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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Healthy Oreos (Vegan, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Next on the healthier copycat dessert recipes menu: OREOS!! Yep, they said it couldn't be done.. but it's official, I've created a healthier Oreo (that still tastes good!). I made these Oreos with rich cacao powder to give the cookies an extra-chocolatey flavor and a nutritional upgrade, and I have multiple options for a creamy & dreamy, sweet filling. And I don't plan on stopping here! (Check towards the bottom of the post right before the recipe to see other Oreo creations I have plans for and the weekly sneak peek of recipes coming to The Dimpled Date soon!). These Oreos are grain-free as well as gluten-free.



If you're like me, you're Team Cream when it comes to Oreos. Sure, the cookie part is nice and all, but you're the type of person who is having a love affair with that vanilla creme filling. So, when I first tried these Oreos I found that I couldn't taste the creme filling enough for my liking.


I put myself to work to create the perfect creme filling for my Oreos that I could taste over the deep cacao flavor of the cookies. After enhancing the vanilla flavor and the cream factor, I finally was satisfied with the level of creaminess. And if you REALLY like the vanilla filling, then I would suggest using regular OR dark cocoa powder in place of the cacao powder so you can really taste that creme. For reference, the picture above is of my Oreos made with cacao powder and the picture below is my Oreos made with regular cocoa powder.



So what is the difference between cacao powder and cocoa powder anyways? Cacao powder is the more nutrient-dense, less-processed, richer (in color and flavor) form of cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is highly processed and therefore has less nutrients than cacao powder. Even more highly processed is a type of cocoa powder called Dutch-processed cocoa powder (also known as dark cocoa powder or alkalized cocoa powder) which is what is used in brand-name Oreo cookies. For the record, I have the option to use cacao powder, cocoa powder, or Dutch-processed cocoa powder for the cookie portion of this recipe, but I highly recommend the cacao powder version for a richer taste and healthier option.


These healthy Oreos are almond milk's favorite cookie and are the perfect (healthy) dunkable cookie! They're sweetened entirely with dates, are 100% vegan, and are packed with healthy nutrients.



Nutritional Profile of Healthy Oreos


Vegan butter- vegan butter (like Miyoko's or Earth Balance) is made from ingredients like healthy oils and plant milk. Vegan butter is rich in healthy fats which are good for brain, heart, skin, and hair health. Opt for a vegan butter versus margarine (although margarine is dairy-free, it's loaded with unhealthy trans fats which have a direct link to heart disease).


Dates- dates are antioxidant powerhouses that are also packed with fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Despite the fact that these little superfoods have a lot of sugar per date, they're actually considered low-glycemic because of their incredibly high fiber content! (But if you have diabetes, be sure to check with your doctor first if dates are ok on your diet. For most diabetics, dates are part of a healthy diet, but please check in with your doctor before consuming them if you have diabetes).


Cacao powder- cacao powder is an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, protein, healthy fats, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients are beneficial for digestion, the heart, muscles, the brain, skin & hair, red blood cells, bodily functions, easing PMS symptoms, and preventing various diseases. Opt for unsweetened cacao powder over cocoa powder.


Almond flour- almond flour is filled with healthy fats, fiber, protein, iron, vitamin E, and antioxidants. These nutrients benefit the cardiovascular system, nervous system, digestive system, musculoskeletal system, aid in red blood cell formation, promote healthy skin & hair, and ward off disease. Almond flour is a staple not only on the gluten-free diet, but also the grain-free, paleo, and keto diets.



Coconut flour- coconut flour is rich in healthy fats, fiber, protein, iron, fatty acids, and beneficial plant compounds. Coconut flour aids digestion, promotes brain & heart health, protects against anemia, may help aid weight loss, may help regulate blood sugar, and may have antimicrobial properties.


Sea salt- sea salt is healthier than table salt because it is much less processed. Sea salt balances electrolytes, nourishes the adrenal glands, and can provide the body with various minerals. Try Himalayan pink sea salt or another sea salt.


Coconut oil- coconut oil is chock-full of healthy fats, fatty acids, and beneficial plant compounds. Coconut oil has benefits for the skin and hair (when ingested or applied topically), as well as the heart and brain, it may aid weight loss, and may have antimicrobial properties.


Flaxseed- flaxseed (and therefore, flax eggs which are just flaxseed meal + water) is a great source of fiber, protein, healthy fats, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. Fiber benefits the GI tract and heart, protein builds muscle, healthy fats are good for the brain, skin, & hair, and iron forms healthy red blood cells. Omega-3s promote a healthy brain & heart, in addition to healthy joints, eyes, metabolism, immune system, and complexion.



