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Sep 13, 2009 04:21 AM

ISO cookie recipes without butter

I'm currently not eating cow's milk dairy products as part of a medical diet, and I'm really craving cookies. I'd love to hear of any recipes which do not require butter (I have access to goats milk and soft cheeses, but not sweetmilk butter). I don't want to cook with shortening or margarine, as I don't like how those taste and feel in the mouth. All I've come up with so far is meringues, which are nice but not... cookies.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I don't know if these are cookie'ish enough, but would biscotti work? (I have since tried this recipe and thought it was quite nice).

    Or, how about Ottolenghi's orange and almond florentines? (ignore Lebovitz's steps about coating the cookie in chocolate, as most chocolate has butter or cream in it).

    I haven't tried this olive oil cookie of Bittman's, but it's intriguing for sure

    Here's an old thread about baking with olive oil.

    Good luck! I'd love to hear which recipes were winners and which were not! Do report back, if you can, please!


    1. I don't have it handy, but when I was staying dairy free, I found some good recipes in the cookbook Vegan with a Vengeance. Vegan recipes are your friend, although not using the dairy-free shortenings (I actually really liked Organic Earth Balance) will make it a bit tougher.

      A quick search for "vegan cookies" yielded this blog which has lots of links to other Vegan cooking sites, and a tasty looking recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies at You can find dairy-free chocolate chips, I can't remember the brand but I think it had a sun on it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chris VR

        In Canada, President's Choice sells dairy free chocolate chips (bittersweet) called "The Decadent", they come in 1 kg bags or smaller.

      2. Peanut Butter Cookies:
        1 cup peanut butter (creamy is best)
        1 cup sugar (I use half brown sugar)
        1 egg
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        1 tespoon vanilla
        Cream together and make into balls, roll in extra sugar, place on greased baking sheet, press in criss-cross with a fork, bake at 350 for 10 min. Do not over bake! They are very delicate when hot, but firm up nicely after they cool off.

        10 Replies
        1. re: PamelaD

          I love these pb cookies- I make them all the time and they're always a hit. Served them once as a dessert as ice cream sandwiches.

          1. re: PamelaD

            I make these too--and am amazed every time. A very tasty cookie with no flour or butter!

            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              My kids made them too but they found chilling the dough for 10 mins beforehand made the dough much easier to handle.

            2. re: PamelaD

              I really, really like these. Dangerously so, as I think they are the easiest cookie I have ever made. Some tips:

              Best with unsalted peanut butter (I used a natural brand). In that case, add a tiny pinch of salt and use 3/4 the sugar.

              I cooked larger cookies for 12 minutes, smaller ones for ten. They are crumbly, but have a marvellous melting consistency in the mouth. Liek peanut butter, but without sticking to your palate!

              1. re: PamelaD

                I've seen this recipe on the back of a pb jar and have been intrigued by it. Also it would be good for the gluten free. Do you all use white sugar? Have you ever experimented with brown sugar or icing (aka confectioners/powdered) sugar? The latter is often used in shortbread which is why I'm toying with the idea. I s'pose I could beat together everything but the sugar, divide it into thirds and add a 1/3 cup of each type of sugar to each pb batch. But if one of you already has a preference I'll take your route!

                1. re: cinnamon girl

                  I did the first batch half white sugar and half dark brown sugar, and the second batch just brown sugar. To be honest, the PB flavour is so strong, I couldn't tell the difference. I think the important thing is that you cream it really well, so the sugar dissolves, otherwise the cookie is gritty, which doesn't work with the melt-in-the-mouth texture.

                  Let us know how you get on!

                  1. re: Gooseberry

                    Thank you Gooseberry. I won't conduct any elaborate experiments then! Good point though, that it's likely better to cream the pb and sugar together well - which really you should do before adding the egg. So much for my scheme.

                    I'll let you know how it works out.

                    1. re: cinnamon girl

                      OK, I've been honing this over the last couple weeks. Additional tips:

                      A syrup sweetener is best, to prevent the graininess of the sugar making the cookies gritty. I use liquid fructose (140g per 500g peanut butter), but golden syrup, glucose, corn syrup, agave syrup etc would all work

                      If halving the recipe, use a little less than half an egg.

                      Don't overwork the dough; you want them light and fluffy inside. I tend to just scoop onto the baking tray and lightly pat down any pointy edges

                      Remove from oven while still slightly underdone

                      1. re: Gooseberry

                        molasses is also a nice addition esp if you want to use 1/2 or all brown sugar. it tends to bring it out.

                2. re: PamelaD

                  Joy the Baker has this recipe up on her site, and she suggests variations with chocolate or jelly or even bacon (haven't tried the bacon yet)! When I want to bake homemade cookies but have limited time and don't want to be bothered using my kitchenaid, this is the recipe I use! Nothing fancy, but tasty!!!

                3. Food and Wine has a great recipe for brownie bites.


                  I made these for a vegan friend, and even non-vegans loved them. I didn't need them to be gluten-free, so I just used regular AP flour and left out the xanthan gum.

                  1. Here's a link to a Chewy Orange Almond Cookie (courtesy of Martha Stewart). I made them last week and was mighty impressed: