These cookies are tasty, healthy, gluten-free and vegan. The only issue you might run into is a nut allergy. You can always sub the peanut butter out with additional almond butter if you need to make them peanut-free.
Makes: 40 cookies
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (per batch) or 30 minutes (total)
(What I used is in italics for reference.)
16 oz. dates (Trader Joe's Medjool Dates) or 2 cups packed pre-pitted dates
2 medium ripe bananas
2 tbsp. almond butter (Trader Joe's Raw Almond Butter - Crunchy)
2 tbsp. peanut butter (JIF Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter)
1.5 cups almond meal (Trader Joe's Just Almond Meal)
1.5 cups gluten-free rolled oats (Trader Joe's Rolled Oats)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 cup vegan, gluten-free chocolate chips (Trader Joe's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips)
Extra chocolate chips and sea salt for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Prepare The Dates: Soak the dates for 10 minutes in warm water and then drain. If you have pre-pitted dates, move on to step 2 from here. If you're using dates with pits, peel them after the soak and pinch them in half lengthwise to get the pit out. Rinse the dates out and drain again.
2. Blend: In a food processor, blend the bananas and the prepared dates. Transfer mix to a medium sized bowl.
3. Mix: Add the almond butter, peanut butter, almond meal, rolled oats, vanilla extract, and salt. Give the chocolate chips a rough chop before adding to the batter. Because these cookies are smaller, the rough chop allows the chocolate to incorporate more evenly into the batter. Mix everything until well combined.
4. Chill: Freeze or refrigerate the batter for 10-20 minutes.
5. Scoop & Form: Scoop out 1 tbsp of batter per cookie onto a parchment paper or Silpat lined cookie sheet. The cookies won't expand in the oven, so you can probably fit 20 cookies onto a 1/2 sheet pan sized cookie sheet (shown below). Flatten the tops of the cookies and round the edges. This is the form they will have when they've finished baking, so make them look nice and neat at this stage.
6. Add Topping: If you're like me, a cookie is a great vessel for eating chocolate. I top each cookie with 1-3 chocolate chips. This serves three purposes: 1. It lets people know that they're getting a chocolate chip cookie by ensuring each cookie has visible chocolate chips on top, 2. It helps even out the chocolatey goodness for the poor cookies that didn't get as much in the scooping lottery, and 3. (last but absolutely not least), it adds more chocolate. Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt just before baking.
7. Bake: Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. Let them sit 1-2 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then transfer to a flat surface (like a cutting board with parchment paper on top) to cool completely.
Serve the cookies immediately or store in an airtight container for a couple of days. If you need them to last more than a few days, store in the fridge or separate into batches and freeze some for long-term storage.