Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stevia Sweetened Sugar Cookies (sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, vegan)

These beautiful holiday cut-out cookies are made with whole food ingredients and sweetened only with stevia. Not only are they gluten-free, but grain-free as well. I use a combination of almond meal and shredded coconut pulsed in the food processor to create a nutritious, low-glycemic, and naturally sweet "flour" blend.

These cookies certainly don't have that toothsome sugary bite even though they use naturally sweet ingredients and a little stevia to help boost the sweetness. My children are not accustomed to really sugary treats so they love these cookies and will devour the whole batch in one day if I let them. If you are accustomed to treats being a little on the sweeter side you may consider replacing 2 tablespoons of the applesauce with 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup or honey.

Coconut Almond "Sugar" Cookies

These flakey, flavorful cut-out cookies can be used for just about any holiday. Here we have used Easter cookie cutters and colored the icing with natural food colorings. In the past to color the icing I have used turmeric powder to create yellow, beet juice for pink, and spirulina powder for green. This time I thought we would try something new. I used Seelect plant-based food coloring in these photos. Once the cookies are baked and frosted they are best frozen until ready to serve. This keeps them crispy and flakey and the icing set in place. They will thaw out in a matter of minutes. This is also nice if you don't have a large family and would like to store your cookies for a longer period of time. 

Note: I have only tested this recipe twice. First with 1 cup each of the almond meal and shredded coconut and the second time with 1 1/4 cups each. Both ways worked, however using 1 1/4 cup of each resulted in a little more fragile cookie but with great flavor and texture. You can decide how much to add. If you get a chance to leave me some feedback in a comment that would be very helpful, thanks!

Dry Ingredients:
1 to 1 1/4 cups almond meal (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 to 1 1/4 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
6 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (I use Nutiva)
4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon flavoring
30 to 35 drops liquid stevia

Place the dry ingredients into a food processor fitted with the "s" blade. Pulse the ingredients until combined and ground fine, about 60 to 90 seconds.

Add the wet ingredients and process until a dough ball forms. It will be soft but you should be able to form it into a ball. Place the dough into a bowl sprinkled with a little arrowroot powder. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then remove from refrigerator and roll out in between 2 pieces of wax paper or parchment paper to about 1/8 inch of thickness. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters (they should all be fairly equal in size).

Bake for 10 minutes and watch carefully as timing and temperature may need to be adjusted. If they cook fast and brown then turn oven temp down to just over 325 degrees. Cool on a wire rack.

1/2 cup raw cashews
6 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons coconut nectar, honey, or agave nectar
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon flavoring
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients for the icing into a high-powered blender and blend until ultra smooth, stopping the machine if necessary to scrape down the sides. Spoon icing into individual small bowls and add a tiny amount of natural food coloring if desired. We used chopsticks to ice each cookie, then sprinkled them with shredded coconut or natural sprinkles. Freeze the cookies for at least 20 minutes to set the icing. Source:

More Easter Dessert Recipes:
Oatmeal Cut-Out Cookies
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters (stevia sweetened)
Raw Chocolate Pie
Mango Coconut Pudding


  1. I'm going to give these a try, but play with the ingredient amounts. I'll let you know how mine turn out. How about chlorophyll for the green color? Also, for some reason your direction photos didn't show up (the 4 in the middle) on my computer. Wonder why? This recipe and making these cookies looks like such a fun "rainy day" for kids. You always have such good "kid-friendly" recipes on your blog!

  2. What fantastic cookies, Ali! I love the flavors in these and they are so pretty, too. Another great recipe--thanks! :-)


  3. These look lovely - and I'm sure they were a hit with the kids! I'm not the biggest fan of sugar cookies myself, but around the holidays, they're a tradition.

  4. These look like a healthier alternative for my little grandchildren than sugary cookies. I will keep the recipe and give it a try. The cookies look so pretty and appealing.Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Thank you, I am definitely making these on Saturday!

  6. This recipe sounds delicious. However, my son is allergic to tree nuts. What can I substitute for the almond flour? This is the problem I have with gluten-free baking, most of the substitutions include using nuts. Thanks! Kelly

    1. Maybe white beans or chickpeas

  7. What a hard cookie to tackle! It looks like you did a great job, thank you!

  8. Those are beautiful Ali! I'm curious on the stevia being the only sweetener though - I'm not usually a fan of it alone, but may have to trial.

