Christmas Cookies That Are Accidentally Gluten-Free and 100% Delicious

Christmas Cookies That Are Accidentally Gluten-Free and 100% Delicious

Get the recipe that’s been handed down through generations

Lara Vetter

Lara Vetter

Food Editor at Kitchen Stories

Every month we’re putting the spotlight on one community recipe that catches our attention and fits in with our monthly issue. This month it's all about Christmas. That's why we're featuring these traditional dark chocolate almond crescents from our community member Anja.

In Germany, you might find them in your local bakery, in airtight packaging in the supermarket, or in your family cookie jar: Christmas almond crescent cookies—with or without powdered sugar—but always with flaked almonds and dark chocolate. And it’s one such a recipe with a story, a handwritten one from her mother's collection, that our community member Anja uploaded to our app.

Although we see almond crescents as a local baked good, they have their roots in Arab cuisine. The ancestors of almond crescents came to Spain in the 9th century, and from there they eventually migrated to us via Italy.

Almond crescents are a kind of macaroon, just like the well-known coconut variety. This means that the dough is made up mainly of nuts, egg whites, and sugar. Unlike many other traditional cookies, they don’t contain flour. This also means that they just so happen to be gluten-free: making them a great option especially for allergy sufferers who often have to pass up traditional baked goods. After all, with the delicate flavor of the marzipan and the melted dark chocolate, it doesn't feel like you’re giving up on anything at all. Anja also points this out: without having searched for a gluten-free recipe, she rest assured that she can always offer an almond crescent to certain friends.

Another plus of macaroon dough is that the almond crescents have a pretty robust consistency and don’t crumble easily. Especially in times of social distancing, this makes them perfect to package up and mail to your loved ones along with your Christmas gifts. Make sure you line your cookie tin with baking paper and pack it neatly so that the cookies don't get shaken around too much. Finally, wrap a bow around it so the lid doesn't come off. Done! Your almond crescents will arrive in one piece.

One last tip for those who don't live in Europe: The raw marzipan paste you can buy here in any supermarket is different from what is often called "marzipan" elsewhere. The almond content of raw marzipan is usually just over 50%. In contrast, the marzipan that is often offered in the USA, for example, usually consists of about 30% almonds. An alternative for all those who can't find raw marzipan paste or who enjoy making it themselves: homemade marzipan! It's quick and easy and here are the instructions.

What are your favorite Christmas cookies? Do you have a recipe that works every time? Let us know in the comments or upload your own recipe to share with the community.

Published on December 18, 2020

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