gluten free mandel bread

If you asked me how many sticks of mandel bread I’ve eaten in the past 3 days, I can only tell you that I have no idea.

Making 8 different trials, the taste testing was beyond countable.

Take a bite, think.  Take another bite of the same one, think again.  Jot some notes down.  Repeat for all trials, then add, take 1 bite of trial X, then take one bite of trial Y, and compare.  Then multiple all that by 10, because there is no way I only took 3 taste test bites of each batch.

The good thing about all 8 trials was that none were inedible.  Not even close!  I have a HUGE pile of mandel bread, sealed in containers on my counter.  They’re also perfect for the freezer, which is where they’ll be headed shortly.  Actually, they taste great right from the freezer!  No thawing necessary.  And now I have a stockpile big enough to last for the next month.  

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The end result of trial 8 left me completely satisfied and surprisingly, not sick of baking or eating these cookies.  The color, taste + texture were about as close as they’re going to get, to their all-purpose flour counterparts. 

While it took me 8 trials to perfect, this is actually an extremely easy cookie to make!  Especially if you’re a newbie baker.  The only thing you really need to watch for is the end thickness of the dough.  You want it fairly stiff, but spreadable with a knife.  You don’t want it as stiff as chocolate chip cookie dough, that can be rolled into balls, but you don’t want it pourable either.  Right in between!

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They hold together + crunch just like the original version and have a nice, light, nutty flavor.  While I had experimented using tapioca starch, I concluded it to be unnecessary for these cookies. 

There was no need for a thickening agent, and no need to make them chewy, which is what tapioca starch is typically used for.

I also concluded that sweet rice flour is quite different from brown rice flour.  Mostly in texture.  Sweet rice is ground much more finely than brown rice flour and is also much starchier.  Brown rice flour can leave baked goods slightly gritty, while sweet rice flour has never had that affect in my recipes.  If anything, sweet rice flour can tend to make a baked good too starchy in texture, which is another reason why I eliminated the tapioca starch.

Round TWO flour combinations:

  1. 1/2c + 3T GF oat flour + 3T sweet rice flour + 6T almond meal [slightly off]
  2. 3/4c GF oat flour + 1/2c almond flour + 3T tapioca starch [bland]
  3. 3/4c GF oat flour + 1/4c almond meal + 1/4c sweet rice flour + 2T tapioca starch [too starchy + bland]
  4. 3/4c GF oat flour + 2T sweet rice flour + 6T almond meal [winner!]

Mandel Bread [v. 8] yields ~48-60, 1” wide cookies

  • 2 1/2c GF oat flour
  • 6T sweet rice flour
  • 1c + 2T almond meal
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1c pure cane sugar
  • 3/4c sunflower oil
  • 1.5t vanilla extract
  • 1.5t baking powder
  • 3/4c walnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 350* and very lightly grease [or line with parchment] 2-3 cookie sheets.
  2. Sift the oat flour + sweet rice flour together in a bowl, then gently fold in the almond meal.
  3. In a large bowl, stir the eggs together with a spoon.
  4. Stir in the sugar.
  5. Stir in the oil.
  6. Stir in the vanilla.
  7. Stir in the baking powder.
  8. Add about 3/4 of the flour mixture and stir until just combined, then add more as needed to thicken the dough.  The texture should be spreadable with a knife, so it can be formed into a large oval on the pan.  Not as thick as chocolate chip cookie dough, but not pourable. 
  9. Gently fold in the walnuts, then portion out into 3 equal piles of dough on the baking sheets. 
  10. Shape the dough into an oval, with a knife or spatula, approximately 1/2” thick, 5-6” wide, and about 8-9” long. Leave about 2-3” in between.  *refer to photograph below.
  11. Bake for ~30min, until the edges are golden brown.  The middle will feel slightly soft to the touch.
  12. Carefully [very hot!] slice down the center, and then cut about 1-1.5” slices going the other way. 
  13. Turn up on their sides and bake for 5 minutes.
  14. Let rest for 5min, then transfer to a cooling rack and eat once cooled.

tips/substitutions:  For high altitude, set your oven to 365* and use 1 1/4t baking powder.  As mentioned, all of the 8 flour combinations worked, so feel free to use any of them if you have those flours on hand.  These freeze extremely well [for months!] in freezer bags.  No need to tightly wrap with anything else.  If you leave out the walnuts, you may need to add 1T extra oat flour, since the walnuts soak up some of the moisture.  If your dough is not thick enough, add 1T more oat flour at a time.  Try not to over stir.

[from last year]

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Sidenote:  You may notice these look much lighter in color than the batches earlier in the week.  With the first trials, I was using sucanat sugar [evaporated sugar cane juice].  I ran out and it’s much more expensive than pure cane sugar [more finely ground, evap. sugar cane juice] which is what I used for the 2nd day of trials.  You are more than welcome to use sucanat, but realize it is drier than pure cane sugar and therefore will not need quite as much flour.  I suggest mixing together the full amount of flour and then start by adding 3/4 of the flour mix and then slowly add more until the batter is nice + thick.  It will probably require about 3-6T less flour total.

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Did you really think I stopped at version 8?

Of course not.  There was a version 9 + TEN!

Chocolate Mandel Bread yields ~48-60, 1” wide cookies

  • 2 1/2c GF oat flour
  • 3T sweet rice flour
  • 1c almond meal
  • 6T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4c chocolate chips
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1c pure cane sugar
  • 3/4c sunflower oil
  • 1.5t vanilla extract
  • 1.5t baking powder
  • 3/4c walnuts, chopped
  1. Follow directions above, adding the cocoa powder in with the baking powder, and the chocolate chips at the same time as the walnuts.
  2. For high altitude, keep the oven at 350*, or they may burn around the edges.

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So what was version 10?

Mandel Bread VEGAN + gluten free! yields ~48-60, 1” wide cookies

  • 2 1/4c GF oat flour
  • 6T sweet rice flour
  • 1c + 2T almond meal
  • 3T ground flax
  • 1/2c + 1T milk
  • 1c pure cane sugar
  • 3/4c sunflower oil
  • 1.5t vanilla extract
  • 1.5t baking powder
  • 3/4c walnuts, chopped
  1. Directions are all the same, except in direction #3.  Instead of adding the egg, add in the 3T flax + 1/2c + 1T milk [I used unsweetened almond, any should work] and stir until well mixed.  Proceed with directions from that point.  Baking time will increase by about 3 minutes. 

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I will also tell you about my high hopes to use this dough as a soft cookie recipe.

I took 1 cookie worth of dough from the chocolate batch and plopped it on parchment, into this little baking dish.  After 15min I took it out of the oven to let it cool.

While the texture was incredibly soft + chewy, the taste was too bland. 

Way more bland then the fully cooked version above!

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While I’ll continue to munch on + bake more mandel bread, I think the recipe trials have come to an end.  I’ll leave it to you guys to get creative with the mix-ins.

Can’t wait to take these to the family, to hopefully get the seal of approval!