Paleo-Friendly Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

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Paleo-Friendly Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies from Gluten Free Easily

Recently I saw a recipe for Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies in an old issue of Cosmopolitan. Cosmo is not a magazine I subscribe to,  but when a stack of them was offered up on Freecycle the same day that my girlfriends and I planned to do art journaling at our recent gfe retreat, I quickly snatched them up! As recipes in magazines go, this one was a very small blurb (we all know Cosmo is not about recipes). It was only about as big as a short stack of chocolate chip cookies in real life, but, not surprisingly, it caught my eye. I quickly clipped it out and set it aside to peruse later after the retreat.

Spot Dessert Bar, Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies, Cosmopolitan

Cosmo Clipping of Spot Dessert Bar Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies Recipe

I came across the clipping again in cleaning up the other day. The title was “A Sweet Date He Craves.” The Spot Dessert Bar in New York City was asked to share the treat ordered “most frequently by dudes,” and the answer was their Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies. The recipe featured lots of butter, flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut. In typical Cosmo fashion, the advice was “Make a batch, and invite him over.” My dude, aka Mr. GFE, had just returned home from 10 days away, so I decided to use The Spot Dessert Bar’s recipe as inspiration and the starting point for my own grain-free, dairy-free version with minimal refined sugar.

The “date” in the title made me think of the sweet Medjool dates sitting on the counter. I quickly decided to use dates as my sweetener. Other than the chocolate chips I planned to add, I didn’t want to add any other sweetener. I reasoned that the chocolate chips and the dates would add plenty sweetness, and the latter would add chewiness as well. Using coconut oil, almond flour, and coconut flour in the recipe were my next decisions.

Using my food processor, I quickly chopped the dates into small pieces and then blended them with most of the other recipe ingredients, before adding eggs and unsweetened coconut flakes. With the tiny print of the clipping, I missed the “toasted” after the coconut flakes in the original recipe, so I didn’t toast my coconut flakes, but I’m sure that would add an extra delicious vibe as well as crunch to this recipe.

I made these cookies two ways. Most of them I made as small drop cookies. (I have a fondness for both small–say two-bite chocolate chip cookies—and big fat chocolate chip cookies.) Some of the cookies I made from rolling the dough into balls and then flattening slightly with the bottom of a glass. The latter I baked a little less and left sitting on the baking sheet after removing from the oven for a few minutes. They came out like soft-baked cookies and were a little larger in diameter (about 3 inches) and while I certainly wouldn’t refuse one, I definitely preferred the outer crunchiness and inner chewiness of the drop version!

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Paleo-Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies–Drop (top) and Soft-Baked (bottom) Versions

Despite their small size—only about 2 inches in width—these cookies are very filling. That’s a good thing in many ways, including the fact that these cookies are unlikely to all get eaten the first day. You will be so happy about that when you try them the next day because the “leftovers” are even better after the flavors have melded overnight. As in incredibly good better!

I created this recipe and another one, Banana Ice Cream, in the last few days and polled my Facebook readers as to which recipe I should share first. Clearly, the Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies won the poll, although the Banana Ice Cream was not too far behind in votes. And there were quite a few clever (hungry?) readers who thought the solution would be to share both recipes in one post, with the ultimate solution being to make Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches! Those do sound great, don’t they? However, I think these cookies are too small to turn into proper ice cream sandwiches and the Banana Ice Cream is of the delightfully soft serve variety, which is not the best for making ice cream sandwiches. I do promise to share that four-ingredient, oh so good Banana Ice Cream recipe later this week though. Until then makes these paleo/primal friendly cookies that the dudes—and I assure you, the “dudettes” as well—go crazy for!

gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, grain-free chocolate chip cookies, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, paleo, primal, cookies, dessert, recipe, gluten free easily

