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Kalyn's Kitchen

Low-Sugar or Sugar-Free Almond Flour Snickerdoodle Cookies (also Gluten-Free)

Low-Sugar and Gluten-Free Almond Flour Snickerdoodle Cookies
Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Almond Flour Snickerdoodles are also gluten-free.

(Recipe updated and added to Christmas Recipes, December 2009.) In 2005 I posted this recipe for Low Carb Snickerdoodles for a reader named Adam who was always urging me to post sugar-free and low-carb recipes for cookies. Since then I’ve made quite a few cookies that are low in sugar, but I’ve also decided that using a very small amount of brown sugar mixed with Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener is my favorite way to make low-sugar desserts. If you’re avoiding sugar completely like Adam was, just use all Splenda or Stevia when you make them. Either way this is a delicious cookie, similar to Snickerdoodles but a little more crispy because of the almond flour.

I originally made these cookies with Bob’s Red Mill almond meal, but this time I used Honeyville blanched almond flour, (made in Utah!) which I learned about from Elana at Elana’s Pantry. Elana has written The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook using this ingredient, and her blog has a list of where to buy almond flour online. Either almond meal or almond flour will work in this recipe, but almond flour gives a finer-textured cookie. I do want to caution you that this isn’t a low-calorie cookie because almond flour is calorie dense, and I also used butter (because I can’t quite imagine making Christmas cookies with margarine, although coconut oil might work.) But if you’re looking for an easy-to-make low-sugar cookie to indulge in once in a while, this is a tasty treat. (You can also make the cookies with sugar if you just want a cookie that’s gluten-free.)

Once again, I should have used my KitchenAid mixer, but I just used a hand mixer to make these. Start by combining the softened or melted butter, half the almond flour, Splenda or Stevia, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

When those ingredients are well combined, add the rest of the almond flour and mix a little more. The dough is pretty stiff, so you’ll have to scrape it off the beaters.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and chill dough in the refrigerator for an hour or longer.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Mix together the Splenda or Stevia, brown sugar, and cinnamon to roll the cookie balls in.

You probably don’t absolutely need parchment paper, but I used it. I made small balls that I scooped out with a teaspoon, then roll them in the Splenda or Stevia/brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

I tried a few methods of smashing down the cookies and decided it was easiest and worked best to just smash them down with your fingers. Keep them at least 1/4 inch thick. (I also experimented with not smashing down the cookies, but I preferred the thinner, crisper cookies I got when they were smashed down.)

I hate it when my cookies run together like a few of these did, but no worries, they still tasted great!

The cookies will be pretty crumbly when they’re hot, so let them cool at least 20-30 minutes before you serve them. These will keep for quite a few days in a plastic container with a lid, but they probably won’t last that long!

Low-Sugar or Sugar-Free Almond Flour Snickerdoodle Cookies (also Gluten-Free)
(Makes about 24 small cookies, recipe adapted from Low Carb Snickerdoodles at RecipeZaar.)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened at room temperature or melted slightly in the microwave at lowest setting
1 1/2 cups almond flour or almond meal (almond flour gives a more finely-textured cookie)
3/4 cup granular Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or sugar if you don’t care about having low-sugar cookies)
1/4 cup brown sugar (or use 1/4 cup more granular Splenda or Stevia, or any proportions of sugar/Splenda/brown sugar you prefer to make 1 cup total sweetener)
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Ingredients for rolling cookies:
2 T granular Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener
2 tsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon


Sit out butter to soften at room temperature (or if you’re impatient like I am, use the microwave on lowest setting to soften/melt the butter.

In mixing bowl, combine the butter, 3/4 cup almond flour, 3/4 cup Splenda, 1/4 cup brown sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and cream of tartar and blend well with mixer until well combined. Beat in the other 3/4 cup of almond flour, until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. (The mixture will be stiff.)

Scrape the beaters to remove all the dough, then cover bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and chill one hour or longer. (I’ve gotten distracted and chilled it for nearly 3 hours, which didn’t seem to matter.)

