Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe

Nikki’s Healthy Cookie Recipe

If you're skeptical that healthy cookies can be delicious, this recipe will convince you otherwise. I keep in touch with one of my best friends from high school. Her name is Nikki and she lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and four kids. Four! She's an inspired cook who can throw a meal together on a whim from a refrigerator she keeps packed with all manner of whole, natural foods. She's an enthusiastic supporter of local growers and producers and regularly sends me emails highlighting recent cooking triumphs and trials. A few months back she emailed me her healthy cookie recipe. Butter-less, flour-less, egg-less, and potentially sugar-less cookies, I promptly filed it under "can't possibly be good." How wrong I was.

A Healthy Cookie Recipe that Doesn't Disappoint

When I made a trip to Philadelphia a few weeks back and spent the day with Nikki the topic of the "healthy cookies" was revisited. Nikki mounted a compelling argument for these banana-battered treats, and I quickly bumped them to the top of my to-do list. My only regret is that I didn't try them sooner. The shredded coconut gives each cookie a hint of macaroon-esque texture, the oats lend heartiness, and melted chocolate chunks deliver bursts of dark, intense richness. You get just enough golden crustiness where the cookies touch the pan to play off the tender coconut-flecked center of the rest of the cookie.

Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe

Wayne and his brother Greg drove me out to see Nikki in Kennett Square, and for those of you who find yourself in the area I'll list off a few of the places Nikki took me to visit that day. First thing in the morning, on the drive out, we stopped off at Terrain at Styers. I bought enough that my suitcase barely squeaked under the fifty pound mark on the flight home - I should also thank Terrain for stocking my book! With Nikki we made the short drive from her house to Va La Vineyards, and then onto an organic mushroom grower to pick up a case of portobellos (which we would throw on the grill later). We hit "downtown" Kennett Square and I got a coconut popsicle at La Michoacana before hitting up their wonderful farmers' market (more on this later), on to Talula's Table, and then back to Nikki's house for an impromptu feast with the kids and a few of Nikki's wonderful friends.

Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe

Three of Nikki's four kids in a tree at the Kennett Square Farmers' Market, and a collection of birdhouses at Terrain at Styers

Give the cookies a try and let me know if you like them as much as I did.

Nikki's Healthy Cookie Recipe

3.81 from 51 votes

You can use unsweetened carob, or grain sweetened chocolate chips, or do what I did and chop up 2/3 of a bar of Scharffen berger 70%. I sort-of shaved half the bar with a knife and then cut the rest into bigger chip-sized chunks. You can make your own almond meal by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with almond butter. 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.

Ingredients
  • 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 (or alternately, olive oil)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup coconut finely shredded & unsweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, 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. 

  2. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Serves
36
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Comments

  • Just found this recipe! Looks amazing. I am in England and over here almond meal would be called just ground almonds. Thanks Nikki and Heidi!

    CATE
  • Is Kennet not a foodie paradise? A shame you missed the mushroom festival. Thanks for the inspiration to get to Terrain. I'm usually so stuck on Talulah's I don't get much further! And thanks for the excellent use for bananas!

    MemeGRL
  • Wow this is such an exciting idea! Truly guilt-free, all-natural cookies. I thought this was impossible!! I can't wait to give it a try...

    Lizzie
  • Wow this is such an exciting idea! Truly guilt-free, all-natural cookies. I thought this was impossible!! I can't wait to give it a try...

    Lizzie
  • They look delicious, but i don't know if they would work as well with olive oil - i think you need the solidity of coconut oil when it cools to help hold them together. By the way coconut ol is a saturated fat but it doesnt act like an animal sat fat when its in the body so doesn't raise cholesterol, its great for energy!

    Liz
  • These look delicious, I'll have to try them as is and with a granola mix. Some notes though, almond meal has 14g fat per oz, and a single banana has 27.5grams of sugar, so while not entirely guilt free, these look to be absolutely delicious.

    Kitty
  • What are your thoughts on canola oil to replace the coconut oil? Since coconut oil solidify, does the olive oil change the texture of the cookies? Is coconut high in saturated fat for someone who is watching their cholesterol? Thanks for your response! HS: I never cook or bake with canola oil. For a host of reasons I cover in my book.

    D
  • Oh my! Can not wait to try this out!

    Toni
  • Perhaps oat bran instead of almond meal? (I'm also allergic to tree nuts) If I try it I'll let you know how it turns out!

    Suzanne
  • MMMMmmm! so whipping up a batch first thing tomorrow on my rainy day off!!!!

    Hollie Sloan
  • Yea! another gluten-free cookie recipie that is actually healthy! THANKYOU!

    Susan
  • Anne, You can substitute the bananas with applesauce with good results. Replace the chocolate with raisins, use olive oil instead of coconut, and skip the vanilla. Sometimes I throw in a dash of freshly ground nutmeg for fun. These aren't quite as sweet, depending on the variety of applesauce you use. This recipe is so highly adaptable. I can't even remember who gave me the original, but everyone I've shared it with has changed it to their liking. It's one of those ever-evolving recipes. So fun! P.S. Thanks Mom!

    Nikki
  • Oh yum! Now to get my oven back to functioning so I can make these.

    Pam
  • You and Nik have certainly come a long way! Whenever we visit our family in PA, we are astonished at the local cuisine, as well as, the artistic adventure our daughter has taken into the realm of gourmet, natural, whole foods and her inspirational new recipes. We always leave a little heavier and a lot happier. The both of you have not ceased to amaze us. I am so glad you finally got a chance to hook up in her kitchen! Aren't my grandkids the most wonderful kids on this planet! Mimi Vecchiarelli, Nikki's Mom HS: It was GREAT to see Nikki in PA! And I can't wait for our next west coast reunion :) xoxo -h

    Rebecca VECCHIARELLI
  • This sounds amazingly scrumptuous but I really hate bananas. Do you 1) taste them in the final product and 2) Is there anything I could substitute them with? Thank you for the insight :)

    Anne
  • These sound fantastic and right up my alley, however I'm allergic to tree nuts, any suggestions for what I could replace the almond meal with?

    amystery
  • Re: almond meal - the head notes tell you how to make it from almonds.

    Heidi
  • Almond meal? Is this very finely chopped/ground almonds or what is this? Anything I can substitute it with?

    Brenda
  • I'd love to try this out! I feel guilty feeding cookies with high sugar and fat to my son. I'm living in Malaysia and have been reading your blog for years. A question, what is almond meal?

    azlin
  • These look so deliciously yummy I can't wait to make them!

    Allison
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