Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies- Vegan & Gluten-Free

Espresso laced chocolate chip cookies- gluten-free + vegan.

You knew it was only a matter of time before I'd post another cookie recipe. I love baking cookies- it's painfully obvious. (What the bleep else are you going to do in the desert, stuck out in the middle of sand and pinon with no neighbors to speak of- if you don't count the coyotes and stink bugs, that is?)

That's right. You start thinking about gluten-free flours and raw agave nectar and semi-sweet chocolate chips. You conjure cookie dough in your mind's eye- a richly flavored hearty dough made with buckwheat, millet and quinoa flours. You add a generous dusting of cinnamon. Some strong and hot espresso. Bourbon vanilla.

You taste the dough on your fingers.

This is gonna work, you say out loud. So you write it all down on a slip of paper. You slide a baking sheet into the waiting oven. The kitchen starts to smell like the bakery in Stranger Than Fiction. Warm and spicy and sweet all at once. (What, you don't have Smellavision?)

Your husband walks through the pink stained wooden door. He smiles.

Here, you say, breaking apart a tender, melting biscuit and lifting it to his lips.

Have a cookie.

Adult style cookies with chocolate chips and coffee flavor
Espresso laced chocolate chip cookies. For grown-ups.

Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookie Recipe- Vegan and Gluten-Free

These coffee flavored cookies are higher in protein than your average gluten-free cookie made with old school white rice flour and starches. They're on the hearty side, with an assertive grainy flavor. Your taste buds will appreciate them best if you've been eschewing refined starches and sugars for a little while- I'm not gonna lie.

If you're brand spanking new to the gluten-free game I might suggest one of my other cookie recipes first, because buckwheat and quinoa can be an acquired taste for some. But if you enjoy whole grains and quinoa, and the subtle sweetness of agave nectar, do give these a whirl. They're delicious.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with an Exopat or parchment paper.


1 cup GF buckwheat flour
1/2 cup GF millet flour
1/2 cup GF quinoa flour or sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon- or more, to taste
1 pinch of nutmeg, to taste
1/2 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening
1/2 cup raw organic agave nectar
Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg, mixed
1/4 cup espresso- double strength, sweetened to taste with stevia
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life soy-free chips)

Note: If you can use eggs, it's perfectly fine to substitute one large free-range organic egg for the egg replacer.


Whisk the gluten-free flours with the remaining dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add the wet ingredients and beat by hand until the dough comes together. This dough was a tad wetter than other cookie dough I've been making- but when I tasted it I decided NOT to add more flour. (If by some chance your dough is too stiff, add a tablespoon of hemp/soy/coconut milk- as needed- until the dough is a bit softer.)

Stir in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Note: Cover and chill the dough before baking if you like. I did not chill the first batch and the cookies baked at 17 minutes. The second chilled batch took a minute longer.

Scoop the dough with a spoon and form the dough into balls slightly smaller than golf balls. You don't need to be fussy. I dropped the dough onto the Exopat and smoothed the edges a bit, not pressing down too much- just slightly (if you press gluten-free dough balls too flat the cookies tend to spread too much).

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes. The longer you bake the cookies, the crisper they will be on the outside. If you like a cakey cookie- check them at 15 minutes. They need to be pretty firm to a light touch. They will crisp up a bit more as they cool.

Note: An Exopat or parchment helps keep the cookie bottoms from scorching.

Cool these babies on a wire rack. Wrap each in foil, bag and freeze for future yumminess.

This batch made 22 medium cookies.

Recipe Source:

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Can someone who has a wheat allergy eat buckwheat?
I would love to make these for my sis-in-law, but she has a wheat allergy?

Karina Allrich said...

Vegan Tickles- Yes, she can eat buckwheat. Buckwheat is a gluten-free plant related to rhubarb- not wheat. It is not a cereal grain.



Rach said...

I have been lurking around reading your blog for quite some time now and I love it! I get all sorts of ideas here.

