Simple cocoa oatmeal date cookies (sugar free, gluten free, vegan, oil free)

Why mess with perfection? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" has a lot of merit, especially when it comes to saving yourself from grief over wasted time. When the "fixing" is more along the lines of healthy snacks and creative play, on the other hand...variety is the spice of life. cocoa oatmeal cookies (1)

Why the adage adoration today? I really can't tell you why my brain is bouncing from one cliche to the next. It may be a little because this kind of real baking play with the Little Monkey is like reveling in the best nursery rhymes. It's a sing-song and sunshiny process, maybe a little bit messy, but short, sweet and simple enough to enjoy without the smiles wearing off.

These 3-ingredient oatmeal cookies from My Whole Food Life are fantastic! Why wouldn't they be? I love oats, and dates, and cinnamon. I love each enough, especially the dates, I tend to prefer them on their own, despite the cookies being grand. Chocolately, though...

cocoa oatmeal cookies (3)

Playing in the kitchen with Little Monkey and accomplishing real cooking or baking has been such joy. I'm not sure whether to term our time spent as "work" or "play". It definitely feels like more the latter, most of the time (within the right window...e.g. wrapping up just as the pitcher's arm starts to show signs of warming up). But real work is getting done, and my little sous chef/dishwasher/expert sweeper is SO proud of himself for being the helper he is, it seems a disservice to call it anything but. Then again, when stumbling on anything that manages to blend both work and play, what does it matter?

We made these cookies together, and then we ate and shared them with friends. Here's how it broke down:

cocoa oatmeal cookies (2)Big baker pitted the dates. Little baker tossed them in the Vitamix.

BB poured OJ in the measuring cup. LB poured it from the cup to blender.

BB covered the Vitamix. LB pressed the button (from the learning tower) and we both watched trusted V do its job in a moment of awe and appreciation.

BB poured date mix into bowl. LB scooped in the oats, sprinkled in the cinnamon. We both stirred it up.

BB guided LB in spooning the "dough" onto cookie sheet. BB filled the sink with soapy water and containers for water play/dish rinsing (selectively) while LB worked and splashed.

Five minutes prep, 10 minutes in the oven and done. Perfect for the attention span of Little Baker, whose role was clearly more significant. He knows it, too. The look on his face when he showed off his cookies at his play date the following morning? Priceless.

Cocoa oatmeal date cookies

  • 12 Medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash ground cinnamon

1. In a high speed blender or food processor, blend dates and orange juice until achieving a smooth caramel-like consistency. 2. Transfer date mix to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, combining. 3. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If desired, flatten slightly. 4. Bake at 350 F for approximately 10 minutes.