In my neverending quest for satisfying and tasty Paleo dessert recipes that also fit into my allergy friendly lifestyle, I have finally nailed it. I have created a recipe that is both Paleo and Nut-free. And most importantly, tastes amazingly delicious. This Nut-free Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie is heavy on flavor and satisfaction, yet is free of dairy, gluten and nuts. This, my friends, is a revelation in the world of Paleo eating!
Nuts & the Paleo Diet
I choose to eat a mostly Paleo diet because I find it works really well for me. It helps me feel my best. This may be due to the elimination of many foods that typically cause inflammation. As you may know, the Paleo diet is typically gluten-free and dairy-free relying on foods such as lean meats and veggies as the main source of nutrients. This diet also includes good fats like those found in nuts, seeds, avocados and coconut. These ingredients are in most of the Paleo dessert recipes out there because they add the fat and bit of sweetness desserts need.
Is Nut-free Paleo a thing?
The reliance on nuts in a Paleo diet makes it difficult for people who follow a nut-free diet to find a variety of good recipes, especially recipes for treats and dessert. And, since my family is nut-free due to my daughter’s allergies, I am always reluctant to use nuts in any of my baking to avoid any cross-contamination.
Finding a good substitute for almond flour
The majority of Paleo dessert and cookie recipes I’ve come across use almond flour as the main dry ingredient and as a Paleo substitute for wheat or white flour. Many Paleo recipes also use almond butter or other nut butters to add texture and flavor and as a binder. And, a lot of recipe writers will tell you there’s no substitute for these ingredients. I agree that these ingredients make for damn fine Paleo treats! And, typically the almond flavor is very subtle making almond flour and almond butter versatile ingredients for a variety of flavor profiles.
Pumpkin seeds make for a great nut-free alternative in this Paleo cookie recipe
Clearly I needed to find a good nut-free substitute though. There has to be one, I thought! And much to my surprise and ultimate satisfaction I was correct! After some trial and error, I found that indeed, pumpkin seeds make for a great nut-free Paleo alternative. Yesssss! Ground finely to mimic flour, the pumpkin seeds produce a pretty neutral tasting base for this nut-free version of a paleo chocolate chip cookie. Since making this recipe for the first time, I have kept a bag full of these frozen in my freezer for the occasional treat. And, I have been bringing these along to my girls’ nights and they have quickly become a favorite!
Tips for Making This Recipe
- To make pumpkin seed flour, pour a cup of unsalted, raw shelled pumpkin seeds into a food processor and pulse until finely ground
- Shape the cookie dough the way you want the cookies to look when baked, as they won’t spread or puff up too much. I recommend rolling them into balls and pressing them gently with your palm until they are about ¼-inch thick
- The first time I made these cookies they tasted great, but the bottoms and outer edges got too brown for my liking. Simple solution – double stack your baking sheets! This helps transfer heat more slowly to the cookie sheet your cookies are on and helps prevent the bottoms and edges from overbrowning or burning
- I highly recommend baking only one tray of cookies at a time. This helps the cookies bake more evenly and prevent some from over-browning / burning while others under-bake
- These cookies freeze really well. I recommend first freezing them in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet then placing the frozen cookies in a freezer-safe bag. This way, you can remove the number of cookies you want and they won’t all be frozen in one large lump. I tend to like them straight outta the freezer. You can throw them in the microwave for 20 seconds on 50% power for a warm, fresh outta the oven taste as well
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