I've been gluten-free for about 5 years and processed sugar-free for about 2 (although I've lapsed on both for about a year - I'm now back the way I should be).

I'm sorry that you continue to find things that you need to cut out of your diet, but I am glad you feel better! Selfishly - I'm really happy to see the recipes using agave! I've been baking with agave for a while now - winging it and making things up as I go along. Experimenting with recipes - turning them into gluten-free and processed sugar-free ones.

I'm very excited by some of you recent recipes! This one sounds amazing. I just need to suck it up and buy some of the flours I don't have on hand. I tend to just make things with Pamela's mix, lol! I like easy. :D

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Except for the hemp milk (never managed to acquire a taste for it), I've got everything on hand to try these. Can I sub in regular milk?

Anonymous said...

Karina- I love your recipes- You areso awesome! Truly a Godsend! Can you use an g/f all purpose flour? How would I adjust it? I am new at this and don't have all the different ingredients. Also, can brown sugar be subsituted for agave nectar.


Suzanne said...

Thanks Karina for another great cookie recipe. You have made my son a very happy boy in the past (the buckwheat chocolate chips are his favorite). I'm sure this one will be a hit too (unless it's not sweet enough for a 7 year old) :)

Can instant coffee be used in place of the espresso? You mentioned the quinoa taste, is espresso needed to overcome the quinoa? I don't drink coffee and only have instant on hand for recipes. Is there such a thing as instant espresso?

I noticed you have been using millet lately. What does millet provide that the other flours don't?

Anonymous said...

Hi Karina,love your site! I've recently been diagnosed with Gluten Intolerance, and your recipes have been a big help with adjusting.

I live in Thailand, so it's impossible for me to get some ingredients. Can I use fructose instead of Agave Nectar? Also, I can't get shortening - can this be skipped or replaced with something else?


Karina Allrich said...

Rach- Thanks for your kind words- I'm glad you're along for the ride, too. Feel free to share any tips you may have...

Lydia- Absolutely- milk is fine. And as I mentioned, real eggs are fine, too. Just because I have to be vegan doesn't mean this recipe won't work as non-vegan (in fact, I suspect it will be fabulous). Let me know if you try it with subs. And as always, use your own judgment as to dough consistency.

Denise- I think (in theory anyway) that your preferred GF flour mix should work. And yes, brown sugar will work; I'd use 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups.

If you need to add liquid, add a tablespoon at a time of your preferred liquid. You also may want to add a little more fat (maybe 1/4 cup more) to balance the sugar amount.

Good luck!


Karina Allrich said...

Hi Suzanne and Charlie- Your comments came through as I was posting my response above.

Suzanne- First, yes, instant coffee can be subbed; just make it stronger than you would for a cup of regular coffee. I'd add two heaping spoonfuls to 1/4 cup hot liquid. Quinoa is a strong taste, definitely; you could always sub buckwheat.

Millet is more of a whole grain alternative and more nutritious than plain rice flour or starches. I'm trying to boost the whole grain/nutrition/protein factor in my baking recipes.

Charlie- You could use brown sugar (I'd use 1 cup) and I believe fructose would work- use it to taste; hopefully you're familiar with using it?

Agave is twice as sweet as sugar, and imparts a gentle, low glycemic sweet taste. It's also more liquid- so if you substitute granular sugar or fructose, you'll need to adjust the liquid and add a bit more milk- either dairy or non-dairy milk.

As always, changes can be made, but amounts of ingredients might have to be adjusted.

Take care!


Jess said...

Oh if only we had smellovision! These look incredible, and I suspect they will taste even better. I have been intrigued by your use of spectrum shortening, but I think that this recipe just pushed me over the edge. To the health food store tomorrow!
Thanks for yet another beautiful recipe!

