gluten-free cardamom, black pepper + dark chocolate cookies

This time of the year doesn't feel the same to me without the smell of a Christmas tree wafting through the house. Growing up surrounded by pine forests we always had a 'real' Christmas tree. Sometimes it was just a branch, lopped off by my Dad and dragged up the steep hill to the house. Other times they were specially chosen trees, still from our property, but grand in size and shape. I don't remember having low ceilings, and often they'd graze the top, other times they'd bend over like a tall person trying to feel small.

My husband isn't a fan of the mess that comes with real trees (sigh), so my children have sadly been robbed of the one thing that to me signals the festive season thus far. But now that we're back home in NZ and once again surrounded by pine trees I've made him accept that it's a must and a tree we now have! Well, random leggy branch of a tree really... but oh the smell!

For sentimental humans such as I, the tradition of Christmas is the most beautiful part. I don't love hearing Christmas carols blasting from every shop, though thankfully now we no longer live in a city I'm yet to be bombarded with carols this year. I also don't love the frantic buy, buy, BUY mentality so many get caught up in.

For me it's the little, less in your face traditions I love the most. The smell of pine in the air, the trifle you hope will make an appearance on the Christmas table, the family coming together (and hopefully all getting along!) and the little homemade gifts my Nana and great-aunt used to make for each family. A tradition I hope to someday fully have time to realise. I'm yet to get quite as far as them, with baskets full to the brim with preserves and home baking. But the baking bit I can usually find time for, especially buttery gluten-free shortbreads, spiked with interesting spices and chocolate.

Gluten-free cardamom, black pepper + dark chocolate cookies

The beauty of these kind of cookies, is that you can have the dough tucked away in the fridge for up to a week. When the craving arises simply slice off as many cookies as you'd like to bake and return the dough to the fridge until the next craving... The cookies can also be baked off and frozen for later enjoyment.
Makes approx. 28 bite-sized cookies

100 g salted Westgold butter, softened

100 g (1/2 cup) unrefined raw sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large free-range egg, at room temperature

150 g (1 1/4 cups) brown rice flour

50 g (1/2 cup) gluten-free cornflour (starch)

The finely ground seeds from 8 cardamom pods (approx 1/2 teaspoon ground)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

50 g dark chocolate, finely chopped


Cream butter, sugar and vanilla using an electric beater or wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat in. Sift over brown rice flour, cornflour (starch) and the finely ground cardamom seeds. Add black pepper and chocolate, then mix to form a soft dough. Take a sheet of baking (parchment) paper and lay it on your bench. Transfer the dough onto the paper and form a rough log shape. Roll up the paper, like you would sushi, twist the ends in opposite directions to form a tight log. Chill in the fridge 2-4 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake. Preheat oven to 160 C (320 F). Line two oven trays with baking paper or grease well.

Unwrap the cookie dough and slice into 1 cm rounds. Re-shape if necessary, then transfer to a tray. Bake cookies 10-15 minute, or until light golden, rotating trays halfway to ensure even cooking. Remove from oven and set aside to cool 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool further. Best eaten on day of baking, however they will store airtight 2-3 days or can be frozen for up to 3 months.


This post is sponsored by Westgold ~ Pure New Zealand Butter. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies who help me bring tasty recipes to you all.


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  • Reply
    Rachel @Clean Eating for the Non-Hippie
    December 20, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Mmm, this is my kinda cookie!! I love that you’re using really great butter, can’t wait to make them – x

    • Reply
      December 20, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      🙂 I love butter like a crazy person, haha! I hope you try these cookies x

  • Reply
    December 23, 2017 at 6:57 am

    This dark chocolate cookies looks and sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing !!Wish You a Merry Christmas!!!!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Yay, these cookies were soooo nice! All of them were gone before noon… I guess I’ll have to make some more! (Y)

    • Reply
      December 29, 2017 at 2:41 am

      Stoked you loved them 🙂

  • Reply
    December 24, 2017 at 2:32 am

    Those look delicious. Iam going to have to try this soon.

  • Reply
    Diane Wilkins
    December 24, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Yes! Such a simple and easy to make cookie recipe. Definitely my kids favorite. Can’t wait to give this one a try.

    • Reply
      December 29, 2017 at 2:40 am

      I’m all about easy 🙂 Enjoy x

  • Reply
    December 25, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Well you have done it again…i made the dough yesterday and hubby just cooked some up…they are VERY GOOD. Merry Christmas and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2017 at 2:40 am

      So stoked you loved them, isn’t the smell amazing!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    if you wanted to use whet flours, what would you suggest instead of brown rice?
    cardamom and chocolate ~ oh my!

    • Reply
      January 8, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      I’m assuming you meant to say wheat flour? You could use 150g plain (wheat) flour in place of the brown rice flour and keep the cornflour (starch) the same. x

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