Gluten-Free Cookies: Walnut Poufs
Okay. These little poufs are simple, naturally-gluten-free cookies, and they actually aren't weird-tasting. In fact, the cookies are quite similar to amaretti, but, instead of almonds, are made with walnuts. A touch of sweet cinnamon and some maple extract complement the slightly bitter taste of the walnuts. The batter for the cookies comes together quickly in the food processor, but the cookies do need to stand for an hour or so before baking, so plan accordingly. Because the cookies are quite sweet even with the walnuts, they are best served with coffee or tea. I don't dust the cookies with powdered sugar (mainly because I think the cookies are sweet enough, "as is," and I get powdered sugar all down my front when I eat the powdered cookies), but you could if you'd like fancier cookies and aren't wearing a dark outfit.
Walnut Poufs -- Makes about 30
3 cups of shelled walnuts
2 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of maple extract
4 egg whites
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set them aside. To the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade, add the walnuts and sugar. Process the walnuts and sugar for a few minutes until the walnuts and sugar are finely ground together. Add the cinnamon and pulse it into the walnut-sugar mixture. With the food processor running, slowly pour the egg whites and maple extract down the processor tube into the walnut mixture. Process the mixture until it becomes thick and sticky. You should be able to scoop up some of the mixture with a spoon and have the mixture hold its shape. Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing the mounds about 2 inches apart. Moisten your hands with water and shape the mounds into small, round disks, about 1/2 inch thick. Let the cookies sit, uncovered, for an hour or so. When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes or until they are set, a little cracked on top, and just beginning to brown. Let the cookies cool before removing them from the parchment paper.