Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gluten-Free, Vegan, Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I am sharing with you a delectable little cookie recipe. A version of chocolate chip cookies that you've probably never seen before. One that doesn't contain any flour, sugar, eggs, or butter. No xanthan gum or starches either. Yep. A true "whole foods" cookie. One that pairs well with a glass of fresh, raw almond milk for dunking.

The base of this cookie is made from almond butter and quinoa flakes. It's a high protein, refined sugar-free, vegan cookie. Crispy on the outside and slightly gooey in the center.

The inspiration for this recipe came from a sample cookie I tried at our annual Gluten Intolerance Group Event a few weeks ago. The company that makes them is called Bonte Natural Foods and they are located right here, just north of Bellingham! I took one bite then looked at their ingredients. It read: Almond butter, eggs, GF oats, date paste, almond meal, honey, vanilla, and chocolate chips. For about a week I mulled the idea around in my mind and then finally created this recipe. It came out perfect the first time but I wanted to be sure so I sent it off to about 25 of my recipe testers.

The feedback I have received thus far has been fantastic. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as we do.

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are high protein, low sugar, vegan, and naturally gluten-free. Plus with no grainy gluten-free flours, these cookies stay moist and gooey in the center for days. I use chunky roasted almond butter; I don’t think raw almond butter would work here. For the ground flax, I grind my own in my Vita-Mix from golden flax seeds. A coffee grinder also works to grind seeds. I use Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes which I buy locally. They can also be found on Amazon.com. I use the Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips. The first time I made these I used cocoa nibs which made the overall cookie not very sweet. When made with chocolate chips, the cookies taste sweet with a lovely chocolate flavor (the chips do have some cane sugar in them).

Yield: 18 cookies

½ cup packed pitted medjool dates (about 6 to 8 dates)
¼ cup hot water
¼ cup virgin coconut oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup ground flax seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup almond butter
1 cup quinoa flakes
½ cup almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ to ½ cup mini chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet with coconut oil.

Place the pitted dates and water in a blender and let them soak for about 5 minutes. Then add the coconut oil and honey. Blend until very smooth, about a minute.

Transfer date-oil mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl (scooping out every last bit) and add ground flax seeds and vanilla; beat on high with an electric mixture until combined. Add almond butter and beat again.

Sprinkle the quinoa flakes, almond meal, baking soda, and salt over the almond butter mixture, beat again until well combined.

Drop dough by the large spoonful onto the greased cookie sheet. Lightly press each cookie down with the palm of your hand. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove gently with a thin spatula and transfer to a wire rack to cool. The cookies will be slightly fragile when hot but will hold together very well after about 5 minutes of cooling. Enjoy with a glass of fresh, raw almond milk! Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

Notes: Quinoa Flakes are made from organic quinoa that is steam-rolled into a quick cooking quinoa flake.

Other cookie recipes you might like:

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Last week, I made a cookie like this using sunflower seed butter- we have peanut allergies at my house. Oh they were delicious! I will have to try almond butter now.... :)

    Eat well! Live well!

  2. Love these! Thanks again for the giveaway!

  3. They look fantastic, Ali! Wishing I could reach through the screen right now. I just finished dinner and was fantasizing about a little bite of something sweet ... one of these cookies would be perfect! ;-)

    Congrats to Jenn L.! I'm so excited I'm going to be doing a giveaway of Kelly's book, too ... soon, just not quite sure what exact date.



  4. What can be substituted for coconut oil? Butter or grapeseed oil? Looks great!

  5. I am allergic to flax seed, what would you suggest for a substitute.

    Thanks in advance, they look fantastic.


  6. You come up with the most amazing recipes! I think I have made almost every one -and they have all been fab, I might add:)

  7. Forgot to ask - do you think I could use the blanched almond flour like Elana uses?

  8. Wow what a unique and delicious looking chocolate chip cookie! You truly do come up with some of the most healthy, yet tasty, recipes. I've been curious for a while now, do you have any gluten-free recipes for a sort of crusty Italian-type bread? So far, I haven't found any gluten free recipes for crusty bread and I've also been looking for a gluten free recipe for Naan, since I love Indian food, but have not found any for that either. Just a request for future posts :-) Thanks so much for reading.

    Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!


  9. These look great and I really want to try them. I'm new to this sight and am slowly trying to learn about eating with whole foods. So, I don't know a whole lot and this is probably a silly questions, but are quinoa flakes different from regular quinoa?

  10. I am not sure what quinoa flakes are (but I have yet to look at the grocery store). Can I use quinoa flour or are flakes a different consistency/texture that are necessary to the recipe? Thanks so much!

  11. ARE YOU KIDDING??? This is about equivalent to someone telling me I just won the lottery of life!!!
    I'm so excited about this recipe! Thanks so much! I may just make them and post (with a link of course) your recipe on MY blog!!! These are going to be made ASAP!
    Thanks again! Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving!!!

