5-ingredient Romanian Sugar Cookies “Cornulete” (gluten-free and vegan)

These are the cookies I left out for Santa as a kid. But rumor has it Santa is watching his waistline 😉 so I updated the classic using gluten-free flour (and they were already vegan!). They are super crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies with a hint of lemon. A simple, classic recipe that’s easy to make and beyond delicious. The original Romanian recipe was written in grams and barely had any directions, which seems to be a trend with the Romanian recipes in my collection (and ones passed down from my grandmother). The recipe will say things like “cook at the appropriate temperature until it’s done”. Hmmmm. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t help me! I’ve been working on adapting and updating the recipes so I can share these wonderful family traditions with all of you.

If you happen to have a small kitchen scale, that’s the easiest way to make these and follow the grams measurements listed. When baking, measuring ingredients by weight is the best way to guarantee consistent results. Simply place your bowl on the scale and zero it out before adding each ingredient. You can measure it all in the same bowl! But just in case, I included the US-equivalent measurements as well.


5-ingredient Romanian Sugar Cookies aka “Cornulete” (gluten-free/vegan)

active 10 minutes total 30 Minutes

makes about 24 cookies


  • 300g Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour (or all-purpose flour), approximately 2 ¼ cups + 2 Tbsp
  • 200g butter (I used 1 8oz block of Kerry Gold butter minus about 2 Tbsp, but you can use vegan butter or coconut oil to make the recipe vegan)
  • 140g almond meal (or finely crushed walnuts), approximately 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • 140g powdered sugar (approximately 1 ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest + 1 Tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix all ingredients together until a crumbly dough forms. You can do this with a fork as well. Form into small crescent moon shapes a bit larger than your thumb (this is the traditional shape I grew up with, but you can also make them into balls more like Mexican Wedding Cookies – it’s easier to form into balls, but once you get the hang of the crescent shape, they come together fairly quickly too). If batter seems too crumbly, add another tablespoon of lemon juice or wet your hands slightly when forming. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden-brown, about 22-24 minutes (this will vary depending on the size of the cookies).

Recipe by Andrea Branchini (adapted from a traditional Romanian recipe)



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