Gluten-free walnut cookies with chocolate and honey

In the wintertime, I love to cozy up with a cup of tea and a warm baked treat. After the holidays, however, I’m usually over the sugar-high that most baked goods of the season deliver. These honey walnut cookies are a yummy way to enjoy a chocolatey baked treat without flour or refined sugar. Plus, I love a good gluten-free cookie recipe!

This recipe is super simple… You don’t even need gluten-free flour! And, since they’re made with cocoa powder rather than chocolate chips, they’re super decadent without being too sweet. They’re a family favorite, for sure!

GF Chocolate Walnut Cookies Sweetened with Honey

These cookies are not nearly as sweet as the average bakery cookie. They still have the perfect chewy texture and gooey center, though! I really wanted to feature the rich chocolate walnut combination instead of the sweetness. These cookies are therefore sweetened with a touch of honey (no refined sugar is added). If you like dark chocolate bars rather than milk chocolate bars, these chocolate honey walnut cookies are for you. And, the nutty aroma of fresh walnuts is incredible.

Ingredients for Chocolate Honey Walnut Cookies GF

Ingredients: Chocolate honey walnut GF cookies

  • 4 Cups Walnuts
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 2/3 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 30 Walnut Halves

Makes 30 cookies

Gluten-free baking (and baking in general) can have many “filler” ingredients (gluten-free flour, almond flour, sugar, etc.). This recipe skips that – Giving you naturally dairy-free and gluten-free cookies with a delicious flavor. And, the quality of your ingredients really does make a huge difference in how these cookies taste. Try to find high-quality, fresh ingredients if possible. A rich cocoa powder, local honey, and fresh Fall walnuts will make the tastiest cookies.

Also, this recipe calls for honey, which is a sugar substitute for white sugar, brown sugar, or coconut sugar. But, if you want to swap them out, you’ll need to adjust your recipe accordingly! Be sure to double-check ratios before swapping to make sure you have just the right amount of sweetness!

Steps: Chocolate honey walnut cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grind the 4 cups of walnuts in a food processor. I like to leave them a bit chunky, but if you prefer smoother cookies, grind the walnuts very finely.
  3. Beat the egg whites in a mixer until soft white peaks form.
  4. Warm up the honey just to the point where it becomes runny. Do not overheat. The point of this step is just to get the honey flowing so it can be mixed easily. Overheated honey will “cook” the egg whites when added, which should be avoided.
  5. Slowly add the honey into the egg whites. Mix it in very gently. The honey does not need to be totally mixed in with the egg yet.
  6. Gently sift and fold the cocoa and baking soda into the egg+honey mixture. Sifting in the cocoa will help avoid lumps.
  7. Gently mix in the ground walnuts. Mix the batter until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  9. Use a spoon to place 1 Tbsp-sized drops of cookie dough onto the lined baking pans. I use stainless steel half-sheets lined with silicone mats for easy clean-up.
  10. Press a walnut half into the top of each drop of the cookie dough balls.
  11. Bake the cookies for 20 minutes, or until done.
  12. Let them sit on a wire rack until cool.
Chocolate Honey Walnut Cookie Ingredients
Making Honey Walnut Cookies

How to store walnut cookies

Store the cookies in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for up to 5 days. These gluten-free cookies can also be frozen for longer storage periods. I store mine in a ziplock bag, which makes it easy to pull out a few cookies now and then.

Honey Pot with Black Walnuts

For sweeter walnut cookies

If these chocolate honey walnut cookies aren’t sugary enough for you, dust the tops with icing sugar before pressing in the walnut, or use candied walnuts to top the cookies. If you really do want much sweeter cookies, swap out the honey for 1 cup of berry sugar and add one more egg white to the recipe.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Honey Walnut Cookies

English walnuts vs. Black walnuts for walnut cookies

I used two different types of walnuts in the batch of cookies pictured in this post. There are some regular English Walnuts from Costco, but also some smaller Black Walnuts. In the photo above, there are 4 Black Walnut halves on the front (bottom left) cookie, and one English Walnut half on each of the cookies in the back (top left+right) cookies.

Black Walnut Orchard in Kelowna BC
Young Black Walnut Orchard

Black Walnuts grow wild in Eastern Canada. They have a very rich flavour, which is somehow more “walnut-ey” than regular English Walnuts. Black Walnuts harder to cultivate and harvest than English Walnuts though, so they’re a bit trickier to find in stores/markets. I’m now growing my own baby Black Walnut seedling trees, but it will be years until I can harvest my own walnuts!

You know what these would go great with? Some homemade hot chocolate! Spruce up your Holiday cookie tins this year by adding in some homemade hot chocolate baskets (or vice versa!).

Recipe FAQs

Can I substitute chocolate chips for the cocoa?

Honestly, I don’t think it would work in this recipe. Many cookies call for butter or vegan butter alternatives (like Earth Balance buttery sticks), oil, or shortening. When there’s fat like one of these in a recipe, you can usually replace the cocoa with unsweetened melted chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips and extra fat.

What about egg yolks?

This recipe calls for egg whites only. Separate the yolks from the whites, but save the egg yolks if you wish. There are lots of gluten-free baked goods out there where you only use the egg yolks, so why not make a few different types of cookies?

Can I add vanilla extract?

Adding pure vanilla extract to cookie recipes adds sweetness and depth. I’ve never tried adding vanilla extract to these particular gluten-free cookies. You could probably get away with adding a small amount as vanilla doesn’t affect the structure of a cookie dough, but again, I haven’t tried it!

Conclusion

There’s our tried and true recipe for the best gluten-free cookies (in our opinion). This recipe makes naturally gluten-free and perfectly chewy cookies. This recipe skips the filler ingredients like granulated sugar and GF flour, resulting in delicious and guilt-free cookie dough that the whole family will surely enjoy. When I’m craving chewy chocolate chip cookies, but don’t want sugars and flours, this is my go-to recipe.

And, if you enjoy these cookies, you may like some of our other sweet treats! Here are some more recipes to try:

Chocolate Walnut Honey Cookies
Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a digital content creator and mom of three. She is also an engineer and bit of a plant nerd too. She has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, and Family Handyman.