These gluten free vegan biscuits are made with just the right balance of vegan butter and shortening. They’re light and flaky, and even taste buttery. You just have to try them!
Vegan Butter and Shortening
Honest to goodness butter, made from cow’s milk, is one of my most favorite things in this world. I love to cook and bake with it, and I love to eat a piece of buttered bread. But for when butter isn’t an option, thankfully there are lots of substitutes available on the market that are also solid at room temperature without hydrogenation.
I’ve long preferred Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated shortening as a butter replacement (the butter flavored shortening is the best!), but there’s also virgin coconut oil and Earth Balance buttery sticks and tubs. Plus, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” has even come out with a vegan butter alternative.
Earth Balance has lots more moisture than shortening or coconut oil, so it behaves differently in the oven. That, and it’s quite salty. But I’ve recently started experimenting with Melt brand VeganButter sticks, and I’m completely smitten.
I’m not sure if Melt has less moisture than Earth Balance, or if the fats in Melt are just better emulsified, but Earth Balance tends to melt (haha) during baking before the fat has done its job in creating flaky layers of pastry. The combination of about half Melt and half nonhydrogenated shortening creates a delightfully buttery taste and impossibly flaky biscuits that can be split right in the middle—and still brown beautifully.
Necessity is the mother of invention
The funny thing about restrictions in baking is that, although they may be painful to endure, they really force you to be creative. When my son first went gluten free, before I started writing a food blog or cookbooks, friends and acquaintances alike would tell me, oh I could never do that. If my child had to eat gluten free, I’d just give up.
Well of course you wouldn’t give up. You play the hand that you’re dealt, and you play it as well as you can, especially if you’re doing it for someone else you love. ♡
When I first started this blog, I used to get all worked up whenever anyone asked if they could change ingredients in the recipe and still have it turn out. I had worked so hard to balance everything just right, just as the recipe was written. In baking, when you change one thing, you change everything. I always tried to answer as best I could, but I didn’t have all the answers. I still don’t!
As time has gone on, my family’s needs have evolved a bit. My son still thankfully is only gluten free, but my oldest child (a daughter) is now dairy free and soy free.
Most of the recipes that I develop are still only gluten free as written, and we don’t eat gluten in my house at all for the sake of simplicity and peace of mind. But I don’t want my oldest to have to go without, say, a light and flaky gluten free biscuit if that’s what everyone else is having. And I didn’t want to stop making biscuits.
My youngest can eat anything under the sun without any allergies, but she’s leaning toward being a vegan when she gets older for the sake of the animals. So there’s that, too! And rather than feeling like an albatross, the limitations have led to a new purpose and more creative ways to make amazing recipes that still really, really work.
Ingredients and substitutions
These vegan biscuits are already dairy free, egg free, gluten free and even soy free. Woohoo! They’re not, however, low carb or Weight Watchers-friendly. There are only a few substitutions that I think you might ask about, so here goes:
Shortening: I use and recommend Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. It’s not Crisco! I promise. If you can’t find Spectrum brand, I’ll be honest: I’ve had some trouble finding a true substitute for it.
I’ve tried Nutiva brand shortening, and I’m afraid I really didn’t care for it at all. It didn’t behave the same in baking. You might have better luck with virgin coconut oil or even coconut cream. Just be sure to keep the fats very cold (but not frozen) before adding them to the dry ingredients.
Vegan butter: I have fallen hopelessly in love with Melt brand VeganButter. Earth Balance buttery sticks are generally a good substitute, though, if you can’t find Melt. I’ve also made this recipe entirely with shortening, but the biscuits don’t tend to have a lot of flavor and they don’t brown nearly as well.
Nut-free: My favorite nondairy milk is unsweetened almond milk, but really any unsweetened nondairy milk that isn’t fat-free will work just fine. Just be sure to use an actual liquid that comes in a carton, not a can like canned coconut milk.
Sugar-free: That’s so easy. Just eliminate the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar (or replace with 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated erythritol, which should work fine).
Corn-free: If you can’t have corn, replace the cornstarch with arrowroot.
Watch this short video about how-to make vegan biscuits
Just plush play below to watch me make these biscuits. Then make your own!
These moist and tender gluten free carrot cake whoopie pies with cream cheese filling are a fun Easter alternative to cupcakes or cake. And they freeze great!
