I've been on a Christmas kick over here for over a month, but as it turns out, I feel a bit less odd, thanks to the whole Christmas in July phenomena. Yay! To get into the spirit, I played around with a cookie recipe, and thought I'd share it as tribute to this month and my favorite holiday, even if real Christmas isn't for another five months.

This is THE COOKIE I've been wanting. Shortbread + almond + soft but not crumbly + easily adaptable for different flavors (see below). They have same flavor and texture as our favorite Scandinavian almond kringles, but with a fraction of the work and fewer ingredients.

Of course they're not strictly "Christmas cookies," however, they do meet my goal for shortbread-consistency and they are gluten-free. That pairing has been difficult for me to mimic in the past. Whether or not you add the optional icing, these literally melt in your mouth.

Almond shortbread drizzle cookies

adapted from Outside Oslo's cardamom thumbprint cookies, makes 2-2.5 dozen, or more if you make them smaller

Dough:

1 cup finely ground almond flour

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour*

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar (for traditional flavor, I used organic cane sugar, but you could try subbing coconut sugar)

1 stick or 113 grams unsalted butter, softened but not melted**

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract, + 1/4 tsp almond extract for icing, if making

*I like Bob's Red Mill all purpose flour (in the blue packaging) or Cup4Cup. Personally, I avoid any gf all-purpose flours that have bean flours as I find that they negatively affect aftertaste, in my opinion. If your cookies don't need to be gf, simply use 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup almond flour.

**If your butter is cold and you want to bake without having to wait too long for it to come to room temp, grate your butter! It will soften very quickly and easily incorporate with the sugar.

Icing (optional):

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 T milk

D I R E C T I O N S :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until well-blended.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until fluffy, at least a few minutes. Add egg and extract and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients to the wet and blend briefly, just until combined. The dough will be fairly wet, but should roll easily.
  4. Roll into 3/4" balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press down lightly with fingers for a flatter cookie. I did this with half of the cookies and found them prettier, but the taste and texture is the same. If you prefer a rounder cookie, leave as is.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until only slightly soft on top and just barely golden underneath. They will be quite pale in color.
  6. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. If desired, make icing: whisk all icing ingredients together, altering proportions of sugar or milk until icing drips easily, but isn't so thin that it soaks into the cookies.
  8. Once cookies are cool, drizzle icing over cookies.

Enjoy for fika or Christmas or whenever!

Flavor variations:

  • sub in vanilla for the almond extract for a slightly more traditional shortbread flavor.
  • add cardamom (like the original recipe suggested) for even more Scandinavian-esque flavor
  • add lemon zest, sub vanilla for almond extract in dough and icing
  • add orange zest and cardamom, sub in vanilla for almond extract