Six weeks ago I was in full fledged holiday baking mode and my mom joined me one evening for some girl time, Baileys and coffee and a semi-professional cookie decorating contest. She won, I think, on account of finishing all her Baileys and half of mine. Touche mom. Touche.
Over the course of a few hours we dipped pretzels in chocolate, sprinkled peppermint on chocolate bark and crowned peanut butter blossoms with a Hershey’s kiss. And you know what happened next? I practically ate a dozen of everything.
I think this is the part where I say, “Hi, my name’s Dana and I have…a cookie problem.”
Good news, though. Since then I haven’t inhaled a tin of chocolate bark, licked gobs of frosting off my fingers or made a game of seeing how many white chocolate pretzel sticks I can stick in my mouth at one time (although, now that I mention it, that sounds like an awesome idea).
And it’s not because I’ve had a deep look inside myself and wrestled the will to take control of my raging sweet tooth. It’s because I haven’t had the junk in in my house. It’s that simple. Junk food makes me feel terrible and I’ve been having an increasingly difficult time ignoring my conscience anytime I’m tempted to put something less-than-wholesome in my mouth. (Is this what they call becoming an adult?)
After all, we only get so many meals in a day and I want to make sure all of mine count, for good.
Lucky for me these cookies are full-on wholesome. They’re vegan, gluten free and contain no added sugar. Just dates, peanuts, oats, almonds and dark chocolate. They also match the likeness of a popular Girl Scout Cookie, only without all the partially hydrogenated what have yous and high fructose devil syrups.
This is pure hippie dessert heaven. The centers are tender, peanut-y and slightly salty thanks to salted, natural peanut butter (I made mine from scratch), and have just a hint of sweetness from a handful of dates. You could certainly leave them as is for a healthy snack, or you could cover them in dark chocolate to elevate them to dessert status.
Besides being simple to make, these little guys stay forever in the freezer so you can pop one out any time you want for an occasional treat. Alternatively, they’d make great gifts wrapped up all pretty – Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, after all.
- 1 cup raw salted peanut butter*
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw peanuts*
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (GF if needed)
- 5 pitted dates, deglet nour or medjool
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz) quality dark or semisweet chocolate (non-dairy for vegan)
- Add your oats to the food processor and mix until small pieces remain. Then add dates and process again until only small bits remain. Remove from processor and set aside.
- Next add almonds and peanuts to the food processor and mix until they turn to meal - a few small chunks are OK.
- Next add peanut butter to the nut meal and pulse until well combined. Then add dates and oats and process until the mixture forms a loose dough. If it seems too wet to handle, add more oats. If it seems too dry, add a few more dates.
- Scoop out small handfuls of dough and form into small discs. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and pop in the freezer to harden for 30 minutes.
- Around the 25-minute mark, melt your dark chocolate over a double boiler. Then work in small batches to coat the cookies. Take only 5 cookies out of the freezer at a time for dipping.
- To dip, drop cookies one at a time into the chocolate, flip once, pick up with a fork and tap on the rim of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place back on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back in the freezer to set.
- Repeat until all cookies are dipped, re-warming chocolate as needed.
- For optimum freshness, store cookies in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer until serving.
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