posted in Christmas

Gluten Free Orange- Almond Snowballs

A couple of days ago it was my Mom’s 75th birthday.  My sister and I flew her to New York City with my aunt and cousin to celebrate.  Mom loves New York, so we did it up right and took in a couple of shows while we were there.  The big challenge was trying to find places to eat gluten-free.  Mom was diagnosed with Celiac disease just a couple of years ago, so she’s been maneuvering this world full of gluten and trying to figure out how to eat without it, how to order in restaurants and how to enjoy food again.    Here’s my holiday treat for Mom:  Gluten-Free Orange- Almond Snowballs

Mom is a big reason why I have a pretty large section on my site dedicated to gluten-free (or adaptable) recipes, and she’s a big reason why I’ll be including some gluten-free options in my cookbook too.  I’ve learned that it’s awfully helpful for gluten-free folks to find their way around if we make it easier for them by labeling, offering alternatives to ingredients, etc.  Eating gluten-free doesn’t mean eating icky ingredients or strange things that no one else eats.  It just means eating things that don’t contain gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other things).  If you’re gluten-free, you can still eat a lot of normal everyday things, but with baking you have to be a bit creative since you cannot eat regular wheat-derived flour.

This recipe utilized almond flour, also known as almond meal (or finely ground almonds).  The best and most economical place to find it is a Trader Joe’s in the nut aisle.  And yes, that photo there shows how much dough this recipe makes- just a handful of dough.  The recipe makes fifteen 1-inch snowball treats.  Perfect for the gluten-free person who doesn’t want an overabundance of sweet treats around their house.  Or perfect for the gluten-eating person to make a small batch to surprise their gluten-free friend.

The dough is rolled into heaping teaspoon-sized balls.  Fifteen, to be exact.

After baking, the warm treats are rolled in powdered sugar to make “snowballs.”

These are not a crunchy snowball treat.  These bake up crisp on the outside, but the inside is filled with a tender, moist texture sweetly flavored of almond and orange.  And best of all, Mom likes them 🙂  Happy 75th birthday Mommy!

And we had a fabulous time in New York City at Christmas Time!!!  This is the stuff dreams are made of.  I love NYC!!!

Yield: 15 snowballs

Prep Time: 20 min + chill time

Cook Time: 10 min

Gluten Free Orange- Almond Snowballs

If you're looking for a typical crunchy cookie recipe, this isn't it. These bake up crisp on the outside, but the inside is filled with a tender, moist texture sweetly flavored of almond and orange.


1 cup almond flour/meal (ground almonds)
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar


1. In a small bowl, mix almond flour, sugar, egg white, orange zest and extract. Stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

3. Spoon out even tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. Place on the prepared baking sheet- you should be able to make 15 little balls of dough. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the balls of dough are firm and are golden underneath. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then give them a roll in powdered sugar.


*Almond flour/meal is most easily found by the Bob's Red Mill brand. Ask your grocery store manager if you are unable to locate it.
*Orange extract can be found at Whole Foods and other specialty markets.
*Try subbing lemon zest and lemon extract to create Lemon- Almond Snowballs instead.


P.S. You might also notice that I’m sharing some of my favorite gluten-free blogs in my right sidebar here.  Check ’em out! >

Visit other cookie recipes utilizing almond flour on these blogs:
Gluten- Free Coffee- Almond Cookies by Healthy Green Kitchen
Gluten- Free Chocolate- Almond Cookies by Cookistry
Raspberry- Almond Thumbprint Cookies by Oh She Glows
Mini Honey- Almond Cookies by Skinny Sweets Daily
Almond- Chocolate Chip Cookies by RecipeGirl

26 Responses to “Gluten Free Orange- Almond Snowballs”

  1. postedDec 18, 2012 4:49 AM

    Love recipes that use orange!

  2. postedDec 18, 2012 5:00 AM

    What a perfect recipe!! I’m going to give this one a try!! By the way your Peppermint Dream Butter Balls were a HUGE hit with Friends and family! I have to make them again!!

  3. postedDec 18, 2012 5:01 AM

    I don’t know if my first comment went through! Your cookies look amazing and I have to give these ones a try!! By the way I made your Peppermint Dream Butter Ball Cookies and they were a huge hit with friends and family! Thank you!!

  4. postedDec 18, 2012 8:10 AM

    These sound great – and an alternative to truffles whilst still being gluten free.

  5. postedDec 18, 2012 10:24 AM

    I love these!! I may have to make them soon. I have been adapting a lot of my recipes into gluten free – I notice a lot more recipes with gluten free versions now and I think its great to have recipes that can be adapted this way. So many I know that have to eat gluten free now feel that they miss out on their favorite goodies because of the gluten – but not anymore!