What is it about carrot cake?
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like carrot cake. Do you? The way I make carrot cake, there are plenty of shredded carrots—but even if you don’t like carrots (like my oldest, who hates all vegetables equally, poor kid), you must like carrot cake. There’s something about the marriage of cream cheese with carrots that don’t really even taste like carrots-for-salad with cinnamon and, for me, a hint of freshly grated nutmeg.
I went a little bit light on the confectioners’ sugar in the cream cheese filling. If you add more confectioners’ sugar, you will get a more stable filling. But it will threaten to overwhelm the other flavors in these gluten free carrot cake pies with an overwhelming rush of pure sweetness. As it is, these pies do best when they are chilled until the filling is firm.
I’ve read all sorts of explanations for the moniker “whoopie pies,” but the one that sticks out for me is that children would see them in their lunchboxes and call out “WHOOPIE!” That has to be the sorriest excuse for a silly naming story I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
I tend to like cupcakes more than cake, but that might be because a cake just doesn’t make for very convenient leftovers. The shredded carrots here tend to rob these cakes of the perfect dome shape of a more classic whoopie pie. But they’re still light, fluffy and tender as can be.
I use a pastry bag fitted with a large plain piping tip for everything from the pies themselves to piping in the filling. But you can easily get away with just spooning both the batter for the cakes and the filling between them.
Watch this short (1:19) how-to video.
Push play below to watch me make these sweet little cakes, and then make your own!
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: I’m happy to report that I’ve successfully made the whoopie pies plus the cream cheese filling dairy-free. For the cakes, the only dairy-containing ingredient is the melted and cooled butter, and potentially the milk.
For the butter, I feel pretty confident that you can use any vegan butter replacement. I’ve used both Earth Balance buttery sticks and Melt brand vegan butter sticks (which I love love love). For the milk, any unsweetened milk replacement that isn’t fat-free and isn’t, say, a super high-fat can of coconut milk, will work just fine. My favorite is unsweetened almond milk.
For the filling, I recommend using only 2 ounces of your favorite dairy-free cream cheese, since I find that all of them have something of a strange aftertaste, 4 tablespoons (56 g) of vegan butter replacement like Melt or Earth Balance, and 4 tablespoons of shortening. Speaking of shortening…
Shortening: If you see shortening as an ingredient in a recipe and want to turn the virtual page, please hear me out! Shortening, unlike butter or vegan butter replacements, is solid at room temperature but has little to no moisture (unlike butter, vegan or otherwise). It helps baked goods stay put and not spread too much in the oven, and frosting to hold its shape.
I don’t buy or use Crisco. I recommend Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, which is much heathlier for you and sustainably sourced. To replace shortening, you can try using virgin coconut oil (the triple filtered kind has no coconut aroma), but it won’t always work exactly the same.
Egg: Since there is only one egg in this recipe, I think a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel), but if you’re feeling adventuresome and want to try a boiled flax egg like we did in our vegan black bean brownies, that would work great.
Sugar: You cannot replace the brown and confectioners’ sugars in this recipe with a liquid sweetener of any kind. You should be able to replace the brown sugar with coconut palm sugar, but I’d recommend grinding it further so it dissolves properly during baking.
For an entirely sugar-free recipe, you can try replacing the brown sugar with Swerve brown sugar replacement or even Lankato brand (I’ve just started experimenting with that; nothing to report just yet!), but those sugar replacements tend to absorb more moisture so you might have to add more milk. For the confectioners’ sugar, you’ll need Swerve confectioners’ sugar replacement.
This crispy, crunchy protein granola is lower in fat and sugar, but still a satisfying breakfast or snack—in peanut butter or chocolate variety! It’s even Weight Watchers-friendly, with just 8 SmartPoints in each full cup.
The “Crunchy Granola” Lifestyle
Growing up, there were no hipsters like there today—and “health food stores” were pretty much the only place to buy things like oat bran or whatever new good was supposed to help keep you alive into your 80s. And granola was most definitely considered health food.
These days, we’ve come a long way in both the availability of so-called health foods (hello Amazon Whole Foods!), and we now know that just because you call something “granola” doesn’t mean that it’s going to be healthy for you overall. In fact, although most granola has tons of great things for you in it, it also often has plenty of sugar.
