If you love zingy lemon desserts, you'll love these vegan and gluten-free lemon almond cookies. The cookie here is deliciously sweet and nutty, while the lemon slice is juicy and bursting with flavor. These fun cookies are so easy to make, and make a pretty delicious little treat.
These cookies have real lemon slices on top for an extra strong flavor. I pre-baked the slices a little before placing them on the cookie to bake together so that the lemon flavor is a little bit more concentrated, but when you bite into each cookie you'll still get a burst of fresh citrus goodness.
The effect is almost as though the cookies are filled with some zesty lemon cream. Some of the juice from the lemon slices also seeps into the cookie itself, giving it a delicious lemon almond flavor.
The trick is to get the lemon slices just thick enough to not get burned during baking -- so keep an eye out as they're pre-baking, as you might want to take them out sooner if need be (or bake at a lower temperature all together, as some ovens bake stronger than others).
You can experiment a little with your oven settings and you can slice the lemons thicker or thinner to your liking (thicker means juicier and stronger in flavor, thinner means more delicate but also more likely to burn a little around the edges). I found the optimal thickness for me was around an eighth of an inch.
But don't sweat it if there's a tiny bit of browning happening anyways (as you can see in the cookie below around the edges) -- they'll still be delicious!
Also, note that I used a nut butter that's a mix of almond and hazelnut butter (from Nuts to You Nut Butter) because that's what I had on hand. A pure almond butter would work great here too on its own, but I did enjoy the light depth the hazelnuts added. So if you can find an almond hazelnut mix, go for it. If not, plain almond butter will do just fine.
Last but not least, if you like lemon and almond treats, you might be interested in these desserts:
Deliciously zingy vegan & gluten-free lemon almond cookies, made with fresh and juicy lemon slices and a sweet and nutty almond base.
- 1 to 1 ½ small fresh lemons, washed
- ½ cup white rice flour
- 3 tbsp almond meal
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp creamy natural almond hazelnut butter (or just almond butter)
- 1 tsp almond extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- a tablespoon of coconut milk powder for dusting*
1. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice lemon(s) into rings about an ⅛" thick (you'll need 8 good looking rings). Carefully pick out any seeds. Lay each ring flat on the prepared cookie tray and bake for approx. 15 mins. Keep an eye out to make sure the lemon slices don't burn (as they'll later cook even further), especially as some ovens can bake stronger than others. At this stage you basically just want to pre-cook and dehydrate them a little. Note that the thinner you slice the lemons the quicker they'll bake, the thicker you slice them the juicier and more prominent their flavor will be). Once ready, remove the lemon slices from the oven and set aside to cool a little.
2. While the lemons are baking, prepare the cookies by processing all cookie ingredients in a food processor (I used the small bowl of mine) until the mixture sticks together and is at the beginning stages of forming a ball.** Gather all this dough up (I used a spoon to scoop it out of the processor) and form into a ball with your hands. Then divide this ball into 2, then divide each half into 2, then divide each quarter into 2, so that you're left with 8 equal pieces of dough.
3. Line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Place on the cookie sheet, spreading them half an inch apart. Once the lemon slices are ready, place a slice over the center of each cookie and press down to flatten the cookie further and embed the lemon slices in a little.
4. Bake the cookies for approximately 12 minutes until nicely golden (again, keep an eye to make sure the lemon slices don't burn, if need be, lower the oven temperature a little if the lemon slices are thin and are browning too fast). Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Optional: once cool, dust the cookies lightly with some coconut milk powder. Enjoy!
*Keep an eye out on the ingredients in the coconut milk powder, as some contain dairy as an additive. I used it here as a substitute for the traditional powdered sugar look.
**The texture of the dough can be different depending on the nut butter used. For example sometimes you might get a batch that’s more “oily” other times one that’s more dry + brands vary, etc. The dough should be soft and pliable, as soft as possible without being too sticky to handle. If the mixture feels too sticky at this point, add a bit more flour (1 teaspoon at a time) and process again to incorporate; if too dry, add a bit more maple syrup.
P.S. If you're looking for other cookie recipes, check this collection of the best vegan & gluten-free cookies from the blog.