Here’s why you’ll love these slice-and-bake eggless cookies: they’re easy to make, require no fancy equipment, have the most wonderful buttery melt-in-the-mouth texture, and the hazelnut + chocolate combination is simply to die for. (They’re also gluten and egg free!)
Okay, so this seems to be the current situation: there’s no eggs and no toilet paper to be found… anywhere. I can’t do much regarding the latter (seriously, what is everyone’s obsession with hoarding toilet roll?!) but I can give you delicious, mouth-watering eggless recipes.
So here we are. With a world that’s going crazy and looks like something out of a sci-fi movie… but at least we’ll have some tasty egg-free cookies to get us through this. That’s something right?
Now, these might be egg and gluten free, but they’re also some of the best cookies I’ve had in a while.
They’re crisp and buttery and melt on your tongue.
The combination of hazelnuts and chocolate is, obviously, epic.
The demerara sugar crust round the edges gives them a gorgeous crunch and sparkle.
And if you finish them off with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, like I did… fireworks.
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
What are slice and bake cookies?
Simply put, slice and bake cookies are probably some of the easiest cookies around. They’re super versatile, fun to make, and don’t require you to roll the dough out and use cookie cutters! In fact, their slightly irregular shape gives them a certain rustic charm – at least that’s what I like to tell myself.
Their name comes from the fact that the cookie dough is shaped into a log that’s then chilled in the fridge (or frozen in the freezer if you’re impatient like your truly), sliced into even portions and baked.
This also means they’re great make-ahead cookies: you can keep the tightly wrapped dough in the freezer for a week or two and slice off portions as you go (read: whenever the sugar/cookie craving strikes).
How do you make slice-and-bake eggless cookies?
To keep these cookies egg-free, the recipe is essentially an adapted gluten free shortbread recipe, with all the usual suspects: butter, sugar, milk, gluten free flour, xanthan gum and salt (plus add-ins).
Because it’s such a simple recipe with only a few ingredients, the ingredient ratios are all the more important. So I don’t recommend deviating greatly from the recipe (no matter how tempting).
For instance, decreasing the amount of flour would give cookies that melt into puddles in the oven, increasing the amount of sugar can make cookies hard enough to break teeth, and omitting the xanthan gum gives cookies that crumble away to nothing. So, you know, follow the recipe.
Milk is a bit of an unusual ingredient in what is essentially a fancy-fied shortbread recipe. It’s here to make the dough easier to handle while keeping the butter:flour ratio constant. In a pinch, it can be replaced with water or non-dairy milk.
Light brown sugar gives the cookies a more complex flavour with caramel undertones, which go wonderfully with toasted hazelnuts and chocolate chunks.
When it comes to the method, these are essentially 1-bowl eggless cookies that don’t require a hand or stand mixer. In fact, best results are obtained with a good ol’ wooden spoon. The reason for this is minimised dough/batter aeration: mixing the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon introduces minimal air into the mixture.
This, in turn, ensures that the cookies keep their shape in the oven, with minimal spreading. That’s because any trapped air bubbles act essentially like baking powder or baking soda in the cookie dough (note that the cookies contain no raising ages for exactly the same reason). All this is to say: put away your mixer and grab a trusty wooden spoon… and get mixing.
Why is chilling or freezing the cookie dough necessary?
The main reason for the chilling step is to make the cookie dough easy to slice without squashing it. Before chilling, the dough is fairly soft and malleable. After chilling, it should be firm or solid to the touch.
Furthermore, if you have large chunks of add-ins in the cookie dough (as is the case here with the hazelnuts and chocolate), a very firm dough is much easier to slice through without displacing the add-ins. If properly chilled and firmed-up, you should be able to make clean slices – slicing also through the add-ins – with a sharp knife.
The second, and somewhat less important, reason is that chilling further reduces the likelihood of the cookies spreading and losing their shape during baking. And why is this less important? Because the cookie dough recipe is already optimised for minimal spreading (through the ingredient ratios, the absence of raising agents and the mixing method) – so the cookies wouldn’t really spread even if you don’t chill them.
The easiest way to shape the cookie dough in a log
This is easiest done by forming the dough into a ball (it shouldn’t be super sticky), rolling it into a log on your work surface, wrapping it in cling film or baking paper, and chilling.
That said, other people have different methods – I’ve noticed that many wrap the cookie dough before rolling it. You can follow whichever method you want, so long as you end up with a 5 inch (10 cm) log in the end (with an approximately 2 inch (5 cm) diameter). This will then make twelve 2 inch (5 cm) cookies about 1/3 inch (1 cm) thick.