Paleo-Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookies–Drop Version

Paleo-Friendly Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
  1. Add dates to your food processor and process a minute or two until very few large pieces are left.
  2. Add coconut oil, almond flour, coconut flour, salt, and vanilla extract to food processor. Process another minute or so until no large pieces of dates remain and mixture is well combined and pulls away from the sides of the container.
  3. Transfer mixture to large mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in eggs and coconut flakes slowly and gently to prevent spillage.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips (or roasted cacao nibs).
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  7. Using large spoon, spoon batter onto baking sheet. Use fingers, if needed, to shape into a mound. (See notes for alternative directions for “soft-baked” version.)
  8. Bake about 13 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. Let sit on baking sheet another minute before removing to cool.
  10. Makes about 30 cookies, 2 inches in width. Store in a tin, but leave the lid open a bit. You don’t want these cookies to get too soft.
It will seem like there’s too much coconut oil in this recipe, but in the “final analysis” (the tasting!) it is the perfect amount. Some who rarely use sweetener will be able to enjoy these cookies made with fewer dates. If you do that, you’ll want to reduce the amount of coconut oil a bit for sure, but I’m not sure what other changes you will need to make to get the right consistency in your cookie.

I made these cookies two ways. Most of them I made as small drop cookies. Some of the cookies I made from rolling the dough into balls and then flattening slightly with the bottom of a glass. The latter I baked a little less and left sitting on the baking sheet after removing from the oven for a few minutes. They came out like soft-baked cookies and while I certainly wouldn’t refuse one, I definitely preferred the outer crunchiness of the drop version.

If you want to ensure that the bottoms of the cookies don’t darken too much, you can use parchment paper, but an ungreased baking sheet worked fine for me.

While I have not made this recipe egg free, I do believe that most egg substitutions will work. Fingers crossed! Please report back if you make an egg-free version.

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Allergy-Free WednesdayWhole Food Fridays, Foodie Friday, Gluten-Free Fridays, and Healing with Food Friday.

Not just gf, but gfe!

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45 Responses to “Paleo-Friendly Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies”

  1. SherriS. on September 3rd, 2013 9:22 pm

    These look so good Shirley! I’ve just eliminated sugar cane so I’m going to add the dates to my grocery list and give these a try.

    • Shirley on September 5th, 2013 4:27 pm

      Thanks, Sherri! I hope you enjoy them :-) And, if you’re doing alternative sweeteners like coconut palm sugar, honey, and maple syrup, you’ll find many recipes here that will work for you. ;-)


  2. Alisa on September 4th, 2013 12:59 pm

    No my dear, you can NEVER have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes!! These are exactly what I’d been looking for, too, date-sweetened!

    • Shirley on September 5th, 2013 4:28 pm

      Haha! Thanks, Alisa. I think that most people will agree with us. ;-) I’m so happy to fill a current recipe need for you. :-)


  3. Julia on September 4th, 2013 4:08 pm

    I’d love to try these once I get a food processor. They sound so very delicious!

    • Shirley on September 5th, 2013 4:31 pm

      Hi Julia–Welcome to gfe! :-) You *might* be able to make these by using a good blender, and adding your very fresh (i.e., soft) dates and coconut oil and the dates and blending the mixture until the dates are small enough pieces, and then mixing that mixture with the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, but a food processor definitely makes quick and easy work of dates. ;-)


  4. Vickie on September 4th, 2013 4:54 pm

    These along with everything else you post look and sound great as I read through the recipe. Please let me know what I might do to make Paleo foods when I am allergic to coconut. Thanks

    • Shirley on September 5th, 2013 4:34 pm

      Hi Vickie–First, thanks for the kind words! Those of us who have food issues tend to consistently use what we CAN use. I can do coconut, so I often use it. A site that has many terrific paleo recipes that do not include coconut is Brittany Angell’s Real Sustenance. Hopefully, you’ll find many, many paleo recipes there that you can enjoy. :-)


  5. Ina gawne on September 4th, 2013 11:15 pm

    Shirley – I love everything going on in this recipe – yum…super yum! One day when I have time…sigh…I must give these a try! :)

    • Shirley on September 5th, 2013 4:35 pm

      Ina–You definitely a very busy gal of late. Hope you get a break soon so you can enjoy more time in the kitchen. I know you love that time, and you always create so many great recipes when you’re there, too. :-)


  6. Megan @ Allergy Free Alaska on September 5th, 2013 1:08 am

    I agree – one can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes! ;) I love that these are grain free and sweetened with dates, Shirley! AJ’s birthday is coming up, and I’m thinking I might try making these for me (and make a cake for AJ and the girls). These just look absolutely perfect!

