Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free Cookies Recipe with Almond and Flaxseed Meal

Sugar-Free Gluten-Free Almond Cookies
Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free Cookies with Almond and Flaxseed Meal

It's President's Day weekend in the U.S., but before I take a few days off, I thought I'd share this cookie recipe I made recently. If you've looked through my recipe archives, you see I have a few Low-Sugar Desserts, although I don't make a lot of cookies.  However, a few years ago I had a reader named Adam who inspired me to post a recipe for low-carb snickerdoodles. That recipe uses a whole stick of butter and although the cookies were delicious and it worked for Adam, who was an Atkins dieter, it's not something I would make now.

However, recently I found myself thinking about experimenting a bit with that recipe since I've been wanting to make cookies for my stepmother who needs to avoid sugar. The recipe can use Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener, and in the updated version of this cookie, I changed the butter for trans-fat free margarine and added a bit of flax seed meal to add some extra nutrition. This is a flourless cookie, and my favorite gluten-free expert tells me that as long as you make sure to use gluten-free margarine, this recipe is gluten-free as well as being sugar free and low in carbs.

Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free Cookies with Almond and Flaxseed Meal (Gluten-Free)
(Makes about 15 cookies, adapted from RecipeZaar.)

1/2 cup trans-fat free margarine (be sure not to choose a margarine that has water for the first ingredient)
1 1/2 cups almond meal (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
2 T flaxseed meal (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 cup granular Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla (I use Mexican vanilla)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Put on a plate for rolling cookies:
2 T Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

In large mixing bowl, beat margarine with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add half the almond meal, Splenda or Stevia, flaxseed meal, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and cream of tartar and blend well with mixer until thoroughly combined. Beat in the rest of the almond meal. Cover bowl and chill several hours, or as long as overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine 2 T Splenda and ground cinnamon on plate. Use a tablespoon to scoop out dough, then roll into a small ball and roll in Splenda or Stevia/cinnamon mixture. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. (I used a fork to smash the cookies down, which is optional.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are slightly firm and starting to brown. (I got distracted and baked them a few minutes too long, but they still tasted great.) Cookies will get more firm as they cool. These cookies are a bit more crumbly than regular cookies, but I thought the crisp texture was really nice. Cookies will keep for a few days, or can be frozen for a few months.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Made with trans-fat free margarine and Stevia or Splenda, cookies like this would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. They aren't low in fat, even with margarine, so this would probably be a "once-in-a-while-treat" for South Beach Dieters. This could be a good holiday cookie recipe, so I'm including it in my suggestions for Christmas Recipes.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Sugar-Free Cookie Ideas:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Flourless, Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Low Carb Cookies with Meringue and Pecans
Healthy Sugar-Free Cookies from In Love with Food
Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Hamantaschen from Gluten Free Bay

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  1. Wow, those are really healthy cookies--and they look delicious! Have a great holiday! You deserve it. :)

  2. These look good! I'm not prone to making sweets very often, but I'll have to definitely give these a try soon.

  3. This is a great recipe to have on hand, for the occasional gluten-free (and more frequent sugar-free) guests who come to dinner. I never know what to make for dessert.

  4. I tried one of these delicious cookies. I really liked them. Thanks Kalyn.

  5. Aww...thanks for the sweet shout-out. These cookies look mighty darn tasty, Kalyn!

  6. These are very pretty, and I need some rollable wheat-free dough for homentashn! I hope you won't mind if I make them as a sugar-full recipe, though!

  7. Hi everyone,
    The Chocolate Lady has a great point. This recipe would be great for gluten-free or dairy-free cookies even if you use sugar. Let me know how it turns out.

  8. They look delicious Kalyn, I'll pass the recipe onto my gluten-allergic friend too. I'm not allergic but I think I'll try them anyway. Also, I know what you mean about wincing at the photos - mine are still like that!

  9. I will have to make an almond meal cookie for my gluten-free clan. Thanks for the idea!

  10. Hi! These look great and I love the addition of the flax for some added benefits! Oh, and for those that are scared to use Splenda (like me) I saw recently on Food Network that a lot of restaurants are using it and people don't know.

  11. kalyn, that looks so delicious and so healthy and fragrant. I've bookmarked it to try it soon :)

  12. Oooh! I have to send my sister this for my niece. She'll be a happy lil' girl eating cookies like everyone else. :)

  13. I'm a big user of flax seed. Love it in bread.
    I think I'd love these.

  14. I made these this weekend. I used a stick of butter instead of the healthy stuff. The only problem I had was that I COULD NOT STOP EATING THESE! So, yes they will be a once in awhile dessert since I apparently have no self control. Thanks for the recipe.

