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Vegan Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free and Lower Sugar options)

Don’t let anyone tell you that “vegan brown butter” isn’t a thing!  These vegan brown butter chocolate chip cookies are the most rich, most decadent, most delicious chocolate chip cookies you will ever have the pleasure of eating!

One cookie broken open with melty chocolate

There are certain buzz words or phrases that make me immediately salivate.  “Roasted garlic”.  Things that are “drenched” in other things.  “Brown butter” has always been one of those for me, but when I cut out dairy I thought I’d lost this pleasure forever.  I read so many things telling me how vegan butter just doesn’t “brown” in the same way without the milk solids, and this made me sad.  No more brown butter sauces on pasta?  No more brown butter baked goods???

Well, friends, we have a solution, and it’s pecans to the rescue!!  Browning butter in a skillet along with pecans gives it the glorious taste, look, and smell of regular butter when it is browned.  It’s nutty, it’s dark, and it gives your food the most rich and intense flavor.  Plus for an extra pop of goodness, keep the buttery pecans in the cookie dough for chocolate chip & pecan cookies, and OH MY GOSH you will thank me later.

The other thing I love about these vegan brown butter chocolate chip cookies is even though they require chilling time, you can start them with the butter straight from the fridge, no prepping in advance by letting it soften.  So if you get a cookie craving and want to get baking immediately, these are the cookies for you!

Completed photo of cookies

How To Make Them:

Step one here is browning the butter, and oh what fun this is!  First of all, like I said before, you get to pull the butter straight from the fridge and don’t need to worry about letting it soften in advance.  For some reason, this makes me VERY happy to know I can want cookies and start making them one minute later.

It’s the little things in life.

Use ½ cup butter (one stick) and ¼ cup of pecans, and put them together in a small pan or skillet.  Set it over low heat, and then let it melt and simmer together for about 15-20 minutes.  It will get a little bubbly and foamy, and much darker in color, as you can see from the photos.  Plus it will smell nutty and delicious!

Butter and pecans melting in a pan
Butter fully melted and browned in pan

Once the butter is ready, strain out the pecans and measure the remaining butter in a liquid measuring cup.  You want to hit right between that 1/3 and ½ line, as a little will have burned off in the browning process.  If you have more than this, pour a bit out so the amount of wet ingredients in the dough isn’t skewed.  Let the butter cool for at least 10 minutes so it’s room temperature before mixing with other ingredients.  As a reminder for this step, I like to save the pecans and add them back to the dough later.

Making the dough..

Prep the rest of your ingredients while the butter is cooling.  Mix the dry ingredients – flour, salt, and baking soda – in a small bowl, and measure out the rest of the ingredients as well.  Once the butter is cooled, pour into a large bowl and whisk in granulated sugar (see the Ingredients Needed section to learn how to make these lower in sugar) and brown sugar, then add in non-dairy milk and vanilla extract.  Once combined, add in the dry ingredients and mix completely. Then add in the chocolate chips (and pecans if you’re using them).

Melted butter in measuring cup
Batter in a bowl minus chocolate chips
Completed dough in a bowl

Chill the dough for 30-60 minutes.  60 gives it even more richness as the ingredients have more time to meld together, but 30 works beautifully I promise!  If you are chilling for closer to 60 minutes, make sure the dough warms up for a few minutes once out of the fridge, this way you aren’t putting the balls of dough into the oven while they are freezing cold.  They will struggle to cook evenly all the way through if you do that!

Scoop out 1.5-tbsp sized balls of dough for a total of around 16 cookies.  Bake them 10-11 minutes and then give them another 10 or so minutes to keep baking and cooling on the baking sheet once out of the oven.  These cookies benefit greatly from shaping them into cleaner circles right out of the oven, and pushing a few more chocolate chips on top to give them that perfect cookie look.  If you haven’t shaped cookies before, it is easy!  Use either a large round cookie cutter, or the lid of a mason jar, and loosely swirl it in a circular shape around the outside of the cookie while it’s still warm enough to reshape. I did that on all the cookies you see here. They did NOT wake up like this.

But that’s it! Time to eat your vegan brown butter chocolate chip cookies!!

Balls of dough on a baking sheet
Completed cookies on baking sheet

Nutritional info can be found in the Notes section below the recipe instructions.

Storage:

After they have cooled, seal in an air-tight container and store at room temperature.  They will stay good around 5 days.

