Chocolate Espresso Almond Cookies and Xylitol Sweetener Review

These are my most popular cookies I’ve ever created and are continually requested from friends and family. Every single person who has had them asks for a batch again. I guess people love chocolate and espresso….I know I sure do! The almonds give them such moisture and flavor, while the applesauce makes them incredibly soft and lighter than air!

I had previously posted these back when I first started the blog. A few bloggers have made them and posted about them. This is one of the very few recipes where I use a dry sweetener, I typically use maple syrup. So, when Xylitol Canada contacted me to do a review on their Xylitol sweetener, I happily accepted. Theirs is not derived from corn, like many Xylitol makers, but rather from hardwood trees and is gluten-free and gmo-free. I wanted to use a recipe where I could swap out my usual organic granulated sugar for part Xylitol, to make a good comparison. This way I could tell if adding the Xylitol would alter the taste.

I’ve always been resistant towards sugar substitutes. My favorite sweetener is pure maple syrup…it is delicious, all natural and minimal processing. I’ve tried other sweeteners like stevia and was very disappointed with a lingering, unpleasant aftertaste. Stevia, quite frankly, I think is disgusting. So, I was skeptical of Xylitol. They asked for my honest review and feedback. Immediately upon receiving it I tasted it and was shocked, it tastes just like sugar, with a mild cooling taste to it…as in temperature cool. Fortunately, it had no chemical or weird, lingering taste.

After speaking with them and doing some research, it is not recommended to have more than 50 grams a day (about 3 tablespoons) for adults and no more than 20 grams for children. It is a sugar alcohol and isn’t absorbed by the body the way regular sweeteners are, which makes it better for diabetics. Too much can cause gas or bloating, so that is why one should use caution not to use too much of it. Start out with a teaspoon in your tea or coffee and go from there. Also, it is very dangerous or fatal for dogs! So, don’t share it with your pups!

The result? The cookies tasted the same…it didn’t alter the awesome taste at all. Since, it wasn’t ALL xylitol, it was fine. Me being paranoid though, I wouldn’t eat too many cookies in one day, as to not have any side effects. I will still stick with using maple syrup most of the time, because that’s what I do and love. But for people who want a sugar-free alternative…this could work for them if they like it and have no side effects. They also offer coconut sugar, as you can see above. I REALLY want some of that….I love to bake with coconut sugar too.

Chocolate Espresso Almond Cookies

Recipe: Makes 20-22 cookies  Prep time: 15 mins  Bake time: 10 mins


  • *3/4 heaping cup raw whole almonds
  • *3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
  • *1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice (or 3/4 cup if not using Xylitol)
  • *1/4 cup Xylitol
  • *1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
  • *1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • *1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
  • *2 teaspoons fine quality ground espresso powder, not instant (I LOVE Illy & recommend it for this recipe. It can be found at most grocery stores)
  • *1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce (for a richer cookie, you can sub the 2 tablespoons for your oil of choice but everybody loves these with all applesauce)
  • *1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
  • *1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • *3/4 cup dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips

Note: I do not recommend subbing the pastry flour with all purpose flour, I’ve done this and it makes the cookies drier. Pastry flour gives the best, most tender result.


Preheat an oven to 375 degrees and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. I don’t recommend using a silpat, as they tend to stick and not bake as perfect as they do on the parchment paper.

Grind the almonds in a food processor until a flour forms, should take less than a minute. Make sure to measure 1 cup afterwards. Add the ground almonds along with the next 6 dry ingredients (not the espresso) and whisk well. In a separate small bowl or mug, combine the espresso with the wet ingredients (applesauce, lemon juice and vanilla). It is important to measure accurately, leveling the applesauce off with your finger, as just a tad too much will make the cookies spread too much. Now, add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until all incorporated. It will seem like there isn’t enough liquid, trust me, keep stirring. The batter should be thick. If it seems too wet, you may have added just a bit too much of applesauce. If so, add just a bit more of almond flour so that it is thick. That is the nature of almond flour, it will begin to absorb all the liquid. Drop by spoonfuls using a melon scooper or large spoon. A scooper will give more even shapes, but totally not necessary. Do not spread out the dough. Sprinkle extra sugar/Xylitol on top, if desired. Bake for 10 minutes. Let them cool on the pan for 10 minutes and transfer to cool completely on a rack. Enjoy!

