Cherry Almond Butter Cookies

Welcome to the inaugural post of what is guaranteed to be the smallest recipe category of MetaCookbook: “Wedding Recipes”.

It will be the smallest recipe category for two reasons:
# It’s necessarily time limited. The wedding in question is in October, and it’s May now.

# I’m not expecting to cook everything for our wedding. Most of the recipes for what we eat will probably not show up here.

Most of what I’ll post in this category will be cookies. So, I hope you all have a sweet tooth.

Growing up, I can’t remember a time that I didn’t know my father & mother had an “Italian Cookie Cake” as part of their wedding festivities. I even have a very vague recollection of seeing a single photo of their cookie cake. It looks, in effect, like a giant pile of cookies.

It looks delicious.

I’ll be honest with you: I don’t know the origins of the cookie cake. My sister & I asked my mother about it when I got married the first time around, and she didn’t know either. She knew she got it from her mother, who is Italian (Mainland & Sicilian, for those who are wondering). My mother speculated at the time that it came from my grandmother’s Sicilian ancestors, but I don’t recall her reasoning.

In any case, it’s been a ubiquitous part of family lore for a very long time. And when I got married the first time around, my grandmother gathered all the recipes from her family for the cookies involved. Then she, my sister, my mother, my aunt, my cousin & I baked cookies.

A lot of cookies.

I think for my first wedding, we baked ~2000 cookies. For my sister’s wedding, we baked ~1000 cookies. I don’t know what we’re looking at for this wedding. I think many more, as both previous weddings had traditional wedding cakes as well, and Bill and I are not planning to do so this time around.

We have a complication, though. Several of our invited loved ones cannot eat gluten, that lovely by-product of wheat that makes the backbone of so many baked goods. I have no intention of allowing these people to be left in the lurch, without cookies, so I have to find a way to make the recipes I choose for our cookie cake safe for our gluten-free guests, and I won’t be content if they aren’t also pretty damn good cookies.


1 whole egg
1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 lb unsalted butter, softened

1 c granulated sugar

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp almond extract

1/2 c dried cherries


Okay. Honestly? My recipe didn’t come with directions past “375F 12 – 14 minutes golden brown”. I had to draw on my knowledge of cookies to make this. So, below is what I did.

Beat together the egg & egg yolk. Cream together the butter & sugar. Once they’re thoroughly mixed, stir in the egg mixture & extract. Add the flour & salt, stir until the dough comes together (or close to it), then fold in the cherries.

Roll into small balls, place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12 – 14 minutes at 375F.

Conversion Comments:

So, this recipe was my first foray into gluten-free cooking. I spent a lot of time asking both online & in-person how to convert. I got a lot of tips, and went shopping.

Alexandra, Bill’s sister, is not gluten-free, but her husband is. Her recommendation was coconut flour for cookies. Someone online recommended something called “Pamela’s mix”, though that didn’t work because it’s more like a gluten-free pancake & cake mix (already has things like baking powder mixed in).

I ended up with “Bob’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (BGFAP flour)”: and “Bob’s Coconut Flour.”: This was on a combination of recommendations: Alexandra’s & the gluten-free store employee I ran into while buying flours.

I chose this combination because the store employee says she uses BGFAP flour as a direct substitute for wheat flour, and she thought all her baked goods were fabulous. However, gluten-tolerant friends of hers tended to complain about a little bit of “beany” flavor in her goods. Based on Alexandra’s statement that coconut flour tends to be a bit sweet and/or “coconutty”, and the fact that the coconut flour package had an easy substitute if you wanted to add it to wheat-based baking (up to 20% for all-purpose flour), I decided that was the correct combination.

Back home, that’s exactly what I did. I made a half batch of gluten-free cookies and a half batch of “normal” cookies to test against. The gluten-free cookies had 80% BGFAP flour and 20% coconut flour, and were otherwise identical to the “normal” cookies. The only catch is that these flours are very lumpy, so I sifted them together before adding them to the liquids.


One, these cookies are delicious. They’re stiff & a bit dry, but that’s to be expected if they’re to hold their shape in a ginormous pile of cookies. They make an excellent tea cookie, in my opinion.

How did the conversion go?

No one but me could truly tell the difference between the cookies! Bill was able to guess, based on knowing I’d made gluten-free cookies (he came home to two batches of cookies & no Tasha to translate), but even he wasn’t sure. People who didn’t know what the difference was just thought I’d made a number of the same kind of cookie! Many people. I’m going to go test it again tonight, but I expect the same results.

In fact? Bill & I independently came to the conclusion that maybe the gluten-free cookies had a touch better flavor. I probably will make a coconut flour substitution1 in the “normal” cookies at some point & see if they improve. I bet they will.


The gluten free cookies should be a touch overbaked in this recipe. The raw dough has a strong wheat-grass flavor to it, and this can come through a touch in the cookies. Don’t burn them, but a deep golden brown is an excellent color for the gluten free cookies.

The gluten free cookies stick to the pan like mad. I have no idea why. Combat this however you like. Note, though, that the more baked the cookie is, the less likely it is to stick to the cookie sheet. Just another reason to overbake the cookies.

For both gluten free and “normal” cookies, double or triple the extract. The recipe really is a lot tastier that way, in my opinion.

These cookies don’t spread a lot. They will hold whatever form you give them on the cookie sheet. This means you can pack many cookies on a single sheet, if you so desire.

Devour. Or pile into a pile of cookies, then devour. Whichever makes you happiest.

fn1. Is making a substitution to a traditional recipe allowed? Especially for an event like this? I have no idea, but I’m curious what others think.