Soft Sugar Cookies (Paleo/Egg-Free)

 

Oh my gosh these cookies are sooo sooo sooo good! A certain someone asked me the other night for Christmas cookies and when I questioned what kind, I was disappointed they didn’t say chocolate chip. Damn it, I don’t have a recipe for grain-free sugar cookies! So I had to make one, and I don’t call myself a baker. You couldn’t get me drunk enough to call myself a baker. But I did it, and I’m proud of myself.

These are the nice, fluffy soft sugar cookies that I grew up eating but the cookie dough tastes like Slice & Bake cookie dough and it doesn’t contain eggs so you really have no excuses to not let your kids eat the dough!

 

Or yourself. Because I totally saved up a cookie’s worth of dough from the “ends of the roll, who would want that?” It’s up to you if you want to frost them. They are delicious either way, but I think it would be super fun to frost and decorate them with your family. If you know of any non-offensive organic sprinkles or food coloring, please let everyone know in the comments section! That would be so awesome of you – I did a search and couldn’t find anything I was terribly comfortable purchasing myself. But there may be another brand out there that I didn’t come across!

 

Speaking of comments, thank you everyone who took the time out of your day to give me some encouragement after my blog post yesterday.  It was truly heart-warming and gratifying to read that my recipes and blog do have some positive impact and that they are appreciated by you. It really does give me the confidence to keep putting content out there in this wild world of information-overload. In my personal life, I’ve been toiling over my life passions, especially since having Grace and the thought of being away from her 40 hours a week makes me incredibly sad.

 

I know so many moms return to work because they do what they have to do. I’m fortunately in a situation where I can take an extended maternity leave for which I’m so grateful for. This girl is my best friend and my everything, and when she goes down for her naps, I miss her so much. I think the pediatrician will have to be more worried about my separation anxiety than her’s when she goes to preschool.

 

So 2017 is going to be another year of newness for me. I’m going to put my focus on really narrowing in on my passion and where I see myself growing from here. If it means returning to work as planned in January, so be it. But I’m going to continue to pray that my “meaning in life” comes along sometime in the first half of the year so I can put all my focus on that and her.

 

I do love occupational therapy, but I also feel incredibly conflicted at times when I know how much my patients would benefit from lifestyle and dietary healing versus just covering up or bandaging their symptoms. It’s a deep internal conflict, and I think a lot of people who work in healthcare and who also lead a holistic lifestyle can relate to. At the end of the day, if you’re working in healthcare, you still are helping someone, and that is to be celebrated. 

 

Sugar Cookie FAQs

  • Do I have to use cream of tartar? I don’t own any. Cream of tartar acts along with the baking soda to form a Paleo-friendly baking powder. Baking powder acts as a leavening agent to help these cookies rise and become the soft, luscious cookies that they are. You can try adding another acid in it’s place such as 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. I have not done that in this recipe but I’ve tried it in other baked goods. It works, just not as well as cream of tartar. This is the brand I use

 

  • Can I replace the almond flour with another flour? I do not recommend that. Paleo baking flours are so finicky and the only ones that can really be interchanged in small amounts are arrowroot and tapioca. So in this case, you could use tapioca in place of the arrowroot. I personally have a immune reaction to tapioca, which is why you don’t see me baking with tapioca or cassava flour on this site. 

 

  • Can I use coconut oil in place of the palm shortening? This is also something I don’t recommend since your cookies are more likely to spread rather than maintain their shape when using coconut oil. I also find cookies end up more chewy and less fluffy with coconut oil, and these soft sugar cookies are meant to be more like cake cookies. You can find palm shortening on Amazon or at most health food stores. 

 

  • What is the nutritional content of these cookies? Each cookie is roughly 200 calories and 5 grams of sugar. One frosted cookie is definitely enough of a treat & the batch could be easily shared for a holiday party. These cookies are ones you can DEFINITELY share with non-Paleo eaters and they will never know they’re eating grain and dairy free cookies! You can feel confident knowing you are not serving cookies full of wheat, soybean oil, canola oil, and bleached flour which are the ingredients of Pillsbury brand sugar cookies!

 

Grain-Free Soft Sugar Cookies

Prep Time 00:20 Cook Time 00:08 Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients

  • Cookies:
  • 2 cups almond flour (finely ground)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • tiny pinch ground nutmeg (TINY!)
  • 1/2 cup palm shortening, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup palm shortening, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey*
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • pinch sea salt

Directions

For the Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to the bowl and use a hand mixer to combine into a cookie dough.
  3. Place cooking dough on the parchment paper and use the paper to assist you in rolling a log that is about 6 inches long so you will be able to form 12,  ½-inch thick cookies. Place the cookie dough wrapped in the parchment paper in the freezer for 15 minutes while you make the frosting.
  4. Remove cookie dough from freezer and slice into ½-inch thick slices. Place flat on parchment lined baking sheet and use your hands to round them into circles.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes until the edges just start to turn a light golden brown. Keep an eye on them since oven temperatures and hot spots vary.
  6. Let cool completely before frosting using the frosting recipe below.

