Experience the delightful flavors of a homemade apple pie in every guilt-free bite of our Nutritious Apple Oatmeal Date Cookies – they're gluten-free, vegan, and free of added sugar!
These chewy, apple-cinnamon spiced cookies are a one-bowl wonder, ready in just 20 minutes, and offer a hearty and wholesome treat. Sweetened with date paste and applesauce, these breakfast cookies provide a healthy choice for an on-the-go breakfast or snack.
We always have a stash of homemade date paste in the refrigerator so we can make cranberry sauce muffins, pumpkin empanadas or even instant pot ribs. Date paste is our go-to for natural sweetness and it even adds moisture to your favorite baked goods. You are going to love that natural caramel flavor it adds to these apple cookies.
Forget ordinary cookies – these are like a healthy baked oatmeal in cookie form without the banana flavor. If you enjoy breakfast cookies with bananas, you might also want to try our Cranberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies.
- Ingredients and Substitutions
- Fun Add Ins for the Best Date Cookie Recipe
- Date Paste Cookies: Easy Steps
- Recipe Tips
- How to Make Applesauce from Scratch?
- Applesauce vs. Apple Butter
- How to Serve
- Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
- More Cookie Recipes
- More Delicious Apple Recipes
- Apple Oatmeal Date Cookies
Ingredients and Substitutions
Instant Oats/Oatmeal: (sometimes also called quick oats) – We used dried certified gluten-free instant oats, which can be substituted with regular instant oats if preferred. Note that there's a difference between instant oatmeal and old-fashioned oatmeal. Instant oats act more like flour in recipes, while old-fashioned oats are firmer and provide a different texture. You can use old-fashioned oats but expect a slight texture variation. This recipe has not been tested with steel cut oats.
Applesauce: Use unsweetened applesauce, but if you only have sweetened or cinnamon-flavored applesauce, it's a suitable substitute. You may also opt for apple butter.
Nut/Seed Butter: We used creamy, no added sugar peanut butter in this recipe because apples and peanut butter make a delightful combination. However, if there's a peanut allergy at home or school, consider using an alternative nut butter, or try our pumpkin seed butter.
Cinnamon: We used extra ground dried cinnamon in this date cookie recipe to amplify the flavors and aroma. Fun fact: cinnamon has a unique quality – it tricks your brain into perceiving food as sweeter than it is. The aroma of cinnamon, particularly compounds like cinnamaldehyde, is the secret behind this phenomenon. Moreover, cinnamon offers various health benefits, as highlighted in a scientific review published in Pharmacognosy Research, (2015).
Date Paste: Date paste is a natural sweetener that brings a caramel-like sweetness to baked goods while assisting in binding the ingredients. You can prepare date paste from scratch or purchase it pre-made. Another option is to include finely chopped dates for a burst of natural sweetness. Date paste is often considered a healthier alternative to refined sugar since it doesn't cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, according to a scientific review on Science Direct (2022). Additionally, dates are rich in nutrients.
Fun Add Ins for the Best Date Cookie Recipe
Here is your chance to get creative and add some fun textures. You can choose from healthy options like nuts, seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, or even dark chocolate chips (if you're feeling adventurous). In our recipe, we used a mix of seeds and nuts, about ½ cup in total. You can even toss in some small, diced fresh apples for a delightful twist.
Date Paste Cookies: Easy Steps
Mix Ingredients: Combine dried oatmeal, applesauce, date paste, cinnamon, nut/seed butter, your choice of add-ins, and a pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness.
Shape Cookies: Roll the applesauce cookie dough into 12 balls, each about 2 inches (5 cm) in size or approximately ¼ cup. Press and shape them into cookie forms, then arrange them on a lined cookie sheet.
Bake: Bake the apple oat cookies with dates in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges feel firm to the touch.
Cool: Once out of the oven, let the apple oatmeal date cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to finish cooling.
Consistency Check: The vegan breakfast cookie batter should resemble thick cookie dough. Adjust if necessary – add dried oatmeal if it's too loose or a bit more applesauce if it's too firm, gradually until you reach the right texture.
