Healthful Double Chocolate Cookies

Healthful Double Chocolate Cookies

A lot of people have baked these cookies over the past decade. People love them because they're free of any added refined sugar, egg-free, no butter, and gluten-free. They're studded with generously with chocolate, and they're fantastic. The number one question related to them is how to make them nut-free - so kids can take them to school. I took a trip to Tucson last week (I'll post the video soon :), and took the opportunity to remix the recipe. The originals are favorite travel snacks, and I was confident that experimenting with a chocolate version wouldn't be a bad idea. The new version is double chocolate (chips and cacao), and made with crushed sunflower seeds, in place of almond meal. Enjoy! -h


Healthful Double Chocolate Cookies

Healthful Double Chocolate Cookies

Healthful Double Chocolate Cookies

You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips, or do what I did and chop a bar of 70% dark chocolate. You can make your own crushed sunflower seeds in a mortar and pestle or by in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with sunflower seed butter. Ground pepitas will also work in this recipe. And lastly, the coconut oil works beautifully here, just be sure to warm it a bit - enough that it is no longer solid, which makes it easier to incorporate into the bananas. If you have gluten allergies, seek out GF oats. You can watch a video of this recipe here.

2-3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup ground sunflower seeds
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, sunflower seeds, cacao powder, shredded coconut, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 1 - 2 tablespoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 13 - 15 minutes. Until golden on the bottoms.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 15 min

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Looks like my son might even eat those! If we prefer almond meal, how much of it to replace the crushed sunflower seed?

HS: Hi Susan! No problem, use the same amount - a straight swap.


Can regular, unsweetened cocoa powder replace the cacao? What is the difference between the two?

HS: Hi Jessica, you can use whatever cocoa or cacao powder you like here.


Hi Heidi! I love this :) May I ask you what scoop number you use to make the cookies? Thanks!!

HS Thanks Laura - I think it's about 3 tablespoons-ish....


If my little is adverse to bananas or we may not have handy at the moment, what is a good substitute (no food allergies)?

HS: Hi Betsy, this one is a bit tricky because of the volume and consistency of the banana...I'll have to think on it a bit, but my sense is a swap might not work here. :/


I can't do rolled oats - do you have any suggestions for a good substitute? Flour is fine for me!

HS: Hi Adda! - keep an eye out for other rolled grains - I've seen rolled quinoa, rolled rye, rolled barley, etc...

Adda Birnir

These look delicious! I'm excited to try them. Oh, and thank you so much for writing "healthful," not "healthy!" ;)


The cookies look big. Would it be a problem to make them a quarter of the size?

HS: Hi Kelsey, you can make them any size you like, just adjust the baking time accordingly - smaller cookies will bake a bit faster.

Kelsey Lane

I think my 2 year old son would love these! Do you think the dough would freeze ok?

HS: Hi Charlotte - yes, absolutely!

Charlotte Rolt

Just wanted to stop in and say that I made these last night, and they are delicious. Super easy, too. Thanks!


Is there a sub you recommend for coconut oil? Thanks.


Is there any substitute for the coconut? My other half is allergic to all nuts, plus coconut.


These look amazing. I've made something similar without the sunflower seeds and with the addition of oat flour. I'll be trying these as soon as my bananas ripen!


I tripled checked the recipe, since there was no sweetener in these. I proceeded, thinking perhaps the 6 ounces of chocolate would compensate. These are good, but not quite sweet enough for us. I think they are worth tweaking to our tastes, and I will repeat with the addition of a bit of coconut or brown sugar!


Wondering if pumpkin .or applesauce could be substituted, in reference to Betsy's question? I often trade out based on what's available and ripe at home.


Would another kind of oil work?


Yum! I've just eaten three. Super fun to make with my 3-year-old, too! The mortar and pestle and banana-mashing steps were particularly thrilling.
Oh, and my son says to tell you the chocolate chips were really good. ;)


Made them with cocoa nibs ground to make "powder." With the addition of dark chocolate, they're plenty sweet. Without chocolate, the bananas lend a very slight sweetness. I doubled the recipe and everything worked fine but a bit too salty (we're pretty low salt). Will make again.


I love the addition of video to your already wonderful blog. You asked for recipe requests. Quinoa walnut cookies, spinach chop, pomegranate glazed eggplant with tempeh, miso curry delicate squash, to name just a few? Thank you.


Recipe worked great. So yummy for that late afternoon chocolate craving. Thanks Heidi!

Tarah M

These double chocolate cookies are delicious! Followed the recipe exactly, except made them a bit smaller (more cookies!), used 1 cup of Enjoy Life dark chocolate chunks, flavour is great!


Looks so delicious!


I really enjoyed making these: after watching the gem video, I thought of travel as I assembled them. (On the topic of misc. media posts: also a fan of the HK/Making a Cookbook post from before and your appreciation of the publishers there - shout out to my childhood city!) Re. the video production: since the recipes have been simple, it occurred to me you might consider a special label on the blog/youtube channel for those recipes that use easy-to-find ingredients and simple appliances (e.g. mortar and pestle, yaay). Perhaps it could be called the "101"s of 101? This site remains such a treasure, thank you.

