Gluten Free Goodies

Posted on December 15th, 2016

You might as well preheat your oven to 300 degrees now, because you’re going to want to try these by the time you’re finished reading.
Pillsbury is currently running a commercial that makes me laugh.  “It’s baking season!” they enthusiastically proclaim.  As if every single day of the year isn’t part of baking season, I scoff.  But even I admit to scaling up and increasing delicious output during December!  At this point, I’m pretty sure my physical composition is at least 50% Christmas cookies.  My stand mixer needs a nap.


Most of my trusty standbys are laden with flour and oats, but I pulled out an old gluten-free favorite this week to bake for the birthday of a coworker with Celiac.  For various reasons, more and more people have gluten-free diets these days, so having a go-to recipe is handy.  What I love about this one is that it stands alone, without being a traditional recipe that has to be modified.  No one feels guilty that special steps were taken for them because everyone wants to eat these just as they are!


Growing up I had only tried stale grocery store macaroons, which didn’t really do it for me, but once I tried a fresh bakery variety they’ve become some of my favorite cookies.  I actually use this same recipe in the spring, too, as a Kosher-for-Passover option.  Just swap out the accessories (aka sprinkles and icing) depending on the season!  It requires a bit of patience due to numerous steps and a longer bake time, but it’s a forgiving recipe, too.




  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 14oz bag of shredded coconut (not angel shredded)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scant teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkles!


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Crack egg whites into a saucepan, and whisk lightly.  Add sugar, coconut, and salt, and heat over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Stir frequently to prevent burning.  Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool for about two minutes before stirring in vanilla and almond flavors.  Place entire saucepan in fridge for about 20 minutes.  (You could use a separate bowl, but that’s more dishes.  I’ll pass.)


Line cookie sheets with silicone mats.  Scoop about two teaspoons of mixture, and drop onto sheets.  Since they don’t spread as much in the oven, you can place them a bit closer together than you would with other cookies.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove macaroons and add sprinkles, and return to oven for about two minutes.  This makes the sprinkles a bit more likely to stay put since we’re not using icing.  This might not be true but I’ve convinced myself it is.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit before transferring to wire racks to complete cooling process—avoid those soggy bottoms!


Yield: About 22 small macaroons.  Less if you “need” to “sample” the mixture a lot.
The almond extract is a bit unexpected, but it really enhances the coconut flavor and adds a bit of richness beyond pure sugar.  Almond can go from just right to too strong pretty quickly, so you have to be a bit careful with that measurement.  These are also a great choice for a cookie exchange since they’re pretty sturdy, and taste fresh for several days.  If you’re in a rush, you can skip the saucepan/refrigerator section and just mix the ingredients together, but I do think it helps the end product congeal with the right texture.  I bake most cookies on silicone mats anyway, but I think it’s really necessary on macaroons and macaron.  You could substitute parchment paper if need be.


Serving in a Christmas cookie jar highly recommended.