If you've never baked gluten free, these cookies are a great treat to help you get started.
On Tu BiShvat, it is customary to eat foods containing the seven species and to bless them. These are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, dates, and olives. Although not mentioned in Deuteronomy, almonds also figure prominently in this celebration, as they are the first tree to flower in Israel at that time of year.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl until a cohesive dough forms.
- Scoop 1" balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here. Arrange the balls of dough about 1 1/2" to 2" apart.
- Use a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/4" thick, making a crosshatch design.
- Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until they start to turn light golden brown on top.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and cool them on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely before serving.
Baking Tips and Variations
- You can also bake these cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Just be sure to transfer the cookies to a rack about 2 to 3 minutes after they come out of the oven; they'll still be warm and fairly fragile. If left to cool on the ungreased pan too long, they'll stick.
- For thumbprint cookies: Instead of creating a crosshatch design with a fork, use your thumb to press an indentation into the center of each ball of dough. Fill the hole with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. Note: too much jam will boil out during baking.
- For Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread Cookies: Substitute 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder for 2 tablespoons of the almond flour; and add 1/8 teaspoon espresso powder. Stir in 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios. Shape the dough into a log, chill, slice, and bake for 12 to 14 minutes; or bake as directed above.
- For Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies: Add 1/2 teaspoon orange zest (grated orange rind) and 1/4 cup dried cranberries to the dough. Shape the dough into a log, chill, slice, and bake for 12 to 14 minutes; or bake as directed above.
- For Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, and 1/3 cup diced pecans to the dough. Shape the dough into a log, chill, slice, and bake; or bake as directed above.