Ballerina Baker Jordan Fry’s Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 21, 2024

“I hate when something says ‘gluten-free,’ and it pretends to be something it’s not,” says Jordan Fry, who stopped eating gluten and grain eight years ago to help combat her alopecia. “Don’t tell me that it’s a chocolate chip cookie and then it tastes like cardboard.”

Fry, who left Ballet West in 2021 to focus on her luxury wedding cake business, Ballerina Baker, developed this cookie recipe to fill that gap. She frequently makes them at home with her two daughters, ages 1 and 3, and sends them to the theater with her husband, Ballet West principal Adrian Fry, during show weeks. “If you need that boost of energy before you go out onstage, these are a really good option,” she adds.

Close up view of a tiered wedding cake, with a grey blue fondant and intricate white icing
Detail on a Ballerina Baker cake. Photo by Jenny Quicksall, Courtesy Fry.

From Stage to Bakery

Long before Ballerina Baker was born in 2017, Fry was known at Ballet West for bringing baked goods to the studio for her colleagues to try. “Baking was always my therapy,” she says. “My way to destress from the high anxiety of the dance world.” What started as a way to monetize the work she was already doing—making wedding cakes for her friends, and friends of friends—is now a full-fledged business.

Fry only takes on 12 cakes a year—what she calls “edible works of art”—and flies them to weddings all over the country in a specialized box called a CakeSafe. This year she’s tackling her first two international projects, in Canada and Italy. “I feel like ballet is very similar to baking, where you are trying to achieve perfection, but you still have a lot of artistic freedom and voice within the boundaries of what is set for you,” she says. “I love that about both baking and ballet.”

Fry’s mentor, Maggie Austin, is a former Joffrey Ballet dancer who has made cakes for celebrities, royal weddings, President Obama’s White House Christmas party, and others. “She took me under her wing, and I started studying a lot from her on more intricate sugar work, sugar flowers, and just the artistry of cake decorating,” says Fry. “My brand now is very different from the brand when I started. It’s much more luxury-focused.”

Fry’s chocolate chip cookie dough. Photo by Jordan Fry, Courtesy Fry.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted grass-fed butter, ghee, or dairy-free alternative (“It doesn’t have to be grass-fed,” says Fry, “but it’s a bit more pure and has a higher unsaturated-fat content.” If taking the dairy-free route, Fry recommends Miyoko’s European-Style Plant Milk Butter.)
  • 1/2 cup coconut-palm sugar (Fry prefers this white-sugar alternative—also called coconut sugar—because it’s less refined. She compares its molasses-forward, nutty flavor to that of brown sugar.)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, plus more for sprinkling on top of cookies (Fry loves using Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.)
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (If you’re concerned about gluten or dairy contamination, Fry recommends Enjoy Life brand for both types of chocolate in the cookies.)
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
A child's finger points at a chocolate chip cookie on a black and white plate
Fry’s daughter reaching for a cookie. Photo by Jordan Fry, Courtesy Fry.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. To brown your butter (or butter alternative) on the stovetop, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, occasionally swirling the pan, and allow it to come to a simmer. Once the butter begins to smell nutty and turn light brown in color, remove from the heat.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the browned butter and coconut palm sugar for 2–3 minutes, until smooth and light in color. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, Fry suggests using a hand mixer with the beater attachments.)
  4. Add the maple syrup, egg yolks, and vanilla extract, and beat for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the almond flour, arrowroot starch, and 1/4 tsp sea salt, and beat until incorporated.
  6. Turn the mixer down, and stir in the chocolate chunks and chips.
  7. Using a tablespoon scoop or your hands, roll the cookie dough into roughly golf-ball–sized balls and place them on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space in between.  
  8. Bake for 9–10 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to brown around the edges.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the remaining sea salt, to taste. Let them cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.