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Combine 2 T Splenda, 2 tsp. brown sugar, and cinnamon in small dish.

Scoop out heaping teaspoons of dough, and roll dough into balls about 1 inch across. Roll each ball in the Splenda/brown sugar/cinnamon mixture and put on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. (I lined the cookie sheet with parchment paper, but I don’t think it’s essential.)

For flatter/crisper cookies, smash each one down with your fingers, keeping them about 1/4 inch thick. You can also bake them without smashing for a more domed-shaped cookie. Bake cookies about 14-16 minutes, until they’re starting to brown and are slightly crisp-feeling to the touch.

Remove cookies to a rack and let cool 20-30 minutes before serving. (They’re fairly crumbly when they’re hot but they stay together well once they’re cool.) These cookies will keep for several days in a plastic container if you can manage to keep them around that long.

South Beach Suggestions:

To make the most South Beach Diet friendly version of these cookies, use all Splenda or Stevia and use margarine or coconut oil instead of butter. That version could be an occasional treat for phase 2 or 3. (Be sure to choose a margarine that doesn’t list water as the first ingredient.) This version with butter and some brown sugar is definitely phase 3 for South Beach dieters, and even then I would consider it a “once-in-a-while-treat.”

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn’t have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Tasty Ideas for Low-Sugar Cookies:

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33 comments on “Low-Sugar or Sugar-Free Almond Flour Snickerdoodle Cookies (also Gluten-Free)”

  1. It is a fairly flat cookie, but I have no idea why using sugar would make them flatter than the ones in my photo. I'm not that familiar with xanthan gum, so I don't know what that would do.

  2. I just made these, but they went flat 🙁 They are super yummy tho (I used organic sugar not splenda). I think next time, I'll be adding xanthan gum.

  3. Bert, you could probably add chocolate chips, but they aren't very South Beach Diet friendly unless you use dark chocolate or cocoa nibs.

  4. Love the texture, could it be possible to make a chocolate chip version of this

  5. TS, you're welcome and your timing is great. I'm out of it myself and I've been thinking about going to their store.

  6. Thank you so much for pointing out that we can buy Honeyville Almond Flour in SLC (I told them I heard about their place from your Blog)!! I am having so much fun using this flour. I really appreciate your recipes, too. Thank you. TS

  7. Almond meal and almond flour are not the same thing; the almond flour is finer and made from blanched almonds. I like Honeyville almond flour better for cookies or things where you want the texture of flour. I keep it in the freezer because I buy a big bag.

    I'm not a fan of the Splenda/brown sugar blend. I hate their way of counting sugar grams by teaspoons, especially. I do like to combine Splenda and a tiny amount of brown sugar in recipes though, but I just use the original products.

  8. Hi Kalyn – so what's the final verdict on the best Almond meal or flour with all of your cookie recipes? I'm in DC so I do have a Trader Joes, but not sure if there's a better brand for texture. Haven't baked with it yet so I'm curious!

    Also, have you used the Splenda Brown Sugar blend in any other recipes? I've noticed it's sweeter than regular brown sugar, so you can't use a 1:1 quantity. I tried a traditional chocolate chip recipe and they just didn't rise or taste right.

  9. I believe everyone is entitled to make their own food choices and don't let people use my blog as a forum to criticize what ingredients I use. To the anonymous commenter who was so disappointed that I made my cookies with partly Splenda (not Splendid as you called it), I did not "pitch it as a better alternative to sugar." I guess you missed the part where I said "You can also make the cookies with sugar if you just want a cookie that's gluten-free" or "use sugar if you don't care about having low-sugar cookies." I would never presume to say what is "better" for someone else. However, you seem to feel you're qualified to make that choice for the entire world. Comments like that are not welcome here.

  10. would love to try these! always looking for low carb alternatives!

  11. Theses sound awesome! and here I am trying to narrow down my cookie list, and here's another great one. 🙂

  12. Anonymous, I don't calculate nutritional information for my recipes (I chose the South Beach Diet so I would not have to count calories or carbs.) I don't know much about baking with non-wheat flours, but I can tell you that I've had great luck baking with almond flour, which is also very low in sugar and should be good for diabetes.

