Perfectly chewy and packed full of goodness, these little cookies are our new favorite healthier treat. They happen to be vegan, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened. Plus, grated carrot adds extra sweetness and moisture to the dough (but you would never know the veggies are in there if I didn’t tell you!). We love these Healthier Monster Cookies topped with fun dye-free chocolate candies. However, you can use chocolate chips on top or just mark the tops with a fork for that classic peanut butter cookie vibe. Don’t forget to get the kids into the kitchen to grate up the carrots and stir the easy, one-bowl dough together.
Kids in the Kitchen:
- Measure! If you want to cut down on the amount of mess you make while cooking with kids (And it can be super messy, right?), pre-measure some ingredients before inviting your little one in the kitchen. Even measuring one or two ingredients together can be a great learning experience.
- Veggie Fun! Kids can help prep the carrot for this recipe by peeling it then helping shred it up on the grater. Hold the grater and carrot with your child to make sure little hands stay safe. If you grate the carrot ahead of time, make sure your child has a chance to add it to the bowl.
- Dump and stir! Adding the ingredients to a bowl is fun. Make sure to instruct your child to dump into the center, not on the edge, of the bowl and use a large bowl to prevent any spills.
- Scoop! You can use a spoon but I find it easier for kids to make uniform sized portions of dough by using a cookie scoop. See recommendations below.
- Top! Have your little chef place those chocolate candies or chocolate chips on top of each cookie and make a fun counting game out of it. Count each one as they go on or ask an older child math problems like “We have 18 cookies and want 3 chocolates on top of each one. How many chocolate pieces do we need?”
Tips and Subs for Healthier Monster Cookies:
- Flour: I have not tried any other flours other than almond flour is in this recipe, so unfortunately I can’t recommend a good substitute. The almond flour very much contributes to the chewy texture of the cookie. I like to buy my almond flour from Costco because it’s a great price and quality.
- Sugar? I like using coconut sugar in this recipe but you can substitute brown sugar or regular granulated sugar. However brown and granulated sugar are sweeter than coconut sugar so you may want to use about half the amount.
- No Peanut Butter? Feel free to use almond butter or sunflower seed butter instead.
- Candy? My favorite brand of M&M-like chocolate candies are THESE but you can use any kind of chocolate pieces you’d like. Regular-sized chocolate chips would work well too.
- Helpful Equipment: Parchment Paper Sheets: these precut, unbleached parchment paper sheets make clean-up a breeze and ensure your cookies never stick to the pan. Plus, cutting the right sized piece of parchment paper from the roll is such pain! That’s why I can’t live without these sheets that fit perfectly in a baking pan. Cookie Scoop: make your cookies look more uniform and professional by using a portion scoop to measure the dough. It makes scooping the cooking dough so much easier and kids love to help use these tools too! I really recommend investing in a high quality scoop because the less expensive ones tend to break really quickly. You can also buy a set of three scoops to use for all kinds of baking projects.
Healthier Monster Cookies
- 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and trimmed
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (vegetable or melted coconut oil)
- heaping 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (only peanuts) or almond butter
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar or 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seed or use 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp water omit if using egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt omit if nut butter is salted
- 1 cup rolled oats gluten-free if desired
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp almond flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- chocolate candies or chocolate chips, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly with oil.
- Grate carrot on the small holes of a box grater. Measure 1/2 cup of grated carrot and add it to a large bowl. Add oil, peanut butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, flax, water, and vanilla to the bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add remaining ingredients, except the chocolate, to the bowl and mix with a spoon or spatula until well combined. You should have a thick and sticky dough.
- Use a spoon or cookie scoop to make approximately 2 tablespoon-sized scoops of dough. You can place the scoops pretty close together on the baking sheet since the cookies don't spread much during baking. Press three candies or chocolate chips into the top of each cookie. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 12 minutes. Cool then enjoy! Store in an airtight container on the counter for 5 days or so or freeze for up to 3 months.
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