Dulce de Leche Cashew Cookies (gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar free)

These D E L I C I O U S cookies are quick and easy to make. If you are craving something sweet, or are pressed for time, you can have these cookies ready in just about 30 minutes. Yay!

These cashew cookies are soft and moist. The dough is rolled in chopped cashews which also gives these cookies a great crunch.

The main ingredients for the cookies are raw cashews, almond flour and butter. Of course I use and recommend you purchase a good quality butter made from grass fed cows like the brand Kerrygold (link below).

Butter made from grass fed cows is loaded with healthy fats and vitamins like vitamin A, D and K, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid. If you are sensitive to dairy, a good substitute for butter is ghee.  Ghee, or clarified butter, should not cause any problems because all milk constituents have been removed in the process and it becomes dairy-free.

As for the dulce de leche, this recipe is dairy free and made free of refined, processed sugar. The main ingredients are raw coconut palm sugar and coconut milk. This recipe is a great alternative to traditional dulce de leche or caramel sauces and tastes amazing.

This is by far one of my favorite cookie recipes. So please give these a try and let me know what you think in the comments section below.


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5.0 from 1 reviews
Dulce de Leche Cashew Cookies (gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar free)
Dulce de Leche:
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup raw coconut palm sugar
  • ½ cup coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cups raw cashews
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons raw coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, soften (or Ghee)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Dulce de Leche:
  1. bring the water and coconut palm sugar to a boil stirring the mixture constantly
  2. add the coconut milk, vanilla extract and salt and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly so that it doesn't burn. The mixture will start to thicken and turn darker in color.
  3. allow mixture to cool, then refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling each cookie
  1. preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. using a food processor, pulse ½ cup cashews until you get a fine flour like consistency
  3. coarsely chop the remaining ¼ cup cashews and set aside
  4. in a large bowl, mix together the cashew flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, arrowroot powder and salt
  5. in a separate bowl, whip together the egg, butter and vanilla extract using a hand or electrical mixer
  6. mix wet and dry ingredients together using a rubber spatula. Freeze dough for 20 minutes.
  7. roll chilled dough into balls. I used a medium cookie scoop which is about 1½ tablespoons of dough per ball.
  8. roll each ball in the chopped cashews
  9. using the back of a teaspoon or your thumb, press a thumbprint into the center of each ball
  10. bake cookies until the bottom and edges start to turn brown, approximately 15 minutes
  11. immediately after you remove the cookies from the oven, press the center of each cookie once again, then allow cookies to cool on a wire rack. Don't be alarmed if your cookies look oily. The butter will dry out as the cookies cool. This is what makes the cookies so moist and flavorful.
  12. fill each cookie with prepared dulce de leche and serve

Recipe yields 10 cookies.


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  1. Amy July 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm Reply

    We are dairy free. What would you suggest instead of the butter? Earth Balance shortening sticks? I am not sure if coconut oil would provide enough structure.

    • Faigy July 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm Reply

      I plan on using coconut oil. I sub it in all recipes calling for butter or shortening. I never had a problem.

    • adriana July 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm Reply

      Amy, I have not tried making this recipe using coconut oil and like you, I am not sure it will work. What gives these cookies moisture, consistency and flavor is the butter. Palm shortening might work, but I not sure since I have not used it in this recipe before. Can you have Ghee? Ghee would be a good substitute like I mentioned above. If you decide to use coconut oil, I would melt it first and use maybe 2-4 tbsp plus 1 tbsp of full fat coconut milk.

      • Celeste February 4, 2015 at 5:25 am Reply

        Ghee is butter and obviously not dairy free… If butter provides the core texture and flavour of this recipe then it shouldn’t be tagged as dairy free.

        • adriana February 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm Reply

          Celeste, as I talk about in the info above the recipe, the caramel sauce is dairy free, not the cookie. But Ghee is dairy free even thought it’s made from butter. When you clarify the butter to make ghee you remove the casein in it and it becomes dairy free. Hope this helps.

  2. Faigy July 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm Reply

    Now THAT’S a recipe!
    I think I’m going to make the Dulce de leche with xylitol and maybe some arrowroot to thicken. Also, my husband is allergic to cashews. How much additional almond flour to replace the cashew flour?