Easy Handling: The batter is sticky, so a touch of oil on your hands will make rolling and shaping the cookies more manageable.
Baking Placement: These oatmeal date cookies won't spread much during baking, so you can place them close together on the baking sheet. Nor will they rise like our gingerbread cookies.
Shape Matters: The shape you create before baking is how they'll look afterward. Finger indents and all (smiling)!
Avoid Over-Baking: To keep these cookies chewy, remove them from the oven when the edges firm up to the touch. It typically takes about 14 minutes in our oven but start checking around the 10-minute mark, since every oven varies. Also, look for a light bronzed bottom.
How to Make Applesauce from Scratch?
If you don't have store-bought applesauce, you can easily prepare it at home. Simply peel and chop fresh apples, add water, and a touch of lemon juice. Cook them until tender, roughly 15 minutes, then mash them with a potato masher to create a chunky homemade applesauce.
Applesauce vs. Apple Butter
Both applesauce and apple butter are made from cooked apples. The primary distinction lies in the cooking process. Apple butter is cooked down for a longer duration, intensifying the apple flavors and yielding a smoother, thicker texture. For this apple oatmeal date cookie recipe, you can use either applesauce or apple butter. We actually prefer a chunky applesauce for a diverse texture.
How to Serve
Life gets busy, and these easy apple oatmeal cookies offer solutions for various situations, such as:
- School Lunch Snacks
- Breakfast on the Go
- After-School Snacks
- Healthy Mid-Afternoon Snacks
- Midnight Munchies
- Or Anything In Between
Enjoy them straight from the refrigerator, or for a quick warm-up, pop one in the microwave for 20 seconds on those chilly mornings. They pair perfectly with coffee, your favorite dairy or non-dairy choice, or a cup of warmed apple cider.
After the apple oatmeal date cookies have cooled, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container or baggie for up to 4 months, although they rarely last that long.
To thaw, leave a cookie or two at room temperature for 15 minutes. For a warm treat, microwave them for 15 seconds. Doubling the batch ensures you always have a convenient last-minute breakfast or snack available.
Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Sweetener Replacement: Replace sugar or other sweeteners in your baking recipes with date paste. It adds a natural sweetness without the need for refined sugars.
Sticky Binder: Dates can act as a natural binder in recipes. They're particularly useful in no-bake recipes, like energy bars, where they help hold everything together.
Flavor Enhancer: Dates also add a rich, caramel-like flavor to your baked goods, enhancing the overall taste of your recipes.
Our apple oatmeal date cookie dough (uncooked) can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 4 days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 4 months.
The choice depends on your preference. Medjool dates are large, soft, and the sweetest. In contrast, Deglet Noor dates are smaller, less sweet, and have a firmer skin. For a unique flavor, you might also consider trying jujube paste, which is known for its iron-boosting properties.
More Cookie Recipes
More Delicious Apple Recipes
Did You Like Our Recipe? Leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating and/or a review in the comments section below. Your feedback is always appreciated! Follow us for more delicious recipes on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! Don't forget to sign up for our email list for more free recipes.
Apple Oatmeal Date Cookies
- 1 baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- 2 and ¼ cups instant oats dried or old fashion oats/oatmeal
- 1 cup applesauce no added sugar
- ⅔ cup nut or seed butter natural - no added sugar
- ½ cup date paste or finely chopped dates
- 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon dried ground
- ½ cup add ins like nuts, seeds, raisins, etc.
- ¼ teaspoon salt to enhance flavor (can leave out if watching your sodium levels)
- Mix Ingredients: Combine dried oatmeal, applesauce, date paste, cinnamon, nut/seed butter, your choice of add-ins, and a pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness.
- Shape Cookies: Roll the applesauce cookie dough into 12 balls, each about 2 inches (5 cm) in size or approximately ¼ cup. Arrange them on a lined cookie sheet and then press and shape them into cookie forms.
- Bake: Bake the apple oat cookies with dates in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges feel firm to the touch.
- Cool: Once out of the oven, let the apple oatmeal date cookies rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.