Gluten-free and Vegan Castagnelle

As I previously said, I belong to a wonderful Facebook group of Italian Ambassadors of Good Taste who have found themselves in different parts of the world. We share recipes which are typical of the countries we now live in, but also we like to go back to our origins, and introduce Italian food into the culture of places that have welcomed us. A couple of days ago, one of us posted a video of a recipe for Castagnelle, from the region of Puglia, or Apulia.

Castagnelle are usually prepared in the Apulian tradition and, in particular, in the typical cuisine of the Foggia area and the Bari area, especially during the Christmas period. These sweets called castagnelle or castagnedde belong to the so-called “poor” tradition and are prepared with almonds, flour, cinnamon, cocoa, and citrus zests, kneaded and baked, all within an hour. I used vegan chocolate and Silk creamer, so I was able to make then not only gluten-free, but vegan too.


Gluten-free and Vegan Castagnelle

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: RecipesDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time




  • 250 g 250 roasted, whole almonds – 1 3/4 cups

  • 250 g 250 Simona’s Flour Mix – 1 2/3 cups

  • 200 g 200 granulated sugar – 1 cup

  • 80 g 80 dark chocolate, I used Enjoy Life – 1/2 cup

  • 25 g 25 unsweetened cocoa powder – 5 Tablespoons

  • 80 g 80 coffee – 1/3 cup (you can use water if you’d like, instead)

  • 50 g 50 Silk creamer, original – 3 Tablespoons

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon 1/4 salt

  • 1 1 lemon zest

  • 1 1 orange zest

  • as needed as needed confectioners sugar, to decorate


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Using a food processor, ground the almonds to coarse meal, with some bigger pieces of nuts in it. Set aside.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave, mix it until smooth. Set aside. Prepare the coffee as well – I used instant coffee.
  • In a large bowl, combine: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk and add the ground almonds, the coffee (or the same amount of water), the orange and a lemon zests, and the melted chocolate. Mix everything by hand until combined. Add the Silk creamer slowly, until the dough comes together nicely.
  • Use a sheet of parchment paper, lightly floured. Divide the dough in two and form two sticks, each 1 inch thick. Flatten them slightly with your fingers. Then cut them diagonally, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long,
  • Place the castagnelle on the prepared baking tray lined with parchment paper, leaving only an inch or two between them. They should all fit on one tray. Bake the for about 12-15 minutes – they should still be soft when we take them out of the oven.
  • Place them on a cooling rack and let them cool. Before serving, Dust them with a little confectioners sugar.

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