This post gives you our Italian Almond Cherry Cookies recipe – which includes a recipe for paleo-friendly and super easy 2 ingredient almond paste – as well as a round-up of some of our other favorite holiday treats, don’t miss our Cookie Exchange with YOU at the end of the post!
Each year Stacy over does the holidays. I talked about it a bit in this post, but essentially she attempts to participate in every tradition known to man. One of them is delivering sweets to people we know. This year we delivered homemade peppermint marshmallows to work friends. Then we hosted our own Paleo Potluck with a Grain-Free Cookie Exchange. And although we made FOUR different types of desserts for that party, there was a recipe still lurking in Stacy’s head that she wanted to make for the holidays.
When our final holiday potluck party came around (other than the annual brunch we host) Stacy was insistent on the need to recreate an Italian cookie her grandmother used to make. And boy, was it worth the insanity of running around gathering ingredients and testing into the wee hours of the night before that very party! Despite may attempts to recreate that puffy cookie with a chewy center, we ended up preferring this version.
Our Italian Almond Cherry Cookies are a cross between this classic version and an almond lace cookie. It’s crisp, but still with a bit of a soft chewy center. They’re the kind of cookies you just can’t eat one of. The cherries are the best part, so don’t skip it!
Italian Almond Cherry Lace Rosette Cookies
- 1 pound blanched almonds (should be whitish, pieces or slivers OK)
- 17.6 oz or 2 C raw honey (should be thick and creamy)
- ♥ Grind the nuts in a food processor until they are almost the consistency of almond flour.
- ♥ Add the honey and process until the mixture forms a very sticky, pliable ball.
If you want a stiff and slice-able version, check out The Paleo Mom’s Marzipan recipe.
Italian Almond Cookies
- 1 1/2 C almond flour
- 1/2 C tapioca (or arrowroot) flour
- 1/2 t cream of tartar
- 1 t baking soda
- 2 t kosher salt
- 2 C almond paste (this brand is gluten-free, or make your own above)
- 2 T lard, butter or palm shortening, softened
- 1/3 C palm (or other granulated) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 T vanilla extract
- 2 T kirsch (preferred) or cherry juice from Maraschino cherries bottle
- Maraschino cherries*, halved
Tillen Farms was the only brand of cherries I could find without glucose (often derived from wheat) or any weird additives. I was lucky to find it at my local Whole Foods; if you can’t find it, use whatever brand you’re comfortable with.
- ♥ Whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a bowl; set aside.
- ♥ Beat fat and sugar on medium-high speed of a mixer until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in almond paste in batches while running on medium-high speed until mixed smooth, about another 2 minutes. Lastly, add remaining wet ingredients until combined.
- ♥ Slowly, add dry ingredients to wet while beating on low, until just combined. Chill dough for 20-30 minutes.
- ♥ Place a scant tablespoon of dough piled as high as you can about 2″ apart on the tray (12 per baking sheet is ideal). Center a cherry half over each uncooked cookie. Return dough to chill in between batches. Sadly, you won’t be able to get a true rosette shape with this dough (trust me, we tried, a LOT) it just spreads too much – but, if you think of these as a cousin to the lace cookie they’re just lovely.
- Bake cookies in the center of your oven (one tray at a time) at 375°, until lightly browned, about about 12-14 minutes. Let cool before serving. Makes a lot of cookies (48+), our jar of cherries covered a batch plus more for eating.
The best part of these cookies were that the boys were VERY excited about the cherries. I haven’t seen them this excited about helping us in the kitchen in a long time. Each boy wanted to cut their own cherry halves and then place them into the center of cookie. It was a wonderful time to talk, tickle, sneak cherry halves to eat ourselves, and enjoy each others’ company. Let your kids help you with marked (♥) steps too!
Our Holiday Cookie Exchange with YOU
Wait, you want more desserts to make for the holidays?
You over-achiever, you. We like to diversify too… here’s our recommendations!
First, you’ve got to make yourself some eggnog. It’s my personal favorite edible substance in the world, of course, and making it yourself is totally worth it! After your done making it and have spiked all the egg nog you want to spike, try making the cookies or ice cream as well!
Next, make our holiday tradition, MONKEY BREAD! Ever since Stacy introduced it to me, I’ve been monkeying bread every Christmas and it’s popularity has spread to the rest of my family. All three of my brothers now ask me before Christmas if I’ll be making it this year. It’s time consuming to make, but quite worth it!
Dark Chocolate (Velvet) Banana Bites
A super quick and easy brownie-like treat, Dark Chocolate Banana Bites are another old favorite that we make over the holidays. Velvet smooth and chocolatey delicious, I know you’ll enjoy a tiny sweet treat during the Christmas week.
A Festive Beverage (other than nog)
How about a drink? We recommend you go ahead and make our Chai Thai Tea or our Pumpkin Cider Latte, both which you can (of course) “spike”. On that busy day of unwrapping, you should definitely relax in your easy chair with a cool cup of coconut milk and tea. And on a cold day, nothing is more refreshing than a warm pumpkiny, appley drink to sip on.
Our new Holiday Bundt Cake is perfectly festive! And Christmas colored too! Who wouldn’t want a slice of cake filled with red apples, green pistachios and chunks of white chocolate?
Need something to spread on your Christmas morning pancakes? Why not make your own Apple and Pumpkin Butters?
Our favorite cookies in the whole world are Elana’s Gingersnap Cookies. They’re crispy on the outside and delightfully chewy on the inside. But if you are on a more restrictive autoimmune diet, you will be unable to eat them in their native form. Luckily, we’re coming to your rescue! Chewy Molasses Ginger Cookies are autoimmune friendly and fantastically tasty, too!
For something truly decadent, why not make our Pumpkin Bread Pudding? You heard that correctly! Pumpkin Bread Pudding. It’s creamy, it’s pumpkiny and it will impress your friends and enemies alike!
S’Mores Marshmallows were our special New Year’s Day treat last year and are exactly as delicious as that sounds in your head right now!
And Finally, a bit of a gift…