    • Shirley on September 5th, 2013 4:38 pm

      Thanks for that “third” on how many chocolate chip cookie recipes one can have! ;-) I always think it’s a great idea to have a treat for ourselves when we make something for others to enjoy, but that we can’t indulge in. Hope you enjoy them! Btw, I just ate one. Still so, so good after a few days. :-)


  7. Kate {Eat, Recycle, Repeat} on September 5th, 2013 10:05 pm

    these look amazing! I love coconut and chocolate, and I’m interested in the texture the dates would bring! Thanks for another great recipe :)

    • Shirley on September 5th, 2013 10:55 pm

      Thanks, Kate! They’re pretty heavenly. I honestly think they taste and have the texture of pretty much any other cookie, a sort of macaroon chocolate chip cookie, if you will. ;-) Hope you enjoy them if you get to make them later! :-)


  8. Linda on September 6th, 2013 1:06 pm

    This is my kind of cookie. Love it, Shirley! Now I have to go buy more coconut flour because I am completely out.

    • Shirley on September 6th, 2013 10:30 pm

      Thanks, Linda! What I love about these cookies is that they have lasted for days. That’s a rare thing around here and quite a statement on how satisfying they are. Without all that refined sugar, one doesn’t want one after another. Gotta love that! :-) Yes, get some coconut flour this weekend!


  9. Vicky on September 6th, 2013 6:12 pm

    I love the fact that there are so many variations of my favourite cookie and how wonderful that these are sweetened with dates!

    Such a lovely recipe Shirley, I love it!


    • Shirley on September 6th, 2013 10:31 pm

      Thanks so much, Vicky! I admit that I’m really quite pleased with this creation. :-)


  10. Johnna on September 6th, 2013 9:55 pm

    I made these tonight with a flax slurry instead of eggs and they turned out GREAT! I’m delivering them to a friend tomorrow for her birthday and know she will be thrilled. Now to keep my hands off of them until then… Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    • Shirley on September 6th, 2013 10:35 pm

      Woohoo! So glad to hear that the flax gel eggs work in this recipe, Johnna! I thought they would. ;-) I hope your friend does love these cookies. Tell her happy birthday from me. :-) Thanks so much for sharing the news with us all. I bet she’ll make sure you enjoy some with her after she receives them, but yes, staying away until then might be hard!


  11. Cassidy @ Cassidy's Craveable Creations on September 9th, 2013 7:00 pm

    I love your coconut twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie! I can’t wait to make these, your ingredient list is right up my alley :)

    • Shirley on September 9th, 2013 9:45 pm

      Thanks, Cassidy! I was inspired by that original recipe I saw, but I did end up loving my creation. And bonus … these cookies lasted 6 days in my house. They were so satisfying that we (mostly me) didn’t scarf them up like other cookies. And they tasted just as great at the end as they did on Day Two (after the flavors melded). :-)


  12. Arleen on September 10th, 2013 5:24 pm

    Shirley, these cookies look fantastic! I can’t wait to try them! And I adore that flowered plate.

    • Shirley on September 10th, 2013 9:47 pm

      Hi Arleen–Good to see you again, and thanks so much on all! :-) That flowered plate was an impulse buy. I normally rely on my own regular dishes or thrift store finds, but I saw that plate on sale at Kohl’s and couldn’t resist it. Using it as a prop was my justification. ;-) And it just made me so happy! So glad you love it, too!


  13. Dawn @ Peeling Back the Onion Layers on September 13th, 2013 1:31 pm

    These look amazing! I would love if you would share them at our Healing With Foods Friday – hope to see you there!

    • Shirley on September 13th, 2013 2:02 pm

      Hi Dawn–Thanks so much! They really are. ;-) Thanks for the invitation; I linked up! :-)

      Welcome to gfe and happy Friday!

  14. Stephanie on September 16th, 2013 9:49 pm

    Shirley, these are a winner! I made them tonight using 2 flax eggs and they were perfect. They make an excellent raw treat too! Thank you!

