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

3.9 from 58 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

  • I have every single ingredient in the kitchen and plan on making these tomorrow. After riding out Hurricane Ike, I am ready to get back to something wholesome and natural and comforting.

    Nolan
  • These sound fabulous! I'll have to find some GF oats and give these a try. Maybe I'll make these as holiday cookies around Christmas-time.

    Alison @ Wholesome Goodness
  • I forgot to say that these remind me of Samoas--the Girl Scout cookies--which are the best cookies ever!

    Elaine
  • I made these this evening--with a few alterations. I hate bananas, so I added a bit of peanut butter, applesauce and pureed dates. I did add a teeny, tiny bit of brown rice syrup. I decreased the chocolate to about 4 oz. My 17 y/o daughter, who absolutely HATES "healthy" stuff loved them! Even my mom who is not a cookie lover said they were pretty good.

    Elaine
  • Looks interesting, just a note about coconut oil.Even though it is a saturated oil if you use Virgin coconut oil it does not have the negative cholesterol effects that most saturated oils do. Don't touch hydrogenated coconut oil, you might just as well use butter as it tastes better and has less trans fats.

    anniem
  • This recipe could be a dead ringer for a raw cookie recipe! The main differences would be dehydrating rather than baking, omitting baking powder, and using raw cacao nibs/chips. I think I will even try it this way...Thank you Heidi!

    Julie's Raw Ambition
  • I am going to have to try these...

    sonrie
  • I have been dreaming about how to make a gluten free cookie that is actually reminicient of the kind I used to eat....and I think this is it. I am going to try and substitute buckwheat flakes for the oats(because I am allergic to quinoa). Will post back and let you know my findings.....thank you for posting a recipe for such a wholesome treat. For those of you concerned about coconut oil - you need not be. The stuff is a miracle food. Antiviral, great for candida, and is full of the healthy kind of saturated fat. Sadly, coconut got such bad publicity in the 1970's and 1980's because of the way it was processed (hydrogenated). Pure, unrefined, extra-virgin, raw coconut oil is available at Amazon. Or at your local health food store. I use it in most baking and some high heat cooking because it's smoking point (425 degrees) is much higher than olive oil (325 degrees).

    glutenfreebynature
  • What an intriguing idea! They sound delicious. Thanks for sharing.

    Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet
  • In resonse to "substitution for bananas" --- I think you could mix date puree and applesauce and probably replicate the moistness that bananas provide. Applesauce alone might even work ...

    jrundell
  • I'm another reader who's allergic to tree nuts. I've seen some of y'all mentioning different alternatives, but has anyone actually tried the alternatives yet? Also, I just plain don't like shredded coconut (no problem with the coconut oil). What is its purpose in this recipe and any ideas for alternatives? Or could it just be left out?

    jon
  • Those look absolutely wonderful! I love recipes that prove that healthy treats can be delicious too.

    Erin
  • Wow, I'd file this under "too good to be true" -- and then celebrate when I realized that it's not! I have a whole crew of friends who will like these for one reason or another -- my Celiac friends will be thrilled, as will my vegan pals. Then there are the fats-conscious group -- what a thrilling recipe. Can't wait to prove it not too good to be real.

    Becky and the Beanstock
  • Oh, Heidi! I have never been more excited about one of your recipes! I'd say I'm making these today, but frankly it's supposed to be over a hundred awful degrees here in my part of sunny southern California, so I'm going to have to wait another week or so. Sad. :( Thank you so much for sharing your trip, and your friend, with us!

    Brandi
  • I will definitely try these cookies tonight. i'll try and substitute the coconut for hemp hearts and see how that tastes. Thanks again for the great recipes. Van, BC. Canada.

    TDUb
  • The picture looks delicious and I love the idea of a cookie without butter and sugar, but I loathe bananas (a sin, I know). Is there another fruit or other food that could be substituted?

    Marianne
  • I am always looking for new ways to use up brown bananas so this sounds perfect! Absolutely love this website!

    Janice
  • Where does one find coconut oil? HS: Whole Foods Markets carries it, as well as many health food stores.

    Jennifer
  • It should be noted that these cookies are not actually gluten-free due to the presence of the oatmeal. You would need to substitute the oatmeal with GF oatmeal to ensure its' gluten-free status. The issue with oatmeal is cross-contamination. Fortunately there are GF oatmeal options out there including Château Cream Hill Estates, and, I'm told, Bob's Red Mill. Yes, feel free to seek out GF oat if gluten is an issue for you. -h

    Andrea
  • Beautiful recipe and beautiful friend! Sounds like a nice combo! I'll have to try that cookie sometime.

    Uncle Hannah
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