gluten-free vegan double chocolate cinnamon cookie recipe

I've shared many cookie recipes over the past year; sweet quinoa anzac cookies, nutty lemon chia cookies, fragrant rosemary and lemon cookies and my personal favourite speckled kiwi mesquite cookies to name but a few. But lately I've had my heart set on trying to come up with a gluten-free chocolate cookie recipe that also caters for dairy and egg-free readers (the vegan bit is a bonus!). I didn’t want a short-bread style cookie, simply replacing butter with margarine but more of a thick chewy one and I'm always stoked to use oil in place of margarine in dairy-free cooking. If you’ve been reading for awhile you will know that we actually do now eat butter, sometimes. But I still try to avoid dairy as much as possible. I LOVE butter, always have and always will. Which is why, when we were strictly dairy-free I found it so hard to eat margarine. See I was bought up eating butter and taught from a young age to fear the butter-wanna-be. Margarine is fantastic for when you seriously can't touch dairy and there is a really great (as natural as you can get) brand called Nuttelex over here in Australia, but if I have a choice (thankfully we do now) I will always go for butter, ghee or oil over margarine. 

The sun's been out a lot lately so we decided to head to the beach last weekend. Coming from Raglan, the longest I’ve ever been away from the coast is the 2 months I spent travelling around India in my early twenties. I still remember the feeling as we arrived in Diu, an island off the coast of Gujarat. Seeing the sea felt like coming home.
Every house I’ve ever lived in you've either been able to see the ocean or walk to it. So living slightly inland here in Perth I crave the salty sea air and try to get my fix as often as I can. We decided to meet up with one of Si’s best mates at the beach, so they could go surfing and we could soak up some sun.
I packed morning tea including a few of these cookies, which the kids and I enjoyed while sitting in the sand watching the guys surf. The kids had a play at the park, then we made sandcastles along the waters edge.
As Si came out of the water he mentioned he had twisted his ankle, possibly sprained it. Two days later and in a whole lot of pain we found out that in actual fact a bone in his ankle is fractured! It’s going to be such a treat having him around for the next 6 weeks, but god… what a way to do it!

Right, fractured ankles aside, back to the cookies! I decided to add a little cinnamon, but really these could be taken in a dozen different directions. Omit the cinnamon and add a little chopped crystallised ginger for something a little zingier, add a handful of chopped toasted nuts; almonds or hazelnuts would be great. Add a little orange zest for a jaffa flavour or chopped dried fruit for a little texture. They are lovely and light, slightly chewy and with a rich chocolate flavour, further accentuated by the chunks of dark chocolate folded in at the last second. Eat them still warm and the chocolate chunks remain melted, or leave to cool completely and they give a nice little bite. Whatever way you choose to take these, for something that is gluten, dairy and egg-free… I think these are pretty damn wonderful.

gluten-free & dairy-free double chocolate cinnamon cookies
A little note, as always on cornstarch. This is the universal term for what we New Zealanders call cornflour. Confusing I know as in the states cornstarch and cornflour are separate things. But here's how it works; if you are a New Zealand or Australian reader use what we know as cornflour. If you are from anywhere else in the world (as far as I know) use what you know as cornstarch. I use Whittaker's 50% dark chocolate which is dairy-free. I used rice-milk but feel free to use whatever dairy-free milk you like. Almond or soy would be my next choices.
Makes 26.

  • 2/3 cup (130g) firmly packed muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 cup (100g) fine brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup (25g) gluten-free cornflour (corn starch)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) rice milk 
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) neutral vegetable oil (I use rice bran oil)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
  • 50g dark (dairy-free) chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons organic raw sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease and/or line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a small bowl combine the raw sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside.

Place sugar into a medium bowl, sieve over the rice flour, cornstarch, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in rice milk, oil and vanilla. Mix to form a firm dough, use your hands if you find it easier, I do. Add the chopped chocolate and mix to evenly distribute. Roll into 2 teaspoon portions, place on the tray leaving a little room for spreading (you will need to bake these in two batches), flatten slightly, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store airtight for up to 3-4 days.

This recipe is linked to:
Slightly indulgent Tuesday @ simply sugar & gluten-free
* Allergy friendly Friday @

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  • Reply
    September 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

    wow- these look so good! i am bookmarking and making these precious little cookies soon!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Oh Emma! I will pretend that you made this recipe specifically for my lil whanau (hehe) and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    They look gorgeous.
    I hope Si's ankle heals well and without too much pain

  • Reply
    September 4, 2011 at 6:16 am

    No need to pretend. You and your little family were the main inspiration behind making these cookies! We thankfully have always been fine eating eggs, but I know there are so many families out there like yours that have to avoid them along with gluten and dairy…
    🙂 enjoy!