I love granola so much that I had long made my basic Maple Almond Granola Recipe for myself, and only for myself. It was one of the very few things that I made selfishly, and I loved it as much for its crunchy, sweet, nubby taste and texture as I did for the fact that it was mine, alllll mine.
But I knew there had to be a way to make it, well, lighter and with more protein and still have it taste great. This protein granola ticks all the boxes: lower carb, lower fat, packed with protein, truly satisfying and really flavorful even though it’s only lightly sweet.
I love oats and serve certified gluten free oats all the time to my gluten free family. They’re nutrient-dense, satisfying and we love their chewiness.
Even so, I was dying to try making granola with more crisp rice cereal than oats. Plus, Weight Watchers assigns crisp rice cereal a much lower point value than oats.
Oh, but if you are gluten free like we are, please be very careful as Kellogg’s Rice Krispies are not gluten free. For a while, they did make a gluten free variety of their cereal, but they no longer do. I like Erewhon brand of gluten free rice krispies best, but any gluten free variety will do.
All the powders: cocoa, peanut butter, and protein
I get into the details of what each individual ingredient does in this protein granola recipe below, but I’m really loving the idea of adding these powders to my baking lately. They’re all low in fat and nutritious.
I started experimenting with powdered peanut butter years ago when it was actually pretty hard to find. For that reason, I was reluctant to use it in recipe development. Now, there are lots of brands of it, and it seems to be available in most regular grocery stores.
We usually buy PB2 brand, but just because it often goes on sale. It seems to be big in the Weight Watchers community, but I really love it because it’s very versatile.
Cocoa powder is a great way to add chocolate flavor without all the calories and sugar of most chocolate, and it often is a perfect substitute for PB2, since I know not everyone can have peanuts. I do try to provide as much substitution information as possible (this article has a ton of info below!), but please keep in mind that the more substitutions you make, the further you get away from the recipe as developed and tested.
A word about how to store anything that you’d like to make and keep crunchy. The egg whites and applesauce add a fair amount of moisture to this granola mixture, and we all know what happens to rice krispies when they get wet.
To make sure that this protein granola gets and stays crispy and crunchy, like any proper granola should be, don’t skip the steps that instruct you to stir the granola during the baking process. Be sure to bake the granola until it’s a true golden brown all over.
Finally, allow it to sit on the baking sheet after it’s baked until it’s completely cool, and then break it up into chunks and store it in a glass jar—not plastic! Storing anything crunchy in a sealed glass jar at room temperature is the only way I know of to keep it as crunchy as the day you made it.
The granola may clump a bit as it sits, so before you shake it out of the container, give it a strong shake while the top is still on. That will break it back up.
Ingredients and substitutions
This recipe is already gluten free and dairy free. But it does have nuts, eggs, oats, some sugar and an animal product. So let’s dig in!
If you’d like to try to make this recipe oat-free, try replacing the one cup of rolled oats with more crisp brown rice cereal. I honestly don’t know how it would go, but feel free to experiment!
Egg-free: The egg whites in this recipe are there to add protein, and as a binder that helps the recipe to crisp and brown even without much sugar. If you’d like to replace the egg whites, you can try aquafaba (I have absolutely no idea whether or not that would work!).
If you don’t mind adding more sugar, I’d go with another 4 tablespoons (84 g) pure maple syrup instead. That will make this recipe much less Weight Watchers-friendly, by a mile, but we can’t have it all—at least not all at the same time!
Nut-free: There is only 3/4 cup of almonds in this recipe, but they really make it taste like granola. If you can’t have nuts, though, you can try replacing the almonds with an equal amount, by weight, of sunflower seeds or even hemp seeds. I’m just guessing here, though!
In place of powdered peanut butter, you can use more protein powder or even 5 tablespoons (25 g) of unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolate variety. It doesn’t taste very strongly of chocolate, though. But it’s a lovely hint.
Vegan: Collagen protein has really become a favorite of mine, as it’s nearly 100% protein and great for hair, skin, and nails. Plus it’s a great way of getting more protein into my kids. I’ve really liked Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (affiliate link, but of course feel free to shop around), but have recently started using Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides (affiliate link), and I might just like it better. Plus, it’s less expensive.
In this recipe, it really helps the granola to hold together as it’s rather sticky. But if you need to make this recipe vegan, try replacing it with a vegan protein powder that you love. I’ve generally enjoyed Vega brand, but it does have additional ingredients beyond protein and it’s much heavier by volume than collagen protein.
Sugar-free: There is really very little sugar, comparatively, in this recipe, with only 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup. It’s really necessary for the granola to stick together and frankly for it taste great. The final sprinkling of powdered sugar substitute helps a bit as well.
But if you need to make this completely sugar-free (other than the naturally occurring sugar in the applesauce), you can try using Lankato brand maple syrup sugar substitute. I haven’t tried any of the Lankato products yet, but I just ordered their monk fruit granulated sugar substitute and I’m looking forward to experimenting with it.
Watch this short how to video (about 1 minute)
Just push play below to watch me make this protein granola. Then make your own!
This low carb pizza is the perfect savory thin-crust pizza base that suits nearly every dietary need, is Weight-Watchers friendly and still manages to be naturally dairy-free.
Low carb, keto and cheese
Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of “low carb recipes” out there, at least on the Internet (I’ve never purchased a low carb cookbook), are absolutely dominated by cheese? I suspect that, in a few years’ time, all of that cheese in low carb and keto diets will be found to be unhealthy.
Now, I’m not a nutritionist and have never ever been willing to tell anyone how to eat (well, except for my children but even that only goes so far). I rarely provide nutritional information (although I’ve provided it here as an estimate only), and refuse to judge anyone’s personal choices—or allow anyone else on my website or social media channels to do so either.
The world did not need another recipe for the usual cheese-based cauliflower pizza. The Internet is lousy with them, and most of them work beautifully. But my oldest (although she adores cheese) can no longer eat cheese, and I just don’t want to give my family that much of it regularly anyway.
We’ve been relatively pleased with Daiya shredded dairy-free cheese, and I recently just ordered some new Vegan cheese made in Greece that I’m pretty excited to try. But we use that all sparingly. And I’ve tried making the “regular” cauli crust with the cheese replacements, and it’s been awful.
One of my favorite things to eat is my zucchini pizza which I love to make in the summertime when my garden is bursting with the stuff. And when all of my family used to tolerate cheese, I made a more “traditional” cheese-based cauliflower pizza quite frequently.
They were both a great way to get some extra vegetables into my oldest child, who loves both of those recipes despite her general hatred of all recipes. She’s good, she’ll eat some vegetables every day, but not because she usually enjoys them.
But I had been testing both the zucchini and the cauliflower pizza recipes literally for years without cheese with absolutely no success. Generally, cauliflower pizza calls for ricing lightly cooked cauliflower, wringing it dry of moisture and then combining it with eggs and cheese before baking. The texture is great, as long as there’s real cheese in there.
The winning dairy-free method
If you want a flavorful cheese-free low carb pizza base, cauliflower is still a great place to start. But if you only rice the cauliflower, without cheese the texture is just so, so wrong. I’ve choked down those experiments, but I would never even serve them to my family much less recommend them to you!
Finally, the answer was obvious: puree the riced and dried cauliflower along with some eggs, some really flavorful powdered vegetable bouillon that has a nutritional yeast base (I got that idea from my recipe for low carb cauliflower tortillas), and some tapioca starch to serve as both a binder and add some flexibility so the pizza bends (!).
When you spread this simple mixture into a round, and bake it in a really hot oven, it makes such a lovely low carb pizza base with tons of flavor and the perfect crisp-tender texture. You can top it with a simple tomato sauce and some vegan cheese, leave it plain or top it with whatever you like. Once you’ve par-baked it, you can even refrigerate or freeze the base for later use.
Weight Watchers and Carb Counts
I don’t really love the idea of counting WW points or carbs, and am certainly not encouraging anyone who isn’t already doing that to do so. But if you call something “low carb” and say it’s Weight Watchers-friendly, you’d better have the goods!
If you’re following Weight Watchers, this recipe, as written, only has 5 SmartPoints in the entire pizza (without toppings). One-quarter cup of Daiya mozzarella shreds and as much simple oil-free tomato sauce as you like only adds another 3 SmartPoints, too.
