I don’t talk about it much here (because nowadays I eat everything), but I had quite a few food sensitivities at one point in my life. This was a while ago: back in my early 20s. Boy do I wish I’d had a book like Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free back then!

naturally sweet and gluten free

Ricki Heller was one of the very first bloggers I met (albeit virtually) when I started blogging. She’s an absolute sweetheart and I’ve always admired her incredible creativity when it comes to recipes. Ricki’s diet may be limited, but her recipe offerings are anything but…she’s an absolute whiz at coming up with innovative baked goods that don’t contain any animal products, gluten, or refined sugars.

Ricki sent me a copy of her book Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free: Allergy Friendly Vegan Desserts to review. It’s beautifully photographed and everything looks very delicious.

Most of the recipes in the book do require quite a few ingredients, some of which I do not keep on hand. Since I do not have dietary restrictions, I adapted one of the recipes so I could make it with ingredients I already had.

Chocolate Sesame Cookies | Healthy Green Kitchen

These Chocolate-Flecked Sesame Cookies are adapted from Ricki’s Chocolate-Flecked Pumpkin Seed Cookies. They are so yummy: I have been snacking on them all week. The coconut sugar gives them lovely flavor and a bit of crunch I just adore, but be warned: they are a little crumbly due to the almond flour (and the flax seed being the only “binder”).

Ricki’s recipe is below…my changes are in parentheses.

Be sure to follow Ricki on facebook and twitter for more news about her book!

Chocolate-Flecked Pumpkin Seed (or Sesame) Cookies

Yield: 8-10 cookies

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ricki Heller's recipe for Chocolate-Flecked Pumpkin Seed Cookies is below; my changes (for the sesame cookies) are in parentheses.


*⅓ cup (55 g) coconut sugar (I used 3/4 cup coconut sugar)
*20 to 30 drops pure plain or vanilla liquid stevia liquid (I omitted this ingredient)
*¼ cup (60 ml) water (I omitted this)
*1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
*½ cup (120 ml) natural smooth pumpkin seed butter, at room temperature (I used sesame butter/tahini instead)
*¼ cup (25 g) finely ground flax seeds from about 2 Tbsp whole seeds
*½ cup (75 g) brown rice flour (I used almond flour instead)
*⅛ tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt
*¼ cup (50 g) unsweetened carob chips or dairy-free chocolate chips, coarsely chopped (I used mini chocolate chips and increased the amount to 1/3 cup)


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut sugar, stevia, water, and vanilla until the sugar dissolves (note: I omitted the stevia and water).

3. Add the pumpkin seed butter (I used tahini), flax, flour, and salt and mix well to form a very thick and sticky dough. Stir in the chips.

4. Using a heaping teaspoon (5 ml), scoop the dough and roll it into small balls, placing them about one inch (2.5 cm) apart on the cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with your palm or a silicone spatula (I made my cookies a bit bigger than this, and ended up with 8 cookies).

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet about halfway through, until the cookies are light golden brown (the dough will lighten as the cookies bake). Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing from the cookie sheet.

6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. May be frozen.



  1. 1

    Ricki — October 5, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

    Winnie, thank you so much for your very kind intro–and these gorgeous cookies! I well remember our first exchanges when you actually had a static site instead of a blog–and asked to feature a recipe of mine! Wow, things have changed since then, huh? :D I’ve never made these with almond flour, but should mention that they are not at all crumbly with the rice flour and pumpkinseed butter. I bet the tahini makes for a very rich tasting cookie!

    And of course I must say CONGRATULATIONS to you on your own book!! I hope you are enjoying the thrill of having it in your hands. I know it will be a huge success (I loved that series on your blog!). :)

  2. 2

    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — October 6, 2013 @ 12:48 am

    Beautiful cookies, the tahini sounds wonderful here!

  3. 3

    Oui, Chef — October 8, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

    I’ve never even heard of coconut sugar before, gotta go get me some of that!

  4. 4

    Salvegging @ salvegging.blogspot.com — October 10, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    Hey Winnie,
    These look great–I too would love to make them with almond flour + tahini. If I don’t have flax do you think some egg could be subbed? Or ground sunflower seeds?

    Also I just loved your cherry tomato frittata and mentioned it in my last blog post. So convenient!

    @Qui Chef- Coconut sugar is pretty great : )

  5. 5

    Phoebe Lapine — October 10, 2013 @ 11:31 am

    These cookies sound great! Interesting recipe… I will have to try them out!

  6. 6

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