These are even my husband’s favorite cookies and if y’all remember, he isn’t a big fan of chocolate….so what does that tell you?! That you need to make them!

You can check out their websites below.



Xylitol Canada provided me with the above products for review and recipe development, however all opinions expressed are my own.

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Categories: Chocolate, Sweet Treats, VEGAN, VEGETARIAN


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35 Comments on “Chocolate Espresso Almond Cookies and Xylitol Sweetener Review”

  1. May 20, 2013 at 5:19 PM #

    Ooh yum Brandi these look fabulous!!! Right up my cakey cookie-loving alley 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts on xylitol–I was actually JUST looking for it at Whole Foods last night, but I’m kind of glad now that I gave up on finding it because as sort of awesome as it sounds, the fact that it has side effects if you eat more than that relatively small amount sounds a little scary. I think I’ll stay away from it for now. So thanks!! 🙂

    • May 20, 2013 at 5:29 PM #

      Thank you Erika! These are definitely fluffy/cakey and are SO SOFT and robust with flavor! I know a few people who use Xylitol regularly and are totally fine with it. You’d probably be fine with small amounts, but yeah, one should just start out with a small amount. I’m so paranoid, that I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to do the whole recipe with Xylitol, lol! 🙂

  2. May 20, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

    Xylitol is a good sweetener, I totally agree about Stevia, yuck, the same for other artificial sweeteners. I would rather do without. I have to make these cookies, I saw this recipe before it went on the back burner and I am so glad to see it again.

    • May 21, 2013 at 5:59 AM #

      Thank you so much Suzanne! Yeah, I definitely like my maple syrup, but this is a great sugar-free alternative for those who want to try something that actually tastes like sugar.

  3. May 21, 2013 at 12:45 AM #

    I have yet to try Xylitol,Brandi;I don’t trust many sweeteners either and aspartame gives me terrible headaches, so I trust that even less,(if that is possible!). Gotta love espresso powder for baking.My niece,(and former business partner when we had our bakery/restaurant) makes incredible biscotti with it. You cookies sound wonderful.I think the maple syrup would add to it, even though I usually stay away from too many flavors.This is on my ‘to-try’ list.

    • May 22, 2013 at 6:35 PM #

      Thank you Tonette! Aspartame is artificial and definitely dangerous…I’d stay far away!

      • May 26, 2013 at 4:22 PM #

        Aspartame gives me immediate headaches, even with a mistaken sip of diet soda. I already have Lupus; I have heard that if aspartame does not actually cause lupus, it will trigger in people who are predisposed.Bad stuff.

  4. May 21, 2013 at 5:58 AM #

    Those cookies look delicious and the photos make me want grab one right away. Thanks for the review on xylitol, I am kind of skeptical using sweeteners primarily because of the media. what is good today turns out to be terrible in few weeks. So I try and stick to sugar and maple syrup in moderate quantities.

    • May 22, 2013 at 6:36 PM #

      I agree…maple syrup is natural, practically unprocessed and does not make me feel weird afterwards. I agree…all these other sweeteners have so many different opinions every other week!

  5. May 21, 2013 at 6:24 AM #

    I love Xylitol! The rest are all just cancer sticks in my opinion

    • May 25, 2013 at 8:23 PM #

      Any sweetener in excess is bad, whether “natural” or not! So, controlling it is important! 🙂

  6. May 21, 2013 at 7:43 AM #

    Brandi, thanks for introducing this great product although I’ll still prefer maple syrup for now 🙂

  7. May 21, 2013 at 4:03 PM #

    What a great review!! I’m glad you liked it. I used the rest of mine the other day in some more chocolate chip cookies, and I DID notice some gas haha. That’s what I get for eating too many cookies. These cookies look great.

