What can I say about these impossible coconut cherry cookies? They’re vegan. They’re Lenten. They are gluten-free and dairy-free. They don’t contain soy or corn. And they don’t contain sweeteners. No sugar or honey. No maple syrup, agave, stevia, or artificial sweeteners. Nothing.

And they are delicious!

They shouldn’t be possible. I mean, seriously, how can you have cookies without butter, sugar, flour, and eggs?

But I can’t have butter, sugar, or flour on my anti-inflammatory diet. And I love cookies. So I kept hoping I could find, or come up with, a recipe for something cookie-like enough to satisfy my longing to have a cookie or two with a cup of tea.

Then a friend sent me a recipe for banana nut cookies that were really pretty good. I started experimenting from that recipe, and found my way to the sweet, dense, chewy cookies that I called Sunshine Cookies. I included the recipe for Sunshine Cookies in the recipe book that you get if you sign up for my newsletter.

But when I went to make them during Christmas, I realized that I was out of dried apricots! I had two choices: go to the grocery AGAIN, and get dried apricots. Or change the recipe.

So I changed the recipe. And I think I like this version even more than the version that I included in my recipe book!

Impossible Coconut Cherry Cookies


3 large, very ripe bananas (if the bananas are on the small side, use 4)
4 or 5 pitted Medjool dates
¾ cup raw cashews
¾ tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
Finely grated zest of an orange
1/8 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dried tart cherries, chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
2 Tbsp chia seeds
3 Tbsp chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350F. Line two insulated baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put the ripe bananas, dates, cashews, nutmeg, vanilla, orange zest, orange extract, soda, and salt into a food processor. Or use a Vitamix if you have one. Process or blend until the mixture is smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, dried cherries, chia seeds, and pecans. Pour the banana mixture into the oat mixture and stir until well combined.

Use a 1 Tbsp cookie scoop to form balls of cookie dough on the baking sheet. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, use a measuring spoon to measure 1 Tbsp of dough at a time, and shape the dough into balls with your hands. You can place the cookies fairly close together, since they won’t rise or spread.

Using a fork, flatten the balls into rounds.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown.

Cool on a rack.

These impossible coconut cherry cookies are best warm, either fresh from the oven or warmed slightly in the microwave.

Read More

Cookies and desserts for special diets and special occasions: Special days call for special treats. Here are some of my favorites, including recipes that work if you’re on a gluten-free, dairy-free, or anti-inflammatory diet.

Coconut Cake for the New Year: Coconut cake is festive, rich, and delicious, on New Year’s Day or any other day.

Tofu Chocolate Pie Recipe: If you don’t tell people that this rich, creamy, silky chocolate pie is Lenten, they’ll never know.

Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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