  6. postedDec 18, 2012 10:33 AM

    These look gorgeous and very festive. being coeliac myself I love that thye are gluten free. You should try the chocolate crinkles cookies made with almonds too – they are yummy!
    Enjoy the holidays with your mum

  7. postedDec 18, 2012 11:07 AM

    Lori, so happy to see that you developed a gluten free Christmas cookie recipe. And, I like how you gave these Almond Snowballs a citrus twist with the orange zest and extract. I, too, have a soft spot for the gluten free community. You are a terrific leader!

  8. postedDec 18, 2012 12:16 PM

    Sounds like both the snowballs and the NYC trip were wonderful treats for your mom!

  9. postedDec 18, 2012 6:19 PM
    Deliciously Organic

    I love this recipe! And how easy, too? I’ll have to try them over the holidays!

  10. postedDec 19, 2012 3:54 AM
    Maria in NJ

    They don’t call it the “Best City In The World” for nothing ;^) (OK that might be IMHO, but I just love going into the City)…glad you had a wonderful time, just to see the tree is a treat, isn’t it!!

  11. postedDec 19, 2012 5:22 AM

    yum! i’m intrigued by the orange and almond combo 🙂

  12. postedDec 19, 2012 5:49 AM

    These are my favorite holiday cookie. So glad to see a GF version.

  13. postedDec 19, 2012 6:31 AM

    Lori, what a brilliant idea! They look so tender on the inside.

  14. postedDec 19, 2012 10:15 AM

    These look beautiful and so gooey inside. I love it, and even better that it is gluten free. My SIL has a gluten allergy too, so these would be really perfect for her! 🙂

  15. postedDec 19, 2012 11:07 AM

    I’ll be trying these with hazelnut flour/meal…..and it’s a REALLY good thing it’s a small batch!!!

  16. postedDec 19, 2012 3:20 PM

    What a fun birthday with your Mom. These cookies are great for Christmas, and so nice to be able to share something delicious that is also gluten free!

  17. postedDec 19, 2012 6:53 PM
    Lisa Cornely

    I tried these, and they turned out wonderful. The flavor was amazing. The texture was delicate and tender. Thanks so much for another keeper. I too would like to try with other types of nuts. I think it would adapt nicely.

  18. postedDec 20, 2012 3:47 PM

    I am in need of gluten free treats! I have so many friends who cannot eat gluten, and these actually look tasty. Thank you for this recipe!

  19. postedDec 21, 2012 5:34 AM

    thank you thank you thank you for writing GF recipes ! i have been following your blog for a while and found out i had celiac this past may. its so nice that a “regular” food blogger is writing GF recipes because it means you are probably making “good” ones ! you can easily compare to gluten containing food and let us know how close your GF version is to “regular” baked goods. i truly appreciate it. thank you sooooooooooooo much.

  20. postedDec 21, 2012 12:41 PM
    Maureen @ TakeThemAMeal

    These look so good! I have Celiac and am always looking for tasty treats, especially ones with such good flavor combos. They would be the perfect addition to a meal for a friend in need or a new mom with a gluten allergy. Thanks for sharing!

  21. postedDec 23, 2012 12:57 PM

    I just made these for the holidays. I doubled the recipe thank goodness because they are incredible. I have never baked with almond meal before and I was pleasantly surprised by the lightness of these cookies.The hint of citrus is so refreshing. I am going to go hide them now from my husband and son before they all disappear. Thanks Lori. Happy Holidays!!

  22. postedDec 24, 2012 5:21 AM

    A GF recipe without tons of crazy ingredients! Thank you!

  23. postedJan 5, 2013 11:31 AM
    Elizabeth Stermic.h

    Love this recipe very tasty but not to be had too often.

  24. postedDec 19, 2013 12:53 PM

    I made these cookies the other day and they were absolutely delish. Fast forward to last night– I prepped the batter for today’s holiday party, put it in the fridge, and today they’re an ooey gooey mess. won’t roll at all. I tried adding a bit more almond meal and sugar, but no luck. any suggestions?

    • postedDec 19, 2013 1:46 PM

      I guess they don’t work as a make-ahead batter.

  25. postedDec 20, 2015 4:33 PM

    These are very very good! 😀 😀 Your kitchen will smell great from the orange zest too! They’re also very easy to make. I like that it only requires one bowl. The hardest part about them is beating the egg white (which isn’t that hard anyway). One thing though, I didn’t get 15 balls. I only got 13. Granted, I could have made some of them smaller, but then I think they would be too small. Next time I’ll just aim for 12. Also, once they’re out of the oven, DON’T try to form them back into a ball, they will break. Maybe this was a rookie mistake but I thought it was worth mentioning. No harm done, I just ate that one right away. 😛

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