Gluten Free Almond Chocolate Cherry Stars Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on February 11, 2015

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Despite what all the country music songs, poetry, and heart-wrenching literature have to say about it, love should not be difficult. And neither should baking gluten free cookies for your Valentine!

Of course, anything that is worthwhile, like a truly fulfilling relationship, takes some work. But drudgery and misery? No! The work should be something you want to do, with a purpose that lifts you up and does not pull you down into despair.

In both romantic relationships and cooking I have experienced times when the effort was just not worth the reward, when too much time was spent on worry and the feeling that I was just not doing it right. I have learned that when I find myself spending an inordinate amount of negative effort in an endeavor, it’s time to change something. Time to simplify. Time to focus on pleasure, not pain!

While I am not really qualified to give you relationship advice, I can offer you a simple and delightful recipe for gluten free cookies.

This recipe started out with an old recipe I have for Italian star-shaped cookies studded with maraschino cherries. I thought the recipe would be a perfect one to convert to gluten free just in time for Valentine’s Day. However, the LONG list of ingredients and numerous, slightly complicated steps seemed like way too much work. Don’t get me wrong, my loved ones are worth time and effort, but I think they would rather have me be loving and upbeat rather than frazzled and irritated after spending all day in the kitchen baking.

So I did what I do best, I found a way to simplify. And I did what I will also often do, added some chocolate. Because let’s face it – what says love better than chocolate?

This Valentine’s Day, treat someone you love to these charming cookies. Or just treat yourself. Because as we all know, true love starts with YOU!

Recipe Notes: Not all almond paste is gluten free, so beware and be sure to read the label. I know that Solo Almond paste is gluten free. You can find natural maraschino cherries without dye and high fructose corn syrup these days in health food stores, online and even in your regular grocery store. I started asking my grocery store manager to carry them and now they are always easily available to me – so if you don’t find what you are looking for in the store you visit regularly, just ask!


Gluten Free Almond Chocolate Cherry Stars Recipe

Ingredients

8 ounces gluten free Almond Paste
½ cup sugar
2 large egg whites
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
12 maraschino cherries plus 2 teaspoons maraschino cherry liquid

Directions

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.

Break the almond paste up into small pieces and place in a food processor or mixer. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the egg whites, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and maraschino cherry liquid and process or mix for 2 minutes or until the batter is moist and smooth. The batter will be sticky.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag or cookie press fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the batter into 24 stars about 1½ inches in diameter on the baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. To make it even easier, you can simply drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared sheets. Dry the maraschino cherries well and cut them in half. Top each cookie with half a cherry.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (You can skip this step if in a hurry, but if you piped the cookies into stars, the edges will be more defined if you chilled them before baking.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the cookies for 25 – 30 minutes. Place the parchment paper or baking mats on a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely before peeling off the paper.

Servings:

Makes 2 dozen

Ready for dessert?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

marylin vallis February 12, 2015 at 9:32 am

Can I make the almond chocolate cherry stars recipe without using the cocoa powder?

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Carol Kicinski February 23, 2015 at 11:20 am

Yes!

xo,
Carol

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Lynn March 19, 2016 at 10:45 pm

Can you make these in a sugar-free variation? Thanks!

Reply

Carol Kicinski March 25, 2016 at 11:08 am

Lynn,
I’m sure you could substitute the sugar for coconut sugar or whatever you like. You would have to make your own almond paste though, because there’s sugar in that, but you can always Google to find a recipe for that. Also there’s sugar usually in the maraschino cherry liquid, so you would have to leave that out and use regular cherries and maybe just use cherry juice instead.
xo,
Carol

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