These healthy vegan cookie bars are the best treat when you want something sweet but healthier, too! They’re gluten free (made with almond flour and oats) and sweetened with dates, but still rich, gooey, and delicious! Everything cookie bars should be. All you need is 10 simple ingredients and a little over 30 minutes!
I’m so excited to share these cookie bars with you. They’re the first recipe in what will be several coming holiday-ish recipes. I’m most inspired to create recipes during this time of year and have so much fun styling them.
These cookie bars are special because they are free of 7 of the top 8 allergens! No milk, soy, eggs, wheat, or peanuts (and of course no fish, or shell fish!).
The only allergen these cookie bars DO include is tree nuts.
But for a delicious cookie, I’d say that’s a win!
Vegan Egg Replacers
Something I’m starting to find the more I bake vegan recipes is eggs really aren’t necessary! In standard baking, eggs are commonly known to help provide structure, flavor, and color to baked goods. And when I first started experimenting with vegan baking a few years ago, figuring out how to to replace eggs felt like such a hurdle!
And when I really do feel like a recipe needs a good egg replacer to add that structure eggs are known for, I usually opt for either flaxseed eggs or unsweetened applesauce.
Flaxseed eggs are really good at providing that binding factor traditional eggs offer. Flaxseeds are also high in protein and fat, just like eggs!
For this recipe, I opted for the applesauce to provide the moisture these cookie bars needed. Applesauce is also great because the pectin in it helps act as a binder as well.
Making Your Bars!
This recipe is very easy and just a few steps!
- Soak your medjool dates to soften them. Even if your dates are super fresh and soft, I’d still recommend soaking them. This will increase their moisture content and make them very easy to blend.
- Blend your dates into a paste!
- Cream together the dates, oil, almond butter, and apple sauce. This won’t get as fluffy as it would if you were using butter, but whipping air into this mixture helps create lighter, softer cookie bars!
- Slowly mix in the vanilla extract, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
- Slowly mix in the oats and chocolate.
That’s it! Your dough will be thick and sticky!
Transfer to a parchment lined baking dish for easy removal and press the batter into it until flat and batter fills the pan, then bake!
You want these bars to be a little under done so they’re fudgy and delicious.
Don’t they look incredible? No one would guess they’re vegan, gluten free AND naturally sweetened!
I hope you guys love these bars. They’re seriously some of our favorites and are so easy to make. The perfect cooler weather baking recipe!
More Vegan Baking Ideas
- Vegan Pumpkin Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Filling
- Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies (dairy free, gluten free)
- Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Chickpea Cookie
Healthy Vegan Cookie Bars
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 ⅓ cup almond flour
- 1 cup Medjool dates - pitted and tightly packed
- ½ cup almond butter - runny
- ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce - unsweetened
- ½ cup avocado oil - or other neutral oil
- 1 bar chocolate - chopped
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Soak the medjool dates in boiling hot water for 5-10 minutes to soften.
- Once soft, drain the medjool dates, remove pits, and add dates to a food processor with 1-2 tablespoons of water. Process dates into a smooth paste.
- Add the date paste, almond butter, avocado oil, and apple sauce to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until ingredients are creamed together, about 1 minute. Alternatively, you can do this in a large bowl with a hand mixer.
- Next, add in the almond flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and gently mix together on low until combined, about 1 minute. If you used a hand mixer on last step, fold these ingredients in gently with a spatula.
- Lastly, add in oats and chopped chocolate bar, and mix again on low until just combined, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you used a hand mixer, fold these ingredients in with a spatula. This batter will be really thick and sticky!
- Transfer batter into parchment lined baking pan and press batter into pan until completely flat. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until golden on top and edges. You want them a bit under baked!
- Allow them to cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 9 bars. The more they cool, the easier they will be to cut into bars.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
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Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.