Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

I read somewhere that gluten-free baking wasn't just a science, but an art. I couldn't agree more. If you've ever tried your hand at gluten-free baking, you've experienced some major flops or disasters in the kitchen. I've sure had my fair share.

However, I finally got a winner. These vegan and gluten-free Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies are amazing...slightly crispy on the outside, with a chewy center. They are only for serious chocolate lovers, as the flavor is strong, due to the blackstrap molasses enhancing the cocoa. These cookies will suit a lot of people, as they are vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, oil-free and a nut-free option.

Gluten-free baking is tricky. There are multiple flours out there to choose from, yet they all yield different textures and results. They all require different amounts and different liquid to flour ratios, and have very different end results. A lot of recipes use eggs in gluten-free baking to make up for the lack of structure and "glue" needed for lightness and to hold the product together.

These cookies took a couple of trials, but the end result even shocked me. These are slightly crispy on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside, and absolutely delicious!

I got the inspiration for this blackstrap molasses and cocoa flavor combo from Laura over at Cooktolove. Update: She no longer has this blog unfortunately. She posted a chocolate cake mug recipe that is made in about a minute in the microwave. Great for a quick chocolate rush. It was so delicious and had a wonderful deep chocolate flavor from the molasses.

I wanted to implement that deep chocolate and molasses flavor into cookies. My recipe is completely different, but I would have never thought to add the molasses to chocolate. It gives a beautiful intensity, without it tasting like molasses. What you get is a richly, chocolatey cookie with a beautiful texture.

BUT, to really make these roll-your-eyes-in-the-back of-your-head-good, make them into Dark Chocolate Molasses Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches!!  It took them from delish to mind-blowingly delish! I just used extra peanut butter, from making the cookies, and spread some in between 2 cookies. So dang delicious. I'd recommend a chunky peanut butter though, because the creamy one I used squished out too easily.

If you make these Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies, I'd love to hear your feedback! Leave me a comment below in the comments telling me how quickly you ate them, haha! You can also snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @thevegan8 and make sure to use hashtag #thevegan8 so I don't miss the notification!

Note: This recipe is one I wrote from my old blog, so it is 10 ingredients instead of 8, but is still ridiculously easy and fast to whip up! Enjoy!

I have a ton of Vegan Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies on the blog, check these out!

Yields 1

Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies

These cookies are wonderfully chewy with a rich chocolate flavor that is beautifully enhanced by rich molasses. These are strong in flavor and not for the faint of heart. Only serious chocolate lovers here!

15 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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5 based on 1 review(s)

Ingredients

  • 1 packed cup blanched almond flour (for a nut-free option, see note below)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 tsp creamy peanut butter or almond butter (sunbutter for nut-free)
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips
  • Note
  • To make this recipe nut-free, you can use raw, unsalted sunflower kernels and grind them up in a food processor into a fine flour and use that in place of almond flour. For this option, increase the flour amount to 1 1/4 cups sunflower "flour", as it tends to be lighter in baking. Use sunbutter in place of the nut butter.

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees and line a dark metal sheet pan with parchment paper. I have found that dark metal pans bake cookies much crispier on their bottoms, versus aluminum pans, where the bottoms don't seem to cook as well.
  2. In a small bowl, add the syrup and whisk in the flaxseed well and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour (or sunflower), tapioca, baking powder, cocoa and salt together and whisk well. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Next, stir in the molasses, peanut butter and vanilla into the reserved flaxseed mixture and mix well. Pour over the flour mixture and stir for a couple of minutes until it all comes together and thickens up. It should be sticky and fairly thick. If it is on the runny side, add a touch more almond flour.
  5. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the prepared sheet pan and slightly smooth/spread out the batter with the back of the spoon to about 2 inches wide, about 1/4 inch tall. This will ensure even baking. Make sure to space each cookie 1-2 inches apart from each other, as they will spread a lot when baking. They will be large and beautiful! Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cracked on top and slightly firm. I took mine out at around 9 minutes. They will crisp up while cooling. If you prefer them a bit crispier, cook for another minute or two. Cool 10 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  6. To make them as sandwiches, simply spread chilled peanut butter or almond butter (sunbutter for nut-free) in between 2 cookies. Keep them stored in the fridge to hold the sandwich shape best!
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67 Comments

