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Gluten-Free Vanilla + Cinnamon Walnut Cookies


gluten-free vanilla + cinnamon walnut cookies // gratitude and greens // #glutenfree #vanilla #cinnamon #cookies #recipe #baking

For the past two weeks, I’ve been on a holiday baking spree. In my attempt to a.) spread holiday cheer by sending baked goods to friends afar and b.) recipe test along the way, I’ve made so many batches of cookies and granola that the pantry is now very well stocked. I think I’ve given a new meaning to the term “cookie monster.” My amused boyfriend looked on while I baked, chuckling, “She’s an unstoppable machine! Look at her go!!!!” Yes, I was an unstoppable machine, a new kind of cookie monster.

Of the many cookies I made, my favourites were these walnut cookies. These cookies are warmly spiced with vanilla and cinnamon, and have a crumbly yet buttery texture similar to that of shortbread. They remind me of these Danish butter cookies that I ate as a child—you know, the ones that came out of a blue tin? Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

gluten-free vanilla and cinnamon walnut cookies // gratitude and greens // #glutenfree #vanilla #cinnamon #cookies #recipe #baking

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Go Nuts For Walnuts: Omega-3s And Other Nutritional Benefits
Something I frequently hear and see are people who avoid nuts because of their high calorie, high fat profile. As I mentioned on Instagram on Sunday, eating high fat foods like nuts and avocados isn’t unhealthy. In fact, avoiding these foods means you miss out on all the amazing nutritional benefits of these healthy fats and other vitamins and minerals. These foods don’t make you “fat”- bad eating habits and processed foods make you “fat” and lead you down a road of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. (Fat is in quotations because fat is often misinterpreted as the best measurement of health, but it actually isn’t. A number on the scale says nothing about your cardiovascular health. The word “fat” is also used pretty offensively in popular culture (to fat shame), and I want no part in that. I like to think in terms of overall health, not by the number on the scale! This, however, is for another post another time.)

The walnut, for one, is an incredible powerhouse of a nut. Walnuts contain the highest level of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), more commonly known as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely beneficial for cardiovascular health, and in 2009, a study conducted found that those who consumed walnuts saw a drop in overall cholesterol. These omega-3s also make walnuts an excellent source of nourishment for the brain, as they help enhance and support cognitive function. According to a recent study conducted by Tufts University, walnuts have an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect on the brain, which expresses itself in improved brain signaling and brain cell growth. Walnuts have also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer. The best part: if you look at a cracked walnut closely, you’ll see its uncanny resemblance to the human brain! As if we needed any more convincing, right?

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gluten-free vanilla and cinnamon walnut cookies // gratitude and greens // #glutenfree #vanilla #cinnamon #cookies #recipe #baking

These cookies aren’t overly spiced, but you can use less cinnamon and even skip it altogether if you’re not a fan of the spice. I made them gluten-free with combination of walnut flour and brown rice flour, but feel free to sub all purpose flour for brown rice flour if you want. The walnuts, however, are key to the recipe- so I highly encourage you to keep them in there! I did try making these with coconut oil, but the result was a bit of a mess, and probably requires a revisit for further testing.

I love having one of these cookies with a cup of coffee, or dipped in a glass of almond milk. They’re very easy to make, and the second to best part about the entire cookie making process (the best being the eating part) is the sweet smell of vanilla and cinnamon that fills your home.

Gluten-free Vanilla + Cinnamon Walnut Cookies
Yields 18 cookies.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup ground walnuts/walnut flour
    • To make walnut flour, simply grind 1 – 1 1/2 cups of walnuts in a food processor. Pulse a few times, scraping down the sides to make sure you’re not turning it into nut butter.
  • 3/4 cup Earth Balance butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut sugar and butter together in a bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla extract.
  2. Add the walnuts, cinnamon, brown rice flour, and sea salt. Continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Cover a flat surface with saran wrap, and gather the dough in your hands. Using the wrap, gather the dough and roll it out into the shape of a log. If you are unsure how to do this, this is a pretty good tutorial from The Pioneer Woman.
  4. Refrigerate the dough, and allow it to chill until firm. I chilled my dough overnight, but I’m sure a couple hours in the fridge will do the trick.
  5. Once the dough is ready to bake, preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  6. Unwrap the cookie dough from the cling wrap, and slice up the log.
  7. Place the cookies on the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes. They should be golden brown and a little darker (although not burnt!) at the edges.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool.

Enjoy : )

I’d love to know: what’s your favourite holiday cookie? What have you been baking in your kitchen?

