Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Are Not an Impossible Task

Creating a chocolate chip cookie without wheat or added sugar is, quite simply, tricky.

If you steer clear of wheat and sugars like me, it’s nearly impossible to find a dessert that doesn’t have all sorts of chemical substitutes, like artificial sweeteners.

I’ve tried a few store-bought “keto” chocolate chip cookies and found them lacking in flavor and size (most are about the size of a quarter). And, they are expensive; very expensive.

A recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies in the “Cooking” section of The New York Times ( by Erin Jeanne McDowell seemed to present a possible solution. home. Her cookies looked amazing, as did the chocolate chip cookies made with wheat flour and sugar.

Longing for a chocolate chip cookie that could go my current food path with me (wheat-free and sugar-free), I decided to use McDowell’s recipe as the basis for my version.

The good news about her recipe: she uses no wheat flour, only almond flour (made from finely ground whole nuts). The bad news: his recipe called for half a cup of brown and white sugar.


I played around with allulose, an unusual real sugar that’s supposed to be keto-friendly, providing no net sugar calories, but tasting and baking like sugar.

The brown sugar was a pretty easy swap. Swerve makes a non-GMO brown sugar substitute made with erythritol, a low-calorie sugar alcohol.

A final problem concerns the chocolate chips. The chocolate chips we love are loaded with sugars – 15 grams per ounce, or more than half the sugar. If I used regular chocolate chips for these cookies, that would total 183 grams of sugar.

Lily’s brand dark chocolate baking chips contain no sugar, but instead use stevia and erythritol. Do any of them taste like the real thing? No. If done correctly, these substitutions work together to create a decent treat that’s cheaper than the store-bought version.

Since I’ve been working with almond flour as a substitute for wheat flour for over two years, I had some in the pantry. My pantry had all the ingredients for this cookie; no purchase was necessary.

McDowell made giant cookies, which I wanted to replicate. Adding almond extract slightly lifted the almond flavor. I also found that when my cookies were baked, they were softer than usual and didn’t firm up until completely cooled.

Did my cookies look like the picture in the recipe? No, Mcdowell looked way better than mine since I used whole almond flour.

How did mine taste? The texture is a bit grainy (almonds, you know), but I liked the flavor – and I loved all the fries. The only drawback; erythritol has a surprising cooling effect on my palate. Otherwise, my cookies checked all the boxes.

Try them.

• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Email him at [email protected]

Here are the ingredients needed to make these gluten-free and sugar-free chocolate chip cookies.
– Courtesy of Don Mauer

Gluten-free and no added sugar chocolate chip cookies

2¾ cups finely ground almond flour (from whole almonds)

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup brown sugar substitute (like Swerve brand)

¾ cup allulose (a low-calorie natural sugar)

1 large whole egg

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon almond extract

12 ounces sugar-free dark chocolate chips (like Lily’s)

Place the oven racks in the upper and lower third positions and begin to heat to 350 degrees. Line two half baking sheets with parchment paper. Put aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, salt and baking soda. Put aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. Stop the mixer, add the brown sugar substitute and allulose and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the bowl.

Add egg and mix on medium speed to combine, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer; scrape bowl and add vanilla and almond extract; mix to combine.

Transfer almond flour mixture to mixing bowl and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 to 45 seconds; stop mixer once to scrape bowl.

Add the cooking nuggets and toss gently to incorporate. Divide the dough into 12 mounds of 3¼ ounces/95 grams; transfer 6 to each of the prepared half pans. Space well to avoid spreading into each other.

Using your fingers, lightly press the dough into rounds of about 3 inches. Bake, switching racks and rotating pans halfway through, until light brown around edges and barely set (still soft) in center, about 15 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Slide cookies, still on parchment, onto cooling racks to cool completely. Cookies will be firm when completely cooled.

Makes 12 5 inch cookies.

Suggestion: If these cookies seem too big, measure out smaller amounts and bake them for less time, watching for browning.

To enhance the flavor of brown sugar, add half a teaspoon of sweet molasses to sugar substitutes. This adds less than 1 calorie per cookie.

Nutrition facts per cookie: 345 calories (78% fat), 30g fat (12g saturated fat), 29.4g carbs (15.8 net carbs), Erythritol 8g, 1.8g of sugars, 13.4 g of fibre, 7.8 g of protein, 43 mg of cholesterol, 130 mg of sodium.

Adapted by Don Mauer

Comments are closed.