Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies (Vegan, Grain-Free)

I’m a fan of alliterations, aren’t you? Especially when they involve chocolate and cherries. These little treats definitely fit the bill: delicious chocolate little morsels filled with dried bing cherries with just the right amount of sweetness. They may not be the flashiest, prettiest little dessert, but after a long stretch without sweets (I’ve just finished a Whole30), these were heaven. They’re still paleo-friendly, as they’re sweetened only with fruit and a touch of stevia, but that was more than enough.

They’re also grain-free, nut-free, and vegan – something that is rare in any baked good. A while back, Maggie at She Let Them Eat Cake shared a chocolate chip cookie recipe using pumpkin seed flour. Pumpkin seeds, a.k.a. pepitas, are a great alternative to nuts, especially if someone in your family has an allergy, or your children attend a nut-free school. Just process them in a coffee grinder until finely ground, and you have yourself a nutritious flour! I couldn’t wait until I got my hands on some pumpkin seeds so I could try out this method. So after grinding away, and poking around in my pantry to see what fun ingredients I could throw together with this new flour, I came out armed with some cocoa powder, dates, prunes, and cherries. Next thing I knew, these cookies were born.

Which isn’t surprising. If I wander into the kitchen to bake, chances are, what I will be baking is cookies. It’s my go-to dessert. Maybe it’s because I’ve always adored cookies, even back when I was a gluten-eater. I’d snub most cakes and other treats, but a cookie? Oh yes, I was game. Now that I bake gluten-free and dairy-free (and often grain and sugar-free as well), cookies are an easy thing to create. Cookies don’t have to be light and airy and have that perfect cake crumb; they’re not tricky like gluten-free breads. Maybe it’s just my point of view, but cookies are a lot more forgiving. Besides, they’re delicious. Who doesn’t like cookies?

Especially chewy chocolate cookies with cherries?

That’s what I thought.

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Paleo)

10 prunes

3 Medjool dates

1 ½ c pumpkin seed flour (grind raw shelled pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder)

3 T cocoa powder

¼ t baking soda

2 t cinnamon

¼ t sea salt

2 T applesauce

2 T coconut oil, melted

1 ½ t vanilla extract

¼ t almond extract

¼-1/2 t vanilla stevia extract

¾ c dried bing cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a small bowl, heat water until just boiling. Add prunes and dates and allow to soak for 5-10 minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile, whisk together pumpkin seed flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt in a medium bowl.

Remove prunes and dates from water and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add applesauce coconut oil, and extracts and process until it forms a paste. Add pumpkin seed flour mixture and process until well-blended. Adjust sweetness level to your liking with stevia, blending well. Stir in cherries.

Using oiled hands, roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Flatten with the back of a spoon or the heel of your hand.

Bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 1 ½ dozen.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Interested in learning about gluten-free baking? Join me and other Community Leaders at Udi’s Gluten-Free Living Community on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at 7 PM CDT to discuss gluten-free baking! Just visit this link to attend!



  1. says

    Oh my oh my oh my these sound INCREDIBLE!! I mean, they’re chocolate, right? And they have CHERRIES!! And no added sugar!! These may just be my dream cookie. :)

  2. says

    These look terrific, I will have to see if I can make pumpkinseed flour in my vitamix.
    You know, I wasn’t hungry a minute ago, but now…

  3. Marci says

    if I don’t have a nut allergy (or a coffee grinder!) can I make these with almond flour or gluten free baking flour? will it change the flavor or consistency (or baking time)?

  4. says

    I love (and am super cheesy about) alliterations.

    I’ve always adored cookies, but could care less about cake (you could give me the frosting though!). I think the size, the textures, the flavors, just so much more to offer.

    These look amazing, and aren’t even dessert – they are so healthy!

  5. says

    Oh how I wish I was your neighbor right now. These look absolutely amazing Alta. Thanks for the link love. Don’t you just love pumpkin seed flour? I am such a cookie girl too, by far my fave thing to whip up. They do make everyone happy. Gosh, now I have a hankering for a cookie…


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