Have you ever heard the saying, “when it rains, it pours”? This always happens to me, in all areas of my life. I will be going about my business, working away, everything is just so normal. It’s going to be another normal week, I think. Wrong. This week has been a downpour. Amazing news! Bad news! Weird news! All coming at me at once, from all corners of my life, from professional to personal––I need a bigger umbrella.
Before we get to the cookies, let’s explore some weather analogies as it relates to the news, shall we? After all, this is a food blog…
Amazing news is like a gentle spring rain. It smells fresh and is much appreciated because we all know that spring showers bring flowers. I love amazing news and I adore flowers (just check out this incredible bouquet I was gifted yesterday). Bad news is like rain on a wedding day, which I’ve heard is supposed to be good luck. In bad news, we come together and get through it, emerging stronger than ever. Weird news is like the time I experienced my first tornado at our cottage. I was out of sorts. My knees were clacking together like a room full of applause. I just wanted it to end. Weird news tends to stick around for a long time because we’re all fascinated by the unusual.
Weird news in the world is sometimes worse than bad news as bad news is often a fixable, black and white issue. Weird news hangs in the precarious grey area that no one can truly grasp, like an impending storm cloud, if you will. We all wonder what the outcome of weird news will be. With bad news, it’s immediate and clear.
I’m starting to confuse myself. What a tangled and twisted expression about weather and news that was!
What does this have to do with linzer cookies? Well, in times of weird or bad news, I undertake a daunting kitchen project. I generally take a cookbook off my shelf, look for a challenging, step-heavy recipe, and fully immerse myself in the project. It’s my preferred form of therapy. This time, I thought I’d work on a recipe that I’ve had a heck of a time getting just right for the blog: a gluten-free and vegan cut-out cookie.
While they’re gluten-free and butter-free (have I mentioned my number-one taste tester (hi Kirsten) is lactose intolerant and has celiac disease?), they still manage to have a buttery, melt-away, “short” quality to them. I made them on a rainy afternoon (I’m obsessed with weather, if you couldn’t tell) when I felt like giving myself a little kitchen therapy session. If you’re looking for a little active escapism (as in, not vegging in front of Netflix), I recommend making cut-out cookies. Totally cathartic.
Because there’s no gluten, you’ll have to be meticulous, following the instruction as precisely as you can so they don’t crumble. These are the cookies to make when you’re unhurried and want to just be in the kitchen, so give yourself time.
Amazing news, bad news, and weird news all require cookies. I’m not recommending making and eating these morsels as a therapy replacement, however, having to pay close attention to detail in the kitchen is a very simple way to get your mind of things. Unfortunately, the “zen” you’ll experience when making these will quickly vanish when you realize that you have to do the dishes. I can’t solve all of your problems!
- 1.5 cups slivered blanched almonds
- 1 cup chickpea/garbanzo flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot flour
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- ½ tsp xanthan gum (optional; I've made them with and without, they are slightly crumblier without)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup coconut oil, solid but at room temperature
- ½ tsp almond extract
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1, 6-ounce jar raw chocolate hazelnut spread OR about ¾ cup Nutella/gianduja (not dairy-free)
- In a food processor, pulse almonds, chickpea flour, coconut sugar, and salt. Add coconut oil and extracts. Blend until oils release and a solid dough forms (1 to 2 minutes), breaking up the dough, as needed. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper, flattening into a 1-inch-high disk. Chill for 20 minutes, until solid but still pliable.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Roll out the dough with a floured (I used arrowroot flour) rolling pin to be ¼-inch thickness. Cut out with a cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet. Roll out scraps and repeat until all the dough is used (you'll have to bake in two batches). Freeze for 5 minutes, to firm. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheet.
- To fill the cookies, very carefully flip over a cookie (they're delicate!) and spread about 2 tsp of chocolate hazelnut spread. Top with a plain cookie to create a sandwich. Repeat.
- Store cookies in a container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or the freezer for up to 1 month.