Substitutions


For the vegan butter, I have no suggestions for a substitution because it forms the base of the cookies. The Medjool dates can be replaced with any kinds of dates, such as Deglet Noor dates. I don't know if other sweeteners would work here, but if you have experience you could try using either maple syrup/agave/date syrup, coconut sugar/date sugar/maple sugar, or stevia/monk fruit/Swerve/another artificial sweetener (granulated, powdered, or liquid is fine), to taste. The cacao powder can be replaced with regular cocoa powder OR Dutch-processed (dark/alkalized) cocoa powder. The Dutch-processed cocoa will yield a more subtle chocolate flavor and darker color.


The vanilla extract can be swapped out with the equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, vanilla bean powder, vanilla bean paste, or can be omitted (I recommend using it though). The cassava flour/starch can be replaced with tapioca flour/starch OR arrowroot flour/starch. Or, you could substitute the 1 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour with 1 1/4 cups gluten-free oat flour (keep the cassava flour/starch though). The baking soda can't be replaced, as it is the leavener in this recipe. The sea salt may be substituted with table salt. The coconut oil is preferred, but may be swapped out with a healthy neutral-flavored vegetable oil such as grapeseed oil OR avocado oil. The flax egg can be replaced with 1 chia egg OR 3 Tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine).



For the buttercream filling option, the vegan butter can't be replaced. The unsweetened almond milk can be swapped with your unsweetened plant milk of choice. The date paste can be substituted with your sweetener of choice, to taste (such as coconut sugar, maple syrup, Swerve, etc.). The vanilla extract may be substituted with the equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean. The cornstarch may be omitted.


For the coconut cream filling, the coconut cream can't be replaced. The unsweetened almond milk may be replaced with your unsweetened plant milk of choice. The date paste can be substituted with your sweetener of choice, to taste (such as coconut sugar, maple syrup, Swerve, etc.). The vanilla extract can be swapped out with the equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean.



As for the coconut butter filling, you may replace the coconut butter with your nut/seed butter of choice, although if you do so these cookies won't be so much healthy Oreos as they'll be healthy nut butter chocolate sandwich cookies. Also, nut/seed butters will yield a runnier filling.



Future Oreo Recipes


I plan on making A LOT of new recipes using this healthy Oreos recipe, including:


-Oreo Balls (confession time: I was obsessed with these before I went vegan/gluten-free/sugar-free!)

-Vegan Cookies N' Cream Ice Cream

-Healthy Oreo Pop-Tarts

-Vegan Cookies N' Cream Milkshake

-Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

-Oreo Pancakes

-Cookies N' Cream Brownies .. AND MORE!!


Keep reading for my weekly sneak peek of my newest recipes making their way to The Dimpled Date shortly!



Weekly Sneak Peak of Recipes to Come..


Some recipes that I've been experimenting with/created recently:


-Healthier Cinnamon Vanilla Granola

-Steel-Cut Overnight Oats

-Vet-Approved Healthy Vegan PB Cookie Dog Treats (for your fur babies!! <3)


Stay tuned..


Hope you guys enjoy this recipe, and let me know what you think if you make these healthy Oreos!


As always,

Enjoy! <3

-K.



Healthy Oreos (Vegan, Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)


Prep Time: 1 hour

Chill Time: at least 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 to 12 minutes

Total Time: at least 2 hours 10 minutes to 2 hours 12 minutes

Servings: 28 sandwich cookies


Ingredients (for the hard chocolate cookies):


-1/2 cup vegan butter (such as Miyoko's or Earth Balance), softened

-1 cup Medjool dates

-2/3 cup cacao powder (can sub regular OR Dutch-processed/dark/alkalized cocoa powder)

-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

-1 cup superfine almond flour

-1/4 cup coconut flour

-2 Tbsp cassava flour/starch (can sub tapioca/arrowroot flour/starch)

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp sea salt

-1 tsp unrefined virgin coconut oil, melted

-1 flax egg (check out Minimalist Baker's How to Make a Flax Egg recipe!)


For the buttercream filling (filling option #1 // HIGHLY recommended):


-1/3 cup vegan butter (such as Miyoko's or Earth Balance)

-2 Tbsp + 2 tsp unsweetened almond milk (or unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-1/3 cup date paste

-2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-3/4 tsp gluten-free cornstarch


For the coconut cream filling (filling option #2):


-1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut cream (the hardened white cream from a can of full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream that's been chilled in the fridge for at least 12 to 24 hours)

-1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk (or unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-1/4 cup date paste

-2 tsp vanilla extract


For the coconut butter filling (filling option #3):


-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut butter (coconut manna)


Directions:


1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or 2 large silicone baking mats. Set aside. Be sure you have the flax egg and date paste (if doing filling option #1 or #2 // check out Detoxinista's How to Make Date Paste recipe!) made ahead of time. Also, ensure that you have a can of full-fat coconut milk OR coconut cream that's been chilling in the fridge for at least 12 to 24 hours (if doing filling option #2).


