Monika’s Molecular Meals: Coconut Lover’s Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies

By Monika Knapp | 24 February 2021 1815 views
dairy free sugar cookies

These Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies Are The Perfect Guiltless Sweet Treat…

Monika's Molecular Meals: Coconut Lover's Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies

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I think most sugar cookies are boring.

Like really, REALLY boring.

For me, if I’m going to eat some sugar… there still needs to be some balance.

Chocolate fudge brownies? Hell yes – but add a little coffee or dark chocolate in there for bitterness.

Maple scones? Bring it on – but make it maple bacon for me, baby!

Sugar cookies? Well… if you’re going to feed me sugar, I want to actually taste it.

Refined white sugar has one flavor going for it:


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And sweet, without the counterbalance of bitter (from dark chocolate or coffee), salty (from bacon or flaked sea salt), or sour (lemon, lime, and other citrus)… really isn’t going to do much for your palate – no matter HOW big of a sweet tooth you have.

Plus, let’s face it… when’s the last time you saw a headline that said refined white sugar was actually any good for you?

So I wanted to make a sugar cookie recipe that wasn’t only dairy free – but was also flavorful and better for you than traditional sugar cookies.

The result?

A fantastically flavorful coconut lime sugar cookie that has absolutely no butter, no dairy, and zero refined white sugar.

It’s reminiscent of a lemon shortbread – but with a pleasantly different kick.

And I’m telling you right now… if you like coconut, you are going to LOVE these:

Monika's Molecular Meals: Coconut Lover's Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies

FTH’s Dairy-Free Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies (With Triple The Coconut For Triple The Flavor)

Equipment Needed: Stand mixer, hand mixer, or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease; parchment paper or nonstick baking mat; oven; half sheet pan; food scale (optional)

Recipe Time: 35 minutes (or longer if you bake in multiple batches)

Makes: About 26 cookies


  • 8 ounces coconut oil (roughly 1 cup)
  • 8 ounces coconut palm sugar (roughly 1 cup)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • Zest from 4 limes (See recipe notes for instructions on the best way to do this)
  • 1 large, cold egg (preferably taken straight out of the fridge)
  • 12 ounces all-purpose flour (roughly 1.5 cups)
  • Juice from 2 limes (About 1/4 cup)
  • A generous amount of flaked coconut for coating the cookies
  • 1 Tbsp dark rum (optional)
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1) Preheat your oven.

First, make sure there is an oven rack in the center, and set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2) “Cream” the oil and sugar.

In a mixer:

Combine the oil, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and lime zest in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a paddle attachment, beat on low until everything comes together (#2 on a KitchenAid), and then turn it up to medium (#4 on a KitchenAid) until the sugar is light and fluffy – about 8 minutes.

By hand:

Combine the oil, sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and lime zest in a metal bowl. Using a fork, mash the dry ingredients into the oil using the sides of the bowl for support. This will take some elbow grease, but it does work! You should see everything come together after about 3-7 minutes of doing this.

3) Make the rest of the batter.

Add the egg and lime juice, and then beat for another 2 minutes (possibly longer if you’re doing it by hand). Then slowly add the flour and mix until a rough dough is formed.

If it seems too sticky, add a little more flour – and if it’s too dry, add more lime juice. Just make sure it tastes balanced enough for you!

4) Divide into individual cookies, roll in the coconut, and bake!

Using an ice cream scoop, a tablespoon, or two spoons (if the dough is especially sticky), separate the batter into about 26 equal portions.

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Roll each ball in a bowl of flaked coconut until it is generously coated, and then place them on parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. (Do not flatten or indent the cookies – they will spread out on their own.) Each one should be roughly 2 Tbsp, but if you want to make them larger or smaller, feel free!

Place the parchment paper or baking mat on a half sheet pan and make sure there are about 2-2 1/2 inches between each cookie.

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, or until they look brown and are slightly crispy at the edges.

Enjoy fresh out of the oven, or let cool to room temperature – I can personally attest that both ways are delicious!

