High Protein, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
These delicious little high-protein chocolate peanut butter breakfast cookies are easy to make, require no baking, will keep well in the refrigerator for weeks, are gluten and dairy free, and are packed with high energy nutrition.
This recipe is sponsored by Naked Nutrition.
Full disclosure. Even though I really, really love the idea of eating cookies for breakfast, until I started working on this recipe, I'd never actually made or eaten a breakfast cookie. I mean... I've eaten cookies for breakfast. (Oh, please. Like you haven't.) But, I'd never eaten a cookie meant for breakfast. So, I got online, found a bunch of recipes, and started baking.
Here's what I learned: Most breakfast cookies are super dry and somewhat tasteless. Most are high carb with very little protein. And, I dunno. I don't see the point of going through the trouble of making breakfast cookies unless the result is better than what you'd get from just pouring a bowl of granola.
I wanted breakfast cookies that would taste indulgent (duh) but fill you up with healthy fats, protein, and fiber. I also wanted them to be gluten and dairy free because gluten and dairy free peeps deserve cookies for breakfast too. And, I didn't want them to contain white sugar.
Here's the thing about that. The two most important ingredients for making cookies that are super flavorful, with a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth texture are sugar and butter (or oil). I didn't want to include either of those ingredients. Most breakfast cookie recipe authors don't want to include them either. Hence, breakfast cookies that are bland, crumbly and dry.
After making one batch edible by covering them in a powdered sugar maple syrup glaze and realizing that I'd completely lost track of my original intentions for this recipe, I decided it was time to take a different approach entirely.
These delicious little breakfast cookies are the end result and I would happily eat them every single morning for the rest of my life. They are....
- Gluten Free
- Dairy free
- Contain no white sugar
- Take minutes to make
- Require absolutely no actual baking
Can you publish a no-bake recipe on a baking blog? says my husband from the peanut gallery.
I'll do what I like, I say. Now, have a cookie.
No-bake peanut butter deliciousness
I actually baked the first batch of these cookies. And, while I waited for them to bake, I couldn't stop snacking on the cookie dough. At some point, while scooping "just one more taste" of cookie dough from the bowl into my mouth, I thought that I was maybe making things harder than they needed to be and baking cookies that don't, in fact, need to be baked.
There is not one single ingredient in these cookies that needs to be baked. The dough sticks together into cookies that are easily transportable and won't crumble down the front of your shirt when you take a bite. Plus, they will keep in the refrigerator for weeks and can be frozen for months. Baking them just dried them out and reduced their shelf life.
Peanut butter not only adds rich, nutty flavor to these cookies, it gives them a soft, tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture that I just love. In this recipe, it's a full replacement for butter or oil and, along with a handful of chopped nuts, contributes protein and healthy fats.
However, peanut butter didn't contribute quite enough protein for my liking. For that, I had to add some protein powder.
Why you should eat protein for breakfast. Most of the time.
I may want to eat cookies for breakfast, but I also know that when I start my day with some protein, I will have more energy and focus for whatever tasks need doing that morning. Also, eating a high-protein breakfast means I am waaaaaaaay less likely to reach for any kind of sugary snack before lunch or for lunch.
Research shows that consuming protein at breakfast increases the release of hormones that help us feel full for longer. The opposite is true for breakfasts that include a lot of refined carbs and no protein. Refined carbs lead to spikes in blood sugar that fill us up in the moment but leave us feeling sluggish and hungry again sooner rather than later.
I have a friend who is fond of saying, "Everything in moderation. Including moderation."
This is a philosophy I can get behind. I am never, ever, ever going to give up things like doughnuts, apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, or blueberry muffins. But, I certainly don't eat them every day. Or even all that often. Most mornings I opt for a bowl of greek yogurt, a protein shake, eggs and whole grain toast, or THESE breakfast cookies.
Why I'm so in love with Naked Whey Protein Powder
- Naked Whey Protein Powder contains ONE single, solitary ingredient: Whey Protein. There is absolutely ZERO artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or anything at all besides whey protein.
- The whey protein comes from the milk of 100% grass-fed cows. It's hormone free and contains no rBGH or rBST. It is non-denatured and soy free.