  1. Those are beautiful cookies, I love using molasses in various baked goods, they add moisture and intensity of flavor. These will be perfect in the box of cookies I want to give to my vegan friend. You should be proud, they look amazing.
    • Thank you so much! You're so sweet. I was so surprised at how delicious they turned out! They tasted like they had butter in them...the almond flour and molasses really gives them amazing flavor! I will be using molasses more often :)
  2. I can only think that you enjoy torturing me my friend these cookies look incredible :) Cheers Choc Chip Uru
  3. Great job and photos :) They are similar to the recipe I make with the molasses, but different with the flour etc. I will have to make these...... Thanks for sharing :)
    • Thanks Thom!! :) I loved Laura's chocolate/molasses cake so much, I knew I had to make cookies with those flavors and I also wanted them gluten free which wasn't easy, took a few trials but the end result was worth it :) Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
  4. They look super delicious Brandi!! Yum!!
  5. Brandi, these look very delicious! I love the peanut butter and molasses. Sound great together! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    • Thanks Judy! They were wonderful. The peanut butter and molasses made them moist without detecting the peanut butter taste! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!!
  6. Brandi, I love chocolate and molasses. I can't wait to give this a try! You have a beautiful blog.
  7. I believe you!! These look GREAT!! I love the texture on top and the color screams CHOCOLATE goodness!! Vegan friendly..count me in!!
  8. These look sooooo delicious, I'm salivating, and I'd love to be able to make them for my kids but one of them is super sensitive to so many things and it would be a real tease to him if I were to make them the rest of us. I can't even see a way that I can adapt them for him :( Ooh, maybe I'll make a batch when he's staying at his father's over Christmas
    • Thank you so much for visiting! I appreciate it :) I'm so sorry to hear your son is super sensitive. These are vegan and gluten free...is he sensitive to almonds?
      • He can't have almonds, chocolate, peanuts or molasses unfortunately. I could substitute the chocolate for carob and peanut butter for cashew spread but the almonds, flaxseed and molasses have me a little stumped
    • Aww poor little guy! That's a lot of allergies...I've never heard of so many! I feel so bad for him. Yeah, I'm afraid swapping all that out would yield poor results. The molasses and almond flour is what gives the cookies their amazing texture and flavor and moisture! Bummer! I'll keep his allergies in mind on my next cookie creation :)
      • Thanks, that's so sweet. I don't get to bake many cookies or cakes because I'm always so busy making all our sauces from scratch and creating meals for the 5 of us...along with dealing with a 17 month old and being pregnant with number 4! Yes, there is something wrong with my brain, I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm not the worlds best baker and just can't bear the thought of spending so much time on something that is very likely to be a failure, lol. I look forward to your creations :)
    • Maybe this cookie recipe may work? I don't use almonds, chocolate, molasses, peanut butter, or flaxseed. http://thehealthyflavor.com/2012/09/04/autumn-maple-spice-cookies/
    • Omg! You have your hands full! You are so funny! I don't blame you at all...I can barely and handle one baby! :)
  9. These turned out perfectly! I love that they're gluten-free, all your hard work and experimentation paid off! xx
  10. Wow, I want some
  11. They look amazing!!
  12. Brandi, these look delicious! Thanks for the idea of combining molasses and chocolate. Do you think I could make my own tapioca flour in my food processor? I tried once with millet and it never reached a flour-like consistency.
    • Thank you so much!! They compliment each other incredibly, I was so surprised! Hmm, I'm not sure if it would get smooth enough which it definitely needs for this recipe, depends on the power of your processor. The tapioca flour is important for the rise and browning and texture in these specific cookies. You can certainly try though and see if you are able to get a really fine powder. My processor works great on some nuts and oats but not everything. The good news though is tapioca flour (not starch) is pretty cheap...much cheaper than other flours. Let me know! :)
  13. I absolutely love the description of these. Texture can make or break a cookie (literally! ;)). I can't wait to try these! And I love cacao nibs! : )
    • Thank you Raechel! The texture is wonderful on these! I hope you enjoy them! :)
  14. Wow they look fabulous! I really want to get more into vegan baking so I am planning to start stocking my cupboards with more vegan/GF items asap! Started with some coconut oil yesterday, so excited :) I made these fig newtons from My New Roots over Thanksgiving with my almost vegan cousin and they were soooooo good. What would you recommend as basic baking staples if I wanted to start baking vegan? I already use flax, chia seeds and almond milk a lot, but like you said, there's so many different kinds of flours and thickeners and stuff, I don't even really know where to start!
