Chocolate Cherry Tahini Cookies

Yield: 12 cookies
Vegan, Paleo, Grain-free, Nut-free
Freshly baked gluten-free chocolate cherry tahini cookies with sea salt sprinkled on top.

Cherry season is ending, and I miss it already.

Fortunately, you can get dried cherries that taste amazing. No, their texture is nothing like fresh ones, but the flavour is there, and you can still pair them with their one true love: dark chocolate.

Removing grains, soy, refined sugars and other processed foods has helped me immensely as I navigate my way through my own health concerns, including food sensitivities, allergies, and too much inflammation. These cookies fit the bill and also satisfy one of my ultimate goals: dessert that’s so nourishing, you can eat it for breakfast. (Just not the whole tray!)

They start with a tahini cookie base, which is similar to a peanut butter cookie, but they’re nut-free, and tahini happens to go oh-so-well with coconut (flour and oil). Tahini paste also holds the dough together nicely without gluten or starch, so you can keep things relatively low-carb.

These low-allergen cookies make a great grab-and-go bite for work or school. They’re also a big hit if you’re entertaining, as they’re safe for people with most dietary restrictions.

A lot of dried fruits, especially cherries, have sneaky additives like refined sugars and oils. I have, on occasion, found dried tart cherries without either, but if you can’t get the sour ones, the regular ones are delicious as well. These ones are a safe bet.

Side note… I have to credit Ruthy for introducing me to the wonder of dried cherries. I’ve spent the summer working with her in the kitchen and they’re in her "The Original" granola. It’s taken all of my willpower not to pick them out of each freshly baked batch and gobble them up like candy.

I recommend you go with a thicker tahini, like this one, so that the cookies don’t fall apart. Initially, I made them with a runnier tahini and they were tasty, but they lost their integrity pretty quickly. On that note, it’s important to soften the coconut oil so it’s a smooth, buttery consistency. Just don’t melt it the whole way, as the cookies can get a bit messy. If they do melt and spread too much, throw them in the fridge to firm up.

For the chocolate, I'm partial to Joya's bars, but if you can't get your hands on those, pick up a clean dark chocolate bar. Avoid ingredients you haven’t heard of before and stick with things that have cocoa butter, cocoa powder and natural sweeteners (ideally, not cane sugar, but it’s still better than corn syrup!).

A sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top brings out each flavour.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coconut oil, softened
  • ½ cup tahini (the thick kind)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 5 tablespoons water (to make 2 flax eggs)
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup Joya 70% dark or coconut milk dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water and drained
  • pinch flaky sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make the flax eggs by combining the ground flax and water. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, soak the cherries in just enough warm water to cover them.
  4. Combine the coconut oil, tahini, sugar and vanilla with a stand mixer or hand mixer.
  5. Mix in the flax eggs.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking soda and salt.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine with the mixer.
  8. Drain the cherries well. Fold in the chocolate and the cherries.
  9. Roll the dough into heaping tablespoon-sized balls and flatten gently onto the cookie sheet so they are approximately 1 cm thick.
  10. Sprinkle a pinch of flaky salt on each cookie.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookies get slightly golden around the edges. Let them cool 5-10 minutes and remove from the baking sheet to cool the rest of the way.