I love, love, love snowball cookies. The rich, buttery yet crunchy consistency is nothing less than a bite of heaven. As a health nut, I’ve never had vegan, much less gluten-free ones. And one of my kids is allergic to pecans, the ingredient that adds the crunch, so I have never ventured to make them myself. So I recently decided to come up with my own easy plant-based recipe. Vegan. Gluten-free. And pecan-free too, although you can easily swap out my replacement–chopped almonds–with the traditional pecans.
The result: an even more delicate and buttery cookie than those made with wheat. The lack of eggs and gluten–that act as binding agents in baking–makes these snowball bites extra delicate and indulgent. If you’re not gluten-free, use all-purpose flour.
I prefer to use maple sugar/syrup in baking because maple sweeteners contain more nutrients and have a lower sugar content than cane sugar, so I use maple sugar in the batter. I love the Mast brand of maple sugar because it’s extra fine like confectioner’s sugar. But I use traditional confectioner’s sugar for the coating here to give the cookies that festive, snowball look!
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Vegan Gluten-Free Snowball Cookies
- 1 stick unsalted vegan margarine/butter 1/2 cup, softened–can be made soy-free using a soy-free vegan butter brand such as Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Sticks
- ¼ cup powdered maple sugar or confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup oat flour
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup finely chopped almonds or pecans
- ¼ cup tapioca flour also called tapioca starch
- OR 2 cups all-purpose flour for a traditional method using wheat
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup powdered confectioners’ sugar for coating or date sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream the margarine, powered sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until the batter is well combined and airy.
- Using a sift, add in all the flours and salt, mixing as you add. Test the consistency of the batter to make sure it’s solid enough to form a ball of dough. If it’s sticky, sift in 1 Tbsp of tapioca flour and mix well.
- Freeze the shaped balls for 10 minutes. This step is not required, but it helps to guarantee the firm round shape while baking.
- Form the dough into ½ inch balls in the palm of your hands.
- Place the balls on a cookie sheet that’s been greased or covered with parchment paper.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until firm and slightly golden. These delicate cookies can easily overbake, so be sure to watch them closely and remove from the oven immediately once they’re done.
- Cool for 5 minutes.
- While the cookies are still warm, coat them in the powdered sugar. Place back on the baking sheet to cool completely.
- Store in an air-tight container to keep fresh.