The carb count is only 42.9 net carbs for the whole without any toppings (5.4 net carbs for one of 8 slices, according to Cronometer). I really don’t like online nutritional information, as it’s so imprecise. But there it is, for what it’s worth (the label that I generated through Cronometer is in the recipe card below).
Ingredients and substitutions
This is a 4-ingredient recipe, so each ingredient is essential to its success. Making substitutions is going to be difficult, but here are my best-educated guesses. Unless specifically stated otherwise, I have not tried these substitutions.
Egg-free: Diving right into the hardest one, there are 2 eggs in this recipe and theoretically you should be able to replace them with a “chia egg” for each (1 chia egg = 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). But I’m really just not sure here! If you’ve ever been tempted to try a “boiled flax egg” this would be the time to go for it!
Tapioca starch: Tapioca starch/flour (starch and flour are the same thing here!) is always a tricky one to replace as it’s unique in its stretchy properties. You could try replacing it with arrowroot and see how it goes? If you decide to try, please let everyone know!
Vegetable bouillon powder: I adore my homemade vegetable bouillon powder. I almost always have a batch or two in a mason jar in my refrigerator. It’s so easy to throw a bunch of it into boiling water and create instant soup (or homemade “instant” noodle soup) at home or even for an office lunch. It’s absolutely packed with flavor from all the amazing spices in just the right balance.
There are store-bought vegetable bouillon powders, and if you have one you really like, it should work here. A better substitute, though, and one that I know works (but produces a much blander low carb pizza base), is simply 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast flakes + 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
Cauliflower: The only possible substitute I can imagine is shredded zucchini. You might be able to grate an equal amount of raw zucchini, and then wring that dry and use it in place of the riced, cooked and dried cauliflower. But absolutely no promises here. Unless you’re actually allergic to cauliflower, just use cauliflower!
Watch this 1-minute video first
Push play on the video below and watch me make this pizza base. Then make your own! It might be the easiest thing you do all day!
These low carb tortillas are made with a blend of almond flour and coconut flour, and the dough is amazingly easy to handle. With less than 2 net carbs per tortilla, they’re going to be your new favorite gluten free tortilla!
Almond flour tortillas
Almond flour is kind of a magic baking ingredient. It’s not cheap, though, so it’s nice if you can extend both its reach and its versatility by combining it with another flour.
Tapioca starch as it’s one of the most versatile gluten free baking ingredients of all. But it’s, well, a starch (even though it’s sometimes referred to as tapioca flour). It’s a really stretchy, useful starch, but it’s not really packed with health benefits.
For these low carb tortillas, I chose to pair coconut flour with almond flour. It’s not only less expensive, it’s also very low carb and high in fiber. I really do love baking with almond flour, as it’s high in good fats and low in carbs, but I only like baking with coconut flour.
Coconut flour tends to require the addition of many, many eggs as it absorbs so much moisture. There is a tipping point, though, where whatever you’re baking can just taste like an omelet if you’re not careful. Instead, I’ve been experimenting with replacing some of that moisture with, well, water.
Shaping these tortillas
Before you begin working with this dough, please read through all of the instructions in the recipe card below. The instructions are pretty specific, but that’s only to help you understand what to expect.
If you mess up and find that the dough is just too wet to roll out properly, add more coconut flour by the pinch (literally—1/8 teaspoon) and knead it into the dough, then try again. Generally, it’s easier to add moisture than to take it away, so go slowly when adding water to the food processor.
I’m putting the finishing touches on a how-to video I’ve created, but rest assured that this dough is actually very durable and therefore easy to handle. You’ll be amazed by how thin you can roll the dough and still move it from the rolling surface to a hot griddle.
Fun extra “equipment”
If you’re curious about the “equipment” that I used, above you’ll find the Presto 15″ Tilt-n-Fold Griddle (that’s an affiliate link, but please feel free to shop around). I absolutely love this griddle for its size and the shape and use it for everything I can these days. It’s so easy to store, heats very evenly and was really reasonably priced.
The 6-inch cake cutter (affiliate link) that I used (scroll up for that photo) to get neat edges on the tortillas is a very useful little trinket to have in the kitchen, but it’s totally not necessary at all. The lid of a pot works great for the same purpose, or rough edges left intact are of course perfectly fine!
