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A cover photo of a cake stand displaying sandwiched lemon curd gluten-free shortbreads next to a Ukrainian sunflower engraved rolling pin
Gluten-Free Cocoa Butter Cookies

These are melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies with a hint of cocoa!

These are similar to the Dutch cookie, Speculaas, except the cloves and almonds are left out and replaced with a tiny amount of coffee to highlight the cocoa. Enjoy them all year round using fun embossed rolling pins and cookie cutters!

An embossed festive rolling pin and the square cookie cutter used to make the cocoa butter cookies
Another fun rolling pin from Pastrymade!!

The cookie dough is easy to roll out with a regular rolling pin and then pressed and rolled with an embossed rolling pin to print your favourite designs.

Previously, I purchased a sunflower design rolling pin from Pastrymade® for my Lemon Curd Shortbread Biscuits. This small business makes at least 100 different types of engraved rolling pins specifically to give an embossed design on cookie/biscuit dough. What I like about this company is that they employ and train Ukrainians within their community, plus give a proceed of the profits to help Ukrainian families settle in Poland.

A close up of several gluten-free lemon curd shortbreads on a platter with the Ukrainian sunflower engraved rolling pin next to it

This season, I couldn’t resist buying a Christmas design together with a set of square cookie cutters that stamp out pretty fluted edges on each cookie.

They have so many cute designs to choose from, but of course, if you have your own favourite rolling pin and cookie cutters, any shape can be achieved to create a fun and festive design with this cookie dough.

Three gluten-free lemon curd shortbreads stacked on top of eachother
Ingredients displayed to make the gluten-free cocoa butter cookies
Ingredients needed
  • Store-bought or my homemade gluten-free plain flour blend
  • Light or dark brown sugar
  • Gluten-free baking powder
  • Xanthan gum – use it even if your store-bought flour blend contains it as the dough needs that extra bind.
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Good-quality cocoa powder
  • Instant or freshly brewed espresso coffee (only a small amount is used – feel free to leave this out if you are making these cookies for children)
  • Milk
  • Good-quality unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Tapioca flour, for dusting the rolling pin
Some tips for the perfect cookie

Use a normal, plain rolling pin to roll out the pastry first.

Make sure the dough has rested and is chilled. If the dough starts to come to room temperature, it may stick to the engraved rolling pin.

Sprinkle flour (tapioca is my favourite as it is light and has a neutral flavour) on the rolling pin and shake off any excess before rolling.

Press down quite firmly as you roll the rolling pin away from you.

Select a 3-cm square cookie cutter to cut out each cookie and use a small spatula to transfer it to a lined baking tray.

Gluten-Free Cocoa Butter Cookies

by Sandra, Fun Without Gluten
This is a lightly cocoa-flavoured gluten-free cookie dough suitable to roll out during the festive season or whenever you need a cookie fix. The dough is similar to the Dutch cookie, Speculaas, except the cloves and almonds are left out and replaced with a tiny amount of coffee to highlight the cocoa.
To make these small 3cm square shapes, an embossed festive rolling pin and a made-to-measure square cookie cutter are used, but any shape can be achieved to create a fun and festive design.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Cookie Dough Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course baking, Festive, Kids' Snacks
Cuisine Festive, General
Servings 85 3cm square cookies



  • 5 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp instant coffee, or freshly made espresso shot
  • 350 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
  • 110 g light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum add this even if your store-bought blend includes it.
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • 220 g good-quality unsalted butter, at room temperature cut into small pieces
  • Tapioca flour, for rolling out the dough


Making the Cocoa Butter Dough

  • Heat the milk in the microwave or over the stove until warm to the touch.
  • Add either the instant or espresso coffee to the warm milk and combine well. Set aside to cool down for 5 mins.
    The mixed coffee and milk mixture cooling down
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon and cocoa together.
  • Add the butter and mix well with a wooden spoon, pressing the butter into the dry ingredients thoroughly.
  • Add one tbsp of coffee milk at a time to the mixture, mixing well until the dough takes shape and comes together. The dough should feel soft but not sticky.
    Adding the coffee milk to the dry ingredients
  • Cover the dough and chill for 30 min to rest before rolling out the dough.
    The prepared cocoa butter dough in a log shape

Rolling out the Cocoa Butter Dough

  • Place a sheet of baking paper on the counter and sprinkle some tapioca flour on your regular rolling pin.
  • Divide the dough in half and position one-half on top of the baking paper.
    Dividing the cocoa butter dough in half and resting one half on the baking paper before rolling out
  • Cover the dough with a large sheet of plastic film or baking paper and start rolling out to 4mm thick making sure the width is long enough to fit the embossed rolling pin.
    The rolled out cocoa butter dough under plastic film
  • Lightly dust the embossed rolling pin and shake off any excess before positioning it at the bottom of the rolled-out dough.
  • Slowly and firmly, roll the embossed rolling pin up towards the top of the rolled-out dough, positioning your hands on the centre part of the pin.
  • Carefully lift the pin away from the dough and dip the square cookie cutter in some tapioca flour to prevent it from sticking to the dough.
  • Position the cookie cutter over the embossed square design and press it into the dough.
  • Using a floured spatula, transfer the cookie to a lined baking tray, 2cm apart from each other.
  • When rolling out the other half of the dough, make sure the embossed rolling pin is free of any dough that may have become stuck. Use a toothpick to remove this.
    Using a toothpick to clean and remove excess dough from the embossed rolling pin

Baking the Cocoa Butter Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  • Bake for 15 mins on the middle rack one tray at a time for even cooking. Depending on the size of your baking tray, you may need to bake in several batches. The cookies do not spread, so fill each tray as much as possible with cookies.
    The baking tray full of cocoa butter cookies ready to be baked
  • The cookies will darken slightly when fully baked, but a good way to test if the cookies are done is by slightly nudging one of them with a spatula and should it slide easily on the baking tray, they are ready to be removed from the oven.
  • Cool them on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool down completely.
    A tray of baked gluten-free cocoa butter cookies
  • Store them in an airtight tin or glass jar. Avoid plastic containers as these make them soft.


  • Keeps for 2 weeks at room temperature in a sealed glass or ceramic jar
  • The cocoa butter dough is suitable to freeze. Roll the dough into a log and cover in baking paper followed by foil or plastic film before freezing. 
Keyword gluten-free biscuits, gluten-free cookies, gluten-free festive
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A close up of several gluten-free lemon curd shortbreads on a platter with the Ukrainian sunflower engraved rolling pin next to it
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