Wholesome Banana Pecan Chocolate Bites

 

A few weeks ago, I tweeted out a call for a healthy cookie recipe. I wanted to give delicious thank-yous to some of the amazing people I’ve been connecting with recently, and I thought, what better way than healthy, home-baked goodness?  I didn’t have high hopes, though – as I’ve said, my adventures in healthy baked goods often fall flat (literally – leaden cakes, sodden squares and muffins that could be used as hockey pucks.) Cookies, I thought, were a good way to dip my toe into the healthy baked good pool (imagine? A pool of fresh, warm baked goods…mmm…wait, where was I? oh yes) – after all, they need no leavening, so the absence of white flour and butter is less conspicuous.

But first and foremost, this cookie had to be good. I am a cookie maven. (I should have a t-shirt emblazoned with that.) I absolutely adore a chewy, crumbly, not too sweet chocolate chip cookie. Or an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Or a peanut butter cookie…

So off I went on a healthy cookie hunt. I needed something really wholesome – no refined sugar or flours, no butter, and no cream.  First I tried Heidi’s carrot oatmeal version. Though it was tasty on day 1, it became softer and more ‘healthy tasting’ as the days went by – so, no good.  My favourite chocolate chip cookie is Anna Olsen’s tried-and –true version that uses cornstarch for chewiness. They were delicious yet again, but I knew that subbing out the butter and flour for applesauce and spelt would make a horrendous cookie. Finally, I tried Heidi’s banana chocolate oat version. I had tried these before and found them decent, but not earth shattering. However, I decided they were worth another try (after all, I was running out of options, and banana-chocolate-nut sounded too good not to try again.)

The result? Success! I still wouldn’t call them healthy, exactly  (no cookie worth its deliciousness is,) but they are wholesome and made from real ingredients. They are more cake-like in texture than a traditional cookie, which is why I call them bites. The clincher? They are decadent. Between the 70% dark chocolate, the pecans, the shredded coconut and that subtle hit of sea salt on the finish, these babies taste rich and indulgent while being surprisingly natural and simple – they are egg-free, dairy-free and wheat-free.  Who’d a thunk it? Maybe I’ll continue my quest for healthy baked goods after all (though I’ll stay well away from the chickpeas.).

 

Wholesome Banana Pecan Chocolate Bites 

 Adapted slightly from 101 Cookbooks

 

Notes: 

If you are using frozen bananas as I did, be sure to drain out excess water by resting thawed bananas in a colander for 5 – 10 minutes and then and pushing down on them slightly with the back of a spoon. 

You can use any nuts here – almonds or walnuts would work equally well. Grind them in a spice grinder or food processor, but  only for a few seconds or you’ll end up with nut butter. For an added layer of flavour, you can toast them first.

Also note – good, 70% dark chocolate makes all the difference here and raises this cookie to the level of decadent. If you don’t like dark chocolate, feel free to sub in milk – just make sure it’s good quality.

Finally – these keep very well in the refrigerator, so you can pop one or two whenever the mood strikes!

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 large, ripe bananas or 4 thawed frozen bananas, well mashed (1 to 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil (you can also use olive oil, though it might affect the taste slightly)
  • 2 cups large flake oats
  • 2/3 cup pecan meal
  • 1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 – 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped (I used one box of Bakers 70% dark chocolate squares)


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First the wet ingredients: Mix together the bananas, vanilla extract, and oil in a large bowl.

Next, the dry ingredients: Combine the oats, pecan meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder, making sure everything is well blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Gently add in the chocolate chunks.  Drop tablespoon-sized dollops of the dough onto two lined baking sheets about an inch apart. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes,  switching the pans on the racks halfway through. You want just the edges to be brown and the bottoms to be brown.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “Wholesome Banana Pecan Chocolate Bites”
  1. trialsinfood says:

    Looks and sounds yummy. I’ve had pretty good luck with healthy baked goods…from muffins without oil or butter to cupcakes made with black beans.

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