Wholesome Honey-Sweetened Dried Blueberry + Chocolate Snack Cookies

I’ve had this post in my drafts for at least a month now, just waiting to be shared. I haven’t been happy with the photos, and haven’t found myself just sitting down to write in quite some time. But here I am now, sitting to write, on my second (or third?) cup of coffee , and getting over the fact that I don’t love the photos so that I can finally share this recipe that I love so much with you.

Let me tell you about how these little cookies came to be.

Greg and I are not big dessert eaters (well, he isn’t – I love dessert but don’t make it, otherwise I’d eat it all) but we are big snack eaters. I always like to have healthy snacks on hand for times when we just want something before the next meal, or, for times like right now, when I’m just not ready for breakfast yet but my coffee is starting to get to me (just ate one of these cookies). I usually go with some sort of homemade granola bar or something similar (lately, I have been on a healthy banana bread kick). 

Right around this time last year, I made these no-bake almond + peanut butter energy bites. We were consuming those for a long time, but then I started switching it up to more of a baked granola bar because we need something that will hold up for long periods of time without being refrigerated. The energy bites are so good, but they do tend to get crumbly when not refrigerated. 

A few months ago, I was making Sally’s berry vanilla cashew snack bars and was mixing the wet ingredients for that recipe. The combo is: honey, vanilla extract, almond meal, salt and almond butter (I also added some almond extract because I love it). After I mixed that together, I got a spoon, tried a little bit, and thought it tasted like cookies. And it was healthy! I was in love with that combo of ingredients. I sat with those thoughts for a few weeks, did some experimenting and came up with the recipe you see today. I combined those wet ingredients with oats, walnuts, dried fruit and chocolate. So while I am calling these cookies, they are really like granola bars, in a cookie shape, because why not? They are healthy enough to be a wholesome snack, yet in my opinion, delicious enough to be a healthy dessert if that is what you’re looking for. 

Let me break the recipe down a bit:

The oats, walnuts and almond flour: I know that using all three of these is a little high maintenance, but I really like the flavor and texture that using all three brings. We keep the oats and walnuts a little more coarse while the almond meal is more fine and soft, providing great contrast of texture throughout the cookies.

The almond butter: I list almond butter in the ingredient list but I have made this recipe using plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter, sunflower seed butter and a combination! I feel confident that any type of nut butter would work with this recipe, just keeping in mind the changes in taste. 

The dried blueberry + chocolate: This flavor combo was inspired by my childhood obsession with chocolate covered blueberries. I still love the combo, but haven’t had one of those (suspiciously purple) chocolate covered blueberries in years! I have also made these cookies with the following combos: dried cranberry + chocolate, dried cranberry + dried blueberry + dried apricot, plain dried cranberry. They are all good, and I feel confident that so many other combinations would be good, too. Experiment a little, find what you like.

If you are looking for a wholesome, homemade snack, I hope that you will give these a try. I love these little snack cookies and I hope that you get to make them and love them, too!

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Wholesome Honey-Sweetened Dried Blueberry + Chocolate Snack Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rolled oats
  2. 3/4 cup walnuts
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. 1 cup almond meal
  5. 2 tablespoons almond butter*
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  10. 1/3 cup chocolate**
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the oats to a food processor and process until coarsely ground. You don't want them to be fine, or whole, but somewhere in between. Add the walnuts and pulse several times, just to lightly chop the walnuts. You want some texture to remain. Add oat mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the chocolate to the food processor and process until broken into little bits. Add the blueberries and pulse several times, to break them up a bit.*** Add chocolate mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the honey, almond meal, almond butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Whisk together until smooth. Mixture will be thick - that's okay. Add the oat mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until very well combined and no dry bits remain. Add the chocolate + blueberry mixture and stir well. I usually go in with my hands and almost "smash" the ingredients together, ensuring that the chocolate + blueberries get fully incorporated into the cookie dough.****
  5. If time allows, refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.*****
  6. Using a spoon, scoop out some dough, and using your hands, roll it into a tight ball. Place on a baking sheet and gently flatten the top of the cookie just a bit. The cookies will not change shape in the oven - whatever shape they go in, is how they will come out. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are rolled out and evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When cookies are done, they will still be soft but will smell amazing and will be golden brown on the bottom.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. * Use any nut butter that you desire. I have used plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter and sunflower seed butter.
  2. ** Use any type of chocolate that you like. Milk, dark, chips or a bar, I think so much could work here.
  3. *** You don't necessarily have to do this, I just like the add-ins to be small in size. You could also just chop your chocolate if you don't have a food processor.
  4. **** Once everything is mixed together, if dough is too dry, add some additional honey, if dough is too wet, add some whole rolled oats. Dough will be just right when you can form the cookies easily with your hands.
  5. ***** Refrigerating the dough is not necessary, but if time allows, will help the dough to stay together better.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/

Nourishment Lately 3.31.16

1-2{All the way back to 3.8.16. One of the very first warm evenings, from our back porch. The best ever happy hour.}

Hi everyone! I’m excited to be sharing a new Nourishment Lately with you today. I have been doing a lot of cooking, but I haven’t been trying a ton of new recipes, like I was regularly in winter. I wanted to pop in today though to talk about food and share a little of what has been nourishing us over the last few weeks.

This shrimp chowder with veggies + vodka sauce. Soup season is not yet over, and I am determined to make soup as much as possible until it officially warms up. This recipe is an old favorite and both Greg and I were craving it several weeks ago. So on a chilly Saturday, after running some errands, we went to a local brewery, got a growler fill, then came home and made a double batch of this soup. Perfect evening. The large batch of soup was delicious and gave us lots and lots of leftovers. We changed it up a bit from the published recipe – for a double batch, we used two yellow onions, a ton of carrots and celery (didn’t count, but we wanted to it be really hearty), one green pepper, two garlic cloves, 3/4 pound shrimp, 1.5 pounds cod, two jars of vodka sauce, a ton of veggie broth (probably 6-7 cups), salt, pepper, dried oregano and smoked paprika. It was the best. The smoked paprika was a good addition. It made it a bit more spicy, but we loved it!

This kale salad. Something else I have been craving lately – salad like crazy. Kale salad has made an appearance on our dinner plates several times over the last few weeks. The kale salad I make is based off of the recipe linked, but I use the lemon Dijon vinaigrette recipe from this post

These broccoli Parmesan fritters. This recipe is an oldie for us, one that we have been making for years. And one that we have been loving for years. Let me tell you, I have tried many times playing around with the recipe, but I’ve determined that it is just too good as written to mess around with. I don’t recommend making any changes. Few, simple ingredients are the best!

This pizza margherita. I was so hungry for pizza last week so I thought it would be nice to do homemade pizza Friday night. When Greg and I make homemade pizza, we usually go wild with toppings. We put on more toppings than the pizza can hold and we try to be super creative with topping combinations. I told him that I hoped he didn’t mind, but for last Friday, I was craving something extremely simple. This pizza is seriously the best. Just sauce (made out of canned tomatoes, salt and olive oil), fresh mozzarella cheese, a little bit of fresh basil and a little drizzle of olive oil. Greg said that was the best homemade pizza we’ve ever made and I definitely agree. I already can’t wait to make this recipe again. It really is the dishes with the fewest, simplest ingredients that are the best.

This quick pizza dough. This is the crust that I used for our pizza last Friday night. I was so happy with how it turned out. I didn’t have a lot of time, and this recipe is perfect for that. I did change it up just a little from the recipe. I mixed the dough in my food processor (so easy!), then placed the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise for an hour while we did some stuff around the house. After the hour, I punched down the dough (it hadn’t risen that significantly), divided in two and let it rest for another 20 minutes, while we prepped the rest of the ingredients. I started the dough at 5:30 p.m. and we were eating homemade pizza by 8 p.m. To me, that is awesome and I will most certainly be making this recipe again!

The First Blossoms of 2016, Part I

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:
when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
-Charles Dickens

It is officially that time of the year around here, and I love it. It means that good and warm things are on their way. And, it’s blossom time.

AKA, the time of the year where I will, for better or worse, fill my blog with photos of fruit trees in bloom (see last year’s post here). I can’t help it though, this is all just too beautiful to not share.

Today I’m sharing some photos of the very first little blossoms to show up. These photos were captured on a Thursday evening, an evening that perfectly reflected the Dickens quote at the top, driving around the orchards with Greg. A perfect evening. We drove around, I captured photos, we enjoyed the sun and then watched it begin to set. On an evening like that, I’m as happy as can be.

Here’s to many more evenings like that one, enjoying and capturing what is beautiful.

P.S. Stay tuned for many more blossom photos. I am sharing half of my photos from that evening today, and I’ll post the other half tomorrow. But there will be more, this is just the beginning of blossom time. Also, these are apricot trees!

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