By the way, I’ve become less and less interested in what’s exactly Paleo and what’s not. The definition of Paleo really seems to be such a moving target (now you can have dairy on a Paleo diet? come on!). Plus, dogmatic adherence to what really are arbitrary rules (as opposed to a gluten free diet, which has established medical benefits for those who need it) tends to annoy me.
Ingredients and substitutions
Almond flour: This recipe calls for finely ground blanched almond flour, which is really the only sort of almond flour I use for baking. You can’t use almond meal, which is a much more coarse grind and is made using almonds that still have their skins.
If you’d like to replace the almond flour entirely, you should be able to use finely ground cashew flour without any issue. To make this recipe nut-free, you can try sunflower seed flour, but the tortillas may turn green. The chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds reacts with baking powder, leading to a green color, but it’s harmless. Maybe perfect for St. Patrick’s Day?!
Coconut flour: Generally, there is absolutely no substitute for coconut flour on a 1:1 basis. It’s entirely unique, filled with fiber and absorbs a ton of moisture.
But I tested this recipe with 6 tablespoons (48 g) of tapioca starch/flour in place of the coconut flour, and it still worked! The dough isn’t quite as resilient when handling, and the tortillas tend not to bend as well. I found that they were better the next day when stored in a sealed plastic zip-top bag along with a moistened paper towel. They will definitely have more carbs, though!
Xanthan gum: You really really need the xanthan gum in this recipe. Without it, though dough is very crumbly and you just won’t be able to roll it out and have it hold together long enough to even get it on the griddle.
Guar gum should work in its place if you prefer that. I do have a recipe for Paleo tortillas made without xanthan gum (that isn’t nearly as low carb) that you might prefer if xanthan gum is a problem.
Egg-free: I haven’t tested this recipe with an egg substitute, but my favorite “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) should work since it’s only one egg in the recipe.
Baking powder: Baking powder is a mix of starch, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Conventional baking powders are typically made using cornstarch, which is not appropriate for a Paleo diet.
If you’d like to make these low carb tortillas Paleo-friendly, just use a Paleo baking powder, made with a starch like tapioca or arrowroot.
Baking these super easy gluten free sugar cookies in a low oven keeps the cookies pale and tender, without crisping the edges much at all. The result is perfect chewy sugar cookies, decorated or plain.
Cookies: to drop or to roll?
Whenever a reader who is new to baking, in general, asks where they should begin, I always suggest drop cookies. There’s nothing like rolling out dough and cutting it into shapes like you can with cutout sugar cookies, especially since they’re so easy to make festive for Easter or Christmas.
But these chewy sugar cookies are so easy to throw together and shouldn’t make anyone who finds rolling out dough to be difficult or intimidating. I mean, I would love the chance to demystify rolling out pie crust and cutout cookies, but if you want to bake, I want to make you feel comfortable.
Dress them up
And even though these are simple chewy sugar cookies that require no rolling or special equipment at all (not even a cookie cutter!), they can still be decorated for any holiday. Christmas is easiest since a “tree” shape is simple with mini candies.
Mini candy decoration would work for a red Valentine heart, too. The really deep colors (like red and brown) do bleed a bit more during baking.
But if you wanted to decorate them for Easter, let’s say, you could still do it! Just place a miniature Easter cookie cutter on top of the raw shaped dough and make a small indentation in the dough. Then, crush any hard candy and place the pieces in the mini cutter and carefully remove the cutter. When the dough bakes, the candy pieces will melt into the shape.
I really like to bake these chewy little numbers in a very, very low oven (300°F) because that way they stay very pale in color. You could increase the baking temp to 325°F and bake them for a few minutes less, and they’ll brown a bit more and have crisp edges.
Whatever you do, give them the proper amount of space to spread during baking. They’ll nearly double in size in the oven—unless you make them entirely dairy-free in the way I recommend below.
Watch this short chewy sugar cookies video (45 seconds)
Click play and watch me make them, then make a batch yourself!
Ingredients and substitutions
I’ve tested some substitutions, but not others. Where appropriate, these are just my best-educated guesses!
Dairy-free: I have successfully made this recipe dairy-free! In place of the butter, I used Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening gram for gram (so rather than 6 tablespoons of butter and 2 of shortening, I used 108 grams total shortening, melted and cooled).