  9. Hi Ali,

    These look amazing! I can't wait to try them, particularly because I'm doing a yeast cleanse right now, and I'm going crazy without anything sweet to eat. I find that stevia works well in drinks but I haven't had luck with it in baking... can I ask what brand you use? Thanks! :)


  10. I am always looking for recipes using stevia that actually taste good. If the kids like it, that's the seal of approval. Question - have you used this icing on cupcakes? Wondering how it might work. Thanks, Ali.

  11. Would these be ok on the Elimination Diet? We are on day 24. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing looking cookie recipe! We will be joining extended family for Easter and I was asked to bring a healthy dessert...this looks like it will fit the bill! :)

  12. I think the best bet for replacing the almond meal for a nut-sensitive child would be to use sunflower seed meal. I suggest lowering your oven temp to 325 and watching them carefully so they don't burn. You may need to add a little extra arrowroot or less coconut oil if the dough seems oily.

    I am using the Sweet Leaf liquid stevia brand.

    And Karen, no, I have not tried this icing on cupcakes yet but I imagine that it would work really well! :)

  13. Thanks everyone else for the great feedback, enjoy, and Happy Spring! ;-)

  14. OnlyByHisGrace - looks like your comment came though while I was responding to the others. Yes these cookies would be ok for day 24 and beyond of the Elimination Diet. Make sure to use non-alcoholic vanilla and no sprinkles on top! You can use shredded coconut for decoration though! Enjoy! :)

  15. where do you get non-alcoholic vanilla? I've been using costo's brand--what are the health differences?!
    Also where do I get lemon flavor? would that be difference then a purre lemon extraction like lemon essential oil? I've seen it called for in a couple recipes I want to try and want to get some.

  16. I buy both non-alcoholic vanilla and lemon flavoring from our local food co-op. The brands I buy are either Frontier or Simply Organic. Lemon flavoring is simply organic lemon essential oil diluted in a carrier oil.

  17. Amazing! We have almost everything on hand, but I have stevia powder, not liquid. Can I use that instead? Also, my son is sensitive to citrus. Any other ideas for flavorings other than lemon? Can I just add more vanilla, or maybe almond extract?

  18. Wow, excited about trying this sugar free recipe! Do you think there would be any problem with using powdered stevia instead? Would the amount be the same? Thanks!

  19. I am not sure about subbing powdered stevia for liquid. I am positive it will work, just not sure on amounts. Less is better when it comes to stevia.

    You can definitely replace the lemon flavoring with almond flavoring - that would be delicious! Enjoy! :)

  20. What gorgeous cookies! I am so impressed, and pretty excited to try them with my kiddies. I especially can't wait to try the icing. I'm always in the market for a healthy icing, especially one you can really play with! Thanks so much.

  21. I just finished a batch of these cookies and they are awesome. I used the recommended amount of almond flour and cut the coconut flour to just a cup. the cookies turned out perfect. My kids think they are great. Thanks so much for posting these!

  22. Just tried these this morning. They were a life saver for my Type 1 Diabetic preschooler. So nice to have a treat that will not make her pay for it all day. Great recipe!!!

  23. I was so excited to get this recipe! Thanks Ali they look fantastic and we don't have to sub anything! Which is truly amazing taking into account all of our food allergies!!! My daughter will be so happy to have a cookie to eat when all the other kids will be eating the fat and sugar laden cookies from the grocery store!

  24. I just made these tonight and they turned out really yummy. I used regular almond meal not blanched so mine had brown specks... but I love that b/c they look healthy ;) I used 1C of both "flours" and I used a scant Tablespoon powdered Stevia... Trader Joe's brand with the filler not the super concentrated... anyway you could not taste the Stevia and my hubby is tuned into finding the Stevia flavor in things but it just wasn't there YAY. I only used lemon juice not the flavoring... also I had TONS of frosting left so I would half it next time... but I plan on using it as a oatmeal topper tomorrow. Thanks so much for the recipe and it was a success over here. Happy Easter. Tammy

