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.