I am so freaking ready for cookie baking season! The ‘cookie season’ lasts from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, in case you didn’t know. On January 1, you guys get all healthy on me and swear off cookies, so I just crawl back into a hole and wait for chocolate season (AKA Valentine’s Day).
My cookie baking season spans all cultures, all holiday traditions, and all flavors. I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like!
I mentioned a few weeks ago on instagram that I was swearing off dairy and my husband was taking a break from gluten. I’ve always been one to turn to food to solve my problems, either by adding something nurturing to my diet (maybe that’s a hot toddy before bed), or by taking something away that’s not serving me, like dairy. The thing is, I haven’t been feeling or looking my best. My skin is a mess and I started noticing fine lines around my eyes. And I blamed my new mascara for smudging under my eyes for about a week before I realized it was under eye circles. It was quite a shock.
I decided to add some things to my diet (turmeric, maca and cacao) and eliminate other things (dessert before dinner, dairy, and chocolate). The fact that my husband decided to cut out gluten was fortunate timing. I was really in the mood to tackle recipes that fit the strict bill, because I love a good challenge. When I was a private chef, I loved clients with dietary restrictions. It gave me so much creativity to be locked within a gf/df/vegan/paleo box. I know that sounds crazy, but it works for me–I’m really good with what I have in front of me. I’m not so good at dealing with wanting things I can’t have.
So, I made a quick search on my favorite healthy blogs (Nosh and Nourish, Ambitious Kitchen, With Food + Love, Heartbeet Kitchen, Brewing Happiness, Feed Me Phoebe, The Clever Carrot, Snixy Kitchen, The Pig & Quill, and Bojon Gourmet), and made a grocery list/game plan.
Notice that neither one of us said we’re giving up sugar. I decided to limit my intake rather than completely abstain, because I’m actually the wicked witch of the East—a life without sugar would make me melt into a green steamy puddle. But, that puddle would probably taste like matcha, and it would be okay. I’d let you drink me.
I’ve had Alanna’s gluten-free/mostly dairy free baking book on my nightstand for weeks. Alanna’s photography, writing, baking, and breathing inspire me. Her cookbook is called Alternative Baker, and her blog is called The Bojon Gourmet. Go ahead and click over, dive into her photos, and try to come up not hungry.
I had a very hard time deciding what to make first, but I ultimately settled on these Pistachio Lime Matcha Snowballs. Or Russian Tea Cakes. Or Polvorones. Whatever you call those cookies that are featherlight, melt in your mouth, and are dusted with heaps of powdered sugar. I love the sound of the flavor combo (matcha gets me every time), and pistachios and lime are always welcome to the party.
Alanna has mastered the art of gluten free baking (and making sure it tastes just as good as the original), but here’s the thing: the second time I made these cookies, I used all-purpose flour (minus a few tablespoons) and they turned out just as good! So, if you’re gluten-free, make these, and if you love gluten, make them with all that floury flour.
They’re kinda Grinch-y, and I totally love that.
Yields 32 cookies
Pistachio Lime Snowball cookies from Alternative Baker, by Alanna Taylor-Tobin.
20 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons lime zest (from about 3 large limes)
- 1 cup blanched almond flour*
- 1/2 cup oat flour*
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch*
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup raw pistachios, chopped finely
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350, and position a rack in the center.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Place the sugar and lime zest in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix on low speed until very well mixed (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add the almond, oat and tapioca flours (or regular flour--see note below), matcha powder, salt and chopped pistachios, and mix until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Add the butter, piece by piece, to the mixture while mixing on medium-low speed. Beat until the butter is completely incorporated, and the dough comes together in large clumps, about 3-5 minutes.
- Have the powdered sugar ready in a shallow bowl.
- Form tablespoon-sized balls of dough, roll in the powdered sugar, and place on the baking sheet 1" apart.
- Bake 15-17 minutes--do not over-bake or they will dry out. They are done before the bottoms start to turn brown. They will appear soft, but they will crisp up as they cool.
- Let the cookies cool completely on the baking pan, and then roll them again in the powdered sugar, plate and serve.
- They will keep airtight at room temp for about 1 week.
*You can make this recipe with regular all-purpose flour, too! Just use 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour.