Enjoy this yeasty gluten free oliebollen recipe! Oliebollen is a Dutch New Year’s treat that literally translates to “oil balls,” which means that oliebollen is the most unhealthy, most delicious, most oily-and-yeasty-and-soft-and-crunchy-and-sweet thing there is.
I come from a very Dutch family. There are several inevitable facts resulting from this: First, we’re all tall. Except me. I tell my sisters that “I’m not short, I’m just short enough to wear heels and be awesome.” Second, we’re stubborn. I guess we inherited the hold-back-the-ocean-for-hundreds-of-years genes. Third, we completely and utterly lack rhythm and live in fear of the day we’ll be involved in a spontaneous street dance (which, according to Disney, happens fairly frequently). Fourth, if you’re Dutch, you make oliebollen. It’s just what you do.
I would have my sister explain about oliebollen, since she tends to wax poetic over it, but since she’s not around I’ll have to do my best. Oliebollen literally translates to “oil balls,” which means that oliebollen is the most unhealthy, most delicious, most oily-and-yeasty-and-soft-and-crunchy-and-sweet thing there is.
It’s usually made around the New Year as a way to start the New Year off feeling cleansed and healthy. We stopped eating it years ago after we went gluten-free, but every year we were still subjected to the torture as all our relatives posted their New Year’s oliebollen pictures on Facebook. Two years ago I finally came up with a perfect gluten-free fried doughnut recipe, and it seemed that my doughnut recipe could be turned into a gluten free oliebollen recipe (doughnuts and oliebollen are similar…oliebollen is just more oily and thus more delicious).
And so it is that two years later, I have made a gluten free oliebollen recipe. I know it’s after New Year’s, but there’s absolutely no reason not to enjoy oliebollen all through January. As a way to, you know, get started on your New Year’s health goals.
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 3 tablespoons melted honey
- ¾ cup warm water
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon molasses (optional, adds richness)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups cornstarch (tapioca starch works as well)
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons guar gum
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup raisins or dried currants (we prefer dried currants)
- 1 medium-sized apple, finely chopped
- Powdered sugar, for sprinkling (see notes for healthier option)
- Put the yeast, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and ¾ cup of warm water into a bowl and stir it up with a fork. Put the bowl in a warm place. I always put it in the oven on WARM for about three minutes and then turn the oven off and let it sit in there. Allow the yeast to rise for at least five minutes. Turn the oven back to WARM after you take the yeast out.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, molasses, vanilla extract, maple syrup, vinegar, and olive oil.
- Add the yeast mix to the egg/olive oil/ molasses mix. Beat until fully blended, then add the cornstarch, rice flour, guar gum, salt, and cinnamon. Beat for two minutes.
- Right about now, turn the oven from WARM to OFF. This will allow the oven to cool to the perfect yeast rising temperature.
- Take a look at the dough. It should be thick but not dry looking. The mix is perfect if it’s got a smooth, but not stiff look. If it looks a little bit stiff or dry or lumpy, add more warm water and blend, adding it a tablespoon at a time. Your dough should DEFINITELY not be “knead-able.” This means it will be a little bit difficult to work with later on, but you NEED that moisture. Bear with me here.
- So, after you’ve gotten it to about the right texture (see picture below recipe for reference) blend for about two minutes to stretch it out a little bit. This is the gluten free version of kneading. Then add the raisins and the apples and blend until mixed.
- Put the bowl of dough in the oven. Move the racks so there’s room above the bowl for the dough to expand (depending upon how full your dough is--expect it to double).
- Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
- About 10 minutes before the oliebollen is done rising, put a pan on the stove on medium high with about 3 cups of olive oil in it. You may need more or less oil depending upon the size of your pan. Just figure on having at least 3 to 3½ inches of oil. Enough for the oliebollen to submerge. Also, you will have to work with the burner temp some. Usually I turn it slightly above medium high as the oil heats up and as I cook the first few oliebollen. Then the oil gets too hot, and I turn it down until the oil starts getting too cool...then back up again. You just sort of have to go back and forth and see what works best. A good temperature range to stay in is 360 to 375 degrees F.
- If you want to use a deep fryer, that would work too.
- Once the dough is done rising and the oil is hot enough, drop a rounded spoonful of risen dough into the oil (about ¼ cup of dough). I usually make three oliebollen at one go, but you can put in as many as your pan will fit.
- Cook for about 3 minutes on a side, until the bottom is deep golden brown. Then turn it over in the oil and let it cook for another two minutes or so until evenly browned all over.
- Remove from heat and place in a bowl or on a plate with paper towels underneath to absorb excess oil. After about thirty seconds of cooling, sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar. If you’d prefer a more healthy option, see below in the “notes.” Enjoy the oliebollen warm and fresh. It’s best that way.
- As for finishing up: Continue cooking oliebollen as above until all the dough is used, maintaining oil temp as you go. After you’re done you can strain the oil and use it for other baking or you can use it to make another batch of gluten free oliebollen in a day or so (that’s what I did). Smell it to make sure it isn’t at all burnt before you repurpose it, though.
And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this gluten free oliebollen recipe!
John Holzmann says
Oh, yumm! THANK YOU!
My wife used to make these every Old Year’s Night . . . until we started visiting friends. And now, for the last (too long), we haven’t had them. And I missed them. And I DIDN’T grow up Dutch! And, worse, most of our kids and I discovered we don’t do well with wheat in our diet. So we’ve all gone gluten-free.
But I miss my oliebollen!
So we are planning to make some this Christmas Eve.
I look forward to using your recipe! . . . Hopefully I can report on how they turn out.
One comment based on what we heard from our oldest son (who is in his 30s): “Oh! But I *hate* the raisins!”
After listening to him, I wonder if it’s because they come out kind of bitter/crunchy/”dark”-flavored.
And I noticed on another site, they say to “put the raisins [AND] currants [they recommend using both, in a mixture!!] in hot water before use and let them soak for a while.”
Do you think Beer could be added to this recipe? My favourite Olie Bollen recipe uses beer, but our little 3 year old is wheat and dairy free
Hi Lennaea! I’m thinking about making this tonight for New Year’s Eve 🙂 We grew up eating oliebollen each year in our Dutch family as well. I have never made it myself though, so first time. Can I swap out the rice flour and corn starch for a combined 1 for 1 GF flour blend? Do you think this would work or not? Thanks so much!