  12. These look so yummy! Unfortunately, I am allergic to almonds. I was thinking sunflower seed butter as a sub for the almond butter, but I'm not sure what to sub for the almond meal.


  13. Thanks for the lovely comments. I hope you will all enjoy them! :)

    Mel - I am sure these would be delicious with sunbutter, I will have to try them that way. Hope you enjoy them with almond butter. :)

    Kelly - Thank you! :)

    Shirley - Wouldn't it be nice to just reach through the screen and grab one off the plate? :)

    Anon - I think butter would be the best substitute for coconut oil.

    M - If you can do eggs then I would replace the 1/4 cup ground flax with 1 egg. You will most likely need to adjust the other ingredients. Maybe more quinoa flakes and almond meal flour (or more almond butter). I would beat all of the ingredients together and then add anything additional as needed until you get a drop cookie consistency.

    Karen - Not sure if blanched almond flour would work, but you could give it a try and report back! :)

    Tiffany - I don't have a recipe for gluten-free Naan, I do however have a variety of other bread recipes. I will share more of them in the coming months. :)

    Beth W. and Jessica - I just added the links to quinoa flakes. They are a quick cooking flake (good for quick breakfasts) made from steam-pressed whole quinoa grain. I think the only substitute for them would be quick cooking rolled oats. :)

    Erin - Thanks!!! :)

    Katie - Yes I think sunbutter would work to replace the almond butter. I also think that ground sunflower seeds would work to replace the almond meal. Let me know how they turn out. :)

  14. Ali, as usual,I think these cookies taste fantastic! Not too sweet and kind of chewy - they were great with a glass of almond milk. Plus, I like the fact that they had no flour -maybe my picky husband will like them! Thanks for making my sweet tooth happy!

  15. These cookies are amazing! I am allergic to cane sugar so I made them with cocoa nibs. Yum!!
    I soaked almonds last night to make almond milk too. Thank you, this was such a divine treat dipped into fresh milk. Loving it....

  16. Great recipe! Just found your blog through Affairs of Living (congrats on the cookbook) and can't wait to look around!

  17. Wow, these look so good! I just need a couple of those ingredients to have everything I need to make them.

  18. Just love the sound of these! They sound so amazing Ali - Yum!!

  19. Are chocolate chips toddler friendly, if they're all squished in a cookie? D. is too old now for me to have cookies on the sly...or perhaps I am just not sneaky enough!

  20. These look fabulous...I haven't had a chocolate chip cookie for so long. I have everything on hand...might have to whip up a batch this weekend. Thanks so much for linking to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays!

  21. I just bought some dates to try the chewy chocolate chip cookie recip ein your cookbook, but might have to try these instead! I'll be using cashew butter and ground cashews (almond allergy), yum yum! I think I'll try them next with Sunbutter and sunflower seeds...or maybe even sesame tahini for something really interesting. I'm going to come up with something clever to replace normal chocolate chips - I make some darn good homemade carob chips a la Sally Fallon, or might use cacao nibs, or might try making my own "sweet" chocolate chips starting with a bar of unsweetened baking chocolate and some steiva...we'll see what happens. I can't wait!!!!! Thanks for such a great recipe, can't wait to try!

  22. Are you also psychic Ali? I have been wishing and hoping you would post a chocolate chip cookie recipe! I can't wait to try it!

  23. Oh my word, these are AWESOME! I baked a batch tonight with cashew butter and ground cashews. I replaced the honey with 1/4 c rice milk and 1 tsp stevia extract. I used chopped unsweetened chocolate instead of chocolate chips, threw in 1 Tbsp of mesquite flour for a little extra kick, and baked for about 14 minutes. AMAZING! I can't wait to take them to the HOliday Cookie Party I'm attending tomorrow....if I don't eat the whole darn batch first. Thanks for such a great recipe Ali!

  24. So I got all the ingredients!!! I'm making these tonight and will post about them soon!
    I didn't know what quinoa flakes were located in the store and I was surprised to find them with the breakfast cereals!!!
    I'll let you know how they come out!
    Have a great weekend!

  25. These were so good. I cannot get over them. I love your stuff. Thank you.

  26. These look soo good, Ali. I've been making too many sweet treats lately and need to get back on track with some really healthy versions. This looks to be a great start. I knew I could count on you!

  27. I can't wait to make these. I want to make an assortment of Raw vegan cookies and vegan baked cookies for the holiday get togethers. THANKS!!


  28. Ali,

    Thank you for responding. :) I tried these with sunbutter and sunflower seeds, and they were quite delicious. I think that hazelnut might go even better with the chocolate, so I will try that next!


