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Chai-Spiced Snowball Cookies (Gluten-Free)

Chai-Spiced Snowball Cookies (Gluten-Free) | A Couple CooksChai-Spiced Snowball Cookies (Gluten-Free) | A Couple CooksChai-Spiced Snowball Cookies (Gluten-Free) | A Couple CooksChai-Spiced Snowball Cookies (Gluten-Free) | A Couple Cooks

It’s easy to judge a cookie by its appearance. For every good recipe we share in this space, there’s usually multiple behind-the-scenes failures. Since I’ve always loved peeking behind the scenes (I’m one of those who watches all of those DVD extras — anyone else?), here’s a little back story on this recipe. These cookies are months in the making. The challenge: a tasty, gluten-free cookie with normal sounding ingredients that I might have in my pantry. We created a recipe and photographed it many months ago, but neither of us were crazy about the photos; something was a little bit off. I decided to remake the recipe as Christmas cookies with a ginger cookie twist, and they were a complete bomb (I still have the shakes thinking about them). Luckily, a new idea for chai-spiced snowball cookies surfaced, and after numerous attempts and melted cookies and lots of taste testing and maybe a little cursing, this recipe came to be.

But what came from all the trial and error is a buttery, rich, delicately-spiced cookie that got rave reviews from friends and family alike. The cardamom carries the show — I never realized cardamom is what gives chai spice its familiar zing. Try to get ahold of some ground cardamom for this recipe; and with the leftovers, you’ll may find yourself wanting to add a pinch in all of your baked goods! We’ve used coconut sugar an alternative sweetener that’s still sugary but a bit lower on the glycemic scale (but feel free to sub brown or white sugar). This is our first healthy Christmas cookie recipe of the season, and it’s one I know I’ll be making for Christmases to come.

I will also mention to follow the directions carefully; the cookies are a little different than the normal cookie and we did end up with one melted cookie in each batch since our oven heats a bit unevenly. Please let us know if you try them out; we’re anxious to hear your results!

As a final note, this recipe uses almond flour (ground almonds), which is best store-bought for its light, fluffy texture. Since almond flour can be a little pricey, here’s a coupon for $1 any Bob’s Red Mill brand product. Happy Baking!

Why to Make It: Rich-tasting, spiced Christmas cookie that’s on the healthier side, and gluten-free
When to Make It: The holidays!
Caveats: Read and follow the directions closely below; let us know if you have any questions. And check out the coupon above to invest in almond flour!

2.0 from 1 reviews
Chai-Spiced Snowball Cookies (Gluten-Free)
 
For a vegan variation, use ¼ cup melted, room temperature coconut oil in place of the butter; mix together all ingredients (except powdered sugar) in a bowl with a wooden spoon, then bake at 325°F for 10 minutes. However, the resulting cookie is not as rich and has a more crumbly texture; you may want to consider adding a bit more sugar in this variation to make up for the lost richness.
by:
Serves: 15 to 20
What You Need
  • ¼ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (such as Bob's Red Mill, or substitute white sugar)
  • 1¼ cup almond flour (such as Bob's Red Mill)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (no substitutions!)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, for dusting
What To Do
  1. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, mix together butter and sugar until fully combined. Add the remainder of the ingredients (except for the powdered sugar) and mix again until a cohesive dough forms. Turn out onto plastic wrap and shape into a ball; refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (make sure the temperature is true; adjust if your oven runs hotter than normal). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Roll into approximately 20 1-inch balls, pressing together the dough as necessary where it is crumbly. (Work quickly to avoid soft butter; if desired, refrigerate half of the dough while rolling the first half.)
  4. Place the cookies onto the baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, turning the pan halfway through for even baking, until the cookies are light golden brown but still soft. (Be careful not to over bake or the cookies may start to lose their shape.) Remove the cookies from the oven and cool them on the pan for 10 minutes (avoid touching; the cookies will solidify as they cool). Once hardened, transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  5. When completely cool, place ¼ cup powdered sugar on a plate and roll each ball in the sugar until coated.

This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. All opinions are our own; we’re huge fans of their products and use them often. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who keep A Couple Cooks in action! 

