Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies (Just 4 Ingredients!) Recipe

Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)

Gluten-free baking can be discouraging for those who only want to dabble at it: you often dive into a tempting recipe only to discover it calls for three different types of flour and various thickening gums. It sounds daunting, and you don’t necessarily want to invest in ingredients that will just go rancid in your kitchen cabinet.

“Naturally” gluten-free chocolate cookies

I am more attracted to naturally gluten-free baked goods that use “regular” ingredients — though I recognize the notion is highly personal. But in the case of these gluten-free chocolate cookies, they can be put together by hand in no time at all, from just four easy-to-find ingredients: almond flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and butter.

You’ll be wowed by these divine little sablés — crisp as you bite in, then meltingly tender on the tongue, not too sweet but strongly chocolate-y, with roasted notes and the touch of salt that changes everything.

These gluten-free chocolate cookies are a recipe idea I’ve had on the mind for a long time, and I recently came around to developing it, to great success. Knowing that they are based on such a simple formula, you may be just as wowed as I was tasting these divine little sablés — crisp as you bite in, then meltingly tender on the tongue, not too sweet but strongly chocolate-y, with roasted notes and the touch of salt that changes everything.

Though I generally use a silicone baking mat for cookies, I find it more convenient to use a good parchment paper here. I use it to roll up the dough into slice-and-bake logs, wrap them up for setting in the freezer, and slide the cookies onto a rack super gently at the end of baking — gluten-free cookies are typically fragile when still warm, so they need to cool completely undisturbed before they’re all crisped up and ready for action.

Tell me everything!

Do you also feel put off by recipes that call for two kinds of gums and various specialty flours? Did a particular recipe or circumstance convince you to give in and build a gluten-free pantry?

PS: Here’s an index of my gluten-free recipes. And if you decide to invest in a bag of almond flour (I buy it by the kilo at G. Detou in Paris), I can offer many more recipes to make good use of it.

Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!) Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Makes 40 two-bite cookies.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (2 cups) almond flour
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 40 grams (3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) organic coconut sugar or unrefined cane sugar (such as Rapadura)
  • 100 grams (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the almond flour, cocoa, sugar, and salt. If there are clumps, crush them out carefully with a fork.
  2. Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)
  3. Add the butter and mix with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture comes together.
  4. Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)
  5. Divide the dough in half. Place one half on a piece of parchment paper and use the paper to roll the dough into a log, about 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) in diameter. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  6. Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)-3
  7. Wrap the logs tightly and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  8. Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)
  9. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300° F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough logs into 1-cm (1/3-inch) slices.
  11. Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)
  12. Arrange on the baking sheet.
  13. Gluten-free Chocolate Sablés (Just 4 Ingredients!)
  14. Bake for 20 minutes, switching the sheet halfway through for even baking.
  15. Let stand for 5 minutes on the sheet, then slide the parchment paper onto a rack. Allow to cool completely.
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/cookies-small-cakes/gluten-free-chocolate-sables-cookies-recipe/

Gluten-free Chocolate Cookies (Just 4 Ingredients!)

  • Michelle McMillen

    For these I might buy almond flour. Yes, I am put off by recipes with special ingredients!

  • i totally am turned off by things with special ingredients! i usually have almond meal in the house, so that one isn’t a weird one to me, but xanthan gum sounds so chemically and unnatural!

    • I agree! Can’t even pronounce it. :)

    • keithlaw

      Except it is natural. Everything you eat, including fruits and vegetables, comprises chemicals with funny names. Xanthan gum is made by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris. It’s as natural as cheese.

      • had no idea! thanks for sharing (: although i do think i’ll stay away from it- the gluten free baked goods i’ve tried that rely on xanthan gum don’t hit the right buttons for me texture-wise. but maybe i just haven’t tried the right ones!

      • Good to know, thanks Keith!

        • keithlaw

          Have you tried these with xanthan gum or anything else to provide some of the structure that would otherwise come from gluten? In the gluten-free brownie recipe I just posted (http://meadowparty.com/blog/2015/10/13/gluten-free-cocoa-brownies/ ) I use 1/8 tsp of xanthan gum, which seems to be just enough to provide an acceptable gluten-like crumb and hold the air bubbles from the beaten eggs.

          • Thanks for the link, Keith! I haven’t studied xantham gum much, and don’t keep it on hand, so I haven’t experienced with it at all. Good to hear about your experience.

  • salsaman

    Alice Medrich has some *awesome* sable recipes in “Flavor Flours” that don’t use xantham or other strange ingredients; cream cheese takes its place in many recipes and the results are amazing– check it out! http://alicemedrich.com/books/

  • Peter Hertzmann

    In the United States, not all ground almonds are equivalent to French almond flour. French almond flour is ground from blanched (peeled) almonds. Trader Joe’s sells an almond meal that is made from whole almonds and contains pieces of skin that turn very bitter when baked. Some Whole Food Markets have blanched almond flour in their bulk bins or in the Bob’s Red Mill display.

