Gluten Free Pistachio Cranberry Haystacks Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on December 12, 2010

The Holidays are filled with parties and candies and cookies and who wants to abstain? Certainly not me. So what’s a person to do?

This year I decided to make just a few small changes in some of my recipes, especially my cookie recipes. Changes that will make the cookies a bit healthier by lowering the refined sugar and packing them full of healthy ingredients but in no way compromising on taste or texture.

These Gluten Free Pistachio Cranberry Haystacks are a result of some of those small changes. Basically a dressed up macaroon, I have taken out the granulated sugar, used agave and loaded then up with pistachios and cranberries.

Pistachios have no trans fats, no cholesterol and contain as much protein as a serving of soybeans. Cranberries are loaded with antioxidants, and help prevent urinary tract infections and possible strokes. Coconut is rich in iodine which helps with thyroid issues, builds up muscles and aids in digestion. These cookies have no gluten, grain or dairy.

All in all I would say these cookies are darn near health food! Ah, healthy eating never tasted so good. And with the green pistachios and red cranberries, they really are a perfect holiday cookie!
So if you make a few small changes this holiday season and eat just a little healthier you can enjoy the fun and feasting with far fewer consequences. Small changes can add up to a big difference.

Gluten Free Pistachio Cranberry Haystacks Recipe

Gluten Free Pistachio Cranberry Haystacks Recipe


3 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
¼ cup agave nectar
2 cups shredded coconut (can be sweetened or unsweetened)
½ cup roasted, unsalted pistachios – roughly chopped
½ cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Whisk egg whites with salt by hand for about 30 seconds or until frothy. Add the agave and whisk to combine. Add the coconut, pistachios and cranberries and mix to combine.

Using wet fingers or a small ice cream scoop, mound 1 – 1½ tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets spacing about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 12 – 16 minutes or until they are deeply golden brown and have firmed up slightly. They will firm up more as they cool.

Let cool on the baking pans for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.


A gluten free recipe that makes 24

Need a quick meal?

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“The “Simply” in ‘Simply … Gluten-Free Quick Meals’ doesn’t just make for a catchy title. The recipes in this cookbook truly are quick and easy to prepare. – A. C.

“I set the timer on two separate nights and made two complete meals from Carol’s latest cookbook in 30-40 minutes. They not only pleased my family, but gave me new recipes and techniques to get dinner on the table faster every night.” – W. K.

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Ready for dessert?

Simply...Gluten-Free DessertsSimply…Gluten-Free Desserts is now available, with over 135 recipes not featured in my blog.

Available at bookstores including Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powells, Books-a-Million and Amazon. You can get it also HERE.

“I can now have recipes I know I can count on for every Dessert and Breakfast occasion! I’m thrilled!” – A. M.

“I am amazed! This recipe is BETTER than the ‘regular-with-gluten’ recipe! Thanks so much, Carol” – V. P.

“I love your gluten free recipes – I can now have my desserts.” – F.R.

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Categories:    Cookies & Candies

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I want to make these but . . . how much agave nectar? Is that a 1/4 cup? (not sure what the measure is).


Simply...Gluten-free December 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Yes, 1/4 cup of agave nectar!


Jeanine December 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm

You've done it again, Carol! Love these little holiday treats that you're coming up with.


Jas. December 12, 2010 at 8:02 pm

oh yum carol – these look delicious!


Nisrine | Dinners & Dreams December 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Wonderful recipe, Carol. Great photos as usual!


InTolerant Chef December 13, 2010 at 5:08 am

These are my kind of cookie! I didn't know how healthy cocnut was until now, I guess that's a great excuse to eat more of it!


Healing Cuisine by Elise December 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

So cute, so festive…and..dare I say, EASY? :)


Maggie December 13, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Hi Carol – I did not know that pistachios were so good for us. I'm glad to hear that because my kiddies and I love them! Your pictures are beautiful!


Helene December 15, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Simply delicious. I have never use agave nectar. Where do we buy it?


Deeba PAB December 15, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Pistachios are my fave nut, and cranberry makes everything yummier. These stacks are precious cute. Delicious holiday baking!


Wendy @Celiacs in the House December 16, 2010 at 9:11 am

Carol-Okay, these look good too. I haven't baked a single cookie yet and I've found two recipes here that have me thinking maybe I will quit being a gluten-free Scrooge and bake something.


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