    • adriana July 1, 2014 at 1:54 pm Reply

      Hi Faigy, an additional 1/2 cup of almond flour should be good. You can also replace the cashews with macadamia nuts. Please let me know how it turns out.

  3. Elizabeth July 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm Reply


  4. dina July 2, 2014 at 7:09 am Reply

    great healthy cookies. cashews are so good for you!

  5. Uli July 2, 2014 at 10:14 am Reply

    Just a quick question: By almond meal, do you mean ground almonds or do you mean the de-oiled almonds that are kind of by-product of almond oil fabrication?

    • adriana July 3, 2014 at 9:59 am Reply

      Uli, I use blanched almond flour which are made by grinding almonds that have their skin removed first. Above is the link to the one I use and recommend for baking.

  6. corenna November 8, 2014 at 10:07 am Reply

    Can you send nutrition info. My nephew has to be on low carbs due to diabetes.

  7. Necia O'Neill December 5, 2014 at 3:54 am Reply

    Hi, You mention blanched almond flour which I have not been able to find in my local supermarkets. Is there a significant difference between the ground almond flour and the “blanched” version? Also I notice you use coconut milk quite a lot which I would like to use but I hate to open a can for a couple of tablespoons. Is there something you would recommend to replace this with or does the coconut milk last after opening?
    Thanks in advance.

    • adriana December 5, 2014 at 12:53 pm Reply

      Hi Necia, the almond flour you use to bake with makes a huge difference in the final texture. Even blanched almond flour from different brands don’t work the same. I have tested several brands and found that the best brand is by Honeyville or Welbee’s. The brand Bob’s Red Mill on the other hand creates dense, oily baked goods, and they sometimes sink in the middle or don’t cook all the way through. The best place to purchase the almond flour is online through amazon.com or directly through the company’s website.
      As for the coconut milk, when I open the can and use only a small amount, I freeze the can for later use. When I need it again, I allow it to melt in the fridge for a few hours, or I place the can in a saucepan filled with water at low-heat and allow it to slowly melt. Hope this helps.

  8. Necia O'Neill December 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm Reply

    Thanks for the info. I will definitely try your recommendations on the flour, I have experienced some sinking as you mention. And I just had never thought of freezing the coconut milk – that will work a treat for me … very useful idea. Thanks again.

  9. Suhaill March 25, 2015 at 1:43 pm Reply

    What can me used in place of the coconut sugar and milk for the dulce leche? I can’t eat coconut

    • adriana March 25, 2015 at 4:47 pm Reply

      Suhaill, can you have dairy? You could use honey and heavy cream.

  10. Josie April 19, 2015 at 4:34 pm Reply

    Hi! I tried making these cookies and they didn’t quite come out the way they should’ve. I’d like to try my hand at them again but I could use some advice.

    1. The dulce de leche came out with a thick syrup texture (really runny) even though I followed the directions. Did you only keep the syrup on the stove for 10 min or can it stay longer? Should it boil (like a reduction)? Does it thicken in the fridge? I’d be extremely grateful if you could paint a more detailed picture of how you got the consistency.
    2. When I made the dough and removed it from the freezer, it was really sticky and wouldn’t form balls. Is this suppose to happen? I ended up adding some coconut flour and unfortunately it made the cookies pretty dry.

    Thank you so much for any help you can provide!

    • adriana April 20, 2015 at 12:59 pm Reply

      Hi Josie, the fat content of different brands of coconut milk vary and this affects how long you should cook your dulce de leche. I suggest you cook yours longer, until you draw the spatula through the center of the pan and it creates a hole that stays open for a few seconds and then fill back in. Once this happens, remove from the heat and it will continue to harden as it cools. Refrigerating the caramel will make it thicker also and easier to pipe. If you want it to make it even thicker, return it to the stove and cook it for even longer.

      As for the dough being sticky, freeze it for longer until it’s hard and easy enough to handle.

  11. Gabriele April 23, 2016 at 7:21 am Reply

    Just read the comment by Celeste. I have to go dairy-free also. Like many people I have to avoid dairy because of casein. Once you clarify the butter you have omitted the casein.
    I will try this recipe using my homemade clarified butter.

    • adriana April 23, 2016 at 8:09 am Reply

      Thank you Gabriele! Let me know how your cookies turn out. 🙂

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