Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Soft Nutty Cookie Mounds (choose between Amaretti, Hazel-Chocolate, Pistachio) - gluten & dairy free


These are amazingly good..... Soft Nutty Cookie Mounds..... Really easy to make, but dangerously moreish, they are chewy bites of gluten free & dairy free loveliness.

Way back in the Autumn when I attended a gluten free baking course with Adriana Rabinovich, she made a plate of Amaretti Cookies which accompanied our morning coffee break. I was instantly hooked. Fortunately, she also supplied us with the recipe and no sooner than I was home, I set about making a batch to share with my family and friends.


As I enjoyed each and every bite however, my mind started wandering into the endless unseen hinterland of my food-obsessed imagination...... If these cookies could be made with ground almonds and dried cranberries, then surely they could be made with any other permutation of ground nuts and yummy additions? The variations could be unlimited!

The seed was sown...... As I began to pair nuts with fruits and chocolate in my head, I started storing flavour ideas in invisible drawers marked according to likely success and urgency to be made. Even the potential colour combinations became important....


Having settled on a a triplicate of flavours, textures and colours : pale, creamy coloured Amaretti (the original recipe), rich cocoa brown hazelnut-chocolate (the Nutella spin-off) and green-tinted pistachio and dried cherry..... I set to work like a witch at her favourite cauldron.

The resulting adaptations on Adriana's original recipe compliment and contrast each other perfectly in every way...... It is almost impossible to choose to eat only one, such is the allure of their differing exteriors, which tempt you towards the need to try each in turn, if only as a means of deciding a favourite.


And so you should..... Each has its own character, from hue, to aroma to taste and texture.... Beyond the crisp outer shell, you will experience the pungency of almond alongside the chewiness of cranberry...... the depth and earthiness of roasted hazelnut mingled with sweet decadence of cocoa and chocolate...... the sweet exoticness of green pistachio, interwoven with sweet vanilla and slightly tart cherry.....

To make sure the nuts shine, the hazelnuts and pistachios have been roasted before being ground to intensify their flavour.


I hope Adriana will like what I have done with her recipe and I thank her for her inspiration and a base on which to build. Since November I have made these little cookies many times and given them to many people..... I have not had any complaints and the empty tuppawares, tins and plates would appear to be testament to their certified approval.

And if you need to find an excuse to make them....... They are also a perfect recipe for using up left-over egg whites. You can't get a much better excuse than that!


I am sharing these Soft Nutty Cookie Mounds with the following linkies for April :


The Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation.










Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.











Bake of the Week with Maison Cupcake (& Casa Costello)











Free From Fridays with Emma over at the Free From Farmhouse.











The Gluten Free Recipe Fix with the Gluten-Free Homemaker.











Cook Blog Share with Hijacked by Twins.









Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too


Soft Nutty Cookie Mounds - Amaretti, Hazel-Chocolate or Pistachio

Ingredients

Amaretti (a recipe by Adriana Rabinovich)

90g ground almonds
60g caster sugar 
pinch fine sea salt
30g dried cranberries - chopped
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon almond extract
icing sugar

Hazel-Chocolate (adapted from a recipe by Adriana Rabinovich)

90g roasted, ground hazelnuts
60g golden caster sugar
pinch fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
30g dark chocolate chips (dairy free)
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon coconut syrup (or honey)
icing sugar and a little cocoa

Pistachio (adapted from a recipe by Adriana Rabinovich)

100g roasted ground pistachio nuts
60g golden caster sugar
pinch fine sea salt
¼  teaspoon vanilla powder
25g dried cherries - chopped
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon honey
icing sugar

Method 

  1. Base-line baking sheets (with enough space for each cookie batch) with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
  2. In a smallish bowl, mix together the ground nuts, sugar, salt, vanilla powder (for hazelnut and pistachio cookies) and chopped dried fruit or chocolate chips.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg white with the honey (or coconut syrup if using for the hazelnut version) until you have a thick, soft meringue mixture  (approx 2 minutes on high setting).
  4. Add and fold in the almond extract (for Amaretti cookies) and dry ingredients until you have a soft, thick, fully-combined paste.
  5. Put a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar into a flat bowl ready to dust the cookies (for the hazelnut cookies, also add a little cocoa to the icing sugar and mix thoroughly).
  6. Dust your hands with icing sugar and form the mixture into about 10 equal-sized balls, completely coating each with the icing sugar as you go and placing on a baking tray.
  7. Pinch each ball to form peaks and then bake for 15 minutes until crisp on the outside.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on the baking tray.
 Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

25 comments:

  1. these sound delicious - in paris I had some with discs of this sort of bake with patisserie cream and raspberries - just in case you want another variation in summer!

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    1. Thanks Johanna. Love the sound of adding some patisserie cream and raspberries. Yum! x

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  2. These look delicious. Love the sound of the hazelnut and choc ones!
    This recipe is an Ottolenghi recipe - I know as I happened to make them myself yesterday and the recipe is the same. Who's-ever they are, they are amazing. I rolled mine in flaked almonds before baking. Love the assortment you made :)

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    1. Thanks Katie. My favourites started off as the hazelnut ones, but then with each one I had, I changed my mind and then back again!
      Thanks for pointing out the Ottonlenghi link...... that certainly wasn't indicated by Adriana and wasn't noted on the recipe sheet either...... But yes... either way they are amazing. Love the idea of rolling in flaked almonds x

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  3. Thank goodness for your invisible drawers! We adapted your coffee and walnut cake by mistake and enjoyed it so now we no longer use the butter and it still tastes great.

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    1. Ha ha! Thanks DC. So pleased the Coffee and Walnut cake was good for you. What did you use instead of the butter?

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    2. Nothing, just a little extra yoghurt to bring it together. I have just made the almond version of these but they are not so coloured as yours so guess I need to dust with more icing sugar.

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    3. Yes.... I gave mine a good roll in the sugar to get a nice effect!

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  4. Ooooh yummy! I think I would have the Ameretti one first, followed by the others! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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  5. Oooo, now you have set my mind wondering if I can create these with no fructose so I can enjoy them too!!!!

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    1. If you can convert to a fructose free recipe, that would be great! They were really good! x

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  6. These look delicious. I will definitely have to make them. Some great flavours

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    1. Thanks Alison. I hope you like them! Let me know how it goes x

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  7. Ooo they look like little nuggets of gold! I'm very intrigued by these and you have described them in such an inviting way!

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    1. Thanks Kat. I think they set about describing themselves as I ate them! x

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  8. This is another amazing recipe of yours. I seriously want to try them all, especially the Pistachio Cookies! Pinning, stumbleing and making it! Super delicious!

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    1. Thanks Ilka. I hope you like them as much as we do! x

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  9. Such a great recipe! I love the 3 different versions, Pinned. Thank you for sharing, looking forward to trying them ;-)

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    1. Thanks Angela. Each one is very different from the last, yet so easy to make! x

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  10. These little balls must be irresistible! Very nice indeed and I love the flavours!

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  11. These little balls must be irresistible! Very nice indeed and I love the flavours!

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  12. These look like a perfect after dinner treat or homemade gift. #freefromfridays

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    1. Oh yes Emma. They would be perfect boxed up as a gift. Great idea! x

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