I’ve always let my kids help out in the kitchen when I’m cooking. It was important to me that they be confident in their ability to cook their own healthy meals. The extra spills and messes that I dealt with when they were young were a completely worthwhile price to pay for the proficiency they have now.
However, I didn’t realize so many years ago that my determination to prepare them for their own futures would make my future easier too. They’re all still young enough to be living at home, but the older ones are able to make dinner some nights!
This coconut chocolate no-bake cookie recipe is the result of letting them test their skills in the kitchen. I don’t make desserts often, but when I do, I usually stick to low or no-sugar options like chia seed pudding. Then I remembered the no-bake cookies I used to make as a child with my mom. These slightly healthier ones are the result of my kids’ experiments.
Healthy Cookies? Coconut Chocolate No-Bake Cookies Are!
Well, comparatively healthy anyway. Healthier than the original for sure. If you haven’t heard of no-bake cookies here’s the scoop — the cookie scoop.
My mom made no-bake cookies by boiling butter, a little milk, sugar, and cocoa powder in a saucepan. After a couple of minutes, she stirred in rolled oats, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. The cookies are called no-bake because the mixture is scooped onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and left to set.
As a cookie goes, that’s not too bad, right? Whole grains from oatmeal, peanut butter for protein. I don’t like to use too many grains though, so I thought we could tweak it a little. The end result was delicious.
Ingredient Substitutions for Grain-Free No-Bake Cookies
- Coconut instead of oats – still plenty of fiber and minerals without the grains.
- Almond or other nut butter instead of peanut butter – same texture, nice nutty taste, and protein. While I don’t really have a problem with natural peanut butter I do prefer properly prepared nuts over legumes most of the time. The fun part of this substitution is that you can use any kind of nut butter you like!
- Honey or maple syrup instead of refined white sugar – I know, honey and maple syrup are still sugar. But I like that I can easily find organic and minimally processed ones. And because they naturally taste sweeter and because we just like things to be a little less sweet, I can use a lot less than the original recipe.
We also experimented with adding chopped nuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chopped dried fruit to the recipe. They all worked really well. As long as you keep the basic proportions of the ingredients, there are endless ways to mix up this recipe.
More Wellness Mama Cookies
- Chewy Chocolate Cookies
- Chocolate Chip Cookies – This grain and gluten-free recipe is my family’s favorite.
- Coconut Macaroons
- Gingerbread Cookies with Dates and Molasses
- Jam Thumbprints – This one’s not mine but is another that brings back memories. I bet it’d be good with the blackberry chia seed jam from this chia pudding post.
Coconut No-Bake Cookies Recipe
- ½ cup butter (or coconut oil)
- ½ cup maple syrup (or honey, or coconut sugar, or stevia drops to taste)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup almond butter (pecan butter, or tahini)
- 2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened, may need up to 3 cups)
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter or coconut oil.
- Stir in sweetener and cocoa powder and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer 2-3 minutes, but be careful not to let it burn.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla exctract and nut butter.
- Add two cups of coconut and mix to combine. Add more coconut if needed until the finished mixture is thick, but still just a little bit wet.
- Use a spoon to scoop the mixture onto a parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheet in cookie-sized servings.
- Let the cookies sit at room temperature until set or chill in the freezer for 15 minutes until they have hardened.
- Store in an air-tight container in the freezer until ready to consume to maintain the texture.
My kids love helping out in the kitchen, and this recipe is an easy way for younger kids to help out with an easy recipe that they will love to eat once finished, especially since they can help choose which ingredients to add!
Which desserts did you make as a child? Do you ever still make them?
Discussion (44 Comments)
The recipe is so simple and easy to follow. Can’t wait to try it.
Why do you recommend maple sugar or honey over ordinary sugar? They all contain pure sugar as their main ingredient. And sugar is much cheaper and easier to use,
Regular white sugar is actually not pure sugar; maple syrup and honey truly are natural sources of sugar. They are great substitutes for baking, etc. but also shouldn’t be over-used as a sweetener.
Are you kidding me?
So just to clarify…these are actually a frozen dessert?
Yes. You can set them out when ready to serve but if left in the heat, etc. they may start to melt.
Boxed brownies and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups were our culprits. Need the best recipe substitutes for them because there are so many!!. And I was going to attempt to ask you a good replacement for oats in recipes like these because I found one using bananas, oats, honey, and almond butter. So, perfect timing with the coconut flakes. I’m gonna try substituting this weekend and try this recipe too!!
Unless you have issues with oatmeal, you could still use oatmeal in this recipe. Rolled oats do not have to be cooked to eat them. I prefer rather fine cut rolled oats for this sort of cookie. I love cut up dates with it too. I also use soaked raisins for sweetener, but I would suppose the cookies might have to then be kept refrigerated. The English do a no bake oatmeal bar which is commonly sold in bakeries, my husband is English so we go there ever so often, I indulge a bit at the pastry shops and have a Cream Tea with an English Scone and that lovely Devon heavy cream!
Your blogs are among the most interesting and useful that I follow. Thanks Katy.
It sounds yummy. The recipe says to add the oats/coconuts after removing from heat. I am planning on using gluten-free oats because I don’t like coconuts. Shouldn’t oats be cooked before consuming?
My mom made apple crisp and peanut butter cookies like none other! I have figured out a more healthy work around for both of these and occasionally make the real deal without gluten or white refined sugar!
I would love both of those recipes of possible, please! We are slowly working toward a real food diet (lifestyle) and it’s hard for us to just royally cut out all the desserts. But, with that I’m trying to make them healthier when we do them. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Hmmm…didn’t know that. I appreciate the response.
These sound yummy…will try them. Just a question though; I’m a bit of a natural crunchy peanut butter addict. Is peanut butter not as healthy as other but butters? My peanut butter has no additives…just peanuts.
It depends on the individual and how they handle it. It’s technically a legume and not a nut…
This looks genius. Thanks for sharing.