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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sources: [1] [2] [3] [4]

more cookie recipes:
coconut chocolate thumbprints by healthy nibbles and bits
cranberry chocolate chip cookies by the pretty bee
healthy holiday gingerbread cookies by my new roots

43 Comments

  1. Sarah Grace
    December 17, 2014

    Mmm. I can only imagine how great these taste as I love the sweetness and creamy texture of walnut butter <3
    http://freshfitnhealthy.com/2014/12/chocolate-chip-cookie-dough-mugcake-gf-df/

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Sarah! They’re preeeetty tasty. Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  2. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
    December 17, 2014

    You can not skip the cinnamon…EVER! I love the ground walnuts! Fabulous cookie!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Yes, cinnamon is the best! Once I get the coconut oil version right you can make a dairy-free version of this :)

      Reply
  3. Megan Scharlau
    December 17, 2014

    I’ll need to show this to my gluten free roommate! These sound like something she’d love

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thanks Megan! Gluten-free people need treats too, am I right? Hope you’re having a fab weekend :)

      Reply
  4. Selena @ The Nutritious Kitchen
    December 17, 2014

    Looks so delicious!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Selena! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  5. GiGi Eats
    December 17, 2014

    Vanilla, Cinnamon & Walnuts… MMMMMM!!!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      I know, such a great combination! Hope you’re having a good weekend GiGi :)

      Reply
  6. Alanna
    December 17, 2014

    Love the warm spices in these cookies, and walnuts are so nutritious AND delicious!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Alanna! I love how warmly spiced these cookies are, too. And yes, walnuts are amazing! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  7. CD
    December 17, 2014

    Cinnamon and vanilla? Yes please!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Yes!! I love the combination of the two. Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  8. Pamela Gurganus
    December 17, 2014

    I am loving this recipe! These cookies look and sound delicious! My niece just found out she needs to be gluten-free, so I’m excited to make these cookies for her! Thank you for sharing! :)

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Pamela! I hope you and your niece like these cookies. They’re go really well with a cup of tea or coffee! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  9. Arman @ thebigmansworld
    December 18, 2014

    These look delicious, Gen! My mum drills it in my head to eat walnuts and says they are brain food. Maybe they are, but they are also delicious. Pinned!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Arman! I like to think I get brainy superpowers whenever I eat almonds. And mums always know best! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  10. Lora
    December 18, 2014

    Those cookies look so tasty! I love sugar cookies, but vanilla cinnamon walnut cookies sound pretty good right now too! ;)

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Lora! I’m a huge sucker for cookies. They’re just so tasty! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  11. FJ
    December 19, 2014

    Looks delicious :9
    And, for your question, I love chocolate wafer and anything that made by strawberry.

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you! Ooo, chocolate wafers are pretty tasty! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  12. Michelle S
    December 19, 2014

    Sounds like a pretty great recipe, I love that it has nuts in it!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Michelle! I love snacking on nuts, cooking with nuts… they’re tasty and oh so good for you! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend :)

      Reply
  13. Gianna Lavett
    December 19, 2014

    These look incredible

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Gianna! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  14. Crystal
    December 19, 2014

    They look great!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Crystal! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  15. debby
    December 20, 2014

    ahaha i would love to have these for Christmas, inspiring. will buy if i could xxx

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Debby! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  16. Tina F
    December 20, 2014

    These sound so yummy I will be seding this to my friends that have kids that eat only gluten free

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thanks Tina, I hope your friend’s kids like them! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend :)

      Reply
  17. Sarah Grace
    December 20, 2014

    This sounds like a wonderful recipe and I can not wait to try it. I’m not really a cookie person, but I do love those shortbread cookies you mentioned in the blue tins. Better yet, you should try Walker’s shortbread cookies from Scotland. I always purchase a couple boxes during the holidays.
    You are so right about the often misused word “fat”. A lot of people are still not differentiating between good and bad fats, whole foods versus processed foods.

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Sarah Grace! I actually went to school for 4 years in Scotland, and yes, they have delicious shortbread over there! Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend :)

      Reply
  18. Richard Hicks
    December 20, 2014

    They look really appetizing and bonus gluten free!

    Reply
    • genevieve y
      December 20, 2014

      Thank you Richard! Hope you’re having a great weekend :)

      Reply
  19. Adriane
    December 20, 2014

    Those look good! My fave are Pecan Butter Ball cookies.

    Reply
  20. sue|theviewfromgreatisland
    December 21, 2014

    I’m a huge fan of shortbread, and walnuts are hands down my favorite nut, I love their slightly bitter flavor. These cookies are right up my alley!

    Reply
  21. Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania
    December 21, 2014

    This gluten-free recipe is just lovely! Wow, I learnt so much from your post, particularly that nuts are very healthy. I am new to your blog and loving my stay here. Merry Christmas to you! Stay in touch!!

    Reply
  22. liz - Meal Makeover Mom
    December 22, 2014

    Your cookies look easy and delicious. I love walnuts in anything and everything!

    Reply
  23. Shannon
    December 22, 2014

    Those look delicious! I love baking this time of year, it helps put you in the Christmas spirit!

    Shannon
    Clothes & Quotes

    Reply
  24. Sarah Grace
    December 23, 2014

    Oh my looks DELICIOUS!
    xoxo Sarah Grace, Fresh Fit N Healthy.

    Reply
  25. rachel
    December 28, 2014

    these look mighty tasty! I love walnuts! love the combo of flavors in these cookies! thanks for sharing! love your blog!

    Reply

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