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Vegan Sunflower Chocolate Crinkle Cookies {grain-free, oil-free}

Chocolate bliss! Vegan sunflower chocolate crinkle cookies are oil-free, grain-free, and nut-free, but also pure decadence in every bite! Made with DIY sunflower seed flour, they can also be made with almond flour.

vegan chocolate sunflower crinkle cookie on a colorful napkin

Easy & Amazing Sunflower Seed Chocolate Cookies

Oh friends…these cookies! I have been on the edge of my seat, itching to share them with you ASAP. If only I had an elf staff to assist with photography and writing to speed the time between baking (& doing the dishes :)) and sharing. But phew, done at last! 

If rich, crisp-chewy chocolate cookies are your idea of a good time, then this recipe is for you. In fact, I designed them to be for almost everyone, because they are:

  • Vegan (egg-free & dairy-free)
  • Grain-free
  • Oil-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Nut-free
  • Paleo

I developed these lovelies for a friend whose children have multiple allergies. Yet, the results will delight any chocolate lover and/or cookie connoisseur. 

Use Sunflower Seed Flour or Almond Flour

I used my fast & easy DIY sunflower seed flour (regular sunflower seeds, ground in a food processor) as the . Nut-free and frugal, this humble flour renders these cookies rich and chewy, without the addition of oil. It is nut-free & frugal, to boot .

If you prefer, feel free to use almond flour in place of the sunflower seed flour. I have made the cookies with each type of flour and they are equally divine.

How to Make Vegan Sunflower Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Ready to make these cookies? You can make the dough in a matter of minutes. In one bowl, no less!

Step One: Melt the Chocolate

Place 1 cup (170 grams/ 6 ounces) of semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.

If you need these strictly allergen-free, as my friend does, make sure to use dairy-free chocolate (my local supermarket now carries multiple allergen-free brands, right there amidst the regular baking supplies. Otherwise, use the brand you prefer.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Here is my method: heat the chips on HIGH (default power) for 1 minute. Stop and stir vigorously. Microwave for another 30 seconds. The chips will still have some shape, but with a vigorous stir, they should be completely melted and smooth.

2 picture collage of chocolate chips in a glass bowl, solid and melted

If you do not have a microwave, melt the chips in a heat safe bowl over a saucepan full of simmering water, stirring until melted and smooth.

Step Two: Add the Remaining Ingredients

Next, add everything else! Well, almost everything else; do not add the coating (finely chopped coconut). More specifically add the following to the bowl of melted chocolate:

Be sure to add the hot water LAST, not first. If poured directly onto the melted chocolate, the hot water will make the chocolate stiffen (seize).

the dry ingredients for vegan sunflower chocolate crinkles added to bowl of melted chocolate

Step Three: Stir Until Completely Blended

Stir until all of the ingredients are completely blended into a homogenous, brownie-like cookie dough.

If some of the chocolate happens to stiffen (it happened on one of my test batches), fear not! The solution is simple. Place the bowl back into the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds to re-melt the chocolate and stir again.

mixed cookie dough for vegan chocolate crinkles, in a glass bowl

Step Four: Blitz the Coconut

2 photo collage of unsweetened coconut flakes, before and after grinding in a food processor

Classic chocolate crinkles are most often rolled in a thick coat of confectioners; sugar before baking to highlight their cracks and crevices.  You can do that with this version, too (I’ll say more about coatings below). But I’ve opted for  coating of finely chopped coconut instead.

While the dough is quick-chilling, place 1/2 cup of unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut in a small food processor or blender. Process until it is very finely chopped.

Step Five: Preheat the Oven & Prepare Baking Sheet

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step Six: Scoop & Roll the Dough

Remove the dough from the freezer. Check that it is firm enough by spooning up a small portion and rolling into a ball. 

I use my trusty small cookie scoop to portion all of the dough. You can use a kitchen teaspoon, too. Just be sure that the portions are even. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to get every last bit. I get exactly 21 portions of dough. 

small cookie scoop filled with chocolate cookie dough

Roll each portion of dough into a ball. Roll each ball in the coconut to coat and then place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough, spacing the balls about 3 inches apart on the baking sheet.

The cookies spread significantly (the baked cookies are 2 and 1/2 inches in diameter) so give them plenty of room.  You will be able to fit half of the cookies on  the baking sheet.

chocolate cookie dough being scooped, rolled, and place on a baking sheet

Step Seven: Bake the Cookies

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 11 to 13 minutes until the cookies have spread (the tops will have large cracks & crinkles) and the edges are set. The centers will look slightly under-done (be careful, do not overbake).

Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. The cookies will continue cooking and firming up during these 5 minutes due to the carryover heat of the baking sheet

Transfer the cookies, using a metal spatula, to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

baked vegan chocolate sunflower crinkle cookie on a black wire cooling rack

Cool the cookies completely.

Alternatively, eat the vegan sunflower chocolate crinkle cookies immediately.

chocolate sunflower crinkle cookie, on a colorfulnapkin, with a bite taken out

The cookies are chewy with a deep chocolate flavor. They are not overly sweet and have the bonus of toasty coconut, too.

Nutritious ingredients–sunflower seeds, cocoa powder, flax, dark chocolate–definitely put these in contention as bonafide energy cookies or breakfast cookies. Happy December to you :).

Alternative Coatings

If coconut is not your thing, leave it off! Naked chocolate crinkles are perfection, as are any number of other possibilities, including crushed candy canes/peppermints, traditional confectioners’ sugar, finely chopped seeds or nuts, or raw sugar.

chocolate sunfower crinkle cookies with various coatings

The cookies keep very well (you may need to hide some to test this out; the cookies will disappear fast). Give the cookies a 5 to 7 second zap in the microwave to make them taste freshly baked all over again.

Happy baking!

a stack of 6 chocolate crinkle cookies on a black cooling rack.
Yield: 21 cookies

Vegan Sunflower Chocolate Crinkle Cookies {grain-free, oil-free, nut-free}

vegan chocolate sunflower crinkle cookie on a colorful napkin

Chocolate bliss! Vegan sunflower chocolate crinkle cookies are oil-free, grain-free, and nut-free, but also pure decadence in every bite! Made with DIY sunflower seed flour, they can also be made with almond flour.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (170 g/ 6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (certified GF, vegan as needed)
  • 1 cup (112 g) sunflower seed flour (or almond flour)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (see notes for options)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Instructions

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a medium, microwave safe mixing bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute; stop and stir the chocolate. Microwave 30 seconds longer. Stop and stir until chips are completely melted and smooth.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients--except the coconut-- to bowl of melted chocolate. Be sure to add the hot water last, not first, to the bowl of melted chocolate. Stir until completely blended into a cohesive dough. Cover and place in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes (to thicken enough to be scooped).
  3. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Place the coconut into a small food processor; process until very finely chopped. Transfer to a small, shallow bowl.
  5. Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out 21 equal portions of dough (I place them o a piece of wax paper). Roll each portion into a ball, roll in the coconut to coat, and place 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart on prepared baking sheet (about half of the balls).
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 11 to 13 minutes until the cookies have spread (crinkled/cracked tops) and are just set at the edges (they will look slightly underdone at the center).
  7. Remove cookies from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring (with a metal spatula) to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Eat!

Notes

Sugar Options: An equal amount of brown sugar, natural cane sugar, or regular white sugar can be used in place of the coconut sugar.

Flaxseed Meal Option: An equal amount of ground chia seeds can be used in place of the flaxseed meal.

Coating Variations: The coconut coating can be left off (no coating at all--you still get crinkles) or replaced by an equal amount of confectioners' sugar, granulated sugar, crushed candy canes/peppermints, or very finely chopped seeds or nuts.

Nutrition Information

Yield

21

Serving Size

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving Calories 97Total Fat 6.7gSaturated Fat 2.9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 120mgCarbohydrates 9.4gFiber 1.5gSugar 7.3gProtein 2.1g

Did you make this recipe?

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Julie

Sunday 19th of September 2021

Oh. My. These are spectacular! I made them for a family member with dietary restrictions…but absolutely everyone in the loved them. Thank you for such a great and simple recipe!

Camilla

Monday 20th of September 2021

Yay!!!!! First, how sweet are you to make a special recipe for your family member, Julie, and second, yippee that everyone loved them!

Deborah

Sunday 13th of December 2020

Hi, Want to tell you how DELICIOUS these cookies are. Thanks for an awesome recipe.

I wondered if you would have some advice for making the sunflower flour. I did read your instructions and saw you had a medium mesh strainer. I only have a fine mesh strainer and the flour sticks to the mesh...

I started by using my food processor and then went to the vitamix. I have looked for a medium mesh strainer and couldn't find one. I wondered if I should freeze the sunflowers before grinding. Would I be better off using the Vitamix for the grinding? Should I use the dry Vitamix container? The only strainer I found was on Williams sonoma and it was more like a colander. Any advice?

Thanks!!!!

Camilla

Sunday 13th of December 2020

Hi Deborah!

I think your idea for freezing the sunflower seeds before grinding is a great one (I am going to do this, too). The sunflower seeds are definitely more sticky when the room temperature is warmer. I use the regular container when I use the vitamix to grind (although I usually use my food processor). I bought my mesh strainer from the dollar tree ($1) :)

So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

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