Pro Tips & Tools:

  • Make sure you are measuring your flour either by weight or using the spoon and level method.  Do not scoop directly from the container, as you will wind up with too much! This is so important! If you want to buy a pre-made gluten free flour blend, make sure it’s King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour, it is BY FAR the best one for my recipes, NOT Bob’s Red Mills or any others. If you want to make a homemade blend, here is a link to the one I use.
  • Make sure you measure your liquid ingredients using liquid measuring cups.  This will ensure accuracy!  I love this set.
  • This tip goes for all cookie recipes – if it is your first time trying a new cookie recipe, if you have the time, I always suggest baking one cookie first before putting the full batch in the oven.  That way if something is not working right for your batch, you can adjust before you’ve wasted all the dough.  If it spreads too much, adding a little more flour is usually a safe fix.  If it’s too dry and not spreading at all, it may need some more liquid ingredients, in this case a bit more non-dairy milk.
  • Make sure your chocolate chips are vegan.  I use this brand, but whatever you like best will work!
  • I always keep a large round cookie cutter or a mason jar lid next to my oven, that way when the cookies come out if they are misshapen I can quickly use the round lid to help reshape the dough before it has firmed up.
  • If you want to achieve that perfect chocolate chip cookie look, while the cookies are cooling, you can lightly press a few extra chips into the tops. 
One cookie broken open with melty chocolate

Ingredients Needed:

  • Vegan butter – I use Earth Balance sticks
  • Pecans – these are to simmer with the vegan butter to give it a brown butter taste and smell, but you can also save them after to add to the cookie dough along with the chocolate chips
  • Granulated sugar and light brown sugar – the mixture of both of these leads to the perfect cookie flavor and consistency.  Crispy on the outside, chewy and gooey on the inside. I wouldn’t recommend leaving out the brown sugar, but if you want to cut back on your sugar intake, I love using this Monkfruit Sweetener in place of the granulated sugar.
  • Non-dairy milk – the milk keeps these moist, and also works as a binding agent since these are egg-free, AND flax egg free!  I usually use soy or almond milk, feel free to use your favorite.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Flour – Make sure you are measuring your flour either by weight or using the spoon and level method.  Do not scoop directly from the container, as you will wind up with too much! This is so important! If you want to buy a pre-made gluten free flour blend, make sure it’s King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour, it is BY FAR the best one for my recipes, NOT Bob’s Red Mills or any others. If you want to make a homemade blend, here is a link to the one I use.
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Chocolate chips – Make sure these are dairy free to keep it vegan!  I love these, but use your favorite. 

What To Bake Next:

One cookie broken open with melty chocolate

Vegan Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free option)

Don’t let anyone tell you that “vegan brown butter” isn’t a thing!  These cookies are the most rich, most decadent, most delicious chocolate chip cookies you will ever have the pleasure of eating!
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chill Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert, Snack
Servings 16 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar *if you want a sugar free option, this links to my favorite sweetener, you can substitute it 1:1 in place of regular granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • cups gluten free flour can sub all-purpose if desired. This links to my favorite store bought gluten free flour blend that works best with all of my recipes, or see “Ingredients Needed” section for further info.
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Instructions
 

  • Add the butter and pecans to a small pot or skillet, and place on low heat for 15-20 minutes.  See photos above for a better sense of when the butter has cooked long enough.
  • Strain out the pecans (make sure to save them if you want to add to your cookie dough later), and pour the melted browned butter into a liquid measuring cup.  Make sure it measures between the 1/3 and ½ lines!
  • Let the butter cool to room temperature, at least 10 minutes.  During this time mix gluten free flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl.
  • In a large bowl whisk together cooled butter with the granulated sugar and brown sugar.  Then add in the non-dairy milk and vanilla extract and whisk again until combined.  Add in the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon or spatula until smooth.  Finally add the chocolate chips (and pecans if using those too) and mix throughout.
  • Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.  During this time, preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • When you’re ready to take the dough out of the fridge, make sure to let it warm up for a few minutes, especially if it was in there closer to 60 minutes.  Then scoop 1.5 tbsp sized balls of dough onto the pan.  You will get around 16 cookies.
  • Bake for 10-11 minutes, then let firm up on the pan for another 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Notes

NUTRITION INFO

Total amount: 16 cookies
Serving size: 1 cookie
Per serving amounts: (note – the nutrition facts include the 1/4 cup of pecans)
  • Calories – 150
  • Grams of fat – 7.5
  • Grams of carbs – 20.5
  • Grams of protein – 1.3
Keyword brown butter, chocolate chip cookies, cookies, gluten free cookies, pecan cookies, vegan cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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