Gluten-Free Baklava Cookies



Oh baklava. The sticky, crunchy, sweet pastry with a nutty bite. There was this Persian restaurant near where I grew up, and they made the best baklava. I always got a piece whenever we ate there (okay, really I got two pieces. It was so good!). 

But when I went gluten-free, I thought I’d have to give up the idea of baklava forever. To my knowledge, they don’t make a gluten-free phyllo dough. And if they did, I can only imagine that it would be a nightmare to work with. 



Side note here: You know how when you get a new pair of shoes that you just adore and you’re so excited to wear them, that you plan every outfit around them so you can show them off every day?


I’m kind of obsessing over Cassava flour right now. And I’m not getting any kickbacks from the manufacturer, so you know this is a legitimate crush. I bought a 25 pound bag from Otto’s Naturals Cassava and have been using it for EVERYTHING. (Remind me to post my recipe for Chinese Scallion Pancakes before Chinese New Year!) 


You know how I posted my Grain-Free PopTart recipe the other day? Sadie, the lovely force who gave birth to Otto (both the child the company is named for, and the company itself), emailed me afterwards and said that the recipe looked great, except that it contained xanthan gum and their family doesn’t tolerate it well. 
So I played with the dough recipe, and removed the xanthan (and posted an update to the recipe). 
Every time we do something, we learn. We get faster, more adept. We evolve. Recipes are like this. They change and evolve, depending on your needs, or the ingredients you have on hand, or tips and tricks you learn. 
This baklava cookie is one evolution of my tests, and I think you’ll like it. 
Normally, I’d use pistachios and walnuts together in the filling, but I couldn’t find any shelled pistachios. I went to three stores. One didn’t have pistachios at all, and the other two had roasted salted pistachios in their shells. Let’s face it: I’m lazy. I like to get the maximum results, with the minimal amount of effort. (Wait- is that lazy, or clever?)

I’ve included the weight of the ingredients, so that you can swap out the walnuts for any nut you’d like. This version was made with grassfed butter (I love me some Kerrygold!), and while I haven’t tested it as a dairy-free version, I’m sure you could swap out the butter for leaf lard or Spectrum Organic Shortening. Make sure your fat is cold, though. You don’t want to blend the butter in with the dough, because those little tiny pockets of fat is what will cause flakiness in the cookie. 

I’m listing the xanthan-free version here, but if you can tolerate xanthan gum, omit the powdered apple pectin and the psyllium husk powder and use a teaspoon of the xanthan gum instead. The xanthan-free dough is more delicate and will crack as you fold it. Don’t worrry too much about the cracks. You can always pinch the dough together, or use end pieces to seal up the cracks. 


Gluten-Free Baklava Cookies
A delicious gluten-free cookie with all the flavors of baklava.
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For the Cookies
  1. 1 1/4 cup (206 g) cassava flour
  2. 2 tablespoons (14 g) arrowroot starch
  3. 1 teaspoon (2 g) psyllium husk seed powder
  4. 1 teaspoon (4 g) apple pectin powder
  5. 1/3 cup (75mL) water
  6. 1 teaspoon (3 g) salt
  7. 1 cup (226 g) butter, leaf lard, or Spectrum Organic Shortening
For the Filling
  1. 1 cup (121 g) pistachios, or equal weight of walnuts
  2. 2 tablespoons (11 g) cinnamon
  3. 1/2 cup (100 g) brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon (3 g) orange zest
  5. 1 teaspoon (3 g) cardamom
  6. 1/4 cup (76 g) honey
  7. 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) salt
  8. 2 teaspoons (8 g) vanilla extract
For the Glaze
  1. 1 cup (118 g) powdered sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon (4 g) vanilla
  3. 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  4. 1 tablespoon (15mL) water
To make the Cookie Dough
  1. blend together all the ingredients except for the water, until the mixture resembles coarse peas. Drizzle in the water, and pulse until a dough comes together.
  2. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick (you may need to use additional cassava flour)
To make the filling
  1. combine all the filling ingredients in the food processor and process until a uniform texture is achieved.
  2. Dot or sprinkle the filling over the rolled out dough, and starting at one end (lengthwise), roll up the dough like a cinnamon roll log or pinwheel cookie.
  3. Freeze the log until firm, at least 1 hour or longer.
When ready to bake
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line 2 baking pans with parchment baking paper.
  2. Slice the log into 1/2 inch thick pieces and spread evenly on the baking pans.
  3. Bake until golden brown at the edges, about 18-23 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely before you glaze.
To make the glaze
  1. Whisk together all the glaze ingredients until smooth and shiny.
  2. Drizzle over each cookie and allow to sit undisturbed to harden.
  3. Enjoy!
  1. These freeze really well! My husband even likes to eat them frozen.
Kyra Bussanich | Life is Sweet!

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