CMe said...

you are such a life saver! i am so happy to have found your blog and all your recipes. i recently found out i had a gluten allergy (and possibly dairy & corn) and i've been miserable. i'm such a picky eater and have not eaten anything decent in almost 2 months. now i have a ton of recipes to choose from and am so excited to be able to make some cookies, brownies, bread! thank you thank you thank you. i hope many blessings come your way!!

Kalyn said...

When I see how you're able to take such wholesome and allergy free ingredients and turn them into something I can tell will taste delicious, I am in awe. My baking skills are practically non-existent!

Anonymous said...

Well Karina, I havent tried your recipes yet, but I loved reading how you created your cookie recipe.

Im rushing out to get a smelevision.

Celine said...

I'm SO sending the link to these to my dad who recently found out he has to go gluten/wheat free. hooray for you!

Anonymous said...


What can you sub for the organic spectrum shortening? My local WFoods is having a hard time getting this item right now?
We had the sweet potato shepherd's pie for supper last night!!! Delicious!!

Mama Russ

Deb Schiff said...

These look so delicious! Fantastic.

chocolatechic said...


I have found your blog in attempt to help my 15 year old daughter who is allertig to wheat, egg, soy, milk, casein, corn, sugar (among other things).

I want to say thank you so much for your sight.

There is so much out there, that I had no idea was available.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Karina Allrich said...

CME- Thank you- and just so you know? I'm picky, too.

Kalyn- Thank you- I appreciate that. As I said- not only do I love to bake, but what the hell is there to do here (when I'm not reading, walking, watching movies)?

Anon- Glad you stopped by- come again soon!

Jess- I've used light olive in gluten-free baking and it often works beautifully- in brownies, muffins, cake. But I like the shortening in cookies; it adds some needed structure and body to the dough. It's a better butter replacement- in cookies, especially.

And I wish I could offer Smellovision on my blog. ;)

Celine- Send him over! I have lots of goodies that aren't vegan as well, if he prefers to bake with eggs and Pamela's Baking Mix.

Hi Mama Russ- As I mentioned above, butter or light oil can be used- the texture may be a bit more oily if you use oil. When you stir up the batter, if it seems oily, I'm thinking, if you add a tablespoon or two of arrowroot starch it might help. But try it and see.

Glad you liked the Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie!

Hi Deb- Why, thanks!


Diane-The Whole Gang said...

I am SO excited to see your recipe. I cannot eat rice, gluten, sugar, dairy, and about 37 more items (no joke). Now I can’t eat chocolate or coffee but I’m thinking I can add Carob powder and skip the espresso. Please keep these recipes coming. I am not a baker but I want to be now that my list of can’t eat has moved way beyond gluten. Thank you!!!

Lauren said...

Those look gorgeous, Karina. Definitely going to be adding espresso to my next batch of chocolate chip cookies. A cookie reminiscent of a latte? Sounds amazing!

funwithyourfood said...

Espresso and chocolate are one of THE best flavor combinations ever

thanks for sharing this :)


Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

I made these tonight, though I must admit I sprinkled sugar on top before baking them to kick up the sweetness just a smidge. Really tasty! Like small chocolate-espresso scones. I might cut back on the salt a bit next time. I do wonder when I'm going to be able to get to sleep tonight after the caffeine ha ha. ;)

bbg. said...

these cookies are just up my alley! i made up a recipe fairly similar to this one recently, but now i've got to try yours with the espresso added in :) i've been loving millet and buckwheat/teff a lot recently... it's amazing how quickly you get used to the tastes of these flours and how great they are- i like to think i'm eating high protein cookies :)

Dawn said...

Hi Karina!
Stumbled across your blog today and it is very inspiring. As a young woman with a long list of her own, I'll be back and browsing often--especially later in the winter, when I hope to get a green light to bring more starches and some sweeteners (besides stevia) back into the mix.

I also wanted to recommend the book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz, if you don't have it already. I think you'd appreciate the subtle art of raw pickling. And finally, have you ever had injera? I made an all-teff injera the other day that was great for scooping up stew.

