Maraschino Marzipan Kisses (Gluten and Dairy Free) Plus a Review of the Cookbook That Every Baker, Gluten-Free or Not, Should Own.

The past few mornings there has been a chill in the air here that is signaling Fall’s arrival. The leaves are beginning to change color and the blogs that I read have all started posting and pinning recipes about soups, pies and holiday party themes. This is my favorite time of year and inevitably it will once again go by too fast, but while it is here I am going to bask in everything that I love about the season from the food to the wardrobe and possibly indulge myself in a few fall treats along the way. Like clockwork, when I felt the chill in the air I had the most overwhelming urge to bake, it happens every year and I no longer even try to resist it. Baking isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I have a few recipes in my arsenal that I know like the back of my hand. Unfortunately for me we can’t eat those anymore due to our new gluten and dairy free way of living. I’m not bitter, just stating the facts and maybe mourning a little at the loss of my old fall favorite, pumpkin spice tiramisu. *Sigh* So this little fall crisp in the air sent me hunting again for recipes that could become our new gluten and dairy free Fall food traditions.

Not too long ago I came across the most beautiful gluten-free cookbook, The Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free by Karen Morgan, in my local Anthropologie. I go there for inspiration every now and then, and I always seem to find just what I need to spark my creativity. Maybe you read my post for Faux “Buttermilk” Biscuits, I owe the return of our favorite southern breakfast staple to this cookbook so naturally it was the first place I turned when I had the urge to bake. Although the cookbook itself isn’t gluten and dairy free I have found that it is pretty easy to swap out my non-dairy ingredients and the recipes are still nothing short of stellar.

This book is packed with 75 recipes ranging from savory to sweet with some of the most exquisite, mouthwatering inducing photography that you will ever come across. It has become our “go-to” reference guide for gluten-free flours and has now earned its place on the kitchen counter where we keep our top 5 most used cookbooks. My favorite thing about this book though really had nothing to do with the recipes that were in it, even though they are all stunning. It had to do with the tone that the book was written in. My biggest problem with a lot of the gluten-free cookbooks that I came across in the beginning was that I felt like they reminded me more of what I couldn’t have any more rather than taking me on a journey to explore new ingredients that I hadn’t tried yet. No one wants to feel like they are on restriction, even if they are. I also know that there is a place and a need for the more “disciplined” tone of cookbooks but, admittedly, I am rebellious by nature and don’t cope well when I feel like I am being lectured too. Does anybody really? I really was thankful though for Karen, she didn’t kick this girl when she was already down, she uplifted, enlightened and inspired me to go beyond what I had always known and gave me hope that there was a delicious basket of baked goods at the end of our new gluten and dairy free tunnel.

Karen’s Maraschino Marzipan Kisses are currently my families favorite treat! We have taken them to friends houses when we were invited to dinner where they were met with raving reviews and they will undoubtedly be a part of Santa’s cookie plate this year. Besides the fact that they are absolutely delicious I adore them because they are by far the easiest cookie I have EVER made.

Maraschino Marzipan Cookies

adapted slightly from the Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free by Karen Morgan

2 cups Almond Flour or Almond Meal

3/4 cups sugar

2 large egg whites

3/4 tsp. pure almond extract

2 cups sliced almonds, coarsley crushed

1 lb. jar of maraschino cherries, drained

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the almond meal and sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Combine the egg whites and almond extract and add to the mixer increasing the speed to high. Mix until the dough pulls together in a sticky mass. The dough should be firm if it is too wet add a few tablespoons of almond meal and mix well.

Place the crushed almonds on a plate and set aside next to your work area. Using a 1 1/4 inch diameter ice-cream scoop, scoop out the dough and transfer it to a flat surface. This recipe makes between 16-18 cookies.

Once all the dough is portioned out fill a shallow bowl with water and lightly wet the palm of one of your hands. Rub your hands together so that they are moist, this will help the dough to keep from sticking to you.

Take one of the dough balls in the palm of your hand and gently press to flatten it out. You want the dough to be flattened to about the size of a half-dollar coin. Place one cherry in the middle of the disk and carefully lift up the edges of the dough enrobing the cherry with the dough. Roll the dough between your hands until it forms a ball. If the dough is too sticky it will pull away from the cherry, so you will need to start again by dampening your hands and flattening the dough. Roll the finished ball in the crushed almonds until completely covered and place on one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the remaining dough until all of teh cookies are complete.

Bake one pan at a time for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through. The kisses are done when the almonds are golden brown and slightly cracked on the surface. Let the cookies rest on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.







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  1. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies September 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Yes! I totally relate to what you said about the tone–I feel the same way with vegetarian stuff. I hate when the focus is on what you can’t have, or trying to make some sub-par version of it. When you focus on what you *can* eat, you never feel like you’re missing a thing. (Oh, and these cookies? YUM!)

    1. admin September 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks Kiersten! I couldn’t agree more.

  2. Megan September 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    First, I’d like to tell you how wonderful and inspirational your blog is-I’m excited to try every new recipe you post! So, thank you!
    Unfortunately, for me the Blackbird Cookbook was not such a success. I had been gluten free for a while, and been going through gluten-free cookbooks like crazy, with a very low success rate. So I was very excited about the Blackbird. Gorgeous photos, as you say, a different attitude towards the gluten free approach, recipes for things that are difficult even not gluten-free. I couldn’t wait to try the recipes. Sadly, the three things I tried to make were all dismal failures. I am a very experienced cook and baker. Over the last 3 years of being gluten-free, I’ve developed my own perfect GF pie crust, no-fail cake flour, and delicious GF bread. I wanted this cookbook to work; I wanted to LOVE it. But I sadly ended up donating it to the library book sale, because I didn’t want to be frustrated by the gorgeous photos attached to recipes that didn’t match them. I’m glad it’s been a joyful book for you; perhaps it’s better as an inspiration than as a bible.
    Also, I was thinking about your pumpkin spice tiramisu-I bet you could still make it. I googled “dairy-free tiramisu” and found recipes. All you would have to do is then sub in GF cake. Some of my favorite recipes are old ones I’ve had to rework. Happy cooking, and thanks for the great posts!

    1. admin September 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Wow Megan,thank you so much for all of the encouragement! I hate to hear that the book didn’t work out for you. I have made 5 or 6 things out of it and they have all been good with the exception of one. I am pretty sure that was my fault though, I am not the most patient person when it comes to baking.The Maraschino Marzipan Kisses are pretty fool proof if you ever want to try those. I think it’s awesome that you have developed your own recipes for pie crust and bread and the no-fail cake flour has me totally curious as to what is in it!I have had a few EPIC failures in that department. I am going to go and google “dairy-free tiramisu” right now and maybe I will attempt the GF lady fingers from the book! I will have to let you know how it turns out.:)

  3. Dana September 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    These look so good! Thanks for the cookbook rec. I’ve been slow to buy many GF cookbooks and do most of my recipe finding online, but I do love real books, especially ones with gorgeous photos of baked goods 🙂

    1. admin September 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Dana,

      I was pretty slow to buy GF cookbooks myself in the beginning, but our super supportive family gave us a few that really helped to get us on the right path. When I saw this one in person though I just couldn’t put it down.I wanted to eat everything in the book. It has really been a great investment for us and has inspired quite a few recipes around here.


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