As a baker, I like to use ingredients that are nothing more than the ingredient themselves. I try to limit my intake of unnecessary additives, and that includes the ingredients in my pantry. I rarely use anything that contains added flavors, colors, preservatives, or other fillers, and would much rather have a little bit of something super high-quality than a lot of something low-quality.
So, I greatly appreciate a protein powder that contains nothing but protein. If I want added sweetness or flavor to whatever I'm making, I'll add it myself, thank you very much.
I also appreciate that Naked Whey comes from the milk of grass fed cows living on small California dairy farms because the way we raise animals for food in this country is a growing concern of mine. While I have no plans to give up meat or dairy entirely, I have reduced the amount of meat and dairy I consume considerably over the past decade or so.
This is for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important is because of my concerns about how animals are raised and treated. I do my absolute best to make sure that the meat, poultry, and dairy I purchase comes from farms that raise their animals with responsible, humane, and sustainable practices. This extends to my choice in protein powder.
While I've used Naked Whey Protein in this recipe, Naked Nutrition also produces vegan protein powder that would work just as well. So, if you're following a diet that does not include any animal products, check out their options for protein powder derived from peas and brown rice.
Making these breakfast cookies couldn't be easier.
#1. Chop up some dates, add them to a bowl along with honey, peanut butter, and almond extract, and beat for a couple of minutes with an electric mixer. You can also mix up this dough by hand, but be prepared for a serious arm workout because the dough gets super thick.
#2. Dump the oats, baking soda, Naked Whey Protein Powder, cinnamon, and salt into another bowl and stir it all around to distribute the ingredients. Dump this mixture into the mixing bowl with the peanut butter, dates, and honey, and beat for another minute or so.
#3. Chop up some roasted and lightly salted nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, whatever) and add them to the dough along with a handful of mini chocolate chips and some shredded coconut.
#4. Beat the dough for another minute or two to help crush all the ingredients together. If mixing by hand, put some muscle into it. You want the ingredients to be well combined and all the "chunky" ingredients like the nuts to be broken up into small pieces inside the dough.
#5. Divide the dough into 16 pieces that are about ¼ cup each. Smash the dough between your palms into a ball then flatten the ball into a cookie shape. Wrap the cookies you don't devour immediately in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and you're done.
Storing and Freezing Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies
These cookies will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. If you wrap them individually, they make for a fantastic breakfast or snack on-the-go. You could even toss them into lunch boxes for your kiddos. And, it goes without saying that these cookies make a delicious, nutritions after school and after sports snack.
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
- ½ cup dates, seeds removed and chopped into very small pieces
- ½ cup honey
- 1 ⅓ cup peanut butter, crunchy or creamy (I usually use Jiff or Skippy)
- 1 tsp almond extract (optional, but delicious)
- 1 ¾ cup oats, quick cooking or old fashioned
- ½ cup Naked Whey Protein Powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp table salt (1 tsp kosher salt)
- ½ cup roasted, lightly salted nuts, chopped into very small pieces
- ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
- Add the dates, honey, peanut butter, and almond extract to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high for 2 minutes.
- In a seperate bowl, stir together the oats, protein powder, cinnamon, and salt to combine. Dump this mixture into the mixing bowl and beat for about a minute to incorporate.
- Add the chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and shredded coconut. Beat on medium-high for another two minutes so that the ingredients are very well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times; the mixture is sticky and will cling to the sides of the bowl.
- Use a ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop out portions of dough. Form the dough it into a ball, pressing it together in the palms of your hand, then flattening it slightly into a cookie shape.
- Wrap the cookies individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper, then put in an air-tight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
With a little elbow grease, you can mix up the dough for these cookies by hand instead of using an electric mixer. If you do choose to mix the dough by hand it's extra important to chop the nuts and dates into very small pieces. Beating the dough with a mixer helps break down the ingredients, smashing them into tiny pieces so that the dough sticks together well. If beating by hand, just make sure the ingredients are in very small pieces before mixing the dough.
Use whatever kind of nuts you like in these cookies, but for the best flavor, choose ones that are roasted and lightly salted. I used almonds, but peanuts, walnuts, or pecans would also be delicious.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 5gSugar: 14gProtein: 13g