Recipe Notes

  • These cookies will keep for about 2-3 days at room temperature and do not need to be refrigerated.
  • When it comes to zesting limes, you don’t need a fancy “zester” – you can either a) Use the smallest holes on your grater to grate the zest directly into the bowl (just make sure you scrape the inside of the grater!), or b) use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest off using zig-zag motions, and then chop the zest finely using a knife.
  • Coconut sugar is a key ingredient in these cookies, and there really is not a good substitute for it. (There are some options if you must replace it… but more on that in a bit.)
  • Weighing your ingredients is almost always the most accurate way to measure them – particularly when it comes to baking. So if you have a scale, use it – and if you don’t, just make sure to use your judgment on the hydration of the batter. If you think it’s too sticky or dry, it probably is.
  • I mention tasting the batter – obviously you shouldn’t eat a bunch of raw flour and eggs, but there’s very little risk if you only taste a little. The key is to taste it for balance and flavor – not to devour the batter all at once (no matter how much you might want to!). 😉
Monika's Molecular Meals: Coconut Lover's Dairy-Free Sugar Cookies

How To Experiment & Make This Coconut Cookie Recipe Your Own – No Matter Your Diet Restrictions…

Maybe you’re not crazy about citrus in your cookies – I get it.

Do you like gingersnaps?

If you sub in fresh grated ginger for the lime zest, plus some cinnamon and nutmeg, you’re well on your way to a dairy-free sugar cookie that tastes exactly like a gingersnap, without the guilt.

You could also substitute a flax egg for the real egg if you want to make it vegan…

You could experiment with alternative flours if you want less gluten (looking at you, coconut flour!)…

But whatever you do, DO NOT, under any circumstances, substitute white sugar, brown sugar, or sweeteners like aspartame for the coconut sugar.

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Well, white sugar has been linked to a host of health problems – the least of which is weight gain.

Consuming too much refined sugar has been connected to heart diseaseatherosclerosis (in which your arteries are clogged by fatty deposits)… cancerdepression… and type 2 diabetes.

That doesn’t even begin to cover the “smaller” problems like acne and skin aging.

Brown sugar is basically a lie. It’s just white sugar with added molasses. And it’s definitely not good for you.

While some sweeteners are OK… aspartame-based sweeteners have been linked to increased cravings and weight gain.

(You probably know aspartame as the sweetener used in many diet sodas.)

So please, please stick to coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar for this recipe!

Not only is coconut sugar unrefined… but it also won’t spike your insulin like regular sugar will.

Plus, coconut sugar contains more antioxidants than normal refined sugar… as well as potassium, zinc, and calcium. (I’m not saying it’s a health food, but it’s definitely better than white sugar!)

However, there are two other sweeteners you can substitute if you’re serious about cutting the calories…

dairy free sugar cookies

Here Are 2 More Sweeteners You Can Use to Make These Cookies Even More Guilt-Free…

Like I said, there are some really good reasons to use coconut sugar in this recipe.

However, if you really want to use a substitute sweetener… and make these dairy-free sugar cookies even MORE guilt-free…

I don’t blame you. But the problem is that some sweeteners are downright bad for you!

Fortunately, there are some sugar substitutes that are completely doctor-approved, as well as delicious. 

Here are a couple sweetener options:

1) Stevia.

Stevia is an extract of a South American plant that is naturally sweet and contains zero calories.

While other zero-calorie sweeteners have mountains of studies saying they’re bad for you…

Stevia has been given the “green light” by several scientific, peer-reviewed, PubMed surveys.

When baking, for every cup of sugar a recipe calls for, you can replace it with:

  • 1 teaspoon of liquid stevia
  • 1/2 teaspoon stevia extract powder, or
  • 1 tablespoon concentrated stevia liquid

So, if you want to use stevia instead of coconut sugar, that’s how you can do it.

However, I know a lot of people aren’t into the particular flavor of Stevia…

So there is one more sweetener you can use, and while it isn’t COMPLETELY calorie-free…

It contains just 60% of the normal calories of sugar, which is pretty damn good if you ask me:

Click Here to See What This Sweetener Is & How to Substitute It for Coconut Sugar in This Recipe.

[Note: This post was updated by Fit Trim Happy on November 3, 2019.]