When my teenage sons walk into the kitchen and ask if we have spinach and brown rice, or they make a b-line to the cabinet and pull out the high-speed blender to whip up their own superfood smoothies, I have that proud mom moment.
But, then – sometimes – I get a little tinge of guilt.
Am I a terrible mother because I never let my kids lick the bowl and devour raw cookie dough?
Sure, we baked plenty of chocolate chip cookies together both healthy versions and the “real deal” (filled with sugar, white flour, butter and all), but I was always worried about salmonella from the raw eggs. Admittedly, I became a freak. Everyone knew my rule: no raw cookie dough in my house. Ever.
But, there’s something sentimental about baking homemade cookies from scratch and fighting over who gets to lick the spoon first. Our health conscious minds tell us to “steer clear of the cookie dough,” but in doing so – we miss out on some fun family memories and chance to bake & bond (without rules) with our kids.
So, while I still have my guys home before they begin school, I came up with this Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Dough Bar recipe, which features all the familiar flavors of cookie dough without the sugar high and scare of salmonella! They are nutrient-dense, protein-packed, and can be enjoyed for a grab & go breakfast, blood sugar stabilizing snack, or a guilt-free dessert.
I’m happy to say that my recipe testers – the boys and their teen friends – devoured these super easy-to-make bars and gave them a two-thumbs up for taste and flavor. Nobody even noticed that these scrumptious snacks are dairy-free, gluten free and vegan.
And, yes, I even offered to let them lick the bowl.
Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Dough Bars
*Makes 12-16 bars
½ cup soft medjool dates, pitted & tightly packed
¾ cup cashews
1 tablespoon plant-based milk
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup cooked quinoa, cooled
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground walnuts
4 ounces dark chocolate bar, chopped into chunks (70 percent or higher)
A few handfuls of dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips, melted
Himalayan salt (or any coarse sea salt) for sprinkling on top of the melted chocolate
Line an 8 x 8 square baking dish with parchment paper.
Use a food processor and mix dates and cashews. Process until a thick paste forms. (It will usually end up on one side of the bowl.) Add in coconut oil and the tablespoon of plant-based milk, vanilla, sea salt and mix again until smooth. This takes 3-4 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, quinoa, ground walnuts, and cinnamon. After the cashew & date mixture is done processing, add it to the bowl and stir until everything is evenly combined. Next, add in chopped chocolate and mix again so that the chocolate is spread throughout the mixture. Put the “cookie dough” into the parchment lined baking dish and cover with a separate sheet of parchment paper. Then, press the mixture into the dish. Remove the top layer of parchment.
Melt 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate and use a fork to drizzle on top of the cookie dough. Dust with a few sprinkles of coarse sea salt.
Put in refrigerator for at least one hour before cutting into squares. Store in refrigerator for 3 days or freeze for longer storage. Yum!
*Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Now it’s your turn: Do you have a favorite healthy recipe twist that’s as good as sneaking scoops of cookie dough? Share it below!
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