Easy, refined sugar free pecan date cookies

I'll be honest. Week to week, we mostly eat like my last post (slow cooker baked sweet potatoes) and not so much like the pictures on my blog page might suggest. All my culinary creativity goes into recipe development for Ancient Harvest (which is oh so much fun!) and brainstorming and experimenting with easy, portable toddler treats. I'm starting a compilation of grab-and-go good-for-you snacks (more on that later), including this one.  

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In general, when it comes to scheduling around a toddler, the simpler the plans the better. Creating these cookies comes with a little fuss, but not too much, just enough to warrant their own post but not enough to make a toddler top two in easy treats. Still, five minutes  lining a baking sheet and measuring into a food processor followed by twelve minutes baking is not bad.

These cookies originated with this delicious looking recipe from The Detoxinista  , which use walnuts, only I simply can't resist the lure of the pecan pie-like combination of dates and pecans. I also threw in half a banana--mainly because I was a little low on dates.; I had a cup, but a loosely packed one. I increased flax meal, subbed in orange juice for water, left out chocolate chips (which I NEVER do, only now I'm baking as a mom!), and included unsweetened coconut shreds. The other change was I carelessly threw everything together in one step because, chasing a toddler around, I don't have time.  I'm pretty sure you could eschew the baking soda and make these no-bake energy balls if you wanted, too, cutting out yet another step.

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Little Monkey keeps me on my toes these days...to say so is an understatement. I LOVE chasing after him, but at the same time it's easy to admit it's tiring. Lately though, with the neighborhoods glowing and bursting with Halloween happiness, I've been reflecting a lot on how this has got to be the easy part of parenting. We can go to a Halloween parade, and completely ignore the candy. It's still so foreign, it goes completely unnoticed. What happens when it becomes the norm? My Snacktivist mom friends with older kids, I'm learning from and will soon be turning to you!

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I don't want to be a stick-in-the-mud, micro-managing parent. I don't want to put blinders up for the sake of sentimental accepted tradition and fitting in, either...yet at the same time, it would break my heart for a bigger Little Monkey to feel hurt, left out and irritated by his crazy opinionated mom. *Sigh.* We have time (phew). Right now, I'm resting hopes in nutritious options, honest talks and exposure down the road. These cookies are sweet, chewy, and adult, teen, and toddler approved. That's a good enough start for me.

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Easy sugar free pecan date cookies Yield: 18 medium cookies or roughly 2 dozen mini toddler bites

  • 1 cup chopped pecans or pecan halves
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup ground flax/flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor combine all ingredients into a batter (will be fairly smooth but with crunch).
  3. Spoon the batter onto baking sheet and gently flatten with fingers.
  4. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.