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Flourless, Unprocessed Cacao Chip Protein Cookies

I run a lot (usually 7 or 8 runs per week) and do plenty of other workouts and hikes sprinkled throughout the week. My Garmin watch tells me I burn at least 2,600 calories every day (sometimes 3,000). For that reason, I am always looking for tasty ways to get a balanced dose of quick calories throughout the day.

Those hipster store-bought energy bars are okay, but 1) they are expensive, and 2) most of their calories come from syrups and other cheap ingredients. I much prefer to make my own snacks.

Recently I was experimenting with just that and ended up with something really cool. After pulsing some chickpeas + dates + protein powder + almond butter in the food processor, I had something delicious that reminded me very much of cookie batter. It tasted great on its own, but when I tried popping them into the oven, they actually turned into cookies!

In addition to having a solid nutritional profile with a balance of protein, fat, carbs, and plenty of fiber, these totally unprocessed and flourless cookies are shockingly tasty and hold together much better than you would imagine without any gluten or typical baking ingredients. Throw in a few cacao nibs or chocolate chips and you basically have a chocolate chip super-cookie that you can eat for a snack and actually feel good about it.

Makes: 4-6 servings


  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup protein powder
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons cacao nibs

Preheat the oven to 350º F

Step One

Drain and rinse the chickpeas through a strainer and add them to a food processor along with all the other ingredients except the cacao nibs. let it run until you have a completely smooth mixture. Then, add the cocoa nibs and pulse just 1-2 times to incorporate without pulverizing them.

As always with these types of ingredients, depending on the moisture content your batter may be slightly thicker/thinner. If it crumbles, add a teaspoon or two of water. If it’s too mushy, add a teaspoon or two of protein powder.

Step Two

Break up the batter into rounds and flatten them into cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat – these guys WILL stick if you give them the chance.

One Ingredient Chef’s Cooking Tip #841 – Save a champagne cork in your kitchen and pop it into the center hole of your food processor to turn it into a work bowl:

Step Three

Bake! Pop into the oven for about 12-15 minutes. They don’t *really* need to cook like a normal cookie, the goal is simply for the cookies to set into a solid/firm shape. Wait until they are no longer moist on the outside, but definitely before the edges begin to brown. Then, allow to cool and enjoy. Or, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.


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  1. These are wonderful! Just made them and the only thing I tweaked was using unsweetened almond milk to moisten the batter instead of water. Vanilla rice protein powder worked beautifully.

    Thanks for another great and simple recipe, Andrew!

    • Oh, very cool! I’m so glad they turned out well for you and I really appreciate you taking a minute to let me know 🙂

  2. Hi Andrew, I am on an chickpea addicted period, so thanks a lot for this recipe !!! I am very excited to try it 🙂

    • Awesome! I am thoroughly addicted to chickpeas… I actually recently got an air fryer and make seasoned chickpeas that get all crunchy and delicious. So good. I’ll probably be blogging about that soon 🙂

  3. Recipe looks good. I don’t use protein powder so do you think almond flour or another gluten-free flour would work in its place? I look forward to trying the recipe. Thanks.

    • Hmm! I think that would be fine, but it might take a bit of experimentation just to get the moisture right. Almond flour would probably work, and even gluten free flour (even chickpea flour, haha). In this case though I would stay away from wheat flours because they would get all gummy.

  4. Hi Andrew,

    I did them twice this week because I theyare really good!
    But I needed quite some plant milk to get my blender doing the job (it’s a vitamix).
    I did them half chickpeas half kidney beans the first time because I did not have enough chickpeas and thus worked well.
    Second time I used unsweetened cacao in the batter for double chocolate and this is also very good.
    Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    • Hmm, it may work but I would be wary of that because flour is totally dry and whole chickpeas are quite moist so the moisture amounts will need to be completely changed.

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