Gluten-free cookies for all occasions – recipes

Crisp around the edges, chewy in the middle and delicious all over – it’s virtually impossible not to fall in love with these cookies As their name suggests, the star of the show is the sesame paste that you may know better as the crucial component of hummus, but it also works wonders in sweet treats. Here, tahini gives the cookies an incredible depth of flavour, while the sesame seed coating makes them as pretty as they are delicious. To turn these into chocolate tahini cookies, simply mix 15g Dutch processed cocoa powder into the dough.

Prep 30 min
Chill 15 min
Bake 16 min
Makes 14

100g tahini paste
95g maple syrup, or runny honey
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
100g almond flour
tbsp white sesame seeds
tbsp black sesame seeds

Line two oven sheets with baking paper. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients except the seeds, until everything comes together into a smooth dough. In a second, small bowl, mix the white and black sesame seeds.

Shape a tablespoon of the cookie dough into a ball, roll it in the sesame seeds and place on one of the lined baking sheets. Using the flat base of a glass, gently press down on the ball until it’s flattened to 7-8mm thick. Repeat with the remaining dough – you should end up with 14 cookies – then refrigerate for about 15 minutes. While the cookies are chilling, position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven and heat it to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4.

One baking sheet at a time, bake the cookies for about eight minutes, or until slightly spread out and light golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and harden on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes – the cookies will be very soft straight out of the oven – then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Fudgy brownie cookies

Of all the brownie cookie recipes I’ve tested, this is my favourite. It ticks every box: decadent fudginess; a beautiful, shiny, crackly top; and intense chocolatiness. But, unlike many recipes, this one is far less finicky and susceptible to failure (if you have a delay between mixing and baking, say). The cookies also contain slightly less sugar than is usual, allowing the gorgeous, bittersweet chocolate to shine. (Incidentally, I’ve tested these with Doves Farm Freee gluten-free plain flour and own-brand blends from Aldi, Lidl, Asda and Sainsbury’s, and all worked just fine.) You can stuff these with all sorts, if you wish, from hazelnut spread and peanut butter to caramel. Spoon about a tablespoon and a half of the batter on to the baking sheet in a rough circle, put one to two teaspoons of your chosen filling in the middle and top with another tablespoon and a half of cookie batter, making sure the filling is covered. Bake as outlined below.

Prep 30 min
Bake 20 min
Makes 10

160g dark 60-70% cocoa solids chocolate, chopped
80g unsalted butter
70g soft light brown sugar
70g caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
80g gluten-free flour
20g Dutch processed cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Set a shelf in the middle of the oven and heat it to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Line two oven sheets with baking paper.

In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just-simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring to help it along, then take off the heat.

Using a stand mixer or a hand whisk with double beaters, whisk both sugars and the eggs on medium-high speed for five to seven minutes, until pale and tripled in volume. The mixture should briefly pile on top of itself as it falls off the whisk. Gently fold in the melted chocolate mixture until only just incorporated, then sift in the gluten-free flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt, and fold it in gently until only just incorporated and no flour clumps remain. The batter will be fairly runny and very glossy, strongly resembling brownie batter.

Use a large, three-tablespoon cookie or ice-cream scoop to transfer the batter to the lined sheets, spacing them at least 2½cm apart, because they will spread during baking. This batter is fairly runny, so invert the scoop about 2-3cm above the baking sheet, to ensure you get a circular mound. You should end up with 10 cookies in total (or five per sheet); scoop all the cookies at once, because the batter tends to firm up at room temperature.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes, until slightly increased in size, shiny and crackly on top, and slightly soft to the touch. Once the first batch is cooked, remove and immediately put the second sheet in the oven.

Leave to cool on the baking sheets for five to 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with flaky salt to serve.

Peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies

It doesn’t matter whether or not you like PBJ sandwiches, I guarantee you’ll love these thumbprint cookies, with their slightly chewy interior, a crunchy crust of toasted peanuts and a jam centre that adds a pop of colour and sweet tartness. While the flavour is spot on, it’s the texture that really makes these cookies shine. To make them even prettier, fill them after baking, because jam tends to spread and bubble during cooking, which isn’t quite as eye-catching as a pretty dollop spooned into a cooled cookie.

Prep 45 min
Cook 32 min
Makes 30

130g natural, unsweetened, smooth peanut butter
100g unsalted butter
, softened
100g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
tbsp whole milk, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
200g gluten-free flour
½ tsp xanthan gum
tsp salt
150g unsalted, raw peanuts
, toasted and chopped
5-6 tbsp raspberry or strawberry jam

Put a shelf in the middle of the oven and heat it to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Line two oven sheets with baking paper.

In a bowl, use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix the peanut butter, butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolks, milk and vanilla paste, and mix until evenly incorporated. Sift in the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum and salt, then mix until you get a smooth, soft (but not sticky) dough that can be shaped into balls without cracking or crumbling.

In a second small bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites. Put the chopped peanuts in a third small bowl.

Roll about a tablespoon of cookie dough into a ball, roll it first in the egg whites and then in the chopped peanuts, then transfer to one of the lined sheets. Use your thumb or a half-teaspoon measuring spoon to create a well in the centre, then repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 2½cm apart on the trays – you should end up with 30 in all.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 16-18 minutes, until light golden brown. Once ready, remove from the oven and immediately use the half-teaspoon measuring spoon to deepen the well in the centre (it may well have closed up during baking).

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool, then fill each one with half a teaspoon of jam.