Thanks for being a beacon for so many!!!

Ms. Glaze said...

Can I pretend to be your husband the next time you bake these cookies? I'll smile AND do the dishes! I am slowly but surely swapping agave nectar for all my old stand by's. But, this hemp milk is new to me.

Out of curiosity why use hemp milk as opposed to soy or rice milk? What does it taste like and is it higher in protein than the other vegan substitutes?

Anonymous said...

These don't really have any sugar "cut out" of 'em, but they look lovely for a sweet treat! Agave IS sugar, even though all these health food stores have jumped on the agave bandwagon. Everything in moderation, right?

Is the buckwheat taste pretty strong in these? Your photography is moutherwatering as always, Karina. :D

Karina Allrich said...

Ms Glaze- Mi casa su casa! I like hemp milk because it's richer, creamier and thicker than rice milk. It's also higher in protein and contains essential fatty acids. Cooking with rice milk is akin to akin to cooking with water in many respects.

Anon- A typical chocolate chip cookie recipes uses a cup and a half of sugar. My recipe uses only a half cup of raw agave nectar; each cookie contains roughly one teaspoon of agave.

As for buckwheat- you can taste it, yes. As I mentioned in my write-up this cookie has a subtle sweetness and grown-up grainy taste.

It's definitely not a refined starchy jolt of sugary sweetness.


chocolatechic said...

Instead of buckwheat flour, could I use a different type of flour? Thank you for making up all these great recipes!!!!

Karina Allrich said...

ChocolateChic- Yes, certainly. I'd try sorghum with a little potato starch, as in 3/4 cup sorghum plus 1/4 cup potato starch for a lighter crisper cookie.

The millet and quinoa are heavier flours, so I'd stick with subbing a medium to light flour- sorghum, rice, potato starch mix (I don't care for rice flour, but if you like it, you could sub it with some potato starch).


Kim said...

Cookies are what I miss most eating gluten free and egg free. I've been experimenting with lots of different cookie recipes, tweaking and adjusting, but just haven't found the right combination yet. I must try out a cocoa and coffee free version of these - they look AMAZING! A mix of carob and mesquite flour in place of the cocoa and coffee flavors might do the trick. thanks for all the wonderful recipes you share with all of us!

Fatima said...

Ok, I made these last night (didn't have quinoa or millet flour, subed brown rice flour for millet and buckwheat for quinoa) and they turned out great! They didn't spread very much (I didn't chill them) and even my husband (non g-f eater) thought they were fantastic. I really like that they are not sweet. Next time around, I'm going to try with the flours you used. But this is def. one recipe I'm keeping around!

Deepa said...

What can I substitute for Quinoa flour and Spectrum organic shortening?
Can I substitute sorghum flour for qiunoa flour?and rice milk for hemp milk?
Also can I use honey instead of organic agave nectar?
I live in India and I don't think the above ingredients are available here.

Karina Allrich said...

Deepa, You can sub sorghum or buckwheat flour for the quinoa flour, I imagine. The shortening- do you use butter or ghee (both are fine)? Or oil? If you use oil in baking, I'd use less.

And use your favorite non-dairy beverage (or milk) for the hemp milk. And yes, honey and agave are interchangeable. See my Baking + Coooking Substitutions post for more info.

wheat intolerant said...

Karina you're really gluten free goddess! is it possible to use stevia instead of agave? i'm just not sure if that sweetener is resistant to baking temperatures.

Venice said...

My mum has gluten intolerant for about two years now and we both really love your site :). These look amazing, but I can never find any tapioca or potato starch. What's the next best thing?

Karina Allrich said...

@Wheat Intolerant- Stevia would need tweaking- you'll need to make up volume and liquid, possibly moisture (agave adds all three).

Venice- A starch such as arrowroot starch or cornstarch will work as sub for tapioca/potato starch. Taste batter for adjustments to sweetness level.


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