Let's get this out of the way upfront: I know calling a cookie recipe the "world's easiest" sounds a bit ridiculous, but I can explain. The name started out innocently enough — one day, I created an easy-to-make almond cookie recipe. I adored this recipe. In my excitement, I'd say to friends, "You have to try these almond cookies; they're, like, the world's easiest cookies." And well, the name stuck.
Why They're Easy
It stuck because I really think of these as the world’s easiest cookies. To make a batch, all you do is combine almond flour, baking powder, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and stir. That's it! No butter, no eggs, no chilling the dough (or rolling it out). You just need four ingredients and a little elbow grease. After about 10 minutes of baking, you’re rewarded with macaron-flavored cookies that are crisp on the edges and chewy in the center.
If you follow a Paleo, gluten-free, or vegan diet, you'll notice right away that these cookies are a fit for you. However, I don't think of these as "special diet" cookies; I simply think of these as tasty cookies that I can whip up in minutes when my sweet tooth wants attention.
The Four Ingredients
1. Almond Flour
Any almond flour works in this recipe, but for the best texture and color, look for a finely ground, blanched almond flour, such as Honeyville or Bob's Red Mill. Be sure to avoid almond meal; its coarse texture leaves the cookies slightly crumbly.
2. Baking Powder
If you follow a grain-free diet, you’ll want to make your own grain-free baking powder or order a specialty version online because most commercial baking powders contain a grain-based starch, usually cornstarch, to prevent clumping. If you don't follow a grain-free diet, use whatever baking powder you have on hand. (As long as it's fresh, of course.)
3. Maple Syrup
Look for a dark maple syrup labeled Grade A "Dark with Robust Flavors" (until recently this was called Grade B). If you can't find dark maple syrup, use a lighter grade. When made with a lighter-colored syrup, the maple flavor of the cookies won't be as pronounced because the lighter the syrup, the more mild the flavor. Avoid pancake or table syrup, as those syrups usually contain corn syrup and artificial flavoring and those ingredients affect the flavor and texture of the cookies.
4. Vanilla Extract
There's a surprising amount of vanilla extract in this recipe. The vanilla unifies the almond and maple flavors and brings out a slightly butter-like flavor from the almonds.
The World's Easiest Cookies
2 cups finely ground almond flour (227 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup dark maple syrup (100 grams)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla. Stir until a sticky dough forms and holds together.
Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about one inch apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly with the flat bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass sticks to the dough, dip the bottom in water.) For softer cookies, don't press down the dough.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Cool baking sheet between batches.
- Mix-ins: Add 1/2 cup chopped chocolate, nuts, or dried fruit to the batter before baking.
Reprinted with permission from World's Easiest Paleo Baking: Beloved Treats Made Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, and with No Refined Sugars by Elizabeth Barbone, copyright (c) 2016. Published by Lake Isle Press.