Since shortening has very little moisture and butter has a fair amount, I added 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water to the cookie dough. The cookies didn’t spread quite as much as the ones made with butter, but the chewy texture was spot-on.
Egg-free: Since there’s only one egg in this recipe, a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) should work.
Sugar: I do not recommend using a liquid sweetener like honey or maple syrup in place of refined granulated sugar. It just won’t work. Coconut palm sugar is also not a great idea since it doesn’t dissolve completely even when baked.
If you’d like to make these entirely sugar-free, I recommend trying Truvia granulated sugar substitute. I do find that Truvia absorbs a lot of moisture, so I recommend adding some water until the cookie dough is the proper consistency (watch the video!). I’m afraid you’ll just have to experiment.
These almond flour muffins are just like the generous muffins you see in a bakery, but way lower carb and only lightly sweet. Make them with chocolate chips, whatever mix-in you like, or nothing at all!
My kids really, really love it when I bake with almond flour. They don’t know Paleo from Schmaleo. They just know what they like. And these almond flour muffins are a true favorite.
They like that these muffins are sweet, tender and filling. I like that they’re lightly sweet, packed with lots of healthy fats and low in simple carbs. I consider these a true breakfast food, and they also double as a great after-school snack.
Baking with almond flour
Almond flour mixed with tapioca starch/flour is my current favorite mixture for baking things like our recent almond flour cookies. Almond flour is already pretty versatile in baking, and adding tapioca lightens the fat which leads to more even baking and a lighter overall muffin or cookie.
These almond flour muffins are, in fact, compliant with the Paleo diet, but I find myself less and less concerned with labels like that. I’ve tried eating every which way (low carb, Mediterranean, Paleo, sugar-free grain-free, you name it), and I mostly feel best when I eat mostly plants, some protein and healthy fats.
I also eat plenty of beans, but if I were “Paleo” that wouldn’t be “legal.” Seriously, I just can’t be bothered with that sort of thing.
What to expect
The batter is relatively loose, and the muffins rise quite a bit and rather quickly. There’s not a lot of chemical leavener in these muffins, but there are 3 eggs in just 12 muffins and that helps a lot.
If you ask my children, all those eggs mean that it’s practically like eating scrambled eggs for breakfast. They know that I am all about brain food like eggs for breakfast. But they don’t need to campaign for these. I already feel quite good about them.
You can leave out the chocolate chips, or swap them for another mix-in, like chopped nuts or dried fruit. Just be careful not to mix in anything with too much moisture as that will change the entire balance.
Watch this < 1-minute how-to video of me making almond flour muffins
Just push play to watch, and then you try it yourself!
Ingredients and substitutions
Since these muffins are already compliant with the Paleo diet, they’re gluten free, grain free and dairy-free. Here are a few words about the other possible ingredients you might like to substitute in this recipe. Please keep in mind that these are my educated guesses, but I haven’t tried these substitutions so you’ll have to experiment!
Egg-free: Since this recipe has 3 whole eggs, it’s more difficult to replace them with a substitute. Generally, my go-to egg substitute is a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel), but I’m not really sure it would work in this recipe. I do not recommend Ener-G egg replacer.
Virgin coconut oil: If you’d like to replace the virgin coconut oil, I recommend nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. I do not recommend Earth Balance buttery sticks in this recipe, as they have way more moisture.
Applesauce: These muffins do not taste at all like applesauce, as it’s a relatively neutral flavor in baking. If you can’t have it, you can try replacing it with mashed bananas but the end result will taste like bananas.
Almond flour: You need finely ground blanched almond flour for this recipe. You cannot use almond meal, which is more coarsely ground and made with almonds that have their skins intact.
If you can’t have almonds, you can try cashew flour. It should work great. To avoid nuts and nut flours entirely, but still go grain-free, I recommend trying my Paleo Blueberry Muffins, as they’re made entirely with coconut flour.
Tapioca starch/flour: Generally, tapioca starch has no proper substitute as it’s unique in its behavior in baking (in all the best ways). But I have a sneaking suspicion (read: I have not tried this!) that arrowroot might work in its place here.
Maple syrup: Maple syrup is considerably thinner and less viscous than honey, so I don’t recommend using honey in its place here. But I bet agave syrup would work just fine.