    I buy blanched almond flour from Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/nmbm64h) in five-pound bags, but I see the price has almost doubled since my first purchase years ago. Trader Joe’s sells cashew flour that has no skins and it may work as a substitute here. Cashew flour is slightly higher in moisture than almond flour. I’m going to try it in this recipe.

    Separately, Clotilde, why do you call for coconut sugar? The quality and content of this product varies widely by country and producer. There are also ecological issues I’m beginning to hear about that with the destruction of SE Asian rain forests due to the increased demand for palm oil and palm sugar by Europe and North America.

    We also need to have my standard discussion on the meaningless of the term “sea” in sea salt. This video (http://tinyurl.com/mqv7sy) is a bit dated but still acurate.

    • Thanks for sharing all these details, Peter. Interesting about the cashew flour! I’ve never seen it here.

      Re: the coconut sugar, I use it because I like the flavor and it is supposed to have a fairly low GI, which can’t hurt.

      I am certainly aware of the dire environmental and social consequences of the palm oil trade. My understanding is that palm sugar and coconut sugar are two different products, though that’s not to say they don’t have the same consequences. I need to do some research and ask more details from the company I buy the coconut sugar from.

      Finally, re: the sea salt, I’ll watch your video with interest. I use French unrefined sea salt because it’s pleasant to use, I understand how and where it’s made, and it contains trace minerals that make it more interesting from the nutritional standpoint.

      • Peter Hertzmann

        Definitely watch the video. I address the trace minerals in typical French grey salt. I don’t dispute the presence of the minerals, but I do question whether the intake quantity is sufficient to make a difference. In other words, will the 5mg of calcium introduced by 5g of salt make any difference in the diner’s health.

    • Staci ‘Grainne’ Corcoran

      I picked up a bag of “extra fine” almond flour from King Arthur Flour, looks really nice so far! And that’s a big national brand, so it may be easier to find than it has been in the past. :)

      • Thanks Staci! If you get a chance to try the cookies, please report back with your thoughts!

        • Staci ‘Grainne’ Corcoran

          I tried them this weekend, they turned out great, light, flakey and just sweet enough! I will say, if you use salted butter then remember to scale back on the salt. ;)

          • So pleased to hear that, thank you! I actually like a pretty salty cookie, but there’s a limit to that for sure. ^^

  • Peter Hertzmann

    Here’s the results of the trial using cashew flour. Next time I’ll reduce the salt to a pinch and up the sugar (I used finely granulated sugar or sucre en poudre ) a bit. Maybe bake at a slightly higher temperature. This batch was not as sandy as sablés should be.

    I changed the technique by using a food processor and chilled butter for about 12 seconds instead of combining with a pastry blender or fork. I also chilled the dough until hard, about two hours, instead of using my freezer, which has no space.

    • Thanks so much for reporting back, Peter! You should see *my* freezer. ;)

  • Marieta

    Nice job, Clotilde! I’d love to know how this recipe would fare substituting pure virgin coconut oil for the butter, as a vegan option. I am not planning on doing any baking anytime soon, but would love to hear back from anyone who tries this !

    • The texture would likely be a bit different, but it would work well in terms of flavor!

    • keithlaw

      Try vegetable shortening, which would probably better mimic the long-chain fatty acids that the butter provides.

      • Thanks Keith, I see we have the same explanation! I am weary of vegetable shortening, though, as it’s a heavily processed ingredient. I’d rather use butter if I can, or appreciate the texture coconut or olive oil gives.

    • Heather

      Hi! I just tried substituting coconut oil for the butter, and I wouldn’t recommend it. After freezing the dough, it shattered into many pieces when I tried slicing it with a knife. After baking, they just crumbled (almost like dirt) when you pick them up. They still taste great!

      Next time I would cut back on the salt a bit (though the more I ate them, the more I appreciated how salty they were). These are definitely an “adult” taste – my three year old (who has quite the extensive palate) was super excited to make chocolate cookies until she tried them and declared them “too sour.” That’s okay, more for mom! :)

      • Thank you for reporting back on that substitution, Heather! It’s happened to me before when experimenting that cookies crumble too easily, and then I use them as a topping for yogurt, fruit compotes, or, well, ice cream.

  • LauraG

    These sound very similar to a recipe introduced to me by a swiss roommate years ago, called brunsli. Brunsli use ground almonds (so not quite as fine), add a pinch of cinnamon, and have egg whites. So not egg free, but still unique and delicious!

    • Sounds great. Do you have a full recipe to share?