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    September 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    These sound so yumm! I like to swap out butter for oil too, but I'm so happy not to have a butter issue. Butter and ghee is practically lactose free so I'm safe with those, thank goodness!
    Poor ankle 🙁 hope it heals well, I'm sure a big crock of these biscuits will much to improve morale at your house!

  • Reply
    September 5, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Love the contrast of the sugar sprinkled on these biscuits. And I love the idea of adding crystallised ginger, too. Hope Si's ankle heals okay, sounds painful!

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    September 5, 2011 at 9:47 am

    They look fabulous and I like the additional crunch you would get from the sugar on top! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Another great recipe – a batch is in the oven! I didn't want to mess with your recipe, though I imagine a pinch if chili powder would be good in these too, next time! Hey didn't Si spend a bit of time on the couch with damages before leaving for Perth too?!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I just made these cookies for my man (his birthday 2moro) and also the choccy cake recipe. The cake looks rich and yummy and is still in the oven, the cookies which were good enough to eat at the mixture stage are out and cooling. We have all (5 adults in our home) tried them and pronounced them absolutely yummy, as you said Emma, crunchy on the outside and chewy to soft on the inside. Rich but not too sweet. Actually I think I would chose these over any other 'normal' choccy bikkie recipe.
    Thank so much for your blog and recipes!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks for the well wishes lovely people 🙂 We've spent the morning at fremantle hospital seeing a specialist and getting a cast finally put on. All looks good, although it does mean 4-6 weeks off work.

    Rach~ So glad you have made them and yes I actually meant to write a little chilli powder would work wonders too, especially with the choc/cinnamon combo. I'd say about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon if you do try it. And YES, Si hurt his other ankle only 6 months ago, a matter of weeks before we moved over here to Perth!! It was his first surf since his last (kite surfing) accident! Talk about bad luck 😉

    Carolkiwi~ You're totally welcome, stoked your enjoying my recipes. I'm totally with you on eating the raw cookie dough! Yum aye 🙂 Especially knowing there is no raw eggs in the mix.

  • Reply
    September 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    While I appreciate that margarine helps out a lot of dairy-free people, I'm so glad you used oil in these!! Because they sound amazing and I want to make them.

    Sorry to hear about Si's ankle, not fun at all!

  • Reply
    September 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I am sprinting to the kitchen to make these cookies! Perfect back-to-school treat for my boys tomorrow.

    I do hope your husband's ankle is feeling better soon.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2011 at 11:25 am

    They look lovely! I have a gluten-freer and a dairy-freer in my office so will make a morning tea with these cookies using crystallised ginger. Can't wait!

  • Reply
    September 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    These look delicious! I would love it if you would come link them at my new link party featuring allergy-friendly lunchbox foods. The party goes live at 6:00am EST Friday (so, Friday night, your time) at

    Lisa @ Allergy Free Vintage Cookery

  • Reply
    the good soup
    September 15, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Gorgeous cookies, Emm. I'm thinking of maybe using coconut oil, and adding some coconut flakes to the top. I'm in love with coconut and chocolate anything right now. Oh, and I hear you on margarine. When I worked at a vegan restaurant it was one of those things I just refused to use. I just don't get putting coloured, flavourless oil on toast. grooooossss.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Yum! Coconut oil would be perfect. I too LOVE choc/coconut anything 🙂

    We are lucky here in Aussie to have pretty good "natural" dairy-free margarine's (with no preservatives, colours etc), which I don't feel so bad about using. But yes, if I can get away with it I'd rather not.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Hi Emma,
    I loved your idea of choco vegan AND gluten free cookies. Yesterday I made a batch of them…they were scrumptious!!! Thanks for your delicious recipe 🙂 I hope Si's ankle is going better now.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Hi Blandine, so glad you made them and yes thanks, Si is not in so much pain now. A few more weeks and the cast will be off 🙂

  • Reply
    May 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Made these today and they're fricken delicious 🙂 I used molasses sugar instead of the muscovado so that I could pretend that I was getting some nutrients 😉

  • Reply
    Emma D'Alessandro
    April 28, 2014 at 2:28 am

    These look amazing. Do you recommend a substitute for the corn starch?

    • Reply
      April 29, 2014 at 6:20 am

      Any other starch should work fine in these cookies; tapioca starch, potato starch etc xx

  • Reply
    Shangri La
    March 27, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Yum just made these this morning. I used arrowroot as we didn't have any cornflour. They are really good – perfect Easter baking for my vegan son.

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