Nutty Cocoa Cookies

This weird low-carb low-meat diet I’m attempting is tough for several reasons, but the thing I struggle with the most is snacks and dessert. These little cookies, which I’ve named Nutty Cocoa Cookies function as both of those things for me. They’re a bit salty, rich, and sweet (but not too sweet). And I can keep them in the freezer and pull out a few at a time when I’m feeling snacky.

They aren’t really cookies in the traditional sense, but let’s not dwell on that fact okay? I need to feel like my diet doesn’t feel like deprivation, and you can’t feel deprived when you are eating cookies. Right?

These are adapted from a four ingredient recipe I found at Whole Family Fare. My recipe has six ingredients because I added cocoa and salt.

First, whir your almonds around in the food processor until they are are ground up. I know they’re done when they just start to get moist (you want them to be ground really fine or it affects the texture of the cookie and isn’t as good).

That right there is my Blendtec with the Twister Jar attachment.  I personally like my Blendtec a lot more than the Vitamix (which my mom has) but I think either is a great choice.

Add in cocoa, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt. Blend a bit more. If your peanut butter is dry (ours is the natural kind and when TH mixed it up he added extra oil and made it really soupy) add coconut oil. You’ll definitely need coconut oil if you grind your peanuts from scratch (if you do that, grind your peanuts first, remove from the processor, then do the almonds).

The last thing I add is the dates. I like adding them last because sometimes they don’t get ground up all the way and then you get nice juicy date bits in your cookie balls. Find the medjool variety if you can. They cost more but all the foodies say it’s worth it.

Once it’s all ground together you should have a mass that looks a little bit like this. If yours is looking dry, add some coconut oil or peanut butter.

The last thing I do is roll them into little balls. This takes forever, close to an hour for the last batch, but I think it’s worth the effort. I buy dried apricots from costco, halve them, and freeze the Nutty Cocoa Cookies with the dried apricots. Eat them together like a sandwich and you’ll be throwing all of your Nabisco cookies in the trash because you won’t need them anymore. These balls of rich chocolatey goodness really hit the spot.

My attempt at food styling. I need to do a workshop or something.

Nutty Cocoa Cookies


1 cup almonds
1/4 cup cocoa
1.5 tsp vanilla
6 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt (avoid if your peanut butter is salted)
5-8 dates (depending on the amount of sweetness you want)


1. Grind almonds in food processor until very fine.
2. Add cocoa, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt. Blend.
3. Add dates. Blend until uniform.
4. Roll mixture into balls about the size of the tip of your thumb. Put into container with dried apricot halves. Freeze.


19 thoughts on “Nutty Cocoa Cookies

  1. If you flatten them would they be more cookie like or are they too sticky? Would they be good dipped in dark chocolate?

    Jenna Reply:

    We ate them flattened like cookies at first. They are kind of moist, but you can definitely eat them that way.

    And yes, I bet they would be really good dipped in dark chocolate, but only if you like really rich chocolatey stuff! Mmmmm.

  2. This is perfect for me, especially because I love dates. I am really trying to knock off this extra weight I acquired from the bar and I get tripped up on sweets regularly. I just love them so much.

  3. How many would you say this makes? I want to figure out cals per serving. Thanks!

    Jenna Reply:

    I think I’m going to make another batch today, and I’ll try to remember to count. But I would guess 60-80? Definitely would vary based on the size of the balls you roll.

  4. Have you tried using an ice cream/cookie scoop, the spring loaded ones? They are all I use for regular cookies, seems like it would speed up the process quite a bit if the “dough” isn’t too sticky.

    I’m going to have to try these! Very similar to homemade Lara bars, but with cocoa!

    Jenna Reply:

    This is a really good idea! I have one of those too, from my great-grandma. That’s a lot bigger than I make the balls but maybe the effort saved would be worth it.

  5. I am so excited by this recipe, because it has no dairy (which I cannot eat as I am allergic). I haven’t found a good source for vegan cookies in Singapore, so this might be my new addiction! Will have to talk my husband into making them for me.

  6. These look pretty good!
    I love dates and I love chocolate. I’ve never thought to combine them before though. Personally I’ve been experimenting with a breakfast type cookie (like a chewy granola bar) with dates, peanut butter, and pecans. It’s good (needs improvement yet) and it’s helping me eat my oatmeal every morning. Plus it’s a cookie for it feels decadent!
    One question for you: is there a good substitute for coconut oil? I am sensitive to most things coconut and try not to eat it at all.

    I think your pictures are beautifully lit! I hate my kitchen because the only natural light is in the early mornings and it’s a basement apartment so even that is meager on the best days!

    And for learning food styling, my two favorite foodie bloggers each have a post on taking pictures of food! (I didn’t know they had til I did a little googling in curiosity.)
    Smitten Kitchen (Deb):
    Simply Recipes (Elise):

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks for the links! I think the secret is in the props, which I’d like to buy more of in San Francisco where we have more space.

    As far as the oil, you just need something that works tastewise. What about peanut oil?

    Gwendolyn Reply:

    Thank you for the peanut oil idea!

    I agree with the props, I have some pretty square white plates from Khols that everything looks incredibly delicious on…my patterned plates, not so much. I also just got a bamboo cutting board I’ve been snapping photos with this week. (Prettiness!)

  7. I’m sure you meant 60-80 calories per cookie, not that one batch makes 60-80 cookies, right?

    Jenna Reply:

    I make tiny little balls and I think there are probably like 60 of them.

  8. You’re my hero! I have a huge tub of unsalted almonds sitting around from my MIL, and have been stumped as to how to use them. Meanwhile, I also have a big box of dates sitting around from a VERY short-lived urge to make raw food brownies. Both problems solved!!

  9. hey Jenna!

    The cookies look really good, thanks for the tip!

    This is OT but I just had to comment as well, today I went to the local co-op. We’re up on the tip of the upper peninsula and the growing season is pretty slim (just snowed a week ago!) so I was bumming out pretty hard on the nonexistent pre-growing season local offerings.

    I’ve been recently trying to pick veggies from the coop that are about equivalent in price to the non-organics at the local mom-and-pop store (all food is super expensive up here). Lo and behold I picked up some onions and they said…

    Andersen Organics! What a cool moment realizing I was connected to the owners of the farm via their daughter blogger I follow!

    Maybe it shouldn’t be that big a deal, but for me buying the more expensive long-distance organic option over a less expensive equivalent feels like a really muddled ethical problem.. because you don’t really know to what pains the grower goes to not just follow a rigid list of organic requirements, but also embody the spirit of organic growing… And whether that is what’s reflected in the higher cost, or just differences in market valuation.

    Now I’ll feel excited about buying the organic onions rather than the local mom-and-pop store’s option shipped in from who knows where…! :)

  10. This story will make my dad so happy! He loves hearing these stories. And there are definitely organic farmers who cut corners, but I PROMISE my dad isn’t one of them.

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