How do you cut cookies evenly?
Firstly, make sure the dough is very firm, hard to the touch – that is: that it’s properly chilled.
Next, mark 1/3 inch (1 cm) thick slices.
Finally, use a really sharp knife to cleanly cut the individual cookies.
(If any chunks of hazelnuts or chocolate break away from the cookies during cutting, gently press them back in place.)
Possible ingredient substitutions
The wonderful thing about these slice and bake eggless cookies is that while I chose chopped toasted hazelnuts and chopped dark chocolate as my add-ins of choice, you can easily pick whatever else you have on hand (and whatever else you currently fancy). The recipe is easily adaptable to your current craving and pantry situation.
Some add-in suggestions:
- sprinkles (to make funfetti slice & bake cookies)
- chopped white or milk chocolate
- dried fruit (like cranberries, raisins or figs)
- other nuts (like pistachios, pecans, walnuts, almonds or peanuts)
As for the other ingredients:
- Butter is such a central ingredient, I really wouldn’t recommend trying to replace it. That said, I do have a peanut butter slice & bake cookie recipe coming soon that replaces part of the butter with peanut butter (so watch this space).
- You can use caster/superfine or dark brown sugar instead of the light brown sugar. Or even use a mixture of any of these!
- If you don’t need to make them gluten free, you can use plain all-purpose flour in place of the gluten free flour blend (and you also don’t need xanthan gum).
- If you want to add cocoa powder, reduce the amount of flour by 50% of the amount (by weight) of the cocoa powder added (for instance, if you add 10 grams cocoa powder, reduce the flour by 5 grams).
But above all, have fun. The true beauty of these eggless cookies (aside from their mouth-watering deliciousness) is that they’re simple and rustic and forgiving.
So put on some music, grab a wooden spoon and… enjoy.
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Hazelnut Chocolate Slice and Bake Eggless Cookies (Gluten Free, Egg Free)
Here’s why you’ll love these slice-and-bake eggless cookies: they’re easy to make, require no fancy equipment, have the most wonderful buttery melt-in-the-mouth texture and the hazelnut + chocolate combination is simply to die for.
- 1/2 stick + 1 1/2 tbsp (80 g) softened unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (60 g) soft light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp milk, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 1 1/3 cups (160 g) plain gluten free flour blend (see Note 1, you can use plain regular all-purpose flour if gluten free isn't a requirement)
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum or if using regular flour)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup (30 g) toasted hazelnuts, chopped (you can toast the hazelnuts in the oven or on the stovetop, remove any loosened skin)
- 1 3/4 oz (50 g) chopped dark chocolate, 60 - 70% cocoa solids
- ~1/4 cup demerara sugar/coarse brown sugar (optional, for rolling the cookie dough log before slicing)
- flaky sea salt (optional)
In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until combined and smooth. Do no beat, whip, whisk or otherwise aerate the mixture – you only want it combined.
Add the milk and vanilla paste, and mix until combined.
Sift the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum and salt into the butter mixture. Add the chopped hazelnuts and chocolate, and mix everything together until combined and the add-ins are evenly distributed.
As the dough comes together, you might find it easier to switch from a wooden spoon to kneading with your hands. The final dough shouldn't be sticky to the touch, but might be on the softer side.
Shape the dough into a 5 inch/10 cm log (with a 2 inch/5 cm diameter), wrap in cling film or baking/greaseproof paper, and chill in the fridge for at least 1 - 2 hours or in the freezer for at least 30 - 60 minutes.
When properly chilled, the dough should feel very firm/hard to the touch.
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line a large baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.
Once chilled, unwrap the cookie dough log and roll it in the demarara sugar (optional). If the sugar doesn't stick, lightly brush the cookie dough with water or milk – this will help the sugar adhere to the log surface.
Slice the log into 1/3 inch/1 cm slices. If any chunks of hazelnuts or chocolate break away during slicing, press them back in place.
Transfer the cookies onto the lined baking sheet at least 1/2 inch/1.5 cm apart, and bake at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for 16 - 20 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
Cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Sprinkle with flaky sea salt (optional) and enjoy!
Storage: The cookies keep well in a closed container in a cool dry place for 1 - 2 weeks.
Note 1: I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour blend, which contains no xanthan gum. You can also mix up your own blend with 50% white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour.