Whole Living Daily

Gluten-Free Hemp Seed Mexican Wedding Cookies: Food Allergy Recipe Challenge #9

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Photo courtesy of Little Blue Hen on Flickr.

One of the greatest food allergy recipe challenges is getting proper nutrition while on a restricted diet. So I’m always looking for ways to sneak nutrient-dense ingredients into my allergen-free recipes.

Hemp seeds (also called “Hemp Hearts”) are a fantastically nutritious source of protein and Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids, which are often hard to get enough of when you can’t eat nuts or fish. These little seeds are not only nutritional powerhouses, they’re also seriously tasty, and great in baked goods in place of tree nuts and peanuts.  Contrary to popular belief, they’re mild and “nutty”.  They’re great in cookies, tossed in a salad, or sprinkled over your oatmeal. In fact, I’m beginning to think that their possibilities are endless.

When a reader, Homa, challenged me to come up with a recipe for “Allergen-Free Mexican Wedding Cookies” several weeks ago, I remembered I’d developed a recipe for them several years ago using sunflower seeds. But I wasn’t satisfied with the texture of those cookies, and the flavor wasn’t “buttery” enough.

So this week’s Food Allergy Recipe Challenge was for me to perfect that cookie, and make it good enough for any wedding, allergen-free or not.  Thus, I turned to Hemp Seeds. The result? A perfect little sweet, full of “Hemp Heart”, to share with lots of love!

1 of 9

1 Shelled hemp seeds: The secret ingredient in these sweet, buttery treats.

2 Stir flour mixture and hemp seeds into sugar mixture, stirring until dough holds together. Cover the bowl and chill about 1 hour.

3 Shape dough into 1-inch balls, pressing together like you would with Play Dough.

4 Place cookie-dough balls 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.

5 Bake cookies on center rack in oven for 18-20 minutes until set but not brown.

6 Gently remove cookies with a thin spatula (be careful, cookies are delicate) and roll them in confectioner’s sugar.

7 Let the balls cool completely on a baking rack before rolling once more.

8 Rolling the balls a second time in sugar will help give them a finished, powdery look.

9 I wasn't thrilled with my final shot, so I borrowed this one from Little Blue Hen on Flickr. (Click above photo for link.) Don't they look delicious?

What nutrients do you find it hard to get enough of on an allergen-free and/or gluten-free diet? Leave me a comment, and I’ll try to devise a recipe to help you get more of it.

Hemp Seed Wedding Cookies
Makes about 40 one-and-a-half-inch cookies

These little gems are normally made with walnuts, pistachios, pecans or almonds. This tree nut-free version is made with hemp seeds, and is equally delicious and highly nutritious.

1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, shortening and vanilla extract. Blend well.

2. In a separate bowl, measure out flour mix by spooning flour into a dry measuring cup, then leveling it off with a straightedge, or the back of a knife. (Do not scoop the flour directly with the measuring cup or you’ll wind up with too much flour for the recipe). Combine flour mix, xanthan gum and salt.

3. Stir flour mixture and hemp seeds into sugar mixture, stirring until dough holds together. Cover the bowl and chill about 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

5. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, pressing together like you would with Play Dough. Place balls 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.

6. Bake cookies on center rack in oven for 18-20 minutes until set but not brown.

7. Cool for 10 minutes on cookie sheets. Gently remove cookies with a thin spatula (be careful, cookies are delicate) and roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Cool completely and re-roll in confectioner’s sugar.

TIP: If cookies aren’t eaten within a day, store them in the freezer. Layer them in single layers between parchment paper. Enjoy them at room temperature.

"Hemp Seed Wedding Cookies" © 2010 by Cybele Pascal

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them.  Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions.  If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns beforeconsumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.

Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook." She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). Please visit her website at CybelePascal.com.

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Comments (15)

  • [...] FYI, I just posted a really yummy new recipe for Gluten-Free Hemp Seed Mexican Wedding Cookies on my Food Allergy Recipe [...]

  • Hi Cybele,
    I hope that you can help me convert this super yummy flourless chocolate cake into an egg-free version. The current recipe calls for 6 eggs!
    Flourless Chocolate Cake
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup cane sugar
    18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate (*we use 2 pkgs of Enjoy Life
    chocolate chips, melted)
    1 cup vegetable shortening or equivalent in oil (*we use oil*)
    6 eggs
    Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease one 10 inch round cake pan
    and set aside.
    In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric or stand mixer.
    Cut the shortening (or pour oil) into the mixer bowl and beat the shortening/oil into the chocolate, a bit at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
    Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Have a pan larger than the cake pan
    ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
    Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F for approx. 45 minutes. The center will still look wet. Chill cake overnight in the pan. To remove cake from the pan, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

    This cake reminds me of Chang's restaurant's flourless cake. It is super chocolatey :)
    Thank you,

  • Thank you for all of your new recipes, especially the soy sauce (YEAH!!!!!), mayo and cream of mushroom soup! Any chance of making some protein-rich gluten/dairy/soy-free mac & cheese?

  • Dear Robin:

    It's so hard with a recipe that is almost completely dependent on eggs to make it egg-free. I will have to think about this one long and hard. Cornstarch can make a custard, but not sure it will taste right. I'll get back to you on this.

    Re: protein-rich gf, df, sf mac & cheese, I'm working on that one for a cooking video in the fall. Coming to you soon!

    Keep the requests coming!


  • ps, i went back a couple weeks to find a request for next monday's post. I will be brining you a recipe for GF Blueberry Bread Pudding. Look for it on monday.



  • I have a gluten sensitivity and I find it's hard to get enough fiber in my diet.

    On a difrerent note, I would love to make an allergen free croissant!

  • My brother was recently diagnosed with gluten allergies, so I'm bookmarking lots of great things to make him when he visits. Thanks!

  • I am working on my Whole Foods shopping list right now, so excited to try making this! Thank you, Cybele!

    (P.S. I finally got an email back from Daiya that their cheese isn't corn free. Ah well.)

  • Homa:

    Thanks for the heads up on the Daiya. Do we have an ingredients list from them?

    Laura, next monday's recipe, GF Vegan Blueberry Bread Pudding, has lots of fiber! I'll try to come up with more for you too.



  • [...] energy bar is in replacing the ubiquitous nuts. Luckily, as you may already know, I’ve been on a “hemp kick” .  Hemp and Flax are fantastic sources of protein and Omega 3 essential fatty acids.  To further [...]

  • Cybele, my little girl loves cookies and cinnamon rolls but in addition to the multiple food allergies she has acid reflux and can't have fat. I've started pureeing veggies like summer squash and including that in recipes to get more nutrition, but I can't find the right combination for low to no fat recipes for these things. Can you help me come up with a couple of recipes?

  • [...] I’ve been on a pudding kick.  Perhaps not as virtuous as the hemp seed kick I was on earlier this summer, but no less important.  I love pudding.  It’s one of the ultimate [...]

  • I have found a gluten-free, soy-free, vegan, potato-free mac and cheese at whole foods. It is Road's End Organics brand. They have an alfredo style and cheddar style. My daughter loves it. They use a brand of tapioca startch, lentil flours and spices for the sauce.

  • [...] fans on facebook and twitter.  She’s even answered a question I posted to her blog and done a recipe based on a challenge I submitted!  She’s just so kind and has done wonderful things for the food allergy community.  I have [...]

  • Fantastic write-up. I'm an ordinary visitor of one's respective blog and appreciate you finding the time for you to maintain the nice website. I will be considered a regular visitor for years.

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