      • Alyne

        In French, ‘brunsli’ are called ‘bruns de Bâle’… the loveliest biscuits I’ve ever had – Worth tracing a recipe :-)

      • Patty Baker

        They are Basler Brunsli cookies from Switzerland.

        1-1/2 cups almonds

        1 cup granulated sugar

        1/2 cup powdered sugar

        6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

        1 teaspoon cinnamon

        1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

        2 egg whites

        In a food processor, process the almonds and sugars until the almonds are powder-fine but not oily; stop the processor and scrape down the sides several times. Add chocolate and mix until fine, being careful to not overmix and cause the chocolate to heat up and melt. Add spices and egg whites and mix until dough forms a mass. Chill dough for about 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F.

        Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Generously dust a work surface with powdered sugar. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter (hearts are traditional, but you can cut them to any shape you want). Place cookies on baking sheet. Put cookies into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 F. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm.

        • Oh my. This sounds so, so good! I imagine you can use almond flour instead of milling whole almonds?

          • Patty Baker

            Absolutely.

  • Noga

    Hi Clotilde, Last night as I made these cookies I was in the mood to follow a recipe exactly, no extra ruffles. I am happy to report the cookies came out perfectly, looking indistinguishable from yours (yay!) thought I made them slightly too large. No matter. But I found them a bit flat in the mouth. I solved this by sprinkling them lightly with cinnamon sugar– perfect. Thank you for another fabulous recipe!

    • That’s great to hear, Noga, thanks for reporting back! What almond flour and cocoa powder did you use? With a cookie so simple, I have found the flavor really depends on the quality of the ingredients I use.

  • Kiri

    Sounds nice, thinking of making them for a gift. How long do you think they would last? (In an airtight container)

  • leshar

    Can I just say? I’ve been gluten-free baking for thirty years and it’s not that hard, guys. In place of wheat fiour I use approximately four parts brown rice pastry flour and one part mochi (sticky rice) flour. Approximately. Don’t stress over the exact amount. The mochi flour keeps your cookies from crumbling the same way the gluten in wheat does.

  • Annabel Smyth

    Two members of my husband’s family have coeliac disease and must be scrupulously gluten-free, and I have other friends who are allergic even though they don’t have the illness, so I’m quite used to planning gluten-free menus. When my sister-in-law called on us unexpectedly a few months ago, I was proud to produce cheese scones made with half gram flour, half buckwheat flour. I didn’t have any xanthan gum, but am told it’s easily available, so want to get some for such emergencies (and restock the flours, which I’m out of, and forgot to buy any more farine de sarrasin last time I was in France); the scones were lovely fresh out of the oven, but rather solemn next day!

    Your recipe looks lovely. My mother had a similar recipe back in the 1970s which she used to make for dinner parties – it came out more cake-like, and you topped it with whipped cream. She said she rediscovered it recently and it was nicer than she remembered, arguably, she thought, because nicer chocolate is available today than the Bourneville of my youth!

  • Heidy

    This is my second time making these and they are very, very good. I didn’t find any bitterness with the almond flour here in Texas..! I used stevia for sweetener so it wasn’t as sweet (I find some of the sweetness bakes out when using stevia). But still they have a sophisticated flavor and were delightful with coffee, so the family asked for more and said it was their favorite almond flour cookie so far. Thank you for the recipe… I will try the coconut sugar next time!

    • Thank you Heidy, I’m so pleased you enjoyed those! How much stevia did you use, if you recall?

      • Heidy

        I actually used an erythritol/stevia mix and the first time used the exact amount the recipe called for even though it is supposed to be sweeter than sugar. I have increased it each time and just made it again today using double your recipe amount so it was 80 grams. That worked very well. I still want to try the coconut sugar at some point, but this is delicious and is a lovely treat in a diabetic diet. Oh, I also added some stevia-sweetened chocolate chips as well..

  • Claire Michel

    I substituted coconut oil for butter and use 100 percent organic raw cacao powder. Also added an egg, vanilla and a teaspoon of ground coffee. Turned out great, perfect pairing with a cup of coffee or chai.

  • Heramb Arora

    Arabian dates and Gourmet Chocolates are Fantastic Gift for Ramadan and Eid, Celebrate Ramadan and Eid with lovely gift that includes gourmet chocolate products along with dates dipped with delicious toppings such as almonds, coconut, and pistachios.

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  • Staci ‘Grainne’ Corcoran

    Contemplating making these for friends who can’t eat chocolate (because I want a nice easy slice’n’bake cookie). Could I just leave out the cocoa powder or would that change the texture too much?

    • I think it would throw off the balance of that recipe too much. In general, when a recipe has just 4 ingredients and you remove one, it’s like a chair : it’s likely to collapse. :)

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