These Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies started as an experiment years ago for our recipe creator, Lindsey Johnson. She was adhering to a gluten-free diet as well as slowly switching to more plant-based foods. She needed a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe that was deliciously vegan + gluten free. So the testing began and here’s the journey…
What makes these cookies vegan?
The first switch I employed was swapping extra virgin coconut oil for butter. I wondered if it was possible to create the same chewy chocolate chip cookies using coconut oil instead of traditional butter. And as it turns out, it wasn’t that hard after all! Ha! Make sure the coconut oil is at room temperature, not completely melted.
Then I needed to find an egg substitute. I think the best egg replacement for chewy cookies is ground flaxseed mixed with water, otherwise known as a flax egg.
Other egg substitutions can make the cookies too soft or can even make them gummy. (By the way, if you use too much ground flaxseed, then your cookies might become too gummy too.) I found the ratio of 2 tablespoons flaxseed combined with 6 tablespoons water to replace 2 large eggs, worked perfectly.
Delicious chocolate chip cookies without processed sweeteners
The amount and type of sugar in cookies determines the way a cookie looks as well as how it tastes. A cookie could be thin and crispy, thick and chewy, light or dark in color, etc.
In this vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe, I’ve swapped granulated white sugar and brown sugar for better options: coconut sugar and pure maple syrup. Coconut sugar is a great natural sweetener option, as it has the color as well as warm, buttery flavor of brown sugar. Maple syrup is also a great natural sweetener, and adds just the right amount of sugary sweetness that perfect chocolate chip cookies need. Maple syrup adds extra sweetness and flavor, but it also helps with the chewiness. That’s an important part of any chocolate chip cookie, IMHO. Be sure to use pure maple syrup, the darker the better. Pure maple syrup contains vitamins and minerals that aren’t present in refined corn and other highly processed syrups.
What is coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar is also called coconut palm sugar. It is derived from coconut palm nectar or sap, very much like maple syrup. The nectar is then dried.
Coconut sugar is a great lower glycemic replacement for brown sugar. You may recall that brown sugar is simply white sugar with some molasses added back in. That’s why the combo of coconut sugar and maple syrup works so well. BUT the flavor of coconut sugar is unmatched. Brown sugar doesn’t hold a candle to it! The deep flavor of the coconut sugar definitely works here. It also helps give the cookies a nice golden color.
When you’re looking for coconut sugar to buy, I recommend using a high-quality one that is organic.
How to perfect a gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe
My next substitution was to swap out wheat flour for gluten-free flour. I used to make my own with a combination of half a dozen different gluten free flours and starches. I found that the cookies weren’t coming out the way I wanted them to texture-wise. Too gummy. Too crumbly. Spread too much. Didn’t spread at all.
The solution was to use a combination of a store-bought gluten free flour blend plus almond flour (or meal). The almond flour adds in a lot of texture and also helps break up any gumminess. It also adds loads of flavor. I think Pamela’s Products and King Arthur make the best gluten-free flour blends, with Cup-4-Cup close behind.
A note on grain free flour
If you prefer a grain-free flour, I recommend Pamela’s Products or Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Mix. Or sub almond meal or flour for the specified amount of gluten-free flour in the ingredient list, and then add cassava flour or arrowroot starch for the specified amount of almond flour or meal.
Chocolate chip cookie additions
Now I don’t know about you, but I love cookies packed with fun things. Sure, chocolate chips or chunks alone are great, but have you ever tried adding toasted coconut and almonds to chocolate chip cookies?! MAGIC, I tell you! Magic! If you’re a fan of Almond Joy candy bars, this recipe will knock your socks off.
And if you’re not a coconut-almond fan….? Well, you can totally leave them out for a perfectly suitable, and still very delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookie. Or you can add some other goodies to make a combination all your own. I also like adding chopped dates and cashews, pecans or hazelnuts, and dried fruit like blueberries, cranberries, cherries, apricots, etc.
Do vegan chocolate chip cookies taste different?
The short answer is yes…and no. There are definite differences, but the cookies are just as delicious, maybe more so than those made with traditional wheat flour. I know this is all I need to be happy. 🙂
If this is your first time making gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookies, then know that the dough won’t have the same texture as regular cookie dough. It will feel more gooey or even a little gummy due to the flaxseed and gums in the gluten-free flour. This helps the cookies stay chewy and hold together in the absence of gluten.
Tips for the best vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe
Gluten free cookies tend to spread too much or too little. I’ve found 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour, and then 1 cup almond flour to be in perfect harmony with the amount of coconut oil and coconut sugar. Different gluten-free flour blends will behave differently as well due to the variations in amounts or types of gluten-free flours and starches.
One thing I always recommend when making a cookie for the first time, is making the recipe as written, adding the amount of flour specified in the recipe, but baking only one or two testing cookies to see how they spread and bake up. If they spread too much, add a little more GF flour. If they don’t spread enough, gently press the tops of the dough mounds to help them, or even adding a little water. This little bit of tinkering will help prevent a baking fail. 🙂
Another thing I like to do with this recipe is chill the dough for a few hours before baking. This allows the dry ingredients to absorb the wet ingredients or hydrate which results in a better, more uniform texture.
Plant-Based Dessert Recipes
Looking for more plant-based desserts and snacks that are delicious and easy to make? Check out these favorites:
- Fudgy gluten free brownies
- Rice Krispie treats
- Caramel apple dip
- Peanut butter chocolate smoothie
- Vegan berry banana split
- Strawberry milkshake
- Ginger cookies with chocolate chips
Plant based eating isn’t all just chomping on carrots. These recipes are delicious enough to bring to parties (which I do!)… and often people think they’re just GOOD. What are your go-to vegan dessert recipes? Make sure to tell me what you think about this vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe by leaving a rating + review below.
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 6 tbsp water
- 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 8 oz coconut oil, at room temperature (not melted)
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup coconut flakes, toasted
- 1/2 cup almond slices, toasted
- 10 ounce chocolate chips, vegan dark chocolate
- Adjust oven racks so one is in the center and the other is in the lower third. Preheat oven to 350°F and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- If making your own toasted coconut and almonds, place on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes (or until lightly toasted). Remove and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together ground flaxseed with water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together gluten free flour blend, almond flour, baking powder and sea salt; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric hand or stand mixer, beat together the semi-solid coconut oil with the coconut sugar and maple syrup. Beat until creamy. Add the flaxseed mixture and beat again until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat again on low speed until well-combined. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
- Using a silicone spatula or the mixer set on low speed, add the toasted coconut and almonds. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Using a mini-ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop dough and form into 2-inch wide by 1/2-inch thick patties. Place 12 patties onto each of the baking sheets leaving a good 1 1/2- to 2-inches between. (You will have extra dough.)
- Place both sheets in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the sheets top to bottom and back to front. Bake for an additional 5-6 minutes or until the cookies are done around the edges and set in the middle. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks. Repeat with any remaining dough.
- Store in an airtight container for up to several months stored in a cool, dry place. Cookies can also be frozen for up to six months.
- These cookies have not been tested using paleo or nut flour blends.
- We recommend Pamela's Products and King Arthur Flour gluten free flour blends.
- Feel free to omit the coconut or nuts, as needed.
- Gluten free oat flour can be used in place of the almond meal or flour, if needed.
- 2 large eggs can be used in place of ground flaxseed and water.