Cardamom is one of my favorite spices – a close second to cumin. During the holidays I amp up my use of cardamom because it not only feels appropriate, but necessary. :) These Chai Spiced Snowball Cookies are flavored with a good dose of both ground cardamom and ginger. Just enough your tongue tingles and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
These cookies are similar to pfeffernusse, which is a favorite holiday cookie at our house. The texture is a little different though. It borders on chewy and velvety. They are dense with concentrated spice flavor. The cookies are rolled in powdered sugar while still warm and this creates an almost-candy shell on them.
Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend is the newest gluten-free flour to grace my special GF baking cupboard. And yes, I really do have one! Gluten-free baking is rather tricky. There are so many different flours, starches, and gums to experiment with. It’s nice to not have to worry about that, you know? Sometimes I just want to pull out the flour and start baking. The Artisan Flour Blend gives me that freedom. Pamela’s asked me to come up with a gluten-free holiday recipe to share with you. It was so fun creating this cookie recipe. I hope you’ll love it as much as we have.
I made these vegan, but you could use butter in place of the coconut oil. You could also use another kind of oil like canola, safflower, or grapeseed. The addition of brown rice syrup keeps them really soft. As I was testing out and developing this recipe, I also made the recipe using honey. I like both ways, but the honey cookies had a lovely, extra velvety texture. They also didn’t spread as much as the ones made with brown rice syrup. Use what you like the best and the differences will be negligible. I think maple syrup might make the dough a little too wet, so if you go that route, add extra flour.
As I made different batches of these cookies, I also experimented with pressing the dough for flatter cookies or using less dough to see how they spread. Because of the coconut oil, the dough is more oily than you’re probably used to. Add as much flour as the dough can take without being crumbly. The dough should form smooth balls and stick together, but not fall apart.
Be sure to use extra fresh spices for the cookies. If you have time and the capability to do so, grinding whole spices is preferred. I just bought really fresh, fragrant ground spices, so I used those.
- ½ cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup brown rice syrup (can agave or honey)
- ¼ cup evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
- 2 to 2¼ cups Pamela's Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 1-2 cups powdered sugar, for rolling and dusting
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk coconut oil, brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, vanilla bean, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a medium-large mixing bowl.
- Switch to the spatula or wooden spoon and add 1 cup of the flour and mix well. Add more flour, about ¼ to ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition so there are no dry ingredients visible. You might not need all of the flour. The dough should be firm and hold together in a ball without being crumbly or too dry. You can chill the dough at this point, or bake right away.
- Form into 36 small balls, about ½ tablespoon each. Place on the baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies are firm and golden brown on the edges.
- Let cool slightly on the cookie sheets. While still fairly warm, roll the cookies in the powdered sugar and let cool completely before storing in a jar or another airtight container.
Disclosure: Pamela’s compensated me for developing a recipe using their Artisan Flour Blend. All opinions expressed are 100% my own, as always. I only recommend products I love and use in my own kitchen.