HS:Thanks Greta~! I'm trying to think through how to organize them, so thank you for your feedback :)


Thank you so much for this recipe! I'm curious about the role of the baking powder since the cookies don't seem to rise? I'm so excited to have another use for ripe bananas!


I made these Saturday and shared them with others yesterday. They were enjoyed! One person asked for me to share the recipe. I can certainly do that, but I want to know how you crush the sunflower seeds. For your recipe for pesto, you indicate that you use a mortar and pestle. I have been able to use that quite well for making pesto and for making aioli. However, when I used this method for the sunflower seeds, it took me more than an hour. So which method of crushing do you use for making these cookies?

HS: Hi Kelsey! Yes, I use a mortar and pestle, and it shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes - yikes, maybe they were stale. :/ Alternately, a bit of pulsing in a food processor or with a hand blender should do the trick.

Kelsey Lane

I made these with pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds (a delightful mistake that worked out). YUM.

Frances Darwin

Hi, Heidi,
I want to prepare this nice cookies. Do you know the ingredients in gramm?

HS: Apologies Barbara - I didn't have a chance to weigh out the ingredients this time around.


These are baking right now. Thanks for posting. Love that it's vegan.


I just made these and put everything in the food processor except oats and chocolate chips. Didn't even grind the sunflower seeds first. They turned out great! Even my daughter and her friend liked them and wanted seconds. Usually she doesn't like my "healthy" treats. This will be in regular rotation at our house.

Ariel Tindolph

Would both natural and Dutch process cocoa work here? Heidi, do you have a preference for type and brand?

HS: Hi Pat - I use natural - Navitas Natural cacao powder for this batch...


I think you could use unsweetened applesauce for the oil - I haven't seen her reply to that question yet. It would be a little more sticky but should be a straight swap. I make a version of these all the time without the oil -- bananas, applesauce and eggs - so I guess if you can't do dairy, you wouldn't use the eggs, but that's my bit. :)


In response to Betsy's question about a banana substitute...I wonder if mashed white beans would work with a bit of sweetener thrown in? I might have to give that a try--I'm not allergic, but do not care for the flavor of bananas in my baked goods. Btw, I just made your coconut red lentil soup for Soup Friday with my colleagues and it was a hit! xo

HS: It might! I'd love to hear how it goes :)!


I just LOVE your healthy & healthful recipes Heidi. Some creations have become regular items in our diet and some of your recipes & books have been added to my library. One question about these cookies that has not been addresses in the comments: are these soft or crunchy cookies? Thanks again.

HS: Hi Cheryl, they're definitely not on the crunchy side of the spectrum.


What a great recipe without having to use any sugar!!!! - thanks so much. Most cookies are way too sweet as we are just so used to it. I'm going to make some right now. Linda from Canada


These look amazing! I would love to send a batch to my son who is currently deployed. Mail takes about 3 weeks to get to him, and he has no way to refrigerate things. Any idea on how long these will keep? I love your website and all the fantastic recipes (and photographs) you post.

HS: Thank you for the kind note Barbara! To be honest, these cookies are definitely on the moist side, and I think you'd be better off with more of a shortbread cookie for a special long-distance package like this one. I love these, for example.


These are delicious! I couldn't be bothered grinding sunflower seeds so just subbed it with 1/4 cup flaxmeal and a heaped tablespoon of sunflower seed spread. I only used 100g chocolate as that's all I had on hand (and organic dark chocolate is expensive!). Also used 1 cup quinoa flakes and 1 cup gluten free oats. So yummy and perfect for the kid's lunchboxes (and, let's be honest, my lunchbox too!) Thank you!


Loved the old recipe so had to try these! They were excellent of course 😃 I used flax instead of sunflower seed because it was what I had, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. In the past (for the older recipe) I've used olive oil instead of coconut oil and it works fine.


Just wondering what could be substituted for shredded/dessicated coconut which I loathe! Seems to be in so many cake recipes now. Thank.s

Abigail Harman

Thank you, Heidi, these are fabulous!


I made these for a health minded group and they were a hit. I found that refrigerating the dough before forming the balls helped. I put a bit of cinnamon in mine and used hazelnut meal instead of the sunflower. I may be tempted to add a wee bit of honey, or coconut sugar next time if I was serving to others. But, for me the lure is finding indulgences that aren't full of sugar.


Since I stumbled onto this recipe, I make these cookies all the time! Everyone I share them with asks for the recipe. They are so delicious and satisfying! I don't know how many folks I've sent to your beautiful website. :-)


Would you consider doing a 'finger food' tag or post? I realized recently I was looking for recipes to make for three different occasions recently: travel, a friend who just had a baby, and a potluck. I realized the thing they all had in common was I wanted something that was good finger food without being too messy. I've found some great recipes (savory and sweet) on your site for this but they are always little surprise finds. Any chance you'd be up for collating? Archives or in the future? Thanks!

HS: Will do Mekayla - or maybe a round-up of sorts!


Hi Heidi, can we use any substitute for coconut flakes here? Thanks

HS: Hi Uma - you can just leave it out if you like.


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