These super thick gluten free rocky road chocolate cookies are rich double chocolate chip cookies packed with nuts and marshmallows.
These chocolate cookies are thick and fudgy inside, and the bottom has just a hint of crispiness. The cookie dough is much less sweet than you might expect, so the rich chocolate taste and the flavor of the mix-ins really shine.
Even though there’s no melted chocolate in the batter, there’s nearly as much cocoa powder as there is all purpose gluten free flour, which makes for a very chocolatey cookie.
How to make this thick, rich chocolate cookie
I love a one-bowl cookie recipe, but this just isn’t one of them. To make these gluten free rocky road chocolate cookies as thick and rich as they’re meant to be, you’ll need to cream the butter and sugars first before adding the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt).
Beating the butter and sugars, then adding eggs and vanilla and beating to combine incorporates air into the cookies without overworking the flours and ending up with a tougher cookie. The chopped chocolate wafers, nuts, and miniature marshmallows are then mixed in and the dough is ready for chilling in the refrigerator.
Made this way, this cookie dough spreads so little in the oven and holds its shape so well that you can make them any size you like. I’ve made them half the size you see here, into 24 cookies of only about 2-inches in diameter. They took about 9 minutes to bake.
I’ve also made them into tiny little 3/4-inch cookie buttons. Those took just under 8 minutes to bake to perfection.
Why chill the raw dough first?
I know how disappointing it can be when you decide to make a dozen or so drop cookies, and then find that the instructions recommend chilling the dough for an hour or more. Worse, more like 24 hours, like our New York Times-style chocolate chip cookies.
This recipe calls for chilling the just-made cookie dough for at least an hour and up to a few days. You can bake them right away, but I really hope you’ll hold off for at least an hour. At least hear me out? 😬
Chilling the dough helps make these cookies suuuuper thick and the chocolate flavor deep and rich. It gives the flours time to absorb the moisture from the butter and eggs, and makes them more stable during baking.
Plus, chilling the dough allows the dehydrated marshmallows to soften into the dough a bit so that they aren’t crunchy in the cookies after baking and cooling. Since they’ve been freeze-dried, these marshmallows won’t ever become as soft and melty as regular marshmallows (and that’s a good thing).
You can even chill the dough for days if you like. The sweet spot actually seems to be 24 hours of chilling the raw, unshaped dough. But once the dough has been in the refrigerator for that long, it will need to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before you are able to scoop it properly into rounds.
Don’t chill the dough again before it goes into the oven, after the cookies have been individually shaped. I’ve put the dough in the oven nearly cold, and nearly at room temperature, and it doesn’t seem to affect the outcome at all.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: The main source of dairy in these cookies is the 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter. If you’re dairy-free, just be sure that you use dairy-free chocolate wafers.
You should be able to replace the butter with Melt brand or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter. I don’t recommend using Earth Balance buttery sticks, since they have significantly more moisture than butter so the cookies tend to spread way too much when it’s used to replace butter in cookies.
You can try using half (5 tablespoons) Earth Balance buttery sticks and half (5 tablespoons) Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening, which has almost no moisture.
Egg-free: Since these cookies have only 2 eggs, you may be able to make them successfully using one “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) for each egg. I haven’t tried this, though, so you’ll have to experiment.
Nuts: Rocky road is typically made with a mixture of chocolate, almonds, and marshmallows. For these cookies, although I love chopped almonds, I usually reach for chopped roasted (unsalted) peanuts.
I always have roasted unsalted peanuts on hand for making our favorite copycat Larabars. Since the chocolate wafers in these cookies tend to be a bit crunchy (unless you’re eating the cookies right out of the oven), I prefer to have the more tender crunch of peanuts to the denser crunch of almonds.
If you prefer another nut, like cashews or pecans, use those. Just keep in mind that all of these nuts have different textures so be sure you want that texture in your cookie. Chopped nuts don’t change texture when baked for only 12 minutes in the oven as part of cookie dough.
Freeze-dried marshmallows: Kraft makes the Jet Puffed brand of miniature dehydrated marshmallows, and they practice truth-in-labeling. If there is a potential allergen source, it will always be listed directly in the ingredients list. You can of course always call the company if you would like further information.
Get Suckered brand is sold on Amazon (that’s an affiliate link, but please shop around) and makes reliably gluten free miniature freeze-dried marshmallows. I buy them somewhat regularly, and love to use them for baking and hot cocoa in the colder months. ⛄️
Chocolate wafers: I often buy bittersweet chocolate wafers from Nuts.com, and they’re great for melting. But for eating, I really prefer Guittard brand, which has been popping up in grocery stores large and small lately.
If you don’t have chocolate wafers, you can, of course, replace them in this recipe with semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. I really like the wafers in this recipe, since they melt in delightful little slivers at different angles all over these thick, rich chocolate cookies.