It happens every year without fail: in February, the blogosphere goes chocolate-crazy. It’s no surprise, considering Valentine’s Day and chocolate go hand-in-hand—chances are, you’ll bake, eat, give, or receive something chocolatey on V-Day.
Or will you? Maybe you’re feeling chocolated out right now. Maybe you can’t stand the idea of another sickeningly-sweet V-Day dessert. Maybe you want something a little different this year. Or maybe you simply waited till the last minute to figure out a good Valentine’s treat to make, and now you’re scrambling! In any case, I have the perfect recipe for you.
These pretty-in-pink berry-ful cookie bites are like your favorite group of girlfriends. They’re sweet, but not too sweet. They’ve got a tart edge to them to keep you on your toes. They’re cute and colorful, yet totally low-maintenance. They support your health goals, but they also help you indulge a sweet tooth. They’re always there for you when you need them, hanging out in the fridge. Wait, what? ; )
Treat yourself and/or your sweetheart to a batch of these no-bake, quick-to-make, all-natural, healthful, and flavorful little sweet-tart treatlets this Valentine’s Day.
Note: To add tartness, antioxidants, and extra color to these cookies, I use some Navitas Naturals pomegranate powder. Navitas actually makes a whole line of superfood/superberry powders that would work beautifully in this recipe. You could just as easily try it with goji or açaí powder, or even maqui berry or goldenberry powder! But of course, if you don’t have any such superfood powder on hand in your pantry, simply omit it from the recipe—no problem at all. These little bites of heaven will still be nutritious and berrylicious all the same.
Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Oil-Free, Sugar-Free
Grain-Free Variation; Low-Calorie, Raw
- 1 cup dry raw cashews
- ½ cup dry raw macadamia nuts
- ½ cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free if desired)
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate powder (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract or vanilla extract
- Scant 1 cup mixed dried berries (*see note in step 4 below)
- ½ cup pitted dates
- Combine the cashews, macadamia nuts, and oats in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts and oats are finely ground.
- Add the pomegranate powder, if using, and sea salt and pulse to combine.
- Add the lemon juice and strawberry or vanilla extract and pulse again to combine.
- Add the berries, ½ cup at a time, and pulse until well-incorporated. (*You can use any type or combination of dried berries/fruit that you like, but pink ones look especially nice here. I used a mix of dried cranberries, golden raisins, dried cherries, and dried blueberries. Plain, soft raisins are another suitable option. You could even use dried mulberries or soaked goji berries!)
- Finally, add the dates to the food processor.
- Pulse until all the dried fruit is well-incorporated and the mixture is homogenous. It should stick together when pressed between your fingers.
- At this point, you can shape your cookies in any way you like! The simplest method is to scoop up the "dough," 1-2 tablespoons at a time, and roll it into a ball between your palms. Another option is to use your hands to mold the dough into flat, cookie-shaped disks. Yet another option is to transfer the dough to a large sheet of waxed paper, pat it into a thick circle or rectangle, use a rolling pin to roll it out flat (about 1/4-1/3 inch thick), and cut fun shapes out of it with a knife or cookie cutters. Or you can do what I did: press the dough into chocolate/candy molds to create fun shapes!
- Because I created this recipe for Valentine's Day, I had to make an army of rosy-hued little hearts. However, I also used a silicone mini bundt cake mold to make teeny bundt cookies!
- Transfer the formed cookies to the fridge to chill until ready to eat. Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
Replace the oats with unsweetened shredded coconut.
I used macnuts and cashews for their creamy texture, mild flavor, and light color, but you're welcome to use any other nuts you prefer.
Aren’t they just cute as buttons?!
Although the hearts are the classic shape choice for V-Day, I’m kind of obsessed with how awesome the little bundt cookies came out.
Cashews and macadamias provide crunchy-creamy nuttiness, while the oats add bulk and cut the fat content a little.
The lemon juice and pomegranate powder help make the cookies tangy and tart alongside the array of jewel-like dried berries.
I served a huge platter of these at a party that Matt and I threw last weekend, and they were an absolute hit.
No one ever guessed they’re also “health food”!
And if it’s just not a proper Valentine’s Day for you without some cacao involved, here are some ideas for how to “chocolatize” this recipe:
- Pulse 1/3 cup cacao powder or cocoa powder into the dough after step 6 for chocolate-berry cookies.
- Pulse ¼ cup cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips into the dough after step 6 for chocolate chip-berry cookies.
- Roll the cookies into balls, then roll the balls in cacao powder or cocoa powder for cocoa-dusted berry cookie truffles.
- Prepare the Chocolate Silk Ganache on page 93 of Practically Raw (or this raw chocolate-hazelnut ganache). Dip the chilled cookies (partially or entirely) into the ganache, set on a plate lined with waxed paper, and chill until firm for chocolate-dipped berry cookies.
- Take a square of your favorite dark chocolate bar, place a cookie on top of it, and enjoy just like that for chocolate-berry cookie stacks.