SSS: Double Chocolate, Double Walnut, Double Heart Cookies

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This post is linked to Allergy-Free WednesdaysGluten-Free Wednesdays, and Wellness Weekends.

suite of sweets, gfe, gluten free easily, sweets, Valentine's Day, treats, desserts, biscuitsEvery year for my Suite of Sweets for Sweethearts (SSS), I try to have at least one recipe that is somewhat different—unrefined and nutrient dense. This recipe for Double Chocolate, Double Walnut, Double Heart Cookies is this year’s entry in that category. These cookies are more reminiscent of date-sweetened truffles or date-sweetened protein bars than cookies, but turning them into cookies helps them bridge that sometimes critical divide between “too healthy to want to eat” to “appealing to all” so that the ingredients are not questioned. I knew these cookies had bridged the gap successfully when Mr. GFE ate one and gave his approval! But—and this speaks to their nutritional density—he ate only one. Well, at least this evening anyway.

The “double chocolate” in these cookies comes from raw cacao and chocolate chips. The chocolate chips (or pieces from a chocolate bar) are optional, but both raw cacao and dark chocolate are known for their health benefits. These cookies are great either way. The “double walnut” comes from walnuts being the primary ingredient in these cookies—serving as the “flour” so to speak—and also references the walnuts used to top the cookies. The “double heart” factor comes from the fact that you can use the walnut pieces to form heart “decorations” (rudimentary hearts, but still) and that walnuts are “heart smart.” They contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid similar to those found in heart-smart fish. ALA has a number of heart-healthy effects, in addition to its cholesterol-lowering effects. In fact, a recent study showed walnuts to be nature’s most perfect food. These Double Chocolate, Double Walnut, Double Heart cookies are mildly sweet with a slight chewiness from the walnuts and dates. Enjoy them! No guilt! Who wants guilt on Valentine’s Day anyway?

Speaking of healthy, nutrient-dense cookies that also taste wonderful, don’t forget that Caveman Cookies is offering gfe readers a 25% discount through Valentine’s Day. Just enter the code GFESweets at checkout.

gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo, primal, cookies, treats, Suite of Sweets for Sweethearts, heart healthy, chocolate, walnuts

Double Chocolate, Double Walnut, Double Heart Cookies
(Click here for a printable version of this recipe.)


2 cups walnuts
About 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (about 10)
2 tsp raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1 large egg (or chia egg–1 tablespoon chia seed meal mixed with 3 tbsp hot water)
½ cup mini chocolate chips or similarly small pieces of chocolate from a quality gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate bar (optional; I used only ¼ cup mini chocolate chips in one batch )


gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo, primal, cookies, treats, Suite of Sweets for Sweethearts, heart healthy, chocolate, walnutsPreheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Add walnuts and dates to food processor. (See notes if you don’t have a food processor.) Process until fairly smooth with few chunks, about 30 to 60 seconds or so. (Be very careful to not process too long or you will end up with date-sweetened nut butter.)

Transfer mixture to a medium-sized bowl.

Mix in egg and chocolate chips.

Roll batter into walnut-sized balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.

Press walnut pieces into balls to flatten.

Bake about 5 to 7 minutes until cookies appear done and set. (Baking time will be longer for chia egg; bake about 12 minutes or longer.)

Leave cookies on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing them to cool.

Makes 16 cookies, each about 2 inches in diameter.

Shirley’s Notes:  If you don’t have a food processor, you can process both the walnut and the dates separately in a mini chopper until the desired consistency. Note that soaking the dates for 10 to 15 minutes in boiling water and then draining the water off before running them through the mini chopper will be necessary. The chocolate flavor, even with the chocolate chips, is fairly mild in these cookies, so feel free to add a tad more raw cacao or cocoa powder (but not too much or you will no longer have enough sweetness from the dates). Or, you can add more mini chocolate chips/mini pieces from a chocolate bar. Adding the latter won’t throw off the proportion of sweetness to base, but don’t add so many that the cookie won’t hold together properly.

gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo, primal, cookies, treats, Suite of Sweets for Sweethearts, heart healthy, chocolate, walnuts

Not just gf, but gfe!

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27 Responses to “SSS: Double Chocolate, Double Walnut, Double Heart Cookies”

  1. The Celiac Husband on February 12th, 2012 2:55 am

    Walnuts. Ever so popular in Europe. Sorta shaped as hearts? Cool.
    Personally I go with taste before health. Quality first. Especially with Chocolate.
    We buy Barry Callebaut by the kilo here in France and use it for Victoria’s baking almost every week in something.

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2012 2:28 pm

      The Celiac Husband–Thanks. I had no idea walnuts were big in Europe. I guess now that I think about it, a lot of European originated baked goods include walnuts.

      I’m not saying that one should have to give up taste because of health, but sometimes we can be less decadent. ;-) I’m sure that Callebaut Chocolate is divine! As you know I was just drooling over Victoria’s version of Twinkies dipped in that chocolate. I’d gladly sample one if I could! :-)


  2. Amber on February 12th, 2012 2:05 pm

    Hi There Shirley,

    These cookies are sooo cute and look delish. I find that often the less ingredients, the more flavorful the cookie. Less can definitely be “more.” And I love the ingredients you have here. I think we are on the same wavelength with the walnuts. I just made walnut butter yesterday! And I do love to use walnuts in cookies. It creates a much finer flour than using just almonds!!