  15. These sound great. I will have to look around and see if I can buy the ingredients here.

  16. So it's actually possible to substitute Splenda for sugar, cup for cup? I like using sugar as sugar, and have never tried converting a Splenda recipe before. Wish I'd seen your post earlier as I only found out pretty late in the day yesterday that someone who was coming over to our place was a coeliac!

  17. Hi Y,
    Yes, for baking Splenda is substituted cup for cup for sugar, and I haven't tried it but I'm pretty sure you could make these with sugar for someone who's needing gluten-free but can eat the sugar.

    For other recipes, I find Splenda is slightly sweeter than sugar, but it's still pretty much a 1:1 substitution.

  18. I just pulled my first batch out of the oven....
    I am in LOVE!!!!!!! YUM YUM YUM!!! Thanks Kalyn!
    I am on the Ketosystem regime so very low carbs for me..
    do you know roughly how many carbs would be in each cookie?
    I used butter instead as I am allowed to eat butter on my diet.. it made the texture perfect!
    Thanks again!

  19. Rebekah, sorry but I truly have no idea what the carb count is. The brand lf almond meal I have is 6 carbs per 1/4 cup but 3 carbs of that is fiber. My Flax Seed Meal is not in the original bottle, so I don't know the carb count for that. I would suggest you look on the containers you use and add it up, then divide by how many cookies you made.

  20. I made these last night and I absolutely loved them...what a treat. I couldn't find almond meal anywhere, so I took raw almonds and blended them into meal myself, then added the flax and the rest of the ingredients as the recipe says. My boyfriend and cousin (who are not dieters by any means) loved them too...they were a hit in my house!

  21. Thanks for these great recipes and this blog - will visit again and often. I came looking for a gluten free bread recipe but found much more.

  22. Wow! your recipe looks delicious! Im kinda strict with my sugar free diet and this one is really great... thank you

  23. Thanks Kalyn! I've been looking for sugar-free cookies to make for my favorite Aunt and have had a hard time finding them. I like the fact that these also include healthy flax meal.

    Also for Rebekah and anyone who is looking for the carb count. You can use the NutriCook nutrition calculator to figure out the total nutrition including carbs, fat, vitamins, etc and even keep track of your daily and weekly totals.

    Happy Holidays!

  24. I want to try these cookies. Can I use flaxseed meal in the place of almond meal?

  25. I don't think it would work at all. Flaxseed meal is nothing like almond meal. It's normally used in very small amounts to add nutritional benefits to a dish. Almond meal is finely ground almonds, so you can make your own from blanched almonds if you don't have it. You could probably substitute other finely ground nuts for the almond meal, but I don't know for sure.

  26. Hi Kalyn, your site has been a God-send as I try to make it through the south beach diet! I tried to make these cookies but when I put them into the oven the little balls melted and covered the whole baking sheet :( I'm thinking its because I used "I can't believe its not butter" instead of real butter. Any suggestions before I try again?? Thanks!

  27. Dannie, I'm not sure, but I bet that's it. Check your margarine to be sure water isn't the first ingredient. I don't think "lite" margarine will work.

  28. this recipe looks so yummy! Do you think I could use part olive oil and part margarine?

  29. Sarah, I don't really know but I'd love to hear how it comes out if you try it. I just bought a book called "Olive Oil Baking" so I love the idea of it.

  30. I live in Norway and flax seed meal here is outrageously expensive (like everything else-but this is especially so) but organic whole flax seeds are very cheap. Same with almond meal-the meal is expensive but the whole almonds are pretty cheap.

    Would it be an ok substitution to grind the flax seed and almonds separately into meals on my own (in the blender or food processor)? Has anyone else tried this?

  31. Whitney, I don't know for sure but I'd say why not try it and see?

  32. Thanks, the cookies look great!

    FYI Mexican vanilla is not good. They no longer make "real" vanilla there. They just add alcohol or other chemicals to the fake stuff to make it smell good. Fair trade vanilla that you can get in health food stores, or real madagasgar vanilla that you can buy online, is better.

  33. These look amazing... I've got a couple bags of soy flour; do you think I could use that in place of the almond meal (a small bag is almost $15 here). I'm on phase 1 and trying to find a way to bake (it's my passion) without breaking the rules...

  34. ekelly, I've never used soy flour, so I don't know how it would work. I need to edit this recipe though, because since I posted it, I read in one of the South Beach cookbooks that all types of flours are prohibited for phase one, even nut flour. I edited a lot of my recipes, but must have missed this one, sorry about that. And sorry that is bad news for your baking too.

  35. i was wondering how much baking powder can i use for soda and tartar...thanks

  36. Sorry, but I have no idea how to adapt to baking powder. You could try googling it.

  37. I just read on google that no good substitute for cream of tarter. Think that is only ingredient I need to make these cookies! Yummy!

  38. Marianne, I didn't know that so thanks for enlightening me. No idea how it would work without it, but probably it's essential I'm guessing.


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