    • Shirley on September 17th, 2013 9:15 pm

      Hey Stephanie–I am so thrilled to hear that flax eggs work (I was pretty sure they would!) and that you can enjoy these cookies raw, too! Yum! I so appreciate you sharing that info with us all. :-) Can’t wait to share with my gfe Facebook readers!


  15. Jennifer at Purposeful Nutrition on September 20th, 2013 10:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing at Healing with Food Friday. These sound great and I am going to pin them for later.
    Please come back this week and share again.

    • Shirley on September 22nd, 2013 12:07 am

      Hi Jennifer–Welcome to gfe! :-) It was my pleasure to share. I’ll try to get in the routine of sharing on Healing with Food Friday. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing this recipe via Pinterest!


  16. Nicole on October 13th, 2013 10:42 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if you know if these could be made into a huge cookie cake. I figured I would have to reduce the oven temp, but any idea? I can’t wait to try it…the recipe looks amazing!

    • Shirley on October 14th, 2013 8:06 am

      Hi Nicole–Welcome to gfe! :-) I really like the sound of that cake, but don’t have too much else to offer as far as ideas. You’ll have to press the mixture into the pan and I hope it holds together okay. I’m thinking that you’ll need some baking powder for a cake application. Maybe 2 tsp or slightly more? I’m not sure if you’ll need to reduce the oven temperature. 325 is already pretty low for that type of baking. I would check in on the cookie cake often just to figure out how long you should bake it. I’d check at 15 minutes and then 17 minutes and so on. Pay attention to the smells coming from your oven as those are often what tips you off that your baked goods are ready. ;-) Please let us know how it goes! :-)


  17. Becky D on October 23rd, 2013 5:19 pm

    Hi Shirley – might be a strange question, but do the dates end up like a paste? Just trying to figure out how much to process them!


    • Shirley on October 23rd, 2013 8:55 pm

      Hi Becky–Welcome to gfe! :-) I’m guessing that the right answer is yes because the dates are fully incorporated with the other ingredients. BUT I just process until all mixes together. It doesn’t take long. I think you’ll easily figure it out once you give it a go.


  18. Cheryl Harris on October 23rd, 2013 7:56 pm

    These look amazing. I wish my tummy liked coconut more! I bet they’re winners. And what’s not to love about things that are yummier as leftovers!

    • Shirley on October 23rd, 2013 8:57 pm

      Thanks so much, Cheryl. I always feel really sorry for folks who can’t eat coconut. :-(


  19. Karen on October 23rd, 2013 8:46 pm

    Hi Shirley, These look sooo delicious !! What could I use in place of the almond flour since i’m sensitive to almonds, corn, gluten,& potato??
    Thanks For Your Help In Advance, Karen

    • Shirley on October 23rd, 2013 9:00 pm

      Hi Karen–Welcome and thanks! :-) Any other nut or seed flower should work just fine. Say hazelnut flour, sunflower seed flour, pumpkin see flour, etc. You can make those yourself using a spice grinder or your food processor. Starting with frozen nuts or seeds will ensure that you will end up with flour vs butter. Good luck!


  20. Kathleen on January 31st, 2014 11:05 pm

    Hi Shirley: I love coconut & choc., but at present not allowed almonds :-( . Can I sub another nut flour? No peanuts, hazelnuts or filberts, either.

    • Shirley on February 1st, 2014 2:06 pm

      Hi Kathleen–Why not try seed flour? You can make your own Sunflower seed flour or pumpkin seed flour. (You can also purchase the latter, but I know it’s pricey.) Grinding your own flour from seeds is pretty easy though. You just have to be careful not to process it too much or it will turn into sunbutter or pumpkin see butter. ;-) I’ve used both my food processor and mini chopper successfully. Good luck! Let us know how that works for you! :-)


  21. Marianne on February 4th, 2014 10:03 pm

    I made these yesterday and thanks to the resident cookie monster, they ‘ve mysteriously disappeared. Great cookies! I love the texture :D
    Cookie Monster (aka my husband) says thank you :)

    • Shirley on February 7th, 2014 10:54 am

      Hi Marianne–That’s terrific news! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback with us. I do love those cookies myself. I need a husband like yours! Mr. GFE rarely eats sweets and never overindulges so I’m the resident Cookie Monster here. ;-)


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