Tis’ the season for new resolutions and healthy eating. While I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, I do like having a healthy reset after an indulgent holiday season. Healthy breakfast cookies are the perfect solution.
Often times we struggle with healthy eating not because we are unsure of what is healthy and what is not, but because in the midst of our busy schedules, we don’t allow enough time to prepare healthy food and instead end up grabbing an unwholesome snack or heating up an unhealthy meal. Today we are going to combat that by making a big batch of healthy breakfast cookies to keep on hand for when you are running out the door in the morning, or when that 3pm hunger hits you at work.
My favorite thing to get at the local coffee shop on campus is a “banana chocolate ball,” made by a local bakery. I don’t even like bananas (it used to be marketed as a coconut chocolate ball, which was much more appetizing to me), but I have been getting these little balls of tasty goodness since I was in college and love them! I have tried to recreate them many times in the past, with many failures along the way, but I finally developed a close replica!
My version of these healthy breakfast cookies is gluten free, vegan, and naturally sweetened. It is filled with nuts for protein, with optional add-in ingredients to break up the flavors and texture. I like to add blueberries, additional chopped nuts, or, in this case, deep dark chocolate. Use the add-ins to make them your own and to change them up from week to week!
Thanks to the banana and almond butter, these treats are soft and moist. They are filled with good ingredients and healthy enough for breakfast, snack, or even as a substitute for sugary desserts after dinner. I brought a bag of these to Paris with us a few weeks ago and even my hot chocolate and croissant-loving family was asking for them before we headed out in the morning.
Healthy Breakfast Cookies
Makes about 21 1½ tablespoon cookies
¾ cup dates, packed (soaked for 10 minutes in warm water and then drained)
¼ cup honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
1 medium ripe banana
2 tablespoons natural salted almond butter or peanut butter
¾ cup almond meal
½ cup rolled oats (if you are making these gluten free, make sure to get certified gluten free rolled oats)
½ cup unsweetened coconut
¼ cup almonds, chopped
¼ cup additional optional add-ins: dried fruit, chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, blueberries, flax seed, chopped nuts, etc.
In the bowl of a food processor, pour in the soaked dates and pulse until only small bits remain. Add the banana and almond butter and mix again until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
Next add the almond meal and rolled oats and pulse until everything is combined. The dough will be sticky and wet, but should stick together when you scoop it.
Scrape your dough into a mixing bowl. If it feels too wet to the touch to form into cookies, add another few tablespoons of almond meal and/or oats and stir. If you want to add additional mix-ins, stir them into the dough now. I used dark chocolate chunks, but also love adding chopped pecans and craisins. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 1 ½ tablespoon balls of cookie dough onto your prepared baking sheet. They won’t expand so you can place them close together, without touching. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the tops have a hint of golden brown. Let the cookies set on the pan for a few minutes. Serve immediately.
Store leftovers in an airtight container for a few days. If you want to keep them longer, store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. I love pulling these out of the freezer for a quick on-the-go breakfast or snack!