday!

Chelsey said...

What a funny story! I always like a good laugh in the morning. I bet your cookies smell polar opposite compared to those cheese doodles!

goodnightstars said...

oh mouth is watering...please just bake a batch and send them to me??

Deanna said...

Yum - these look delicious.

Your grandmother story totally cracks me up, too.

Ziuzs said...

they look so yummy! thx for the inspirations!:o)

dreaminitvegan said...

Love the story. Oh memories of older relatives....
This will be a wonderful cookie to add to the list for my son. Oh me too of course!

Saretta said...

You are not only the Gluten-free Goddess, but also the Quintessential Cookie Queen! I bow down to your cookie genius! ;-)))

Amy Green said...

Yes, a great message. I am great at letting go of food - the fridge and pantry get cleaned out every week when I grocery shop. But there are other things I hold on to. Your cookies look fantastic...I would love to have one with my coffee right now. It's never too early for cookies.

You made my day when you linked to my cookies. Thanks so much. **hugs**

cooperkelly4 said...

ok, these look too good and I have all the ingredients. off to make some cookie goodness!

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

What a wonderful story. I'm definitely letting go of the Cheese Doodles. ;-)

The cookies look so inviting. One of the lovely kiddos we're staying with this summer just made gluten-free cookies for us today. Comfort. Savoring the moment.

Thinking of you. It is a mad world. But we shall overcome!

cooperkelly4 said...

ok, these looked so good when I stopped by the other day I had to make them. I even had to share some blog love about them and send friends over for the recipe. So good! Thanks again. Kelly

*your sister said...

Do you think that potato, or maybe corn starch might be okay, as I'm fresh out of tapioca? I used the last of it on a batch of buckwheat choc chip cookies (my fave!) recently.

p.s. I was at my grandparents place yesterday for grandpa's birthday... I ate cheezies presumably from a bulk bin somewhere... And managed to only get sent home with leftover cabbage rolls:)


Kenna said...

I have noticed the same thing about aging. What I think I know, I don't really know any more. There's a certain surrender that begins to happen when life takes you by the hand and shows you what's really important instead of the life "goals" that we thought we would achieve. My 50's have been about accepting the mysteries of life instead of trying to control them. I like living this way much better. Thanks for all of your simple wisdom and GREAT recipes!

And I must say that the comment by Spring had me laughing so hard I was crying! I've also known older women who save and then give the strangest things. I hope I don't become one of them!!

LinP said...

Not only is your blog a delight to follow, Karina,your followers are a delight as well. I look forward to every post.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

OMG I laughed out loud at the cheez doodles. Why? My MIL is the same way with food - there are ANCIENT things in her fridge. There have been the same mysterious foil-wrapped items in the freezer since the day I met her (nearly 10 years ago now, and rumor is they were there well before then). I can imagine everyone swore off of cheez doodles for a while after that! As for these cookies, they are swoon-worthy. I love that you're baking with almond flour! I love it - and these cookies sound like heaven.

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen) said...

Cookies are my all time fave treat. This recipe is amazing! Going to be so fun to make.

Dana said...

Letting go...a fine art form. Noticed your use of Bob's Mill product - have been ordering there a lot myself and very pleased. The cheese doodle story is a classic. Cheese doodles always kind of ... scared me. They're so relentlessly orange and, on close inspection, it's still not possible to tell exactly what those things are coated in. Stuff that's not good for us, that's for sure!

Sabbatical Wife said...

These look yummy! I'm wondering if you or your readers have any suggestions for substitutions for the brown sugar. I bake sometimes for kids who are allergic to wheat, eggs, dairy, but also cane sugar. I'm guessing that brown sugars are usually cane sugar? I can get beet sugar, is there something simple I can do to compensate for the different taste and even texture of brown sugar vs. white? They are huge fans of your GF oatmeal raisin cookies (I make them with dried cranberries because one of the girls is allergic to grapes, but they are fantastic that way, too!)

Karina Allrich said...

Thank you all for the fabulous comments- love hearing your own Cheez Doodle style stories! xox

As for a brown sugar sub- yes, use beet sugar and add a teaspoon or two of sorghum molasses (not cane molasses if they are allergic to cane). I find it at most health food/whole food stores. If you can't find sorghum molasses, adding a teaspoonful or two of raw organic agave will also help with the flavor/moisture factor.

Cheers! xox Karina

Anonymous said...

I sort of tried this recipe out, half way through I realized I didn't have any brown sugar so I used white, and then I didn't want to wait for it to refrigerate so I stuck it in an 8x8 for an hour.... it came out like a cookie bar. Soft and chewy in the middle. Next time I'll stick to the recipe. Except I added cinnamon because I think everything needs a little zing! It made it yummy!

Cal said...

Made these cookies this afternoon and have just sampled one with a cup of tea. Very good. However, I followed the recipe religiously but after adding all the dry ingredients the mixture was still a wet, sticky mess. So I ended up doubling the amount of almond flour and adding half again of the sorghum. Seems like they have turned out just fine. Where did I go wrong?

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