This vegan gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough, made with toasted macadamia nuts, oat flour, and cashews, is an easy dessert that will satisfy any cookie dough craving without the risks normally associated with eating raw dough.
You may have a hard time convincing folks this gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free chocolate chip cookie dough isn’t full of all the usual ingredients. So maybe you stop trying. More for you.–Renee Schettler Rossi
*HOW TO SOAK CASHEWS
First, let’s discuss why you’d want to soak cashews. It simply allows them to soften and be easily blendable into a creamy consistency even if you don’t have a pricey high-powered blender.
There’s a couple ways to easily accomplish this. If you’re in a hurry, simply toss the cashews in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to boil until softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the cashews before using in the recipe. If you’ve got time aplenty, toss the cashews in a bowl, cover with room temperature water, and let soak until softened, 6 to 8 hours. Drain and rinse the cashews before using in the recipe.
Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- 1 cup raw macadamia nuts (or substitute walnuts or pecans)
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) dairy-free butter (or regular butter if not keeping vegan)
- 2 cups cashews soaked* (see *NOTE above)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup oat flour (or blitz rolled oats in a food processor until finely ground)
- 1/2 cup white or dark chocolate chips or chunks
- Waffle cones gluten-free if desired, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Spread the macadamia nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and slide in the oven until they’re aromatic and beginning to turn golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and immediately transfer to a plate. Let cool.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, tilting the pan to swirl the butter often, until it starts to turn golden brown, 5 to 9 minutes. Once it reaches a certain temperature it will darken quickly, so be sure to watch it—you don’t want it to burn. The boiling butter will sound like a water faucet running, and it’ll smell rich like caramel.
- Immediately remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the butter into a dish. Let it cool completely.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the drained soaked cashews with the cooled brown butter and pulse until a smooth paste is formed, anywhere from 2 to 8 minutes.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the cashew butter paste with the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined. Add the flour and continue to mix until incorporated.
- Fold in the toasted macadamias and the chocolate chips. Transfer the mixture to a container and refrigerate until chilled through or freeze for up to a few months.
☞TESTER TIP: It may be tempting to dive into this dough before refrigerating it, but we encourage you to summon all the patience you have and let it rest for a couple hours in the fridge. The flavor and texture will be infinitely better after chilling.
- Grab a spoon or, if you desire, scoop it into ice cream cones and devour.
Personalize Your Cookie DoughMake this cookie dough your own by adding some of your favorite mix-ins, whether toasted pecans, toasted walnuts, toasted sliced almonds, chocolate chips, sprinkles, 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder, 1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder, or shredded coconut.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’m not usually in the habit of making cookie dough for a treat unless I’m in the process of making cookies, in which case a little taste now and then is necessary. Admittedly, I was a little skeptical that the end result would taste much like actual chocolate chip cookie dough, but the recipe proved me wrong. Really delicious with a similar flavor to the dough in a chocolate chip cookie recipe with a texture to match and surprisingly little cashew flavor. The macadamia nuts are a terrific counterpoint and cut through the very sweet flavor nicely.
As the macadamia nuts were baking in the oven, I softened the cashews by covering them with water, bringing it to a boil, and then turning off the stove and covering the pot. The macadamia nuts were golden in about 12 minutes and the cashews were soft in 15 minutes.
I cut some butter into pieces and melted it over medium heat for about 5 minutes which was just enough time to turn it a deep golden brown without burning and then transferred the contents to a bowl to cool.
After approximately 20 minutes, I placed the cashews and melted butter in the food processor and processed it for approximately 2 minutes before transferring it to my stand mixer to complete the recipe.
I added cocoa powder to the dough for an optional add-in and used sea salt in the recipe.
The end product had the same consistency as chocolate chip cookie dough. It was slightly firm and capable of holding its shape without sagging in a cone, for example. After putting it in the refrigerator, the dough became harder and required some effort to spoon out.
Wow! This cookie dough is amazing! It comes together easily and is so tasty. You would never know it’s vegan and gluten free. It’s delicious by the spoonful or in an ice cream cone topped with coconut.
I saw this recipe and didn’t even realize it was a vegan recipe. I just happened to have all the ingredients and I do like a good edible cookie dough. I honestly couldn’t wait to try it because I was craving some white chocolate macadamia cookies. I never soaked cashews before so I wasn’t sure how long to soak them. I ended up soaking mine for about 4 hours. They blended up super easy.
I used regular butter so mine is technically not vegan.
I tried some as soon as everything was mixed together and it tasted good. I covered and refrigerated it and that seemed to make a big difference in taste and texture. I feel like it matured as it sat and got better. I personally liked it cold rather than room temperature.
The only con to this recipe is it’s a rich, heavy cookie dough. I find it hard to eat more than a spoonful of it. But the pro to that is it can be frozen and eaten at your leisure.
This is a great middle ground between cookies and ice cream that’s fun and really easy to make. I’ve messed around a lot with soaked and unsoaked cashews in recipes (particularly during a vegan period in my life) and always loved their versatility. They can do so much to create an unctuous base for a pie or “cheesecake” or a creamy texture in a curry. The cookie dough caught my attention as it’s something a little different and I love mixing things up!
I did try some of the suggested options and additions in the recipe as per the end notes. I added some toasted hazelnuts (1/2 cup) and cacao powder (1/4 cup) to create a sort of Nutella or gianduja flavor.
I blended the cashew and browned butter for a good 8 minutes, using my Vitamix and a tamper to keep it moving as it can sometimes get stuck to the sides and leave the blades spinning free. I checked the texture after 5 minutes and kept going a little longer to make it smoother.
I also blended my own oats into flour in the Vitamix, which was very easy and took 2 minutes. I opted for coconut sugar over cane just because I LOVE the flavor so much. I added the cacao powder as well, which went well with everything else, and I opted not to add the white chocolate chips (they’re usually too sweet for me).
Freshly mixed, the dough was very sticky and almost gooey in a slightly cloying manner. After chilling for a few hours it became pleasantly firm, and no longer sticky or cloying. It feels like a proper chilled cookie dough, and tastes like one too- though perhaps not as sweet as others I have tried- which I appreciate.
Overall, this cookie dough is lovely. It’s definitely more of a filling take on dessert, especially if you make one as pictured several “scoops” high and out of a cone. I would happily snack on this at a party or sneak some into a theater as a movie treat. Yum!
Originally published August 17, 2020