    • Hey Erika! Thank you so much!! Vegan is one thing, but gluten free is a whole other world, lol! It takes a lot of trial and error and time. For vegan baking, I like to use spelt flour, almond flour, coconut flour, rice flours etc. I have about 10 different flours. I would recommend getting comfortable with vegan baking first before gluten free because combining the two can be a little overwhelming since you don't use eggs or any glutens. Gluten free flours all yield such dramatically different results and in different amounts. Check out the recipe I just posted today...notice the flours I use for the shortbread. Id definitely get almond flour. Also, I like to use coconut milk (from the carton, not can) because it has less of a taste so it is great for universal baking. I also use maple syrup or coconut sugar as sweetners because regular white sugar and honey are not vegan. I'm actually gearing towards all liquid sweetner because they are healthier. I also use pumpkin or baby food or veggie and fruit purees in place of eggs and for moisture and to cut down on oils. Check out these... http://thehealthyflavor.com/2012/08/20/chocolate-chip-covered-cherry-muffins/ I use dark cherries for moisture and "eggs" in my chocolate muffins and they are so moist and my non-vegan friend LOVED them! Please let me know of any questions...I'm more than happy to help :)
      • Wow, thank you so much!! Actually, I suppose I'm not as interested in GF as I am in vegan (at least at the moment :)). Those muffins sound SO good. One last question: do you ever use agave when baking? I tried subbing it for sugar in a recipe once and the ratio I used must have been totally off because they were NOT good. And then I started reading about how it's actually worse/equivalent to sugar because it has a lot of concentrated fructose and immediately turns into fat in your body. But I never know what to believe these days!
    • Did you increase the dry ingredients some to make up for the extra liquid of agave in the recipe? Maybe that's why they didn't turn out, or what happened, were they too sweet or not sweet enough? I actually don't use agave very much, except in my granola recipes where a sticky sweetner is needed. I prefer maple syrup and use it ALL the time. Agave is much sweeter to me so I usually just use small amounts and stick with maple syrup or coconut or Turbinado sugars. I've heard conflicting hings too about agave but who knows...everyday somebody says something new about a product, lol! I think if your just using it here and there anyways, no harm :)
      • Hmm they definitely just weren't sweet enough, but I probably just didn't use the right ratio of agave. But anyway, thanks! You helped me decide to invest in some spelt flour and make my own almond flour/meal for my next forays into vegan baking. We'll see how it goes :) Thank you so much for all the tips!!!
  15. Oooh Brandi! What a beautiful combination of great fine flavours! I love the added cacao nibs here, for extra crunch! :) Yummmm!
    • Thank you Sophie! Yes, the crunch is awesome..they turned out fabulous!!
  16. Gluten free baking has been my nemesis until recently. I love that you've figured out how to make it work for you! Question for you, my bag of tapioca starch says "flour" on it as well. It comes from Bob's Red Mill. I thought they were the same thing? Awesome job on the cookies! So yummy!
    • Thank you Somer! Yes, I've built up quite a collection of gluten free recipes now...I'm creating a page dedicated to gluten free recipes since I have so many now. It's been quite fun...and frustrating lol, in the kitchen experimenting with all of these different flours, but learning what each one can do truly is making me a better baker than I imagined. I have at least 10 different flours in my fridge, lol, but they all really do make a tremendous contribution to a quality baked good, when combining them effectively. Oh, and I'm so glad you mentioned that! I wasn't thinking when I typed that...I was thinking of potato starch/flour which in that case they are definitely different. I just fixed it!
      • Oh good! I thought I was doing something wrong with the flours ;) I don't have any issues at all with gluten, but so many of my friends do. Its really nice to be able to bake them treats that don't come out terribly like my first vegan and gluten free attempts. I've had bitter, crumbly, oily... you name it. It's tough!
  17. [...] Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies (Gluten-Free) (thehealthyflavor.com) [...]
  18. I just made these. I am not a vegan, but was looking for a cookie recipe with most of these ingredients. The only changes I made were using a whole scraped vanilla bean instead of the extract, and using an egg instead of the flax meal. I also used about two tablespoons of honey in with my maple syrup because I was just short on the maple syrup. Because I used that egg, the dough came out more like a batter. I greased my muffin tin, poured in the batter, and baked at the same temp in the recipe. They took maybe 12 minutes or so, and I got 12 perfect, chocolately, chewy little brownies. These are delicious!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wow Michelle! Thank you so much for the awesome feedback! I'm so happy to hear they work as brownies too, that is awesome. Thanks so very much for taking the time to let me know. Sounds deeelish!!
  19. A molasses lover's dream!!! These were amazing! We ran out of flax seed the other day, so I used chia seeds instead (I ground some and left the rest whole) - they were delicious! Toddler-approved, too! :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Mandy for the wonderful feedback! I'm so glad you both loved them so much!!
  20. These sound delightful! I'm super excited to try them, but I'm wondering if anyone has tried to make a non-GF version and what they used? While I'm not gluten free, I'd still make them to recipe except that I used up the last of any of my GF flours last week and I won't be getting more yet. But the cookies sound so amazing I really want to try them and have a huge bag of all purpose flour >_<.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Christina! Actually, I wouldn't recommend using all purpose flour, it performs completely different than the almond flour and tapioca flour, which would result in a much drier and different cookie. The almond flour and tapioca is what gives the cookies their amazing, chewy texture. SO, I would just wait until you get more almond and tapioca flour, so you can enjoy the cookies to their fullest! :) Let me know when you make them!
