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.
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.
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.
Honestly, 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.
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.
Chocolate Cherry Snack Cookies
- 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
- 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.
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More healthy sweets for your 3 p.m. fix:
- Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies
- Healthy Cranberry Apricot Bars
- Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies
I developed this recipe and post as a member of the Pompeian Pantry Insiders program. As always, thanks for supporting the brands and companies who make it possible for me to continue creating quality content for you!