Secretly Healthy Cookie Dough Bars

I think these bars (which are something of a cross between blondies and cookie dough bars) are my new favorite dessert. The perfect soft texture, sweet & chocolatey, and just the right cookie dough flavor. They’re absolutely delicious, but… they’re also hiding a few secrets.

You didn’t hear it from me, but these bars are made from chickpeas (of all things!), sweetened with only dates and maple syrup, and they get their creaminess from peanut butter. In other words: no flour, no oil, no processed sugar, lots of fiber & protein. Yet, they somehow still manage to taste every bit as delicious as you might hope. Even better, they’re the simplest dessert you’ll ever make – just whip up everything in a food processor and then bake. Isn’t real, One Ingredient food the best?


9 squares


  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2-3 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup+ cacao nibs and/or chocolate chips

preheat the oven to 350º F

Step One

Prepare a “flax egg” by combining 1 tablespoon flaxseed with 2 tablespoons of water and setting aside for 5 minutes until it thickens into a gel. Meanwhile, drain and thoroughly rinse the can of chickpeas.

Step Two

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients except for the chocolate: chickpeas, peanut butter, dates, maple syrup, vanilla, baking powder, salt, and the flax egg. Let it run for several minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the mixture is completely smooth and no chunks of dates or chickpeas remain. This batter will be fairly thick and it may take a few minutes of fighting with your food processor to make it happen.

Step Three

Remove the blade fro the food processor and stir in the chocolate of your choice. A handful or two of vegan chocolate chips work amazingly well, but you want less sugar you can also use cacao nibs. I threw in a handful of each and the combo worked great.

Step Four

Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with coconut oil and transfer the batter into the dish. You could also use a square brownie pan that can be seen in the back of the photos, if you’re cool enough to have one of those. Pop in a 350º F oven for about 20-25 minutes, just until the edges start browning. Remove and allow to cool (which will help these bars firm up) before cutting into squares and serving.




Leave a Reply
    • Thanks, Doreen! Me too.. and they work so well in desserts, actually. The perfect texture for bars like these.

  1. These look amazing!! Love the idea of using chickpeas. I usually cook large batches of chickpeas instead of using canned to make your chicotta shells and falafel burgers. By the way I have learned both actually freeze quite well for a quick dinner in a pinch. I have been using the left over chickpeas to make the grilled kale and hummus wrap, but I think next time I will make these instead. Thank you so much for all the great recipes you post here.

    • Thanks, Kathy! I’m so glad you like all the chickpea recipes 🙂 and I agree that fresh-cooked chickpeas are much better than canned.

  2. I want to make these right now! But I only have two dates. Do you think I could replace the rest with a liquid sweetener to taste, such as maple syrup or brown rice syrup? Or might that compromise the texture? Thanks!

    • Hey Audrey! That *might* compromise the texture but I think you should be okay. Liquid sweeteners will be much sweeter than dates so I’m guessing another 2 tablespoons would be a good start. If it’s really runny, you could always add a bit more chickpeas or peanut butter if you have them.

  3. I don’t have ground flaxseed, can I replace it with almond meal instead? Or what else can I replace it with? Thank you.

    • Hmm, you might be able to get by omitting the flax altogether if you don’t mind the texture being a little different, but the almond meal might also be a good addition without the flax.

  4. Why not replace the peanut butter with defatted peanut butter powder like PB2 (or Jiff makes one too without added sugar or salt) ? No saturated fat in either. Mix with water to get amount you need. I substitute it all the time in sauces, salad dressing, baked goods and smoothies. Easy peasy!

  5. Wow these looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it this weekend! Will it still be vegan if I include 100% cocoa chips / bar insteaed of cacao nibs?

    • Hi Michelle. It will be vegan as long as all the ingredients are vegan 🙂 So as long as you’re using vegan chocolate, you’re good!

  6. Wow! These are fantastic! Andrew, I think if it were anyone else’s recipe I wouldn’t have tried it because it just sounded so, well, weird, with the chickpeas as a main ingredient. But I trust you and I am right to! I loved these. Thank you so much.

    • Aw, that’s awesome! I seriously value that trust and I always try to post things that are worth your time/effort to make. I’m glad this was one of them.

  7. I made those yesterday with almond butter (raw) and it came out AMAZING!!! the next time i want to try to pumpkin seeds butter and see how it goes 🙂

    • Nice! I’m happy to hear that you liked them and it’s great to hear they work well with almond butter.

  8. These are amazing! I’ve already made them twice. The second time I made them, I used half peanut butter and half almond/cashew/pecan butter. They turned out great both times! I love that there are no processed flours, oils, or sugars. Awesome recipe!

    • Wait, didn’t you just ask if you could sub IN dates in another recipe and now you want to sub them OUT? haha 🙂 I probably wouldn’t mess with this recipe too much because I feel like it’s really dialed in and changing things might really throw it off.

    • Hmm! My first thought is that it might not work as expected because the raw ingredients in these bars don’t taste as much like raw cookie dough as they do when cooked, if that makes sense? They almost taste more like raw dough after being cooked, lol. BUT, you can easily try it and see if you like it. If not, just add the baking powder and bake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Baked Cauliflower Bites with Spicy Pesto

The Best Vegan Fried Rice