How do you indulge in baked goodies when you are gluten free? Of course we have wonderful, natural option like fresh juicy apples or mildly tart strawberries. But what can you have when you want a baked treat? I started my foray into gluten free cooking with my sticky sweet potato pancakes are a nice start. But I also wanted to make my baked goods sugar free. That can certainly be a challenge because sugar makes sweet treats addictive (really, it is an appetite stimulant!) Natural substitutes like honey can sometimes have a flavor that simply isn’t bold enough. I just want to start my daughter off on the right foot and have her appreciate natural sugars and sweeteners now (she may still devour large amounts of Kit Kats and Cheetos later in life). Luckily, I discovered this recipe for vegan sugar free gluten free cookies.
The blend of flours is always very important to get right in gluten free cooking. Almond flour adds a wonderful rich flavor and moistness (blanched almond flour though, not almond meal!) also eliminating the needs for butter. I really didn’t miss butter at all and loved the softness of these cookies. Potato starch also adds moisture and creates a wonderful light, fluffy texture in baked goods. Rice flour has most closely emulated the texture of wheat flour when I’ve used it in gluten free cooking. It’s not a perfect substitute, but works well. I was a bit afraid I would have trouble finding some of these ingredients, but luckily some are readily available in Asia.
Tip: Rice flour and potato starch could be available at east Asian or South Asian ethnic supermarkets and will likely be more affordable there too!
I was pretty happy with my first try at making gluten free cookies. While the batter is wet (which bummed me out because this prevents you from rolling it out and making different shapes), the cookies are fluffy and soft. These remind me of the “newton” part of fig newtons. That’s why I had to try it with some sugarless jelly (the only kind we eat at home and flavors with fruit juice!) for some cookie sandwiches. Finally, I found cookies that taste delicious and can be passed down to my family.
Vegan Sugar free Gluten free cookies
- 4½ tablespoons coconut sugar, powdered (54 g, finely ground)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons blanched almond flour (128 g)
- 7 tablespoons potato starch, not potato flour (45 g, I )
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons white rice flour (68 g, I use )
- ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup pure maple syrup (120 mL)
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons raw cashew butter (I make my own now by just blending cashews for 5-10 minutes!)
- 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- About 18 cookies
- Silpat mat or parchment paper, cookie sheet
- Food processor or mortar and pestle
Note: Use a kitchen scale to get the correct proportions or remember to level off if you are using scoops. The author did not recommend using almond meal or freshly ground almonds since this texture was not fine enough. I have only used blanched almond flour which is luckily available at Costco.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
- Grind the coconut sugar down to a fine powder. Otherwise, you will end up with large granules of coconut sugar that are not evenly distributed.
- Measure all your flours with a kitchen scale for accurate results. If you don’t have a scale, remember to gently pat down to ensure there are no lumps and level off. Add the almond flour, potato starch, rice flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl of coconut sugar. Whisk well.
- In a separate medium bowl, add the syrup, cashew butter and vanilla. Whisk until no lumps remain and batter is smooth. Pour batter over the dry ingredients slowly until all the flour is incorporated and batter is smooth.
- Scoop a tablespoon of dough and roll into 18 balls and place on the 2 pans. You will need to moisten your palms with water every few cookies. Use your palm to flatten each cookie into a ¼ inch round shape.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your pan. Note that it will take longer in humid climates or if you are using a thicker cookie sheet.
- Remove cookies from cookie sheet and set aside. Cookies will keep for up to 5 days, but will be gone sooner than that!