Nut-Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites (Paleo, grain-free)
Nut-Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites are the perfect easy, no bake treat to whip up for a naturally sweetened dessert or to grab-on-the-go snack for a quick energy boost. They are nut-free, making these bites perfect for school lunch boxes, and paleo-friendly and vegan, so they are perfect to make for a crowd with lots of different dietary needs! And the fact that they are wildly delicious is the icing on the cookie bite!
I was inspired to make these cookie bites after I published my 3-Ingredient Brownie Bites. I received an email from a reader telling me how much she loved the recipe but how she deeply wished she could find a similar recipe that was nut-free to make for her daughter with a nut allergy. As a teacher, I know many families deal with food allergies nowadays. Some of these allergies can be mild while others come with scary reactions and can even be life threatening. Nut allergies tend to be the most prevalent and scariest. Many schools have implemented "nut-free" policies to help protect students with life-threatening nut allergies.
While these policies are absolutely in the best interest of students, families that have never had to navigate a "nut-free world" find themselves feeling a bit lost trying to figure out what to pack for their nut-loving little ones. As a mom of one of those nut-loving littles, I understand the stress that surrounds what to put in a lunch box. As a teacher and friend who has had to play witness to families trying to protect their children with severe nut allergies from a seemingly nut-riddled world, I understand (and embrace) that everyone needs to do their part to keep these children safe and healthy.
This simple recipe is one thing I can do to help people pack healthy goodies in their children's lunch box that will not also jeopardize the health of others.
These coconut chocolate chip cookie bites are made nut free (and delicious) by using hulled pumpkin seeds (or pepitas, as they are sometimes called) in place of the nuts. They add the protein kick that we mamas and papas love these date bites to have and keep all of the amazing flavor!
They are so delicious that you will find yourself whipping up a quick batch so you can always have some on hand! They are really that easy, delicious, and satisfying. I love to throw one in Alice's lunch box for a protein-rich treat or a few into a container to be stored in my purse to be enjoyed during an errand running marathon and to help keep me going until my next meal. They are so tasty that a batch won't last long....so plan to make them on the regular!
Selective Eater & Kid-Friendly Adaptations
- Not a coconut fan? No worries! Just skip rolling the bites in coconut! Or roll them in more ground pumpkin seeds or chia seeds. The coconut flakes are added to keep keep the sticky-factor to a minimum when eating and is totally an optional step.
- If nut-free is not a concern, feel free to replace the hulled pumpkin seeds in this recipe with cashews or walnuts. Both are delicious alternatives that will work.
1 1/2 cups of hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)
1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips (these are the ones I used)
1 1/2 cups dates, pitted
1/8 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup shredded coconut for rolling (optional)
1. Pour hulled pumpkin seeds into your food processor and run until finely ground. Pour into a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Place the pitted dates in the (now empty) food processor and run. Make sure you evenly distribute the dates in the food processor. Dates are taxing on food processors and we want not make the job harder on this beloved (and needed) appliance. Run until the dates are well chopped and form a ball in the food processor. Now, brace yourself. This step might cause your food processor to shake. Just hold it down with your hand for your own peace of mind and it'll all be over in a minute or two.
4. Once the dates have formed a ball in your food processor, add the pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, and sea salt to the food processor and run until everything is well combined. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor and run it again to make sure everything gets mixed in.
5. The mixture may appear crumbly. Using clean wet hands (this helps the date batter from sticking to you) smoosh and roll the date mixture into golf ball sized bites. Arrange them on a plate or cookie sheet. If the mixture is too crumbly to form balls easily, add the water to the food processor and run again to help the mixture be sticky enough to hold together.
6. Once done rolling the bites, pop them into the freezer for an hour to harden up a bit. After, you can garnish them by rolling them in shredded coconut, but this is an optional step!
7. Store in an air-tight container for 7 days in your fridge or freezer.
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