Weeknight Cooking

Jenny's Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies

October  8, 2012

Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies


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I have a new friend who is on a strict gluten-free diet, which I have chosen to look at as a fresh cooking challenge. As with all new adventures, there have been hits and misses; I am still trying to work through my emotions about matzo balls made with almond flour. 

But one dessert I made for G. has become a new favorite in my house, and a go-to cookie for all occasions, gluten-free guests or not. These are tremendously fast -- just the thing for a last minute dinner party -- totally delicious and the only person who won’t like them is the chocolate hater, who I am sure is working that issue out with the help of friends and family. 

This is my adaptation of the Mexican chocolate cookie, which generally involves chili powder and crushed nuts. I have made the cookie in its original form, which I love, but decided when I was making it for a party that I would make a cookie that was not only gluten-free, but an option for those with nut allergies (or aversions) and without the spice that some kids might dislike. 

Often there is an inverse relationship between the amount of effort expended to make food inoffensive and the pleasure taken from eating it. Not here. 

This cookie is so pleasurably rich in chocolate, and offers such a delightfully surprising texture, that most people race toward them like deer to a salt lick, until they are all gone and your guests begin staring at you with mild accusation, as if you purposely didn’t make enough. 

The key here is good chocolate -- the powder can be natural or Dutch processed -- and not overmixing. The batter will look a little odd once you get the egg whites in there, as if there is not enough binding agent. Don’t worry about this. Just plop these suckers out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and tuck them into the oven. Once they start cracking, they are done. Take them out and let them cool a while on the pan or they will fall apart as you attempt to remove them. 

Once they are cooler, remove them to the rack. Then stand back. They won’t be there long. 


Divine Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies by Jestei

This recipe serves a crowd

2.5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here.




Photo by James Ransom

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Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.


Maria January 12, 2014
I made these cookies Friday night, and they were a hit! Excellent! I was skeptical at first because they were GF, but WOW! They are amazing and very easy to make. Thank you Jenny for this recipe! It's a keeper:)
Hiromi M. September 8, 2013
Sounds good, but that's a lot of sugar. I will use 1.5 cups of sugar and see what happens...
flourgirl January 4, 2013
I have made these twice: once following the recipe to the letter which produced, as promised, amazingly delicious and intensely chocolately cookies. I made them a second time, with cayenne, pecans and esspresso powder and the verdict was even more amazingly delicious! Either way, I will be making these again soon: they are so simple to put together and the results are marvelous.
flourgirl January 4, 2013
I have made these twice; once following the recipe down to the letter...they were perfect and I was amazed at how something so simple could be so wonderful. The second time I made them, I added toasted walnuts, a pinch of cayenne and some esspresso powder and honestly, I liked them even more because they tasted more complex...either way the verdict is awesome!
damson October 16, 2012
I made these a few days ago, and they hold up well in the cookie jar! Also, I had only 1 cup of chocolate chips, and they were still yummy.
Jestei October 17, 2012
that sounds great
boudicca49 October 14, 2012
Any chance there could be a vegan version of this recipe, or have you tried these with egg substitutes?
Jestei October 15, 2012
see below in this comment thread
boudicca49 October 14, 2012
Any chance there could be a vegan version of this recipe, or have you tried these with egg substitutes?
BlueKaleRoad October 14, 2012
These will be perfect during Thanksgiving when I need a gf/dairy-free sweet on hand for some guests. They will be enjoyed by all! And I think I need to make a test batch before then...
Jestei October 15, 2012
yes be sure you have enough for kids too because they will beat the GFs to the plate
Betty A. October 14, 2012
These chocolate cookies looked divine. I want to devour them right now. Even if I'm not on a GF health watch, I will make a batch of these! Thanks for sharing a great recipe!
Jestei October 15, 2012
i really hope you like them.
abbyarnold October 14, 2012
My favorite New Yorker cartoon ever is "The Last Thanksgiving" with the table surrounded by people on different diet restrictions. That said, my two dear sons each represent a food no-no--- Son #1 (22 years old) is what I call "nutaphobic" and what he calls allergic to nuts. (Somehow peanut butter is ok but peanuts are not, and we all know peanuts are legumes.) Son #2 (17 years old) seems to be lactose intolerant, including all cheeses and butter. Arrrgh!

