These Banana, Cherry & Chocolate Oatmeal cookies are a healthier version of a classic oatmeal cookie. They are flourless and dairy-free and can easily be made vegan. These soft and chewy cookies are so good, your family will never guess that they are healthy.
They are made with wholesome ingredients such as fresh banana, dried tart cherries, dark chocolate and rolled oats. These cookies are wonderfully chewy and decadent and swapping white sugar with coconut sugar gives them a beautiful golden color and a nice, almost caramely flavor.
Oatmeal cookies have a reputation of being a “healthy” cookie because they are made with oats (whole grains) and typically raisins (fruit). While it’s kind of sort of true, the recipes for oatmeal cookies also pack in a lot of not-so-healthy ingredients, such as butter, refined sugar and white flour. One of the best oatmeal cookies I’ve ever had is Giada DeLorentis’ recipe that combines dark chocolate chunks and cranberries. Years ago a colleague of mine made these cookies and brought them to work. They were giant, chewy and delightful! I decided to recreate Giada’s recipe by swapping the traditional butter, sugar and flour with more wholesome ingredients. Instead of a stick of butter, I used a mashed banana and 1 oz of coconut oil. Instead of regular flour, I opted for almond flour. Finally, I swapped refined sugar with coconut sugar and replaced cranberries with dried tart cherries because: a) I love cherries, b) cherries + chocolate is always a fabulous combination. The proportions had to be changed because of these ingredients’ swaps and it took me 3 batches to get this recipe right but the final effect is truly spectacular. These cookies are chewy, chocolate-y, studded with wonderful tart cherries and most importantly, MUCH healthier than regular oatmeal cookies. They are also low-fat, gluten-free (please check a label on your oats to make sure there is no gluten in them) and can be easily made vegan if you replace the egg with a flax egg.
These healthy oatmeal cookies are a great option to send as a school snack in your kids’ lunch boxes. My kids need 2 snacks DAILY and it can truly be quite a challenge to come up with somewhat healthy options for snacks. I usually try to send a fruit and some sort of granola bar or crackers but recently I’ve been trying really hard to provide some better homemade options and my kiddos absolutely love these cookies.
BANANA, CHERRY & CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES INGREDIENTS
Oats: I use Old Fashioned rolled oats in this recipe although depending on preferences, you can use quick oats, too. Generally, I prefer rolled oats in oatmeal cookies because of a more substantial texture they provide while quick oats will give these cookies less of a “bite” and a slightly creamier texture. You can also experiment with combining both (half rolled and half quick oats)
Almond flour: both blanched almond flour and almond meal will work for this recipe.
Banana: much like with banana bread, the banana you are using for this recipe needs to be quite ripe. If it has brown spots or is just all brown and your kids won’t touch it, that’s even better. I don’t ever throw out overripe bananas – I either use them for baking or stick them in the freezer for future use (in baking or smoothies)
Dried tart cherries: I absolutely love cherries, fresh and dried. They work very well in this recipe because chocolate + cherries = heaven, but if you don’t have any, you can swap them for dried cranberries or raisins.
Chocolate: I use a good quality dark chocolate bar with 50-70% cacao content. These are usually 4oz so I break half of a bar into small pieces. If you’d rather use chocolate chips or chunks, those will also work.
Egg: I use one large egg for this recipe but if you prefer a vegan version, use a flax egg instead. To make a flax egg, mix one tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water. Mix together, and put in the fridge for 15 minutes to thicken.
HEALTHY OATMEAL COOKIES BAKING TIPS
Make sure you don’t overbake these cookies or they will become less chewy. They should be slightly brown on the edges but still pretty soft when hot out of the oven. The dough is not particularly firm because I wanted these cookies to have the melt-in-your-mouth texture so I recommend waiting until the cookies completely cooled before eating. I know it can be excruciating, especially that your kitchen will smell absolutely amazing but if you try to eat them warm, they will fall apart easily.
If you don’t have coconut oil, you can use regular butter and it will also work. I recommend using refined coconut oil as opposed to virgin coconut oil to avoid the coconut taste. However, if that’s all you got, the coconut flavor is delicious in general and won’t be THAT noticeable, especially that the recipe only calls for 1oz of fat.
HOW TO STORE OATMEAL COOKIES
Since these cookies are wonderfully soft and chewy, I recommend storing them in an air tight container with parchment or wax paper in-between layers of cookies in a cool place for up to 3 days. Make sure that the cookies are completely cooled before putting them in a container.Print
These Banana, Cherry & Chocolate Oatmeal cookies are a healthier version of a classic oatmeal cookie. They are flourless and dairy-free and can easily be made vegan.
1¼ cup rolled oats
1¼ cup almond flour (or almond meal)
1 small to medium ripe banana
1 egg (use flax egg for a vegan version – *see note below)
1 oz coconut oil
½ tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup dried tart cherries
2 oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces (or chocolate chips)
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea or kosher salt
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl mash the banana with a fork until no longer lumpy. Stir in melted coconut oil. Finally, add the egg and vanilla and stir together with a fork until combined.
- Add dry ingredients to the same bowl: almond flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a spoon until dough forms. The dough will be somewhat sticky. Do not overmix.
- Stir in chocolate chunks and cherries until evenly distributed.
- Using a ¼ cup cookie scoop, form balls and place them on the prepared baking tray, about 2in apart. You should have 12-13 cookies. If the dough is too sticky, chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- With a back of a fork flatten the balls to form thick cookies.
- Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until cookies become light brown at the edges.
- Let cool completely before serving.
To make a flax egg, mix one tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water. Mix together, and let sit in your fridge for 15 minutes to set up and thicken.
- Category: desserts
- Method: baking
Keywords: healthy, healthy cookies, healthy desserts, oatmeal cookie