For the Frosting

  1. In a medium bowl, beat together the shortening, coconut butter, honey and coconut oil until smooth.
  2. Stir in arrowroot and salt with a spoon or rubber spatula. This frosting will harden if refrigerated since it contains coconut oil. Frost cooled cookies with room temperature frosting.

Recipe Notes

*For a true sugar cookie frosting, you can also use organic confectioner's sugar but that is not considered Paleo. But really sugar is sugar, so if you are okay with it for special occasions, this is one time when it makes sense to use it! I really like Wholesome brand.

Paleo Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

paleo chocolate chip cookies


Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

These Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies are egg-free and dairy-free, chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside!

 

I have a little (read: huge, out of control) obsession for sea salt. I think it’s because I spent so many years avoiding adding salt to my food because I thought it would bloat me (it doesn’t). I am a recovering salt-avoider and now sprinkle with abandon and own many a variety of sea salt, both fine and flaked.

 

If you’re wondering when to use one versus the other, reserve flaked sea salt for times when you want the salt to contrast with the dish significantly rather than just bring out the flavors. Flaked salt also melts wonderfully into freshly grilled steak. Steak deserves all the salt you got. 

 

So I rarely bake but when I get the sudden inspiration to do it, I follow that instinct. I had chocolate chips, I had EPIC Pastured Lard, and I had a bag of lonesome almond flour that I haven’t even looked at in I don’t know how long (don’t worry it was unopened and fresh). I thought, “Does the Paleo world really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe?” Then I mused at the irony of that statement.

 

These cookies are real damn good: chewy, moist (unless you don’t read my tips in this blog post), vanilla-y, childhood memory-y. Clearly I answered “Yes” and here we are now. So I am a terrible baker, especially when following other people’s recipes (???), but I do know intuitively how something should look and feel before it goes in the oven. Cookie dough is easy because it’s supposed to hold together well, be slightly moist, just a wee crumbly, and taste like vanilla fairy babies.

 

 

PaleoChocolateChipCookies4

 I tested this recipe 3 times, and I’m paying the price today (cookie hangover), so you’re welcome. I don’t eat things unless they taste good, especially dessert, so that’s your insurance for this recipe.

 

Here is what I learned by sampling from 3 batches:

How to Not F-Up Your Cookies

LARD vs SHORTENING: If you’re using lard for this recipe, expect a cookie with a deeper, richer undertone (a hint of bacon, really), a little denser, and more golden in color. Use softened lard that is at room temperature. You may also need to bake for 9 minutes rather than 8 but just use your eyeballs and nose to make that decision. If you’re using palm shortening, expect a thinner (but not thin), chewier, lighter color cookie that tastes more like traditional bakery chocolate chip cookies. Also use palm shortening at room temperature. If you don’t love the taste of lard, I would go with the palm shortening. 

LIGHT VS DARK COOKIE SHEET: I prefer using a light cookie sheet for this recipe. Lighter pans absorb less heat, decreasing the likelihood your cookie will brown too much on the bottom. I find this true even when using parchment paper. Also, don’t you dare skip the parchment paper and DO NOT use aluminum foil. Rookie move. 

GAME-TIME DECISION ON THE COCONUT FLOUR: Every brand of coconut flour I tried has a slightly different absorbency which does affect how the cookie turns out. If after adding the 3 (scooped and leveled, not packed) tablespoons of coconut flour, you find the cookie mixture too dry, add 1 teaspoon extra of coconut oil. I cannot control for all the possibilities of coconut flour out in the universe, so if you find your cookie drier than you like, blame the coconut flour and not me. Thanks. 

IF YOU INSIST ON USING ALMOND MEAL: Your cookies will be a little chunkier and grainier most likely. Bob’s Red Mill sells both “Almond Meal/Flour” and “Super Fine Almond Flour” <– this is the one you want 

DON’T GO TO THE BATHROOM: Don’t take a bathroom break while they are in the oven, even if you think it’s just a quick pee. It may turn into something that requires a longer time commitment and you will bake your cookies 1 or 2 minutes too long. This didn’t happen to me (this time) but I did get distracted looking at pictures of this adorable Asian baby dressed up in the weirdest, coolest baby costumes ever, and ended up with one particularly crispy batch (still delicious, just not what I was going for). When you start to smell the cookies, take a peek. If the edges are a light golden brown, take them out of the oven NOW. Do not wait until they are a medium or deep golden brown unless you like crunchy, crumbly, messy AF cookies.

