More and more people are removing grains, processed sugar, and dairy from their diets for a variety of reasons.
Personally, I’m not giving up grains completely. But I do try to limit the amount I eat.
That being said, when I embarked on a low-grain diet, I was surprised how much of it was made up of whole grains!
Sometimes I would have oatmeal for breakfast, rice with my salad at lunch, and tacos or spaghetti for dinner.
And the baked goods I ate for dessert, like a delicious slice of vanilla cake, almost always contained grains, dairy, and sugar! Which got me thinking… it’s about time to start experimenting with healthier desserts.
And that’s how these grain-free chocolate chip cookies were created!
These sweets come together incredibly fast (just a minute or two in the mixer!) and only contain a handful of simple ingredients.
But trust me… no one will be able to tell!
Before heading to the recipe, I’ll catch you up on the important role each star ingredient plays.
This is made from skinless, blanched whole almonds that have been ground to a fine powder. It looks and feels a bit coarser than traditional wheat flours.
It’s full of fiber and protein, and can be used in place of regular flour for a low-carb baking alternative.
Find it in the specialty flour section of most grocery stores.
This is created by pressing the “meat” of the coconut to remove the fiber.
Coconut oil is one of the few oils that can be heated at a high temperature without converting to a trans fat. It’s also rich in medium-chain-triglycerides, which makes it a fat that is easily turned into and used as energy, unlike most fats coming from oil.
If you want to use other types of oil, feel free to use whatever you like! I recommend using neutral-flavored vegetable oils.
And if you run out of oil mid-recipe and need some creative oil substitutions for baking, we’ve got you covered.
There are endless varieties of chocolate chips out there, from milk to dairy-free.
However, when making these particular sweet treats, I always look for a brand with a high cacao content of at least 50% for a rich, chocolaty flavor.
Sea salt, especially when freshly ground, will have a much better flavor than table salt. It’s more pure, clean, and unrefined.
It is very important in this recipe, as the salt helps bring out the chocolate flavor, and balances the sweetness from the chocolate and maple syrup.
Read more about the various type of salt available.
Sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, is used in cooking as a leavening agent, which is needed to make your scrumptious goodies rise.
Baking soda is used in most recipes for baked goods because it creates a fluffy texture, and helps to prevent those dreaded flat chocolate chip cookies.
It eliminates the density that recipes would have without it, and makes them more appetizing overall.
This is one of the purest sweeteners available, created by repeatedly boiling down the sap of the sugar maple tree.
Southeastern Canada and New England are the only maple producing regions, even though you can get pure maple syrup all over the world now.
It’s a great sweetener for this recipe and for use in other baked goods because it’s very sweet, rich, and pairs well with chocolate. Check out our guide to maple syrup for more details!
Though you can use any type of vanilla extract, I personally prefer pure extract from the Madagascar variety, a type of vanilla bean that is more flavorful and aromatic.
Its sweet, buttery flavor is perfect for baking.
Now that you’re familiar with the ingredients, let’s get to the recipe!
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line one baking tray with parchment paper.
If using a stand mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment.
Measure all of your ingredients.
Step 2 – Mix the Dough
Combine all ingredients except the chocolate chips in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on medium speed until a smooth dough forms, about 30 seconds.
Step 3 – Add the Chocolate Chips
Pour the chips into the bowl while it’s still attached to the stand mixer. Mix on low speed until all of the chips are evenly distributed.
Step 4 – Form the Cookies
Using your hands or a cookie scoop for evenly portioned dollops of dough that will cook at an even rate, use about 3 tablespoons of dough each and form into small mounds. You will get 8-10 mounds.
Place them on the prepared baking sheet, being sure to space them evenly.
Because they won’t spread like traditional cookies, you may want to flatten the tops slightly with your hands to create a more traditional shape.
Step 5 – Bake
Bake for 10-12 minutes. They will still be light on the top, but slightly golden brown around the sides and bottoms.
Step 6 – Cool and Serve
Remove from the oven, and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Allow to cool before serving.
But everyone knows how irresistible a warm cookie is fresh from the oven…
Clean Eating with a Classic Cookie
With this treat, you can enjoy one of your favorite handheld desserts while eating a clean diet!
You’ll still get the same soft center, chewy and crunchy crust, and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate bites… but with no dairy, no gluten, no eggs, and minimal sugar!
Following the paleo diet in particular? Make our recipe for carrot cake cupcakes with coconut cream frosting. No gluten, no dairy, and minimal sugar!
Also, you may want to check out Foodal’s Paleo Baking Basics for other gluten-free ideas.
Want to go big? Be inspired by our giant pan cookie recipe, and use this paleo version instead to make a huge dessert that will satisfy all cookie monsters!
What’s your secret to the perfect gluten-free cookie? Give us all your tips, tricks, and ideas for healthier alternatives to the last course in the comments below!
And be sure to check often for new gluten free recipes. You’ll really like these other gluten-free cookies:
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Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published March 6, 2015 by Sarah Hagstrom. Revised and updated July 3rd, 2017 by Nikki Cervone.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Sarah Hagstrom
Sarah is a health food advocate and loves to spend her time whipping up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen and then sharing either on Foodal or on her own blog "The Seasonal Diet" (www.theseasonaldiet.com). She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.