Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies with Buckwheat, Maple, and Oats {Vegan and Gluten-Free}

Spring seems to be the new winter here in California. Now that it’s April, we’re finally getting a bit of rain and “cold” weather. I couldn’t be happier about this fact.

I grew up during the drought of the late 80’s and came to associate flushing the toilet with feelings of severe guilt. So during a recent storm, I didn’t even mind getting completely drenched on a walk home from yoga. My hair got so wet I could wring it out, and I was even using an umbrella. I’ve never been so not-grumpy about wet socks in my life.

To me, rain means not only guilt-free toilet-flushing, but a great excuse to stay indoors listening to music, drinking tea, and baking cookies; preferably soft and chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, but any cookie will do so long as I get to stay in my jammies.

I got inspired to make these gluten-free and vegan treats from a few different sources. First, Dana “Minimalist Baker” Shultz’s beautiful gluten-free, vegan cookies packed with chocolate and peanut butter. Second, Heidi’s vegan peanut butter cookies, loaded with whole grain flour and sweetened with maple syrup. I decided to combine the two, trading the olive oil in Heidi’s recipe for coconut oil, using milder almond butter in place of the peanut, and keeping the flours gluten-free.

I whisked together almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla, then moved on to the dry ingredients. Since buckwheat goes so well in chocolate chip cookies, I decided to use it in conjunction with sweet rice flour, which is naturally sticky and adds chew to baked goods. And inspired by these oatmeal cookies from Flourishing Foodie, I added not one, but two kinds of oats: quick oats to absorb more moisture and keep the cookies thick, and old-fashioned rolled oats for hearty flecks and a bit of chew. I stirred in a ton of chopped chocolate, scooped the dough into balls which I topped with flakes of salt and more chocolate, and baked them into chewy pillows of cookie love.

Then I made them three more times because, hey, it was raining. Also, I keep giving them away to all the gluten-free and vegan people I know, which is a lot.

I never thought I’d be able to make a good cookie that was both gluten-free and vegan, so I’m thrilled with the results. The texture is indistinguishable from conventional cookies: thick, chewy, soft, and moist. Sweet rice flour and protein-rich almond butter help to take the place of gluten, and they also let the robust flavors of chocolate, buckwheat, and maple shine through. The oats give you something to sink your teeth into, and the occasional burst of flaky salt makes them utterly addictive.

I love the whiff of earth and spice that buckwheat flour adds to these cookies but if you don’t have any on hand, you can likely trade both flours for a gluten-free all-purpose blend, or wheat flour if gluten isn’t an issue. Do be sure to use oats that are certified gluten-free for those cookie-eaters who are severely gluten-intolerant, and seek out chocolate that is vegan. Bittersweet chocolate doesn’t usually contain dairy, but refined sugar can be processed with animal bone char which is a no-no for vegans.

And be sure to have a tall glass of something milk-like to wash down gooey, warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. Because that is one of life’s little pleasures…

right along with guilt-free toilet flushing.

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Me want gluten-free cookie:

Soft and Chewy GF Chocolate Chip Cookies {with brown butter and flaky salt}
GF Ginger Molasses Cookies
Flourless Chocolate Chip and Cacao Nib Peanut Butter Cookies

One year ago:

Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Einkorn Biscuits
Asparagus, Leek and Green Garlic Soup

Two years ago:

Tarragon Olive Oil Ice Cream

Three years ago:

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding
Beer Rye Sourdough

Four years ago:

Tangerine Poppyseed Brunch Cake
Nibby Matcha Wafers

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies with Maple, Buckwheat, and Flaky Salt {Vegan and Gluten-Free}

A few tips for cookie success:

These cookies are a bit sensitive to temperature; cold ingredients and a too hot oven can equal cookies that don’t spread, while warm ingredients and a cool oven can result in excess spreadage. For the best results, have your ingredients at room temperature (I usually store my maple syrup and almond butter in the fridge, so I pull them out and stick them on top of the warming oven for half an hour or so before mixing up the dough). I recommend using an oven thermometer since most ovens don’t run exactly true to temperature, and this can affect cookies more dramatically than other baked goods. Ideally the temperature here is 375ºF or a little cooler. I recommend baking off a test cookie or two to make sure they spread correctly; if you want more spread, flatten the scooped cookies a bit before baking and lower the oven temperature by 25 or 50 degrees. If they spread too much, chill the dough for fifteen minutes or so before scooping and turn the oven up by 25 degrees.