  29. You know I don't bake much... I'm a Raw vegan chef. BUT, these were intriguing and I decided to give them a go. I will say, that while making them, I had my doubts with how unique the batter was to me, the ingredients, etc... BUT... I just taste tested. YUM! Thanks for the recipe. :) Oh, and my husband will thank you, too... he is going to LOVE these (if there are any left when he gets home - just kidding).


  30. Hi Marissalanzito!

    Could you try ground chia seeds?

  31. If anyone doesn't feel like baking and you want to get one of these cookies that Ally based her chocolate chip cookie recipe on, visit our website or pick up one at Terra Organica, The Coop on Forest St., or Woods Coffee! - Note that our cookie has gf oats instead of quinoa flakes.

  32. Ali,
    I DID use the blanched almond flour and it worked great! They are a tad soft(er?) but the flavor is FABULOUS!

  33. I made these cookies last week with peanut butter - they were delicious and still good after 1 week in a container!

  34. Hi Ali, I love your site. Thank you very much! I'm allergic to chocolate and wondering if you have any carob recipes?

  35. Does it matter if you what type of dates you use?

  36. This cookie recipe looks SO Fantastic AND I have all of the ingredients. Just one question: Is the coconut oil supposed to be solid or liquid for this? I'm never sure. Thanks, Ali!

  37. ~M - No the coconut oil can be solid because you will be adding it to a blender with hot water and soaking dates. It will quickly melt before you even get to blending it. Much faster this way! :)

  38. Oops, looks like I never got to responding to some of these other comments.....

    Earthbound, I don't have any carob recipes on this site, sorry. :)

    Randi - I think you could use whatever date you had on hand though I am no date expert! :)

    Thanks everyone else for your thoughtful comments! :)

  39. We just made these using a mixture of peanut butter and almond butter (didn't have enough almond butter). They are fantastic. My daughter especially enjoyed being able to sneak bites of egg-free dough. Thanks!

  40. These look great, I'm always looking for new vegan/gluten free dessert recipes as I own a bakery & have recently began catering to a large VGF community. The quinoa flakes look like they could be a good substitute for rolled oats in some of my other recipes. I did just want to point out though that honey is NOT vegan! (Trust me many of my customers are strict vegans & they make sure to remind me!) I would suggest agave nectar as a substitute, it's also great of diabetics. Also canola oil would be good instead of coconut oil, I use it for those who are allergic to soy.

  41. This looked so good but I didn't have some of the ingredients, so I skipped the dates, subbed raisins for chocolate chips, and subbed oat groat flour (I threw raw oat groats into a coffee grinder and pulsed away) for the almond flour. The result? The best oatmeal raisin cookies I've ever had! Thanks!

  42. I just made your cookies. I didn't have quinoa flakes so I used oat bran. Great! I love your website and your recipes.

  43. How long do dates keep? I have not been able to find an answer to this question - even the date "manufacturer" didn't answer when I asked. But I'm so new to these, I don't know how long to keep them or how to tell if they're still good.

  44. I made these cookies the other day, and they were amazing! I'm studying to be a Naturopath, so its always handy to have some healthier versions of desserts up your sleeve both for clients and for myself! hehe Again, AMAZING cookies. Everyone who tried them were very impressed and amazed that they contained no flour or refined sugar! Thanks for this fantastic addition to my baking repetoire! :)

  45. I just made these without the quinoa flakes (to make it grain free). I used 1 egg and 1/2 cup coconut flakes. They turned out great! Thanks for the awesome recipe!!

  46. These are GENIOUS!!!

    If possible, what would be the best way to substitute almond meal for the almond meal flour? I'm always looking for ways to use the almond meal left over from making almond milk!

  47. Thank you for sharing this recipe -- looks delicious and I can't wait to try it! One note: honey is not vegan, so you could say liquid sweetener instead (like brown rice syrup or agave or maple syrup). YUM!

  48. I made these cookies and give them an A+. However, I did look up the nutrition information and these cookies have about 250 calories each. Better ingredients than traditional cookies and taste much better, but are not to be confused as low calorie cookies.

  49. Thanks soooo much for this recipe. I did a little tweek to the recipe and substituted:

    1/4 cup Maple Syrup for honey
    1/4 cup Teff flour for ground flax seeds

    And added a little tiny bit of Blue Agave.

    They came out excellent! Yum!


  50. First - yummy! Thanks as always for fabulous ideas and recipes!

    I didn't have dates, so I subbed 1/2 c sweet potato for the dates and hot water, and used maple syrup instead of honey. The flavor is fab! However, they are crumbly (maybe sticky dates help hold it together better?), and I did almost double the amount of flakes as the dough seemed really oily. Is that only me? It is possible I used closer to 1/3 c coconut oil....

  51. I have tried this recipe with Sunbutter but it made them turn green. I thought that was really strange but on the Sunbutter website, it menitons that this can happen. Do you have any tips on baking with Sunbutter without the green effect? Thank you!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)