  13. I did not see the nutritional values for this recipe. Being type 2 and allergic to wheat protein is not easy to deal with. I'll try almond meal–from Trader Joe's. Got a catalog from Bob's Red Mill–a first.

    It is very hard to bake with non wheat flour. Some taste terrible and some do not give good results for baked items.

  14. Amy, I love the Honeyville almond flour. It's made in Utah!!

  15. I really enjoy seeing your spin on sugar-free. I have never used Bob's Red Mill because I bought a huge bag of Honeyville Almond Flour and it's worked beautifully. I agree with you about it being good for a once in a while treat. Also – I love the yellow bowl.

  16. These really are good for a flourless cookie, so I'm glad people are liking them. Didn't realize Snickerdoodles were an American thing, but for anyone who isn't familiar they're kind of like sugar cookies with a sugar/cinnamon topping. Very tasty!

  17. I have never eaten or made a snickerdoodle in my life. I think they are an American thing? They always talk about them on TV, hmm… maybe it is time to bust them out up North.

  18. Mmmmm … almonds and cinnamon together in a cookie – what could be better? These just as tasty as plain old snickerdoodles.

  19. Thanks for the post! It can be frustrating finding gluten-free baked goods and this one turned out to be delicious!

  20. If a picture can ever convey the smell and the taste of a cookie then your picture comes the closest! I want to grab one of these snickerdoodle cookies right now and eat it off the screen 🙂 great recipe and wonderful photo!

  21. People are free to adapt my recipes any way they wish, so if you choose not to use Splenda, feel free to use other things, but I'm not going to publish comments that are critical of my choice to use Splenda occasionally as a sweetener. Everyone gets to make their own food choices, and no one else can decide for another what is more or less healthy.

  22. now these I would like to try… i am getting sugered out lately from all the fudge and Christmas sugar flouting around in my head (and landing in my ass

    timely post

  23. Anonymous, I chose the South Beach Diet so I wouldn't have to count carbs, so I don't know what the carb count would be.

  24. Do you happen to know the carb/net carb content for the batch?

  25. DELICIOUS!!! We made a batch just now with the same basic recipe, but adding 3 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa to the batter and rolling in a Splenda/cocoa mixture instead of cinnamon. The batter tastes great so far. 😉

  26. I found that if you substitute pureed cottage cheese for the ricotta, it doesn’t taste so bad.

  27. My family loves snickerdoodles and these look really great!

  28. I just had to try these when I saw the recipe yesterday. I used my home made almond flour (unblanched) and followed the recipe exactly as given. They turned out beautifuly and taste fantastic. I will definitely be making them again. My husband loved them too, despite the lack of sugar.

  29. Marianne, I agree that the South Beach “desserts” with ricotta are pretty disgusting. If you try making this with some of the butter substituted with a healthier option, let me know how they turn out. I have to confess, I am a pretty frequent indulger in those “no sugar added” fudgesicles.

  30. Thanks for the recipe Kalyn! I’ve only experimented with whole wheat flour for my South Beach desserts (made a good banana bread w/ chocolate chips, using olive oil as the fat). I must go out and get some almond meal this weekend–for this and for that tilapia recipe of yours! I might try to use Smart Balance instead of the butter in the cookies, or a mix of both. Will probably have a lesser texture but it’s always worth a try!

    On the subject of South Beach desserts, I think they are usually disgusting–I can’t stand the taste of part-skim ricotta and those bean cakes are a joke. I usually have fruit, a square of dark chocolate (Lindt Excellence 80%=yum), some natural peanut butter, or, on occasion, a sugar-free fudgsicle.

  31. Nic, I think that’s a great idea to use some soy flour instead of all almond flour. I think I would cut down on the butter too if I made the pound cake again.

  32. Instead of using all almond flour, you could try subbing some other form of low carb flour, perhaps soy.

  33. I’m on the South Beach Diet too, but for a treat once in a while, these cookies sound delicious. Thanks.

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