Thursday, July 3, 2014

Guilt-free Chunky Monkey Cookies - No added sugar, Vegan, Gluten-free

(4 Years)

Who wants cookies?  Have you ever heard someone say, "nah, not for me"?  I haven't.  Cookie?  Yes, please.  May I please have another?

These cookies were adapted from the very talented Maryea at Happy Healthy Mama.  I love these cookies for so many reasons: it's an easy kids in the kitchen recipe, it requires just a few ingredients, it doesn't have butter or refined sugar, it's vegan, it's gluten-free, it has fruits, nuts and oats, it's quick and most importantly it's DELICIOUS.

Little Miss helped me whip up a batch this morning before gymnastics.  Look how easy this is, thanks again Maryea.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites
4 ripe small bananas, about 1 1/3 cups, mashed
2 cups gluten-free oats or regular rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats)
*1/3 cup peanut butter - we use Skippy Natural Dark Chocolate or whatever we have on hand
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup pitted dates, chopped small
*2/3 cup of chopped nuts, we usually use walnuts and pecans
*1/3 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
*1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips or vegan chocolate chips

Mix everything together in a large bowl.  Let sit for about 15 minutes.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Drop the mixture using tablespoon portions on a silpat or parchment lined baking tray, press down slightly to look like a cookie, or leave rolled into a ball (these will not spread).  Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are golden.  That's it!  Eat and enjoy the happy smiles and "your the best mommy in the world" chants!

Little Miss was so happy to help me make these this morning.  I love how both of my kids love to help bake, and how they always add a sprinkling of their love to the batter.  So cute!  This recipe really is kid friendly.  The first time we made this, the kids just turned two!

*Now, Maryea's version is much healthier than mine, she's so good.  She uses all natural peanut butter without any added sugar, and she doesn't add the dark chocolate chips or unsweetened coconut.   I love how versatile her recipe is- you can make it as healthy, or ahem, not as healthy as your family would like.  We love dark chocolate chips, we sprinkle them in pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies.  It helps hide the healthy, not that these cookies need the chocolate.  They are plenty sweet from the ripe bananas and dates.

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