Grain-Free Matcha Sugar Cookies (Vegan, Paleo, Oil-Free)

Easy crispy matcha cookies that are completely vegan and paleo, made without any grains, sugar, or oil. Just 9 ingredients and 30 minutes!

Looking at the title, you’re probably pretty skeptical about these cookies. I mean, how can you have a cookie without flour, butter/oil, or even sugar?? I get it, I was skeptical too when I started testing these. Normally, if I were testing a cookie recipe I would start with the usual flour, sugar, and oil (or nut/seed butter if I were going the oil-free route). These cookies, however, were a happy coincident as I was testing a bunch of paleo baked goodies for work. Paleo cookies is already a daunting feat in and of itself, but when you’re not using eggs or dairy or oil it gets even more complicated. But after a week of experimentation, I finally figured out the perfect combination of “flours”, nut butter, and seeds to create a cookie that is crispy, buttery, and sweet with a slightly bitter matcha flavor. They’re honestly so good yet so much simpler than I thought they would be! Let’s get into it:

INGREDIENTS

These matcha sugar cookies are made with 9 plant-based ingredients:

  • cashew butter: This is the base of the cookie and is key for adding that buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I prefer to make my own cashew butter, but feel free to use store-bought cashew butter.
  • monk fruit sweetener: This is my current favorite sugar substitute. It doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste like stevia. It doesn’t act exactly like sugar, as I’ve found that for some reason cookies take longer to firm up after coming out of the oven and then get very crispy. Unlike most cookies that get softer over time, these tend to stay pretty crispy.
  • tapioca starch/four: This helps bind the cookies together and also creates crispy edges and a chewy center.
  • almond flour: This adds extra moisture to make up for the lack of oil/butter.
  • ground flax seed or ground chia seed: Commonly used as an egg replacement, this helps the cookies hold together and not crumble everywhere when you take a bite.
  • matcha powder: Different brands may be stronger or weaker in flavor and color, so start with 1/2 tsp and adjust depending on how bitter you want the cookies to be.

The last 3 ingredients are baking staples: vanilla extract, baking powder, and plant milk. You can also add a pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness.

METHOD

These cookies are super easy to make and come together in about 30 minutes and just 1 bowl!

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine cashew butter, monk fruit, and vanilla extract. Add remaining ingredients and stir until a smooth, slightly thick cookie dough forms. If your dough seems too dry, add almond milk, 1 tsp at a time, until a smooth moldable dough forms.
  3. Scoop about 1 tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Place on baking sheet and use your fingers to slightly flatten the dough into a disc. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies will be very soft at first but firm up and get crispier as they cool.

TIPS & TRICKS TO PERFECT VEGAN PALEO COOKIES

  • Different brands of matcha may yield greener cookies or too strong/weak a matcha flavor, so I suggest making a test batch if you’re not used to baking with matcha so you can get a feel for how much you should add. You can also taste the dough before baking and add extra matcha if you think the flavor is too weak, but I prefer tasting the finished baked product to get the best sense of how much matcha to add.
  • I’ve only made these cookies with homemade raw cashew butter, but this does take a long time to make (up to an hour if your food processor is old aka mine). However, I do find homemade cashew butter to have the best consistency as some brands may add oil. This can sometimes result in too runny of a cashew butter, so you may need to add more tapioca flour.
  • You want your cashew butter to be soft and slightly runny. If it is very hard from being in the fridge, heat in the microwave for 15 seconds or until soft and easily scoopable. On the contrary, if your cashew butter is extra runny, omit the plant milk and add extra tapioca flour if needed.
  • If you’re not paleo, you can probably replace monk fruit with vegan granulated sugar, though the cookies may not be as crispy.

how to store vegan paleo cookies

I find the monk fruit sweetener makes these cookies really crispy once they’ve cooled and they tend to retain that texture pretty well over a couple days. I recommend storing them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, any longer than that and they should be frozen.

helpful baking tools

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Grain-Free Matcha Sugar Cookies (Vegan, Paleo, Oil-Free)

Easy crispy matcha cookies that are completely vegan and paleo, made without any grains, sugar, or oil. Just 9 ingredients and 30 minutes!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Japanese, Vegan
Servings: 8 cookies

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • If your cashew butter is very hard, heat it in the microwave briefly, about 15 seconds. You want it to be soft and slightly runny.
  • Combine cashew butter, monk fruit, vanilla extract, and 2 tsp almond milk (omit if your cashew butter is very runny). Add remaining ingredients and stir until a smooth, moldable cookie dough forms. If your dough seems too dry, add extra almond milk, 1 tsp at a time, until a moldable dough forms. 
  • Scoop about 1 tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Place on baking sheet and use your fingers to slightly flatten the dough into a disc. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. The cookies will be very soft at first but firm up and become crispy as they cool.

Notes

*You may need more or less almond milk depending on the consistency of your cashew butter.

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