  25. I used 1 cup of almond flour and 1 cup of coconut. I grind my own almond flour in the food processor...I ground up 1 cup of almonds then measured a cup and saved the extra. I put the cup of ground almonds back in the processor with the coconut, arrowroot and rest of dry ingredients and let it run til it was all nicely powdered. Other than that I followed the recipe exactly. The cookies are so tasty and so delicious! You do need to keep them in the freezer to keep them crisp and flaky...if you leave them out they soften. They are tasty that way too...but we eat them straight from the freezer. So good with or without the yummy frosting...which is amazing and so pretty as a glaze.
    I did get interrupted while I was making these and stored some of the frosting in the fridge. It turned a different, thicker texture and did not return to a glaze state even at room temp. But it was still good...just not as pretty as the glaze...more of a matte finish than a glossy finish. (Can you tell I am a paper!) Another thing to note, as I was working with the dough I noticed 10 minutes was great for baking when the dough was straight from the fridge but as I re rolled the leftover pieces and the dough became more room temp it only needed about 8 minutes. The taste and texture of these cookies are amazing. I usually feel the need to tweak a recipe. Not this one, Ali got it right on! Try these, you will be delighted! So yummy and nourishing too! And you can feel good about eating and sharing them as they are such great nourishing ingredients! Thank you so much, Ali! My 6 year old loved making these and eating them! :)

  26. We had such a great time making these cookies Ali! They turned out wonderfully. One key is to keep the dough very cold or else it becomes unworkable for the wee ones. I kept alternating the dough balls back into the refrigerator after we were done cutting out one round of cookies. It seemed to help keep the dough in a manageable state for the young helpers we had.

    Frosting them was so fun! I haven't iced cookies in forever because most icings involve powdered sugar of some sort. Hooray! We used the India food colorings and they were delightfully brilliant!

    I'll post pictures on our photo gallery once we upload them. I think they're the most lovely cookies I've ever frosted :-). Everyone at our Easter gathering was very complimentary.

  27. Hi There,

    I was just wondering if there is anything else that can be used in place of the almond flour. My daughter and I are not only gluten and dairy intolerant, but almonds as well as a few others.

    Thanks for you time..:)


  28. I gave this recipe to my daughter-in-law to bake for me because she is the baker and they are really yummy!! She added lemon juice instead of extract (because I didn't have it) to the frosting and I loved it! These cookies were a hit with the whole family. I have even passed this recipe along to all my facebook friends. Keep the great recipes coming.

  29. THANK YOU for this recipe!! I made some and they are amazing!! One of my children doesn't like them but he isn't really into cookies - or almond meal, unfortunately. I sprinkled some coconut sugar and cinnamon on them before baking and they're almost like a snickerdoodle. Ate almost the entire batch myself, guilt-free! You blog continues to inspire me and make this lifestyle much more manageable. Thanks again!

  30. hi ali,

    how much white sugar or agave would you recommend using to replace the stevia? i don't have a sense of how much sugar is in 40 drops of stevia. please advise! thanks.

    i'm an MS Nutrition grad from bastyr as well. Tom knows me.

    MSN '09

  31. Can't wait to try these. But planning to sub Garbanzo Bean flour (maybe some tapioca flour as well). What do you think? My kids are allergic to nuts. And I'm allergic to everything else! :)

  32. My daughter wants real candy canes like the other kids and I explained to her why I'm not comfortable with that. I suggested we make those cookies instead where you split the batch of sugar cookie dough and put red food colouring in half. Then you roll each the light and red doughs out and wrap them around each other into a candy cane shape. I'm wondering if you think this cookie dough recipe would work for that. If not, which of your recipes might possibly fit the bill do you think? Please help!!! :)

  33. hi there, I am loving your recipes! I've been experimenting with gluten free, vegan and sugar free for awhile. On your sugar cookies, I don't tolerate almond flour - do you think another kind of gluten free flour could sub in for it? Teff or millet etc?


  34. Rebecca,

    I've had good luck grinding sunflower seeds and using sunflower flour in place of almond flour.

  35. Hi Ali, I'm really excited about trying these cookies but my son is allergic to cashews, peanuts, walnuts and sunflower seeds. Is there a sub for the cashews? How do these taste without any icing? Thanks!

  36. These would be great for an anti-candida diet, however, in stage 1 you cannot eat apple, what alternatives are there for this? more oil? Thank you for your creative cooking.

    1. You can have citrus in stage one. Perhaps you could try orange juice.

  37. Great recipe! These look yummy! I love stevia and am gluten free so I'm definitely going to give this recipe a try.

  38. Hi Ali, do you have a nut-free version of these?? What should I use to replace the almond meal and the cashews?

  39. Stevia substitute?


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)