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!
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2 tablespoons almond butter*
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried blueberries
- 1/3 cup chocolate**
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.****
- If time allows, refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.*****
- 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.
- 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.
- * Use any nut butter that you desire. I have used plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter and sunflower seed butter.
- ** Use any type of chocolate that you like. Milk, dark, chips or a bar, I think so much could work here.
- *** 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.
- **** 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.
- ***** Refrigerating the dough is not necessary, but if time allows, will help the dough to stay together better.