Years ago, my friend Hannah shared her vegan version of World Peace Cookies. The original recipe, created by famed pastry chef Pierre Hermé, was an Americanized version of chocolate sablé, a French shortbread cookie. He substituted brown sugar for most of the white sugar to make a chewier cookie. I’ve further adapted Hannah’s recipe to create these delicious dairy-free egg-free chocolate cookies. They have a deep rich chocolate flavor, delightful sweetness, and that perfect lightly crisp exterior with a soft and gently chewy texture in the middle.
Dairy-Free Egg-Free Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate Chips
We actually had a few recipes for vegan chocolate cookies on our website. So I ended up testing several variations. This addictive version was the winner with it’s rich chocolate flavor and hint of salt. But I have a lower salt option along with other tips in the FAQs elow.
What is Natural Cocoa Powder?
Natural cocoa powder is cocoa powder that isn’t Dutch processed with alkali, so it’s more bitter. Most brands of natural cocoa powder are labeled as “unsweetened” or “natural” on the front of the package. If not, the ingredients should state just cocoa powder, not processed with alkali. Natural cocoa powder is more acidic and bitter, and reacts with the baking soda in the recipe. I used Nestle Toll House Cocoa Powder in this recipe, and really liked it. But regular Hershey’s Cocoa Powder (not the Special Dark) and many generics are also natural / unsweetened.
Can I Substitute Shortening for the Butter Alternative?
Yes, shortening should work well. I like to use non-hydrogenated shortening like Spectrum in cookies. But you could use a butter-flavor type if you prefer.
Can I Substitute Coconut Oil for the Butter Alternative?
I can’t guarantee that will work well. This is a somewhat “butter” heavy cookie, so coconut oil will likely cause the cookies to spread too much and become greasy.
Which Vegan Butter do you use in these Dairy-Free Chocolate Cookies?
I tested this recipe with Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks (made with olive oil). They’re on the salty side, so they do add a lot of flavor, and hold up well in baking. But they alsoBut most buttery stick brands, including Earth Balance Soy Free, should work well. You can see a cookie comparison in our Best Butter for Baking post.
Should I Use Light or Dark Brown Sugar?
You can use either! I use light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar has a hint more molasses, which will enrich the flavor even more and add just a smidgen of extra chewiness to the bite.
Can I Freeze the Cookie Dough?
Yes, this dough freezes very well. And you have a few options. First, I would refrigerate the dough for 1 hour if it’s soft and/or sticky. You can shape and roll the dough into balls, and place them on a sheet that fits in the freezer, slightly spaced out. Freeze the cookie dough balls for 1 hour. Then place the balls in an airtight freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months, for optimal flavor. When ready to bake, flatten them onto the baking sheet as instructed below. Or, you can divide the refrigerated dough into fourths, and roll each piece into a tight log that’s 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Tightly wrap each log in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and slice the dough 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Bake as directed below.
How Can I Make these Cookies Gluten Free?
I haven’t tested this recipe without gluten, and don’t recommend it. It might take some modifications to avoid a crumble result. For gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and general allergy friendly cookies, I would make our Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies Recipe instead. If you are okay with eggs, the gluten-free version of my Dairy-Free Chocolate Brownie Cookies works great.
What Vegan Chocolate Chips do you Recommend?
I made these cookies with Enjoy Life Semisweet Mini Chocolate Chips. They’re allergy-friendly, and infuse chocolate throughout. You can use regular size dairy-free chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or chopped chocolate. I like semisweet in these dairy-free egg-free chocolate cookies, but dark chocolate is also delicious. See our Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips Guide for more options.
Cookies Spread too Much – This would be due to your butter alternative. Make sure you use buttery sticks instead of buttery spread. The latter isn’t formulated as specifically for baking and can cause more spread. See our Dairy-Free Butter for Baking Comparison to see how different brands can affect cookie spread. You can also substitute shortening (or part shortening) for thicker cookies.
Cookies Didn’t Spread or Dough is Too Dry – Again, this usually comes down to your butter alternative, but can also be climate related. I bake these in a humid, sea level climate. If you are in a dryer environment, the dough can be thicker and dryer. In some cases, you might like the thicker cookies. But if you want thinner cookies, and the cookies don’t appear greasy, you can increase the buttery sticks to 1 1/3 cups (add another 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon butter alternative).
Cookies are Greasy – Are you baking at higher altitude (above 2000 feet)? If so, greasy cookies are a common problem with egg-free dairy-free cookie baking. To immediately handle the issue, add a little more flour to get a firmer dough. This also adds more gluten, which can help to keep the butter alternative from separating. If the dough is too firm, add a little applesauce or milk alternative instead of more butter, just until the dough is workable.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Egg-Free Chocolate Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the butter alternative and chocolate that suit your dietary needs.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ cups dairy-free buttery sticks (2½ sticks)
- 1⅓ cups packed brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅜ to ½ teaspoon salt (see Salt Note below)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups dairy-free chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda until no chunks of cocoa remain.
- Put the buttery sticks in a large mixing bowl and let them soften for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar, sugar, and salt to the butter alternative, and mix with a mixer or hand mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
- Dump the flour mixture into your mixing bowl, and mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- If the dough is too soft or sticky, refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or more.
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into 1¼-inch balls (about the size of a whole walnut) and place them 2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheets. Flatten them slightly, to about ½-inch thick. If the dough is still sticky at all, you can lightly dampen your hands with water to easily handle the dough.
- Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they lose their doughy sheen on top. If baked for too long, they will set up crispier (but still delicious!).
- Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes, before carefully lifting the parchment (with the cookies) off onto a cool surface or wire rack. They firm up more as they cool, but should still be soft and chewy.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. Or you can freeze the cookies for longer storage.