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table
    December 2, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I love these! cardamom is one of my favourite flavours, and these cookies, with their all almond-meal texture, sound like they would be an absolute dream. Perfection!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    December 2, 2015 at 8:06 am

    I am definitely a behind-the-scenes person. Thanks for the effort it took to get these cookies right, just for us. ;-) I can’t wait to try them! I bet they would also be nice with a dusting of coconut flour instead of powdered sugar to mirror the coconut sugar in the cookie. Will let you know!

    • Reply
      Katie @ Whole Nourishment
      December 4, 2015 at 2:43 am

      Made these last night for tonight’s dinner party. They are amazing and couldn’t be easier to make either. When mixing the ingredients I was afraid there wasn’t enough moisture to form a cohesive dough but I kept mixing like you said and it worked! :) I like both the coconut flour and powdered sugar dusting. I will definitely be keeping this recipe in my repertoire!

  • Reply
    Bethany @ Athletic Avocado
    December 2, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I totally feel for you! I’ve had countless recipes in my year of blogging that didnt turn out as well as I’d hoped! Im glad you found the light at the end of the tunnel with these beautiful cookies!! Im also happy that there are no weird ingredients that I have to buy to make them!

  • Reply
    Katrina
    December 2, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I am always on the lookout for easy holiday-themed cookies like this! I like the make big batches or “healthier” cookies so that I can sneak some of them in me before making the more butter-filled ones closer to the holidays to give away. The chai spice in these sounds great!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    December 2, 2015 at 11:29 am

    These sound delicious! But, do you think I can use regular flour? Sadly I am allergic to nuts…

  • Reply
    Rebeca
    December 2, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I love the sound of these! Anything chai gets my attention, and so little sugar! Must make. I’ll play with other options to coat them, though, and hopefully won’t ruin them. ;)
    Oh, and I certainly watch the DVD extras too.

  • Reply
    Erica
    December 2, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Completely agree with the cardamom. I bought some a couple months ago for A Cozy Kitchen’s chai spiced snickerdoodles and I haven’t stopped using it, I love the flavor it brings! These look so perfect and unique for the holidays, and can you imagine the smells from the oven?! YES.

  • Reply
    Danijela
    December 3, 2015 at 2:31 am

    What a wonderful, wonderful recipe. I’m gonna make these!

  • Reply
    Tessa | Salted Plains
    December 3, 2015 at 10:27 am

    These look fantastic. Excited that there is coconut sugar in these little snowballs – I bet it goes wonderfully with those chai spices! Lovely!

  • Reply
    Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together
    December 3, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Snowball cookies are one of my faves… and they are always so overlooked! I’m going to have to make a batch this year as part of my holiday baking… love how much healthier this recipe is!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    December 5, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I am in love with your photography! These look so tasty, I can’t wait to try them.

  • Reply
    Calla
    December 7, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    These look so tasty and healthy. I’m very tempted to try making them. Perfect for Christmas! Thanks for the post. Not to mention, anything with chai is my all time favourite.

  • Reply
    Virginia
    December 8, 2015 at 9:15 am

    These look and sound amazing! Did you use salted or unsalted butter? If using salted, should I cut the 1/8tsp salt out?

  • Reply
    kk
    December 24, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Hi,

    I loved the look and idea of this cookie. I am still new to baking for GF + Vegan friends but I couldn’t wait to try these out for Christmas. When I made them they turned out very dry and crumbly , like I needed more wet ingredients…when baked they just crumbled in to sand. Do you have any tips or tricks for making these?

    • Reply
      Sonja
      December 28, 2016 at 4:37 pm

      I’m sorry to hear the cookies were too crumbly! Did you use almond flour (not almond meal)? Almond meal results in a much more crumbly cookie. Let me know and we can keep troubleshooting!

  • Reply
    kk
    December 29, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Hi,
    Thanks for the reply! I did use almond flour but I also used coconut oil instead of butter…Could that have made a difference to the overall texture? ( Kind of like how when baking with butter the temperature and amount of time that you mix it can give you some different textures in your baked goods…?)

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