Baking/ cookies/ Desserts

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Brown Butter Toffee Sandwich Cookies

stack of sandwich cookies on white plate on red cloth

Day Four of the Advent Cookie Challenge was indeed challenging. This recipe by Sohla El-Waylly calls for toffee, which is made with butter. I made my own with non-dairy butter, but it took several tries for me to get it right. Stir it a lot, or it will burn.

In addition to procuring (making) toffee, Sohla asks you to make the batter, chill it, roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, freeze them, brush them with egg yolk, press almonds into them, bake them, make the icing, and fill them. I didn’t finish until late at night.

I relaxed my no-refined-sugar rule for these cookies. No cookie is “healthy” by definition (raw veggie cookies, anyone?), but my goal is to make them delicious and allergy-friendly, as well as low sugar. The almonds decorating these cookies are good for you, so that’s healthy.

The original recipe calls for a filling made with powdered (refined) sugar. I substituted powdered erythritol for some of the powdered sugar. Be careful using powdered erythritol, though. Use too much and you’ll have garlicy flavored filling.

The author of this recipe is a fastidious cook. Me, not so much. Cutting the cookies was a nightmare, so I rolled pieces of dough into balls and squished them flat with a spatula. Sohla wants you to pipe out the icing onto the cookies so the edges will be perfect. I declined to do so, and as a result, the edges of my uneven circles are smeary. I don’t mind as long as they taste good. And after all that work, they do!

Springhouse Turtle

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Brown Butter Toffee Sandwich Cookies

These crunchy cookies topped with toasted almonds combine sweetness and browned butter flavor without dairy or gluten.


  • Cookies:
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed dairy-free toffee (See Note)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 3 tablespoons diary-free butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced raw almonds
  • Icing:
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/4 cups) dairy-free butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered xylitol or erythritol



Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.


In the bowl of a food processor, place the toffee, coconut sugar, baking soda and salt, and process until thoroughly mixed, about 1 minute.


Put the toffee mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.


Add butter, egg white and vanilla.


Beat until creamy, about 2 minutes.


Stir in the flour until mixed.


Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and put in fridge for 15 minutes.


Remove half the dough and soften by flattening between sheets of plastic wrap.


Pinch off pieces of dough, roll into 1" balls, and place on prepared cookie sheets.


Place plastic wrap over the balls of dough, and use an offset spatula to flatten them into 1/8" thick circles, about 2" in diameter.


Repeat with second half of dough.


Place the cookies in the freezer, and freeze for at least 30 minutes.


When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water.


Remove the cookies from the freezer.


Brush the tops of half the cookies with the egg mixture, and press almonds into them.


Bake the cookies at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, until deep brown.


Remove from oven and allow to cool.


Flip the almond-free cookies over on their backs.


While the cookies are cooling, melt the dairy-free butter and molasses in a medium saucepan until bubbling.


Whisk until completely combined.


Pour the butter mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.


On low speed, stir in the vanilla and salt, then the powdered sweeteners, and beat until creamy, about 1 minute.


Spoon 1 tablespoon icing onto each almond-free cookie, then quickly top with an almond studded cookie.


Press the top cookie to spread the icing to the edges.


Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


How to make dairy-free toffee: Place 1 cup non-dairy butter, 1 cup organic sugar, 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup, 1/2 cup oat milk, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt into a deep saucepan. Over low heat, stir ingredients until blended. Turn up the heat and put a candy thermometer into the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the temperature reads about 280 degrees F, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour onto a parchment-covered rimmed baking sheet sitting on a heat-proof surface. Allow toffee to cool and break into pieces. Caution: Wear oven mitts and be extremely careful not to allow the molten sugar to splatter, as hot sugar can cause severe burns.

Springhouse Turtle


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