a gluten and dairy-free chocolate cookie you can eat for breakfast

dairy free chocolate cookies

In a world of no consequences I would eat a chocolate chip cookie every day. But boringly, as I keep telling my boys, there are consequences. So I try and bring some balance and find new ways to get my and their chocolate hit. These dairy free chocolate cookies hit the spot every time.

I have a brilliant butter-laden chocolate chunk cookie recipe here. But I just can’t be trusted with a tray of those cookies fresh out of the oven unless there are witnesses present. So, because I know that there should be a place for something sweet and scrummy in the day without losing sight of being healthy, I came up with this recipe. I got the inspiration from the lovely Deliciously Ella and twiddled it a bit to suit me, and to make it easier for you to make. Ella’s original recipe has rather odd cup measurements (she uses coffee cups rather than standard measuring cups) and instructions, so I hope you’ll find mine a bit easier to follow – sorry Ella. I urge you to weigh for more consistent reliable results. I’ve given the measurements in regular measuring cups for my American readers but also in grams for everyone else – and for any American readers who have seen the light of weighing when it comes to baking 😉

This is a great one to make with children. My boys love the whole process of measuring, mixing, tasting and rolling them. I love that they think I’m giving them a huge treat even though they’re actually tucking into a load of healthy ingredients. They are much healthier than granola or other so-called healthy snack bars. I make a batch then keep them in the freezer so I always have some. Weirdly I like them best straight out of the freezer which is in total opposition to my usual cookie eating rules of The Warmer The Better. I often grab one to have for breakfast when I’m on the run, or to get me through a mid afternoon slump alongside a cuppa.

Here’s the lowdown on some of the ingredients which may not be familiar to you. I get all my ingredients from the bulk bins at Whole Foods but they are increasingly showing up in regular grocery stores, supermarkets, online and in health food stores…

Healthy ingredients

Healthy ingredients (that’s a date not a poo)

The chia seeds that give the cookies a lovely crunch are popping up all over the place now in healthy recipes and for good reason. They are rich in omega 3, fiber, protein, calcium and zinc. They are a common alternative to eggs in baking so they also help the cookies stick together. I’ll be blogging my chia breakfast bircher pot recipe soon, another great use for the seeds.

I’ve just started incorporating raw cacao into our diet as it packed with antioxidants. Chocolate (the stuff in regular choc chip cookies) comes from cacao beans which are roasted and ground. Cacao is the un-roasted, ground bean (when the beans are roasted the a and o at the end of the name flip around.)  I have been testing various recipes where I use cacao in place of regular cocoa and so far I’ve noticed no difference in flavor or texture. If you don’t have raw cacao, don’t fret, use regular cocoa.

I make these cookies with protein and good fat-rich raw whole almonds but you can use half hazelnuts and half almonds for a Nutella vibe. The combination of this protein with the natural sugar from the dates and maple syrup keeps your, and any children nibbling these, on an even keel without sugar spikes.

I use whole grain spelt flour as that is what I had in the cupboard, you can substitute quinoa or buckwheat flour to make these gluten free.

Note:  This recipe makes about 24 cookies and uses 3 cookie sheets and a large food processor, so you may want to make a half quantity to start with. I’ve put the quantities for a half batch below the method to save you the mental anguish of dividing things.

Ingredients for a full batch:

400g (2 cups) raw, skin-on almonds

180g (1 cup) whole grain spelt flour (or use buckwheat or quinoa flour)

80ml (1/3 of a cup) of pure maple syrup

6 medjool dates, stones removed

60ml (1/4 of a cup) of water

40g (3 heaped tablespoons) of raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa)

40g (3 tablespoons) of chia seeds

30ml (2 tablespoons) of coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)

half a teaspoon of sea salt, I use Maldon flakes

optional – half a teaspoon of ground ginger or cinnamon, zest of an orange

To make:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c, 350f

2. Put the nuts in a food processor and pulse until they are ground to a fine rubble.

3. Add the flour, maple syrup, stoned dates, water, cacao, chia seeds, oil, salt and optional flavours to the nuts in the processor and pulse until you get a very sticky brown dough.  You’ll need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides a couple of times to make sure it is all mixed together. You will probably be left with a few little chunks of dates which is fine.

4. Line 2-3 swiss roll tins [cookie sheets] with parchment or a silicone mat

5. Use a dessert spoon to get just smaller than golf ball sized pieces of dough out of the processor and roll into a ball between your hands before popping on the sheet.  I don’t flatten them at this stage.  Leave an inch gap between the cookies as they will spread as they bake.  Repeat until you have used all the mixture.  I usually get around 24 cookies

The finished mixture

The finished mixture

6.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Smaller cookies will take less time, bigger ones will take longer.  If you are using multiple trays you will need to swap them around half way through cooking so that they get equal time at the hottest part of your oven.  Once they are turning darker brown and looking dry, take them out of the oven and, still on the tray,  press the bottom of a mug or coffee cup on each ball to squish it flat.  I like mine to be around a half-inch or a cm thick after I’ve pressed them.  Once they’re cool enough to handle, transfer them to a cooling rack where they will firm up as they cool.

Ready and cooling

Ready and cooling


Ingredients for a half batch:

200g (1 cup) raw, skin-on almonds

90g (1/2 a cup) whole grain spelt flour (or use buckwheat or quinoa flour)

40ml (1/6 of a cup) of pure maple syrup

3 medjool dates, stones removed

30ml (1/8 of a cup) of water

20g (1 and 1/2 heaped tablespoons) of raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa)

20g (1 and 1/2 tablespoons) of chia seeds

15ml (1 tablespoon) of coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)

half a teaspoon of sea salt, I use Maldon flakes

optional – half a teaspoon of ground ginger or cinnamon, zest of an orange


You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools.

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