The perfect chewy cookie recipe that’s nutritionally superior to most! These gluten-free cookies are full of apricot pieces, golden coconut flakes, and white chocolate chips — a winning combination!
I must admit, I was thankful for some rain this past weekend. I was craving a few things: a cuddle session with my book and a batch of cookies fresh from the oven. I can’t think of a better way to spend a rainy day…that coming from someone who HATES rain. Perhaps I just love cookies more! My girls were so pumped to get in the kitchen with me and get creative. We came up with this winning combination because in truth, it’s what we had on hand but also fun because we each chose an add-in that we wanted included: apricots for me, coconut for my oldest, and white chocolate chips for my “baby” (who is 7). We ended up with delicious cookies and lots of them, sharing with our neighbors and coworkers who give them a big thumbs up!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Cookie Monsters: There’s no one around who doesn’t love a good cookie! And with these, any guilt around eating them should disappear! Made largely with wholesome, good-for-you ingredients and very little added sugar, these cookies are nutritionally sound!
- Fun Ingredients: It’s classic oatmeal cookies combined with white chocolate chip cookies with a bit of coconut and dried apricots thrown in. What’s not to love!?
- Allergen-Friendly: These recipes are perfect to share with a group or to make around holiday season for those who may need to be gluten-free, dairy-free, or carb conscious. The basic recipe is easily adapted with the add-ins to accommodate taste preferences and health needs.
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Oats: I love a mixture of hearty old fashioned oats and tender, more processed quick cooking oats. Some combination of or any unsweetened, raw rolled oats will work great!
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Both are used as a leavening agent for best results. If you don’t have baking soda, you can triple the baking powder as a substitute. While these cookies do not leaven or “spread” as a typical cookie would, the leavening agents help keep them from becoming dense or dry.
- Salt: Use a finely ground salt versus a kosher or coarse sea salt.
- Cinnamon: Increase or omit, as preferred.
- Coconut: Unsweetened coconut flakes add great flavor and fiber without the added sugar. The bit of fat helps the cookies to be rich and satisfying!
- Bananas: Use bananas that are very soft and even better if they’re turning brown or at least spotted. Use medium-to-large bananas or increase to 4 if your bananas are small.
- Applesauce: Choose an unsweetened applesauce variety to reduce the sugar content of the recipe. You can use another pureed fruit, such as banana, or baby food, as well. Butter can also be used.
- Peanut Butter: A natural peanut butter will omit the trans fats and if able to use an unsweetened or no sugar added variety, that is helpful in reducing the sugar content. Any creamy nut or seed butter will work great. You can substitute in coconut oil if you prefer.
- Honey: Pure maple syrup or agave are great substitute here! Brown sugar can also be used in a pinch.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract is the best, but imitation is just fine. You may also omit this ingredient or use another extract, such as almond extracts.
- White Chocolate Chips: I love a rich, high quality Ghirardelli, however you may use dark chocolate or even butterscotch chips for a change. This ingredient can also be omitted or adjusted up or down, as preferred.
- Dried Apricot: Any dried fruit will do, just be sure to chop if you use something larger like prunes, dates, apples, etc.
- “Healthy” Cookies: These cookies come in at under 70 calories a piece with 11 grams of carbohydrate and a bit of fat, protein, and fiber – 1.1 grams a piece, in fact!
- Allergen-Friendly: This recipe is naturally gluten-free (check the oats to be sure!) and dairy-free (depending on your chosen chocolate chips, but easily made dairy-free). It is also soy and can easily be made nut-free.
- This recipe contains primarily whole foods and few processed foods and far less sugar and saturated fat than many cookies
Can I use fresh fruit versus dried in these cookies?
Yes, however you may want to use slightly less and finely chop. The moisture content of these cookies is a bit higher than a traditional cookie made with a shortening or butter mixture. Applesauce and peanut butter create a moist, cake-like consistency versus a slightly crisp or chewy cookie. Adding TOO much additional moisture from fruit may not be ideal, but it can certainly be done!
What dried fruit can I use instead of apricots?
Any, truly! Other great options would be raisins, dried cranberries, dried pineapple, dried figs, or dried mango. Dice and fruits that are not in small pieces for best results.
What is the difference between all the different types of oats?
Steel cut oats look like little bits of gravel and are the least processed oat. They are very crunchy and hard and need to be cooked before consumption. Old fashioned oats are the least processed of the rolled oats and maintain their round shape quite well. Quick cooking and minute or instant oats have been “rolled” or thinned out further and tend to have a crumbled shape that does not maintain a round “oat” form. The more processed oats tend to be a bit more tender in baked goods and cook more quickly.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, and mix together – in a LARGE bowl, no electric mixer required. This recipe makes a lot of cookies that freeze beautifully or are perfect for cookie exchanges or a holiday cookie platter.
- You can cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before baking, if desired.
- Add or omit the various mix-ins as you prefer – the sky is the limit!
- A medium cookie scoop makes it easy to scrape the sides of the bowl and have the cookies a uniform size and shape.
- Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges, adjusting to add a couple of minutes, as needed.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3-4 months. Allow to thaw at room temperature before serving
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 cups quick cooking oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3 large bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup dried apricot, diced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside (you are likely to need about 4 baking sheets, but can work in batches).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and coconut; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mash the bananas against the sides of the bowl using the backside of a fork until few lumps remain. Whisk in the applesauce, peanut butter, honey, and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and diced apricot and mix until distributed evenly throughout.
- Use a 2-3 tablespoon scoop to place heaps of batter onto the prepared baking sheets. If desired, flatten the cookies a bit into a circle with a flat top. Note: the cookies will NOT spread much during baking.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until edges turn golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 58 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Total Fat: 2.4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 11.2gFiber: 1.1gSugar: 5.7gProtein: 1.4g
Want cookies for BREAKFAST? Who doesn’t!?
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