  8. May 21, 2013 at 4:24 PM #

    It’s funny how people say Stevia has a terrible lingering aftertaste, I don’t taste it at all – but maybe that’s cause I have been using it for so long? lol

    • May 22, 2013 at 6:40 PM #

      Oh, yeah possibly, lol! I think it’s awful!! Do you use the powdered white stuff or drops? I’ve heard they taste different…

      • May 22, 2013 at 7:57 PM #

        I use both depending on what I am using them for. I think the liquid is great in iced coffee 🙂 I use NuNaturals. I have a feeling it all depends on the brands!

      • May 23, 2013 at 5:21 PM #

        Ok, I will definitely have to try the NuNaturals. Thanks girl!

  9. May 21, 2013 at 4:51 PM #

    I can’t wait to try this recipe, Brandi. Is it the one you commented on in my “can’t we all get along cookies” post that you said people would post but not credit to you? I can see why it’s so popular – it looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for being so honest about xylitol. While I really should use sugar substitutes, given the crazy amounts of dessert I make, a lot of them scare me, or like Stevia, leave such a weird taste that I won’t use them. I like your idea of using maple syrup as your go-to sweetener. Natural all the way, baby!

    • May 22, 2013 at 6:42 PM #

      Yes, Nancy! This is the one! I was so upset I removed the old recipe for quite awhile. I obviously have now posted it again…oh well…I realized that if I’m going to have a food blog, I can’t control what others do. I just have to believe in the whole karma thing and keep doing what I love 🙂
      I hope you love them if you try them!!

  10. May 21, 2013 at 11:50 PM #

    I would love to try X my friend (it is so hard to spell) you review beautifully and love the recipe!

    Choc Chip Uru

  11. May 24, 2013 at 8:51 AM #

    I have nominated you for the Versatile blogger award.See the details on my blog.Congratulations.I have nice weekend ,my dear.

  12. May 31, 2013 at 8:58 AM #

    I had never heard of this alternative sweetener before so I must look for it! Like you, I don’t like stevia at all,…and I am also in love with coconut blossom sugar! 🙂 Your cookies are another must make! They look absolutely beautiful just like you, inside & out! 🙂 xxx

  13. May 31, 2013 at 11:07 AM #

    These look amazing Brandi. Lovely and fudgey. Xylitol sounds interesting. I’ve seen it in the bakery aisle often and have been curious about it. We eat A LOT of beans and lentils though – I’d worry about adding to the natural gas build-up in our house.

    • June 1, 2013 at 8:39 PM #

      Hahaha! Yes, too much gas is not a good thing! Thanks girl! They are very fudgy and my favorite dessert I’ve ever made 🙂

  14. June 1, 2013 at 8:05 AM #

    Hi Brandi How are you doing ? Your photos as always look so good and that is equal to your recipes too… We are making right here right now a vegan baked cherry and blueberry cheesecake with Xylitol… I too have stevia which I do not mind however some people have said it is slightly bitter after taste !!! Great recipe !!

    • June 1, 2013 at 8:38 PM #

      Thank you so much Thom! I’m doing great! Oh, that cheesecake sounds fabulous! I’ve heard the stevia Nunaturals liquid drops taste much better. I will have to try those!

  15. June 1, 2013 at 10:02 PM #

    Yum! These look so good!

  16. crustabakes
    June 16, 2013 at 10:58 AM #

    You’ve really convinced me to use xylitol! I hope i can get my hands on them here in Indonesia!

  17. June 19, 2013 at 6:15 PM #

    Lovely cookies – glad you are sharing them again since they include two of my favorite flavors. I also received a Xyla sample and have been baking with it to much success. And like you, I generally bake with either maple syrup or maple sugar – but it’s been fun to test out something new. Thanks for the heads up on the side effects! I’ll keep a check on my intake ;-).


  1. Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins for a #Xylitol Sweetener Review | gotta get baked - July 10, 2013

    […] She cooks mostly vegetarian foods and all of her recipes are to die for. She made these incredible chocolate espresso almond cookies that I’ve been meaning to try and she used Xylitol in them. I commented on her post and Xylitol […]

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