I do recommend making this recipe with the ingredients listed for the best results. I tried a simplified version using only buckwheat flour and old-fashioned rolled oats, but they weren’t as thick and chewy as this version. I tried using a darker chocolate (85% cacao mass) which I found too bitter and overpowering. But I wouldn’t want a sweeter chocolate here, nor would I want to decrease the maple syrup in the dough as it will make for less spready cookies. I find the sweetness here just right. I do think you could successfully substitute a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend for the buckwheat and sweet rice flours, however, or a gluten-full flour (AP, whole wheat, spelt, or rye – in this case, skip the step of beating the dough for 20 seconds). To measure the flours by volume, dip your dry measuring cup into the bag or jar, fluff up the flour a bit, and sweep the excess flour off with a knife or your finger, leaving it flush with the cup. Be sure to use oats that are certified gluten-free, and chocolate that is certified vegan, if those are concerns for you or your cookie-eating helpers.

All ounce measurements are by weight

Makes about thirty-two 2 1/2″ cookies

1/2 cup (2.75 ounces / 80 grams) sweet rice flour (mochiko)
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces / 70 grams) buckwheat flour
1/2 cup (1.75 ounces / 50 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats, plus an extra handful for the tops
1/2 cup (1.5 ounces / 40 grams) quick (baby) oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1/4 teaspoon if your almond butter is salted)
1 cup (8 ounces / 225 grams) smooth, unsalted almond butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8.5 ounces / 240 grams) maple syrup
6 tablespoons (2.5 ounces / 70 grams) melted but cool coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (8 ounces / 225 grams) coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (preferably 65-70% cacao mass), plus some extra chunks for the tops
flaky salt such as Maldon, for the tops (optional)

Position a rack in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Line two or three cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet rice and buckwheat flours with the old-fashioned and quick oats, baking soda, and sea salt.

In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined, then stir vigorously for 20 seconds. (This helps create a chewy texture.) Stir in the chocolate.

Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (either with two teaspoons or with a #40 spring-loaded ice cream scoop) and place at least 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets. If you like, top each cookie with a few flakes of flaky salt, a few oats, and a chocolate chunk or two.

Bake the cookies, rotating the pans from front to back and top to bottom after five minutes, until the cookies are puffed and slightly cracked on top, and set around the sides, 8-10 minutes. (They will seem underdone, soft, and fragile at first, but will firm up as they cool.) Let the cookies cool completely, then store airtight at room temperature. They will stay soft and chewy for up to 3 days.

74 thoughts on “Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies with Buckwheat, Maple, and Oats {Vegan and Gluten-Free}”

  1. These look sooooo good! I feel like my gluten-free baked goods always fall apart and these look as chewy and gooey as ever! Rainy day baking is the best, always.

    1. Thanks for the sweet note, Shelly! I'm so happy with how well these hold together, too, thanks to all that sticky almond butter and sweet rice flour. Hip hip for rainy day baking.

    1. Thanks, Cheri – what a sweet thing to say! I had so much fun developing and shooting these. Sometimes I wish I could *stop* thinking so much about recipes, i.e. during yoga class. ;)

  2. I'd never believe that these were vegan + gluten free just looking at them; they look like the most perfect chocolate chip cookie ever. Seriously can't wait to try them.

  3. How excited was I to wake up to your post Sunday morning! As soon as my vegan/GF husband woke up, I said, "LOOK at THESE!" My daughters were skeptical of the oats, but I just thought "more for me". We made them yesterday afternoon (and it was a lovely, almost Spring-like day here in NYC, but that didn't stop us). They are DELICIOUS! I'm always looking for a V/GF cookie that doesn't have all those weird thickeners in it. I had to improvise a little and subbed half the almond butter with sunflower seed butter to no ill effect. Also only had about 3 oz of 70% cacao chocolate around (I had also made the ganache for your vegan truffles that morning – yes, we have a problem), so we subbed some 72% cacao wafers and they turned out great! Both my girls LOVED them and never mentioned the oats :-). I was happy to use more of those after making your breakfast bars (which were also awesome). Love when ingredients overlap. Thank you, thank you! They are our new go-to cookie :-).

  4. Yes! RAIN. The lack of rain is the main real problem I have with living in CA, so last week was amazing! Cookies are definitely the perfect plan for a rainy say–especially after a big bowl of hearty soup and a big mug of tea. Love the almond butter!