Thanks for the recipe. They'd better like it!
Jestei October 15, 2012
you will like it too i hope!
Gris January 10, 2013
The peanut butter thing actually makes sense. The heating and grinding of peanuts greatly reduce a bad compound within peanuts.
Rosemaryandthegoat October 14, 2012
Do you think nuts would work in this recipe. I would also like to try adding candied orange rind. Sherry
Jestei October 15, 2012
Here is an original version with nuts.http://www.culinate.com/books/collections/all_books/the_homesick_texan_cookbook/mexican_chocolate_chewies
I think orange rind would be good, just different.
Jestei October 15, 2012
I think orange rind would be tasty, just different. If you want to add nuts I'd reduce the chips. Here is the original recipe with nuts: http://www.culinate.com/books/collections/all_books/the_homesick_texan_cookbook/mexican_chocolate_chewies
Laura K. October 14, 2012
This gf recipe looks terrific. Please send along the additions to make it nutty and spicy. Luckily, those are two food items I can still have in my diet, and I love them both. I'd make the recipe both ways and add them to my gf repertoire.

Jestei October 15, 2012
SeaJambon October 11, 2012
Fabulous! And if intending to be nut-free, just make sure you carefully review the chocolate you use -- I've only found one brand that isn't almost certainly cross-contaminated. This is a HUGE issue for us as our family includes a nut allergy of the "carry an epi pen at all times/put you in the hospital" variety. The tiniest trace of nut (as can occur in any facility that also processes nuts) will trigger this allergy.
Jestei October 13, 2012
thank you for trying them!
Lozza October 9, 2012
Heya! I'm from New Zealand, and I'm just wondering what exactly "powdered sugar" is?
We don't call any sugar "powdered sugar" down here... Is it... Castor sugar, normal white sugar, icing sugar....??
(This would be VERY easy to make dairy free too. One of our common brands of chocolate down here is dairy free. Dunno bout in 'merica)
Jestei October 9, 2012
that would be confection sugar, you know the white powdery stuff
Lozza October 9, 2012
Ah cool! We call that icing sugar down here :)
witloof October 9, 2012
Oh, my, this recipe is fabulous. I have a friend who is strictly kosher and stricly gluten free, and her husband is allergic to nuts. Not only is this good for both of their diets, it's pareve! Thanks!
Jestei October 9, 2012
jbban October 8, 2012
These look like they follow the same principles as the chocolate puddle cookies by Heidi Swanson (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/chocolate-puddle-cookies-recipe.html), which are popular in my family due to the awesome presence of walnuts.
Jestei October 8, 2012
Yes this cookie tends to be made with nuts. That is one central difference with this recipe.
jbban October 8, 2012
I love the idea of using chocolate chips for a serious chocolate hit :)
drbabs October 8, 2012
oh, yum. i have 3 egg whites in the freezer with these babies' name on them.
Jestei October 8, 2012
wait, you can freeze egg whites???
drbabs October 8, 2012
yes--I'll let you know how they turn out.
jbban October 8, 2012
You can totally freeze egg whites!
SJS149 October 8, 2012
These look great - not to be obnoxious, but any recommendations on what to sub out for the egg whites? My beloved dad is gluten-free and 89 percent vegan - ok with butter if needed (not psyched about it) but totally ovo-averse. Any suggestions welcome :-) but not expected. Just in case!
Jestei October 8, 2012
i confess i am at a loss but some of the vegans in this community will probably have ideas.
AntoniaJames October 8, 2012
The standard substitution is 3 T of water to 1 T ground flaxseed, which you let sit for a little while so the seed absorbs the liquid, then cook over low heat for a minute or two until its consistency resembles that of raw egg white. I used this substitution one night when I was making cookies for my sons, and discovered I was out of eggs (and it was too late, even on this block, to knock on a neighbor's door begging for one). The cookies seemed a bit "cakey" but I doubt that such a result would adversely affect these cookies. The appearance might be a bit different (I suspect they would not be glossy, as egg white seems closely associated in my experience with such a finish on brownies and other baked goods.), but the substitution certainly seems worth a try. The worst that could happen would be you'd end up with something crumbly that you'd then have to re-purpose for something like bourbon balls or a chocolate pie crust. ;o)
hardlikearmour October 8, 2012
These sound fantastic, and I love their crackly slightly glossy surface.
Jestei October 8, 2012
Definitely one of its finer features yes!