These one-bowl, no-mixer, gluten-free French Almond Cookies (aka Almond Cloud Cookies) are light as a feather, with a crisp meringue exterior and chewy, moist almond-y interior!
I think you'll find that these French Almond Cookies are one of those rare finds that you'll treasure having in your cookie repertoire. Everyone who tries them has a similar reaction. I've heard lots of exclamations like, "Wow!", "Amazing!" and "These are delicious!" "They taste like macaroons!". The fact that they take about 10 minutes of hands-on time is certainly not evident in the finished product, but it's a huge bonus!
A 5-Star recipe!
I'm always intrigued by a recipe that has a ton of 5-star reviews, so when I discovered these French Almond Cookies over on the King Arthur website I perused through the scores of overwhelmingly positive comments. It seemed that everyone loved these simple, unique cookies but one of the statements that sealed the deal for me was this one:
"I moved away from an authentic French bakery that made these cookies. Even though the proprietor shared a scaled-down recipe with me I couldn’t get the texture quite right. Enter KAF. These are my absolute favorite cookies and now I can make them at home! I don’t make complicated recipes and this one is so easy! Love it!"
Although the recipe did look fairly easy, being the lazy person that I am, I decided to try to simplify it. The King Arthur method actually involves two recipes. It entails, first of all, making an almond paste in a stand mixer with almond flour, powdered sugar, egg white, salt and almond extract. The next step is to combine the homemade almond paste with more almond flour, more egg white, more salt and more almond extract in a stand mixer and mix until combined.
Simplify, simplify, simplify
Hmm... that seemed like extra work to me and I wondered if you couldn't just combine the ingredients from the two recipes and make it all at the same time. It worked! I was thrilled to find that it was super easy to simply combine all the ingredients in one bowl (no stand mixer) and portion out the cookies.
We were quite smitten with that first batch of King Arthur's "Almond Cloud Cookies", utilizing this new technique; super delicious cookies with a thin, crisp, meringue-like exterior and a chewy, moist interior with lots of almond flavor. I decided to call my rendition, French Almond Cookies.
The problem came with subsequent batches. It seemed that the results weren't consistent. Sometimes the cookies spread and got really flat while other times they were a little too mounded and didn't spread at all.
After lots of trial and error, I finally realized that an egg white is not an egg white is not an egg white! In other words, egg whites can vary in volume even if they're all from the same carton of eggs. And since egg white is one of the main ingredients in these French Almond Cookies, a little variance can make a big difference.
This discrepancy was easy to correct; just measure the amount of egg white rather than using "3 large egg whites". I found that 5 tablespoons of whisked egg white was the perfect amount. Problem solved! After this inconsistency was corrected, my cookies began coming out consistently delicious!
The only other issue I had with the King Arthur recipe was that the cookies were VERY sweet. I was able to cut out a quarter cup of sugar without affecting the texture or delicious flavor.
Now that this had become a one-bowl, no-mixer recipe that could be stirred up in well under 10 minutes, I knew that it would need to be cataloged in our Ridiculously Easy series of recipes. You can read more about this Ridiculously Easy collection in this post but, in an essence, it's the recipes that will make you look like a kitchen rock star with minimal effort on your part. Like that? Yep, me too!
In a nutshell
How does the recipe work? So easy, see what I mean:
- Combine almond flour, sugar and salt in a medium-size bowl.
- Separate the eggs and reserve the yolks for another recipe (like these delicious Ridiculously Easy Brioche Rolls or this fabulous Microwave Lemon Curd) then whisk the white for 45 seconds.
- Add the whites to the almond flour mixture, stir well with a fork until combined then scoop up the cookies, dimple them with your fingers and bake.
- All that's left is a shower of powdered sugar and making a cup of tea or pouring a tall glass of cold milk to enjoy with these delicious cookies!
See what I mean? Easy, ridiculously easy!
A French patisserie-inspired gift!
To me, sharing homemade treats from the kitchen is one of the nicest kind of gifts (to give or receive) so I created some labels to use for gifting. Feel free to request a printable PDF for the labels in the comment section beneath the recipe below. We will reply with an email with the PDF attached and instructions on how to use the PDF.
These French Almond Cookies are delicious on their own, but also make an easy dessert paired with some good vanilla ice cream. If you want to keep it easy but get a little fancy, make a batch of this Ridiculously Easy Raspberry Coulis to drizzle over the ice cream. Talk about a kitchen rock star...
Cafe Tips for making these Ridiculously Easy French Almond Cookies
- You'll need almond flour for these cookies, not almond meal. What's the difference? Almond flour is finely ground blanched (no skins) almonds where almond meal is finely ground almonds with the skin. Almond flour is much finer than almond meal.
- Almond flour can be expensive when purchased at your local grocery. It's much more decently priced at big box stores like Sam's Club or Costco. You can also purchase it very reasonably online and have it delivered right to your door.
- When measuring the powdered sugar and almond flour, scoop them into a measuring cup then level with a flat edged knife. Don't pack the ingredients into the cup.
- Don't overbake these French Almond Cookies. The time will vary slightly, depending on your oven. You want them to be a light golden brown. In my oven that takes right around 11 minutes. Check the cookies at 10 minutes and go from there.
- Sometimes I add a scoop of mini chocolate chips to the batter for a delicious variation.
- I love these pre-cut parchment paper sheets that fit a sheet pan perfectly. They're super convenient and save a lot of time when baking.
- These cookies will spread in the oven. Each scoop should start out as a rounded tablespoon. I like to use this 1½-tablespoon retractable scoop for perfect-shaped cookies.
Thought for the day:
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2¼ cups almond flour
- 3 large large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Separate egg whites from the yolks and beat the whites with a fork or small whisk vigorously for 45 seconds until nice and frothy (they won’t be stiff or have peaks, just nice and frothy). Discard or use the yolks for another recipe.
Combine the almond flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt in a medium-size bowl and stir well with a fork to combine. Drizzle the vanilla and almond extract over the mixture and again stir until well combined.
Drizzle 4 tablespoons of the frothy egg white over the almond meal mixture. Stir with a fork until the mixture is uniformly crumbly. Slowly add more egg white, a little at a time, just until all of the almond flour is incorporated. You may have some egg white left over. The dough should be thick but smooth.
Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared pans. I like to use a 1½-tablespoon cookie scoop and level it nice and flat. You should have about 24-28 cookies.
Either lightly wet your fingers or dip them in powder sugar and dimple the tops of each mound of dough by pressing in with three fingers lightly. (I use my thumb, forefinger and middle fingers together.)
Bake for 10-14 minutes or until light golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack and dust generously with powdered sugar. (I use a small sieve for this.)
Allow to cool completely then store in an airtight container.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.