2. For the chocolate cookies: Add the dates to a food processor and blend until the dates form a thick paste and/or form into a ball. Set aside.


3. Add the softened vegan butter and date paste to a stand mixer and cream together until smooth. Add the flax egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.


4. Sift the dry ingredients (cacao/cocoa powder, almond flour, coconut flour, cassava flour/starch, baking soda, & sea salt) into a large bowl. Whisk together to combine.


5. Add the flour mixture to the bowl of the stand mixer and mix together until just combined (DO NOT OVER-MIX).


6. Turn the mixer on, on a low speed setting. Slowly drizzle in the melted and slightly cooled coconut oil to the batter while the stand mixer is still running. When the mixture is uniform and the coconut oil is just incorporated, turn off the stand mixer.


7. With a spatula, transfer the batter to a well-floured cutting board. Push the dough together to form a large ball, and then flatten the top to form a large square of dough. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


8. Once the dough is done chilling and is firm enough to roll out, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


9. Place the dough on a cutting board. With a large, serrated knife cut the square of dough in half. Re-wrap one half of the dough in the plastic wrap and place it back in the fridge (this will ensure that all the dough won't get too warm and soft while rolling and cutting).


10. Place the other half of the cookie dough on a sheet of wax paper. Place another sheet of wax paper on top of the dough (for easy cleanup). Alternately, place the cookie dough on a well-floured surface and lightly flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin.


11. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between the two pieces of wax paper (or on the well-floured surface). Roll to 1/4" to 1/8" thick (you don't have to be exact, but aim for all parts of the dough to be consistent in thickness).


12. Peel off the top layer of parchment paper. Using a glass with a rim that's 2 inches in diameter (like a champagne glass) or a similar object of the same diameter, turn the glass upside down (with the rim facing downwards) and cut out 2" diameter circles in the rolled out dough. After cutting them out, place the cookies on the lined baking sheets. Take the scraps of leftover dough and push them into a square.


13. Take the other half of dough out of the fridge and place it on the wax paper. Take the square of scraps of leftover dough that you just rolled out and wrap that in the plastic wrap and place it in the fridge while you're rolling out the next piece of dough.


14. Roll out the second half of the dough the same way you rolled out the first half of the dough (roll between 2 pieces of parchment paper or on a well-floured surface to 1/8" thick and then cut out 2" diameter cookies). Place the cookies on the lined baking sheet. You should be able to fit about 24 cookies per large baking sheet.


15. Take the scraps of dough you just rolled out, push them into a square, and swap out with the dough that's been chilling in the fridge. Alternating between rolling half of the dough and chilling half of the dough ensures that your dough won't warm up too much and get too soft. Repeat the process of chilling, rolling, cutting, and swapping until there's no dough left.


16. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven (at 350 degrees F) for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies look and feel solid to the touch.


17. Once they're out of the oven, immediately transfer the cookies to a cooling rack or large plate to cool completely.


18. While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. You have 3 options to choose from for the creme filling (see above).


19. For the buttercream filling (filling option #1 // preferred filling option), soften the vegan butter in the microwave for 3 to 5 seconds , until just softened but still firm. Add the softened vegan butter, date paste, vanilla, and cornstarch to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, cream together the vegan butter, date paste, vanilla, and cornstarch until smooth. Add in the almond milk, starting with 1 Tbsp and mix until uniform and creamy, adding in additional almond milk as needed, 1 tsp at a time.


20. For the coconut cream filling (filling option #2), add the coconut cream (the hardened white cream at the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk OR coconut cream that's been chilled in the fridge for at least 12 to 24 hours), date paste, and vanilla to a large bowl and using a hand mixer, mix until smooth and creamy. Add in the almond milk and mix again until uniform.


21. For the coconut butter filling (filling option #3), soften the coconut butter (coconut manna) in a small saucepan on the stove over very low heat until it reaches a softened, paste-like consistency. Allow to cool slightly.


22. To fill the Oreos, you can either use a piping bag, a ziplock bag with a corner cut off as a piping bag, or simply spread the filling with a knife onto one cookie. Top the cookie with the filling with another cookie (with the filling between the two cookies) and lightly press the two cookie pieces together to slightly smush the filling. Clean up the cookie as needed by scraping off the excess frosting on the edges of the cookie with the straight (not sharp) side of a butter knife. Repeat this process with all of the cookies.


23. Serve with unsweetened vanilla almond milk (because these Healthy Oreos are almond milk's favorite cookie!) or your unsweetened plant milk of choice, use in a recipe (think everything from frostings to brownies to ice cream to pancakes!), eat on its own, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for later use. If you're Team Cookie, then eat as is, but if you're Team Cream (like me) and you want a little extra creme filling, add an extra schmear of filling on top. Enjoy!


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.


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