    1. I totally feel the same way! Do you have secret desires to move to Portland, too? I hear we're in for a wet El Niño next year, thankfully. Mmm, hearty soup and tea! Please come back, rain.

      Thanks for the sweet note. :)

  5. Definitely chewy pillows of cookie love. I can't wait to try this and make for my growing list of gluten free friends.. Beautiful photos!

    1. That's the best description ever. Thanks! Yes, my list of GF friends (and family) keeps growing, too. And vegans! I'm relieved to finally have something to feed all of them.

  6. Alanna, I can't wait to make these! The texture looks so beautiful! I've got a box of Mochiko in the pantry and was just staring at it the other day, wondering what I'd do with it next…so, now I know! I'm with you…rainy days spent in jammies baking are pretty awesome!

    1. Do it! They're so stupid easy once you have the wacky ingredients. I use Mochiko all the time for GF baking – it's the best. Currently working on another post that uses it, too – a GF pie. :)

    1. Thank you, Sue! I have fun taking those action shots now that I know how to use my camera settings better. Yay! Ooh, I want to see your buckwheat chocolate chippers. I'll go stalk them on your lovely site. :)

  7. Whoa. What.

    These are SO my kind of cookie. Just… wow. Love these!

    I've been doing a lot of cookie baking with nut butters other than peanut butter lately. I don't know why I waited so long! They do such amazing things to the texture.

    And buckwheat?! I just bought a few kilos of that. Yeah! I'm all over this post. :D

    1. I don't need to see a button on the site but maybe it'd be good for the readers, just so they know you're over there (I say that because I know some people don't care about it – definitely not being snarky :)) And thank you! Following you now. :)

  8. I am squirming with compliments about this post Alanna. I pinned it two times before I even got to the freakin recipe and then I was falling over when I got to it. I love the way you roll. I love the multiple flours. I love the disclaimers about the various tests you've done. You rock. Your photos are amazing. I could go on. Seriously.

  9. I'm super sensitive to oats (but not gluten, weirdly), is there an alternative in this recipe? They just looks so good, I'd hate to have to pass on eating cookies that look that delicious!

    1. Wow, that is unusual! I would advise using barley flakes for the old-fashioned oats, and quinoa flakes for the quick oats. You can probably use all-purpose wheat flour for the sweet rice since gluten's not an issue. Please let me know how they turn out!

  10. I love how gluten free baking has progressed. I used to work for a small company that transitioned to gluten free a few years back, and it was all refined corn starch and xanthan gum. So disgusting… I am quietly amassing healthy, whole grain, non-xanthan gum recipes! I can't wait to try these and add them to the bunch! Thanks, Alanna.

    1. Hi Sara,

      I couldn't agree more! I'm doing exactly the same thing, and I'm even hoping to write and photograph a cookbook on that very topic – GF baking that uses as many whole grains and as little starch and gum as possible. Aran of Canelle e Vanille / Small Plates and Sweet Treats is the master of that, as you probably already know. She is my inspiration.

      Thanks a bunch for the note, and let me know how you like the cookies.

  11. Oh my lord. These look SO GOOD!!! I cannot wait to try these and ditto Sara above–so excited to find a GF recipe that isn't full of starch. Yum. My office is going to love me :) Gorgeous photos Alanna!!

    1. So I made these this weekend!!!! They were awesome!!! I quartered the recipe and omitted the coconut oil (and subbed oat flour for the quick oats), so mine were a little rounder and probably less chewy than yours…but I LOVED them!!! Little, just sliiightly on the verge of crumbly balls of delicious cookie goodness. This is the second recipe of yours I've made that's an absolute keeper! You're a goddess Alanna!

    1. Aw, thanks, lady! That's exactly how I feel about your site. (That quinoa pizza dough?!) And I am always craving chocolate chip cookies. It is really quite unfortunate that these are so easy to make…

  12. Thanks for sharing this great recipe, the cookies and your photography look great! I've had some trouble with gluten-free baking because sometimes things turn out too hard, too soft, and not right etc. but all your gluten-free goods look perfect! I was thinking about giving these a go, any substitutions for the almond butter? I am allergic to nuts! In the past I have tried blended banana as a substitute because it turns out with a similar consistency, what do you think?

    xoxo
    Alex

    1. I haven't experimented much with those flours so I'm not sure whether they'll work or not. I would advise baking off a test cookie and if it spreads to much, adding more flour and baking another tester until you get the consistency right. Pretty please let me know how it works! Happy baking.