    Thanks for sharing this fun recipe.
    Have a wonderful rest of your Sunday.


    • Amber on February 12th, 2012 2:13 pm

      Hi Shirley,

      Quick question, am I missing your Facebook link so I can post this on my Facebook page? Thanks.

      • Shirley on February 13th, 2012 12:32 am

        Amber–Delayed thought, but if you are on the post itself (vs my main page), you’ll see the social media buttons at the top of the post. :-) I know you’ve already share and I appreciate that, but did want to point that out. ;-)

        Thanks, dear!

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2012 2:22 pm

      Hi Amber–Thanks so much! I didn’t finely grind my walnuts so I wouldn’t say they are as fine as the Honeyville almond flour I use, but it is easier to grind walnuts so they could be, especially if soaked and deydrated first. I’ll be checking out your walnut butter for sure. I have a lot of walnuts on hand right now, as I bought a bunch on sale and then a friend gave me some as part of my practical Christmas gifts knowing how much I loved walnuts. (She sees me snack on them at work.)

      Thanks for wanting to share my recipe! The social media buttons are at the top right of my page. :-)

      Hope you enjoy your Sunday, too, dear! xo,

  3. InTolerant Chef on February 12th, 2012 4:12 pm

    Cookies shouldn’t have to be tooooo healthy- should they? :) isn’t that just a bonus?

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2012 11:09 pm

      InTolerant Chef–I agree. Yes, it’s a bonus, especially for folks like me who have been making treats all week. ;-) And there are some folks who need to completely abstain from sweeteners so I wanted something for them, too. :-)


  4. Susan on February 12th, 2012 10:53 pm

    Can other nuts be substituted? Walnuts give me sores in my mouth.

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2012 11:13 pm

      Hi Susan–As I was making these, I actually thought that they’d probably work just as well with almonds and plan to try that next time. In that case, I’ll just use almond flour, but I won’t use whole almonds. Instead, I’ll stir in blanched almond flour with the already processed dates and then add the other ingredients. Then top with almonds, of course. Actually can’t wait to try that version, but if you beat me to it, please let me know, Susan! Oh, and I suspect hazelnuts or cashews would work, too.


      • Susan on February 13th, 2012 12:01 am

        Thanks for your speedy reply Shirley. I’m going to add this to my recipe file and hope for some time to try them in the future.

        • Shirley on February 13th, 2012 12:37 am

          Hey Susan–You’re welcome! We all have that list, don’t we? ;-)


  5. Tessa Domestic Diva on February 12th, 2012 11:07 pm

    Oh yeah. I am all over this recipe!! Can’t wait! Thank you Shirley!

    • Shirley on February 12th, 2012 11:16 pm

      Hi Tessa–Thanks, dear! I just had one. ;-) Each time, before I eat one, I think, hmmm, I’ll add more cacao and/or chocolate chips next time, but then I eat one and think, no, I like this combo just fine! Hope you enjoy them. :-)


      • Tessa@TessaTheDomesticDiva on February 14th, 2012 2:15 pm

        And now I have just had ANOTHER one! Yummo!! I used a chia egg (1 tablespoon chia meal mixed w/ 3 tablespoons hot water)instead of the egg, I also tripled the chocolate,of course! And I used half toasted pecans with the walnuts for added dimension. So good, amazing what a few ingredients will do! oh, and I also baked them longer, about 15 minutes.

        • Shirley on February 15th, 2012 7:58 pm

          Hey Tessa–I’m so excited that you jumped right on these babies and made them egg free, too! I’m going to update the recipe to include that info. And yeah, I’d probably amp up the chocolate next time, too. ;-) I was really going healthy with this recipe. Since I was trying to use up walnuts, I stuck with those, but I like walnuts better than pecans. The pecans I keep getting lately seem bitter though, so I’ve been using more walnuts. I imagine that the extra ingredients and the chia factor necessitated the extra time for baking. Thanks for the great tips on your variation!


          • Tessa Domestic Diva on February 15th, 2012 9:08 pm

            that’s what I do….all in the name of allergies!!

          • Shirley on February 19th, 2012 10:56 am

            That’s a good reason to me, Tessa! :-)


          • Tessa Domestic Diva on February 20th, 2012 11:47 pm

            fyi, i couldn’t resist using this as one of my features for the week on AFW! thank you!

  6. Ricki on February 13th, 2012 12:11 am

    Love the heart-healthy factor in these! And of course anything with double chocolate gets my vote. ;-)

    • Shirley on February 13th, 2012 12:41 am

      Hi Ricki–Thanks! And LOL on the chocolate. Completely understand and agree! :-) I’d like to do another version of these cookies that would be vegan. This recipe is very close and I know the solution to make them vegan, so that version might come soon. ;-)


  7. Kay Guest on February 13th, 2012 7:57 am

    Double good!

    • Shirley on February 13th, 2012 9:49 pm

      Kay–You are so clever! Thanks! :-)


  8. Cara on February 14th, 2012 3:03 pm

    Shirley, I’m loving all the heart-healthy benefits you have going on in these cookies. What a great way to say Happy Valentines Day and Happy American Heart Month!

    • Shirley on February 15th, 2012 8:00 pm

      Hi Cara–Thanks! I was thinking back to some gluten-full cookies made of ground nuts and this recipe just came together in my head. ;-)


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