It’s Christmas cookie time. Do you partake? Do you bake dozens of cookies and exchange them with friends and family? I…do not. There’s only so much temptation I can have lying around the house, and we are about to travel to my husband’s side of the family to celebrate Christmas and try to resist cookies galore.
But. If you do participate in cookie swaps, these Gluten Free Butter Pecan Coconut Snowballs are a healthier treat that will please those with food intolerances as well as those without. They don’t even need to know they are gluten free or free of refined sugars, because they won’t be able to tell by tasting them. These cookies are that good.
Read on for the recipe, and share it out!
Healthy Fats in Gluten Free Butter Pecan Snowballs
Healthy fats make up the heart of this recipe: almond flour, pecans, grass fed butter, and coconut flakes.
The almond flour and pecans contain many nutrients and antioxidants. They may help with weight loss, and may also help lower cholesterol. Nuts may help reduce inflammation in the body (which can lead to disease), and are a great source of fiber, which helps us to feel full.
Grass fed butter is another healthy fat in this recipe. Grass fed butter contains heart healthy saturated fat (really! Saturated fat is not unhealthy!). Grass fed butter has more omega-3 fatty acids than regular butter, and is also quite high in butyrate. Butyrate is hugely beneficial for your gut health, which in turn can help you to have more energy, better digestion, and lower your risk of certain diseases. One of the benefits of grass fed butter has more to do with what it doesn’t contain: genetically modified grains, antibiotics, and hormones.
Coconut flakes are the next star fat in our cookies. I love coconut in all forms: the oil, the meat, the milk. I even put coconut oil on my skin and sometimes on my hair. For these cookies, we use flakes. Coconut has been shown to help with weight loss, teeth and bone health, and aiding your body in fighting bacteria. It is truly an all star fat.
Sweeteners in Gluten Free Butter Pecan Snowballs
For these cookies, I could have used coconut sugar, which would have been acceptable, but I didn’t have any. So I turned instead to a combination of maple syrup and dates.
Now, with any sweeteners, natural or not, the best course of action is moderation. However, I find it much easier to moderate my intake of whole fruits in the form of dates and natural sweeteners in the forms of maple syrup and honey. With refined sugar, on the other hand, it’s like a drug. Literally. It’s hard to quit.
So with that said, keep in mind that naturally sweetened treats are better for you, but they are still treats. Eat accordingly.
I used chopped dates as half of the sweetener in these Gluten Free Butter Pecan Coconut Snowballs. The dates provided a nice “chew” to the cookies that made them taste more decadent than they actually are. Dates are high in antioxidants, can help with constipation, can protect your heart, and help regulate blood sugar.
Maple syrup may protect against some cancers, has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners (meaning little to no sugar crash later on), and has vitamins and minerals that refined sugars lack. The maple syrup also provides a nice depth of flavor, enhancing the butter pecan flavors.
How to Make these Delicious Cookies
The best way to make these cookies is with a food processor. It’s very fast, and is much easier than hand chopping and mixing.
I start by pulsing the pecans in the food processor. After setting those aside in a separate bowl, I then mix the butter and chopped dates together in the processor. I drizzle in the maple syrup while the machine is running to create a dough. Next, I add in the vanilla extract, salt, and almond flour and blend. Then I pulse in the chopped nuts, making sure not to overprocess them. We want that nutty texture in these cookies.
Then the cookie dough goes into the fridge for 30 minutes to harden it up a bit. Don’t forget about it in there, though, because otherwise the butter will harden and you won’t be able to scoop it. Form the dough into roughly 1 tablespoon balls, rolling them between the palms of your hands. I like to do this step all at once, then move on to rolling them in coconut.
Roll each ball of dough in a bowl of coconut flakes, ensuring it coats the entire cookie. You’ll bake these cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. After letting the cookies cool for ten minutes on the pans, you can transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
These cookies freeze well when double wrapped in freezer bags, and can stay in the freezer for up to six months. They will keep for about five days, tightly sealed, at room temperature. Enjoy!
Have a wonderful Christmas, and I’ll see you next time.
Other Holiday Treats You Won’t Want to Miss
- Rich Chocolate Date Walnut Fudge – Dairy Free!: Confession: I made a bunch of this fudge in the beginning of the month to give aways as gifts, but my family and I steadily ate our way through the whole batch. I have to make more to give as gifts! But it is so good, and healthy, and decadent. Dates form the basis of this rich fudge and are combined with dark chocolate, walnuts, and vanilla. (This time, I will make it just before I have to give it away, so that it stays safe!)
- Simple Rosemary Maple Roasted Walnuts for Gifting: I love these walnuts. Similar story to the above, my family and I gifted these to ourselves throughout the month of December, and I will now be making more to truly give away. These are slightly sweet, with savory, peppery rosemary to complement the maple syrup.
- The Best Einkorn Chocolate Chip Cookies: Einkorn is an ancient form of wheat that is easier to digest. These cookies have half the sugar (thanks to monkfruit sweetener), are egg free, and are full of fiber. Cookie swaps just got healthier!
Gluten Free Butter Pecan Coconut Snowballs
- Food Processor
- 1/2 cup grass fed butter cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour sprouted, if you can afford it
- 1 cup pecans soaked and dehydrated*, or toasted
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup dates pitted and chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes for rolling
- Add pecans to food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Remove and set aside in a bowl.
- Add pitted, chopped dates to food processor with butter. Pulse to combine, then pour in maple syrup with machine running.
- Add almond flour, vanilla, and salt. Mix to combine. Add chopped pecans and pulse until dough just barely holds together. Transfer dough to refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Using a scant tablespoon of dough, roll each cookie between the palms of your hands and set on the tray. After all the cookies are rolled, use a spoon to roll them in coconut flakes. (I find it easier to roll all the dough into balls first, then coat them in coconut flakes. It's neater that way).
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, and swapping top to bottom if necessary. Let cool for 10 minutes on pan, then finish cooling on a wire rack. Cookies should be stored in an airtight container, and can be frozen in freezer bags for 4-6 months.