  21. Don't think, just make these! I was in a "stress-baking" mood last week and decided to throw these together. My nature is to complicate all recipes but yours start out so uncomplicated and it's just perfect for me! I tried my best to follow the recipe to the letter but I'm one of those people who just can't not add my own spin ;) I ran out of maple syrup so I used half maple + half amber agave. Added a heaping teaspoon of instant espresso powder to help bring out that chocolate-y deliciousness. Threw in a teeny splash of almond extract. My chocolate chips of choice were Trader Joe's semisweet chips. After forming and slightly flattening the cookies I sprinkled them with coarse sea salt and chilled them in the fridge for an hour. Then baked for exactly 9 minutes and they are still just perfect even a week later! My dad finished off the remaining two last night. I love how chewy they are with that yummy molasses flavor in the background. They received rave reviews from my mom's gluten free coworker, two of the gals at my job (skeptical of vegan foods), and my dad. I loved them! Will definitely make these again and again.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      You are SO awesome, thanks so much for the amazing feedback on the cookies!! I'm super thrilled everybody loved them so much!! Adding sea salt sounds SO good!!! YUM! :)
  22. These cookies were tasty, but I cooked them 10 minutes and they didn't firm up much. Guess my batter was too wet and should've either cooked longer or added more almond flour. If you have a weight measurement, that might help me...I tend to have a light hand with flours. My omnivore family still ate them up! :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Marlene! Thank you so much for making them! The weight measurement can slightly vary due to the almond flour brand but you want between 112 to 120g. Everybody else has had success in them baking up well, so it may be like you said, in the weigh your measuring..I always measure by scooping out the flour with the cup and lightly pat it down and then level off with my finger...or the weight measurement should give you great results
  23. Can you suggest an alternative to sunflower seeds? (My family can't eat almonds or sunflower seeds.)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I've only tried these with sunflower seeds and almonds. You can try walnuts ground up into a "flour" and then measure, make sure to pat it down and then level off. I haven't tried walnuts yet though, so it's hard to give you a sure answer since I've only tested it with those nuts and seeds. I think walnut "flour" should work.
  24. Any sub for the tapioca flour? I have potato starch and I have arrowroot powder, but don't have tapioca. And not sure I can find any here in Russia...
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Koko, I have not tested these with another starch, so I'm not sure of the results. The tapioca helps them stay moist, bind and rise. But out of all the starches, I would suggest arrowroot since it has binding qualities. It may make the cookies a tad drier I think, but should still be ok. Let me know how they turn out!
  25. […] Dark Chocolate Molasses Cookies […]
  26. I just spent quite a bit of time looking through all your cookie recipes, and now i have another huge list i need to try!! These are at the top of the list! I've recently been loving using molasses in cookies...so good can't believe I just started using it!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha, yes these are some of the best, super chewy and super chocolatey! I LOVE molasses and have used it in so many recipes!
  27. These cookies are the best!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Kathy! I'm so happy you loved them and I love your pic of them on Instagram!
  28. It's been ages since I saved this recipe and only today I organized myself to bake the cookies. They are so sooooooo delicious!!! The crust is amazing and they still keep an irresistible soft core. I love molasses, and they turned out extra-crunchy because I used cacao nibs for the chocolate chips. Thanks Brandi!!! :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So so happy to hear how much you loved these Barbara! Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback!
  29. Thank you so much for this! I am allergic to nuts, G-Free and now I have a dairy allergy. I am so excited to have a treat! I will be baking these up today.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh wow, these are perfect for you then! Yay! Let me know how they turn out! :)
  30. I saw these on your FB page today and knew I had to try them asap! My 4 year old "helped" me make them. I could hardly wait for them to cool so I could try one. Wow! They are incredible! These sre going to be a real treat for our gluten avoiding family. Thank you!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      That is so awesome to hear Melinda! So happy they are a hit! So cute too, my daughter is 4 and she always helps me in the kitchen, too, haha! Thank you for the feedback, love hearing it :)
  31. i just made up a batch of these and they are SO GOOD!! Definitely going to double it next time and add it to my permanent collection :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So awesome to hear that Jenna, thank you!!

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