Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies – Failure and Fixes

Why did this happen and how did I fix it?  This week I changed one ingredient that meant my cookies came out like this. What was it?

I used Nuttelex butter alternative.  In the past, I’ve used Olivani spread but this week I changed it up with disastrous results.

Not really, the important thing is that I knew how to fix it.

Note: If you use real butter for this recipe you won’t need to worry about this happening.

That’s the thing with being a gluten free baker, you need to learn more about why things go wrong so that you can fix them when they do. With regular recipes you are pretty certain that it will turn out how the picture looks if you do everything right. When you substitute ingredients, sometimes things don’t quite work out.

Why Did My Cookies Spread?

Generally, when your cookies spread like this it means that there’s too much sugar to the ratio of butter and flour.  

In this case, I had used the correct amount of butter (substitute) and the correct amount of flour.

As I’ve made this recipe before, I knew exactly how the cookies should look and feel before they went into the oven.  

I knew that the cookie dough should be firm enough to roll into balls like this.

Instead, the cookie dough wasn’t firm at all – it looked like this.

I went ahead and cooked the first batch (the disasters above) so that I could get an idea of what was going on.

The mixture being so wet told me that I needed to add more flour.  The mixture was way too wet.  I considered my sugar, flour, butter ratio and I decided that the butter substitute was acting in the recipe like more than it actually was, making the mixture too wet.

How Did I Fix It?

I added more flour.  I started with a quarter cup and added flour in quarter cup increments until the mixture was able to be rolled into balls.  I ended up added one and a half extra cups of flour.  I’ve never had this happen to that extent before.

Other Ingredients Adjustments

After adding all this flour, I considered whether or not I should add more baking soda.  I decided not to and I’m glad.

Without the extra baking soda, they worked out fine. In fact, my son arrived with some of his friends just as these were coming out of the oven.  I was told these cookies were amazing.  

I did cook one batch at a time so that I could test each one before cooking another batch.

As you can see, they rose enough without the added baking soda and they tasted really good.

Making the Mixture

This recipe is pretty easy to make (apart from what I’ve just discussed).  You put the butter substitute and the sugar into the mixing bowl and beat it until it’s nice and creamy.

Next add the eggs and beat until they are incorporated. Then add the vanilla extract and hot water and beat again. At this point the mixture should be nice and creamy.

Next add the flour and beat again.

Then add the chocolate chips.

At this point you can make a judgement about whether you need to add more flour.  If you pick some of the mixture up on a spoon and touch it, you will know that it needs more flour if it’s really sticky.  Try rolling it into ball and see how it feels.

Once you’ve made your determination, add flour in quarter cup increments, beating after each addition, until it feels right and will roll into balls.

Put them on a prepared baking sheet, spacing them out enough so that they can spread to about 5cm (2½“) in size.

Would you like the recipe?

This mixture makes about 80 cookies so you might want to freeze some of the dough for later.

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe


  • 1 cup Butter Substitute (you can use butter don’t need to worry about allergies)
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Hot Water
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3¼- 4½ cups Gluten Free Flour*
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1-2 cups Dairy Free Chocolate Chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter substitute until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the eggs and beat in.
  4. Add the hot water and vanilla extract and beat again.
  5. Add 3¼ cups of flour, the baking soda and the salt.  
  6. Beat the mixture and make a judgement about whether you need more flour.  If the mixture is wet (can’t be rolled into balls) add more flour in ¼ cup increments until the mixture is firm enough to roll in your hands.
  7. Add chocolate chips and beat to incorporate.
  8. Take teaspoon sized pieces and roll into balls.**
  9. Place the balls onto a baking sheet covered with a piece of silicone baking paper.  Space them wide enough so that they can spread to about 5cm (2.5”).  
  10. Bake for 8-10minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cool on a tray before storing in an airtight container.

*Read the blog post above for an explanation.

** You can freeze the mixture at this point using this method.

This is a pretty simple recipe and the results are amazing. I have been making these for years (using butter or Olivani) and I've never had this problem so don't be alarmed of put off.

I just wanted to show you how to fix the problem, should it happen to you.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and that you make these amazing cookies.

Remember ...



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July 8, 2021