Sometimes, a lady just needs a cookie, and that time is 2:45 p.m. Or 10:30 a.m. Or midnight. I am a lady and, rather than engage in irrational cookie-withdrawal behavior and waste my Grammy’s investment in my elementary school etiquette classes, I baked Healthy Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies instead. I like to think my etiquette teacher would approve.

FINALLY a healthy cookie that tastes great! Healthy Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies {vegan and gluten free!}Working from home, I’m constantly surrounded by tempting treats, including but not limited to: whatever recipe I’m currently testing; Ben’s bi-weekly batch of chocolate chip cookies (one of the few desserts he loves); and at least four different flavors of ice cream, because that aisle of the grocery store never fails to seduce me. I wish I were one of those steely individuals who can eat fruit and call it dessert, but it’s just not who I am—I’m a lady who needs her afternoon cookie break.

Over-the top indulgence of the Homemade Pumpkin Monkey Bread and Whiskey Brownie Pie variety has its place, but I wanted a cookie recipe that would satisfy my craving AND was healthy enough to be regularly acceptable at 2:45 p.m., the time of day when my energy wanes, and I realize that I really really need a cookie.

FINALLY a healthy cookie that tastes great! Dark Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies. {Vegan and gluten free!}In a moment of beautiful serendipity, Christina sent me this recipe of Heidi’s, along with the phrase, “Have you tried these? They are amazing.” Christina is a woman who knows her desserts, so I took her recommendation immediately to the kitchen, made a few of my own modifications, and 30 minutes later, I was curled up on my couch with a fresh batch of Healthy Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies.

Christina was right—these healthy cookies are outstanding. I baked a second batch to photograph and share here, and I still can’t quite get over how good they are because—are you ready for it?—the recipe uses zero refined sugar or butter (!). Instead, the batter relies on ripe bananas, which naturally moisten, sweeten, and soften the cookies, along with Pompeian Extra Light Tasting olive oil, one of my favorite healthy baking ingredients. (I use extra light olive oil almost anywhere other oils are called for, because it doesn’t change the flavor of most baked goods, but offers better health benefits.)

As if the “no refined sugar” and “no butter” isn’t enough, Healthy Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies are also vegan and gluten free. Skeptical? So was I.

Healthy Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies. Vegan and Gluten Free with Oatmeal and CoconutHonestly, the first time I made these Healthy Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies, I didn’t think I was going to like them. I’ve had my share of cakey banana “puffs” masquerading as cookies in the past, and I thought this recipe would be more of the same. I was wrong. I believe the biggest difference is the recipe’s use of shredded coconut, almond meal, and oats, which give the cookies body and offset the “cake” factor mashed bananas often cause.

The original recipe calls for dark chocolate, and I took the liberty of adding tart dried cherries too. Cherry and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combos, plus I feel that the addition of dried fruit definitely stakes these cookies in “snack appropriate” territory, which is exactly where I want them to be.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies. FINALLY a healthy cookie that tastes great! (vegan and gluten free)Now be a lady (or a gentleman) and pass me the plate of Healthy Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies, pretty please and thank you. Just don’t watch too closely while I eat them—I might have my elbows on the table.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies. FINALLY a healthy cookie that tastes great! (vegan and gluten free)

Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies

5 from 11 votes
FINALLY a healthy cookie that tastes great! Healthy oatmeal cookies made with chocolate, cherry, coconut, and almond meal. Vegan, gluten free, and naturally sweetened.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 30 mins

Servings: 30 small cookies, approx.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus 2 teaspoons (use extra light for the most subtle flavor, though regular extra virgin olive oil can easily be substituted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal*
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries

Instructions
 

  • Place rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the bananas, olive oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold together until combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate and dried cherries.The dough will seem very moist. Drop small blobs of dough by exact (not rounded) tablespoons onto a parchment paper or Silpat-lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, until the cookies brown lightly and appear dry on the sides. Let rest on baking sheet for 4 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes

Store leftover Healthy Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Place a paper towel over the cookies and in between any layers to absorb excess moisture and prevent the cookies from becoming mushy. *To make your own almond meal, grind almonds in a food processor until they reach a fine powder. Do not over blend, as they will eventually turn into almond butter.

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More healthy sweets for your 3 p.m. fix:

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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42 Comments

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  1. Hi Erin! I just discovered your blog and I’m loving it! This is the recipe that first caught my eye since I am the biggest cookie monster and I’m always looking for ways to satisfy my sweet tooth without overdoing it on the sugar. This one is perfect – I’ll be making them today! Can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes as well!

    1. Hi Lauren! I’m so happy that you found my blog. Thanks for saying hi, and enjoy the cookies. I’d love to hear what you think of them too!

    1. Hi Laura! I have never frozen these, but I do generally have good luck with freezing cookies, so I think it is worth a shot if you don’t think you are going to be able to eat all of them. I would suggest setting them out at room temperature to thaw. Thanks for trying the recipe and I hope you love them!

      1. Thank you! I’ll give it a try. They are delicious! Hopefully putting them in the freezer will help me avoid downing all of them in a day or two :-)5 stars

  2. These were soooo yummy! My husband and 5 year old loved them too. I’m going to try to freeze some as well and see how they do. Thank you for the recipe :)
    I just found your blog and spent an entire evening pinning recipe after recipe. Can’t wait to try more.  I also enjoyed reading about you and your husband. Y’all are way too cute!5 stars

    1. Jennifer, I am so excited to hear that you and your family enjoyed these cookies. Thanks so much for taking time to let me know, and I’m glad that you found my blog too! It’s wonderful to have you here :-)

  3. Excellent cookies!  Rave reviews from all who tasted them this afternoon straight from the cooking rack.  I chopped 2 ounces of a Ghirardelli 86% dark chocolate bar.  My chunks seemed to melt a bit too much in the oven.  What is your advice for beautiful and delicious cookies with chopped dark chocolate?  Do I need to leave my chunks larger in size perhaps or is there a certain variety that works best in baking?5 stars

    1. Amy, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed these! I think melty chocolate might just come with the territory when you use the real deal. Chocolate chips have stabilizers to hold their shape, but good quality chocolate bars usually do not. You can either use chocolate chips if you prefer less melting or try the larger chunks you suggested. Thanks for letting me know how they turned out!

  4. Can’t wait to try these! Can you easily sub the olive oil with coconut oil?  I am thinking you can but just wondering if you have tried. Thanks! 

    1. Hi Brittney! You can use olive oil, but make sure it is a very LIGHT olive oil, or the flavor may throw off the cookies. You could also try a more neutrally flavored oil, such as canola oil. I hope you enjoy the cookies!

  5. I am the worst baker because I just can’t resist making changes to recipes, an urge that sometimes results in baking disasters. This recipe, however, proved resilient enough to survive all my “improvements.” I substituted coconut oil for olive oil, and because I like crunch in my snacks, I added flax seeds and cacao nibs. These are delicious and easy. I made the first batch just dropping the cookies onto the parchment from my teaspoon scoop, so they were like cookie mounds, and the next batch, I rolled and flattened slightly (cookie shaped), I did prefer those. Thanks for this recipe and all you do!5 stars

  6. These. Are. AMAZING!!! I’ve made three batches in the last month, now I’m just waiting for my bananas to ripen so I can make more!5 stars

  7. Hi Erin, the recipe looks great! I had gone cherry picking last weekend and have a surplus of fresh cherries! So can I make these cookies with fresh cherries instead of dried ones?

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