    1. Hi Nanda, Hm, that is rather mysterious. My friend just baked these for a party we threw together and they turned out as shown here. Did you stir your almond butter well? Sometimes the oil likes to sit at the top, which can cause the dough to be too oily. If you have dough leftover, I'd recommend adding more flour or oats. I would expect the flours you used to work well, though it's possible that the sweet rice flour is starchier and more absorbent than the WW and rye. Thanks for giving the recipe a go and for the note; I'm sorry they aren't working out as expected. :(

  13. Dear Alanna,
    I had been looking for a while for a naturally-sweetened (gluten free was a bonus!) chocolate chip cookie, and yours looked too delicious to pass up! I tried it, adapted it a bit for my preferences, and now it is definitely my favorite chocolate chip cookie! Thank you so much for the inspiration!
    P.S. your site is absolutely lovely throughout. I love it!

  14. Absolutely! I switched the almond butter with cashew butter, coconut oil with browned butter, and used a combo of 1 c. all-purpose gluten free flour + 3/4 c. oat flour. The changed recipe is on my site (crediting the origin of course), I'd love for you to visit sometime!

  15. Your blog is just too dang wonderful. Please come out with a cookbook! I need to cradle this potential cookbook in my arms while I am creating your wonderful recipes in my own kitchen!

  16. Just made these cookies and they turned out great – just as pictured. I pretty much always know I can count on your recipes to turn out, Alanna… They are pricey little cookies with all that maple syrup and almond butter – but the recipe uses good ingredients and it is both vegan and gluten free, so I think they are worth it. I couldn't get the sweet rice flour so I substituted brown rice flour and they turned out fine. I would love to see your take on a vegan, gluten free muffin, Alanna! Thanks again, Sara

    1. Hi Sara! I'm so glad you gave these cookies a go and that they turned out well – they're pretty much my favorite ever cookie. Great to know that brown rice flour works well. Thanks for the muffin request – I'll see what I can do. :) Any flavor preferences?

  17. I have a batch of these baking right now…but I made a few substitutions as I didn't have exactly the right ingredients but couldn't wait as they looked so amazing…I used peanut butter, spelt flour in place of the buckwheat, and a combination of rice malt syrup and honey in place of the maple syrup! They're looking pretty good so far so hopefully hey turn out ok! I'll let you know and will be writing a blog post about them later on too! x

  18. Oh my – this has got to be the best GF Choc Chip Cookie recipe I have run across in YEARS! All the perfect ingredients and incredible instruction! Thank you, thank you for posting! I cannot wait to bake them! One question as I have had varying results in baking with almond butter… do you use RAW or ROASTED almond butter in your recipes?

    1. Hi LouAnn! Thank you so much for the kind words – this is one of my favorites, too. I'm pretty sure I used roasted almond butter here, but either should work just fine. Please come back and tell me how it goes! Happy baking!

  19. Amazing rich nutty flavour and soft pillowy texture! So many buckwheat baking recipes are disappointing but these are wonderful plus gluten free and vegan, what a bonus! I ended up using peanut butter instead of almond butter because that's what I had and coarsely ground extra thick rolled oats in place of the quick oats, which I also didn't have. I chilled the dough for 15-20 minutes before baking because it was really soft (likely due to my warm coconut oil, which I was too impatient to cool,lol). Thank you!

    1. I just tried another variation and they were again, AMAZING! This round I did cashew butter, chopped white chocolate, and walnuts, delish!!

  20. I made these cookies some days ago and I have to tell you, that's what happiness tastes like! I did not have any mochiko so I improvised and made flour out of rice pudding rice. These cookies are so goddamn delicious, you totally rocked my world. Thanks a million for this recipe.

  21. hello Alanna. Neither my husband nor I are gluten-free or vegan. In fact I like to cook with butter! but I do have gluten-free friends and family, and as I’ve been a home-baker since forever, I’m fascinated with some of the other flours you are using, especially buckwheat and sweet rice flours. So I gave this recipe a try. Well, my husband knows my baking and he knows the cookies he likes, so they were not such a big hit with him. I liked them (but missed that butter!), especially dipped in coffee – YUM! gave them to my gluten-free friends and they loved them. brought them to my Qijong class and there are several GF people and they loved them! they were a hit with the non-GF people too. So, this recipe is definitely a keeper. P.S.: I used dark chocolate chips (63%) though, rather than chopping up the chocolate bar. I think it was still okay.

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