 

 DON’T USE 100% DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS: Ew, I did this for one batch. The cookie portion was awesome, but it was more like chalk-alate rather than chocolate. That should cover it, but it probably won’t since baked goods recipes open you up to a whole host of new and odd questions from fellow “non-bakers who like to bake”. “Hi, my cookies turned out purple and they taste like onions. I’m not sure why. Can you tell me?” Throw ’em at me, hopefully I can help! I figured this little guide would be helpful for those who don’t really understand the why’s and how’s of Paleo baking. Because it’s a wild, untamed animal. 

 

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Ready for the best Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies you’ve ever had!?

 

 

6 reviews

Paleo Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time 00:20 Cook Time 00:08 Serves 1 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup EPIC lard (room temperature, softened)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons liquid honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fine almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons Vital Proteins Collagen (do not use gelatin)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (70% or higher)
  • Flaked Sea Salt, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.pan>

  2. In a food processor, cream together the lard or palm shortening, coconut oil, honey, coconut sugar, and vanilla for 20 to 30 seconds until smooth. It is okay if the coconut sugar does not dissolve.pan>

  3. Add almond flour, arrowroot, coconut flour, collagen, baking soda, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon sea salt to the food processor and combine until a smooth ball of cookiepan> dough forms. Be sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the food processor. Remove the blade and stir in the chocolate chips.pan>

  4. Scoop tablespoon-size rounded mounds onto the cookie sheet, leaving two inches between each cookie. Lightly press down on top of the mound to flatten the top (they should still be at least 3/4-inch tall after doing this, do not flatten!)pan>

  5. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Bake on the center rack for 8 minutes, or until the edges are a LIGHT golden brown. Cool slightly until you can safely transfer them to a wire rack on the countertop to finish cooling. pan>

  6. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or on the countertop for no more than 48 hours. pan>

Recipe Notes

NUT FREE: Sub finely ground tigernut flour for the almond flour.

May use palm shortening in place of the lard for slight variation in results.

Paleo Date-Filled Arabic Cookies (Ma’amoul)


Growing up with a Lebanese father and very traditional Lebanese extended family, our holidays and celebrations were founded on the four major food groups: hummus, tabbouleh, roast chicken, and ma’amoul. Ma’amoul is a very traditional Arabic cookie made from semolina and butter and filled with a variety of sweets like dates, walnuts, and pistachios. The cookie is a dense, crumbly shortbread-like exterior with a sweet, orange-blossom or rose-water scented filling.

 

Have you tried orange blossom before? It is such a delightful eating experience. The smell of it alone reminds me of sunshine and butterflies but it’s unique flowery taste is something to be remembered. You can find it at nice spice stores or at Middle Eastern grocers (or via the Amazon link in the recipe below). My Paleo version of these cookies uses almond flour, coconut flour, and palm shortening, and is less dense and more soft than traditional ma’amoul, but the flavors are still spot-on and bring me back to childhood.

 

I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys, and especially with my fellow Middle Easterners who don’t have to go through another holiday season without their beloved ma’amoul. The decorative cookie is formed using a tabi, a beautiful wooden cookie mold. You can find a similar one on Amazon HERE. If you don’t have a cookie mold, you can use the directions below and maybe hand carve some pretty decorations into your molded cookie dough with a butter knife? You know – the ancient art of cookie decorating is making a comeback. Which reminds me: why haven’t hipsters made the cookie the new “It” food yet? Poor cookies got beat out by cronuts and waffle sandwiches.

 

Paleo Date-Filled Arabic Cookies (Ma’amoul)

Makes 8 cookies | Prep Time 20 minutes | Cook Time 17 minutes

Date Filling

12 large Medjool dates, pitted

2 T unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp orange blossom water

1 T water

Pinch sea salt

Cookie

1 ½ c almond flour (I use Honeyville brand)

2 T coconut flour

½ cup palm shortening

1 T gelatin

1 tsp orange blossom water

¼ tsp cinnamon

Pinch sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a baking sheet lightly with palm shortening.
  2. Place Date Filling ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Spoon into a small bowl and set aside. Wipe the processor clean.
  3. Place Cookie ingredients in the food processor and process until a dough forms, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides if needed and process a few seconds longer. Remove dough from processor and form into a large ball.
  4. Divide dough ball into 8 even pieces. Flatten each piece of dough in the palm of your hand into 3-inch circles. Place 1 T date filling in the center and fold the dough over the date mixture. Pinch closed to cover the date filling and gently roll the cookie in your hands to form a ball (the date mixture should stay on the inside).
  5. If using a tabi, press dough ball gentle into mold and tap on counter to transfer it to the baking sheet. If not using a tabi, press dough into an ice cream scoop to form a mound shape and release onto the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 7 pieces of dough.
  6. Bake 325 degrees for 17 minutes until the bottom is golden brown and the tops of the cookie are lightly browned. Let cool to room temperature completely before serving. Serve at room temperature or cold. I like them straight out of the freezer (they don’t freeze solid).