Parenthood + Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies!  More cookies.

Please forgive me.  As of late, I’ve become a neurotic, cookie baking, non-sleeping fool.

More on that.  But first.

Two random notes.

1)  Parenthood is totally saving my life.

I’m not talking about parenthood.  I’m talking about Parenthood, the tv show.  I’m only on season 1, but many a night, I’ll put the kids in bed & cozy up to a bowl of popcorn & watch an episode or two on Netflix.

It’s a comfort to know that I’m not alone in relishing the quirks, the ups & downs of family life, which the show does a good job of showing in a beautiful, fresh, & creative way.  I always laugh, I always cry (a little bit).  Plus, I love Lauren Graham. I’ve been a fan ever since Gilmore Girls.  I love how at the end of each episode it’s all about family.  No matter what, they’re a family.  So good.

2)  Did I mention I only have Hyrum & Salem with me this week?

Asher & Mali are off on a trip with my mom visiting family for a week.  So it’s just me & two kids. Kinda weird, if you ask me.  But so much easier.  Boy, the difference between two kids & four kids is HUGE.  Especially since I have Hyrum who is remarkably responsible, reasonable & adult-like.  Sure, he has his whiny moments, but having him around, is like having a friend.

It’s weird when your kids hit that point.  When they can converse with you, they get jokes, they ask intelligent, grown-up questions questions.  (Like, whoa, Hyrum asked me the other day while we we driving in the car how babies come out.  Ummm, I haven’t answered him yet.  Didn’t see that coming yet.)

There’s a dialouge, rather than just babbling.  It’s a rewarding moment when you realize:  hey, I made this little, talking, human being who is funny!  Who has thoughts about the world & shares them.  That’s neat.

Now back to the cookies.

The other day I got it into my head that I needed to make a treat to take to my in-law’s weekly family dinner.  Too bad this thought came to me two hours before said dinner.

I got on my pinterest boards, looking for something quick & do-able.  I wanted to make these (perfect for fall), but then I realized I had to let them set overnight, so they wouldn’t work for what I was looking for.

Finally, I settled down on this recipe.  Turns out, though, I didn’t have some of the ingredients.  No matter.

Improvise, improvise.  That is what I did.

Add sliced almonds, use chocolate, instead of carob chips.  Replace some of the shredded coconut with almond meal.  Add a bit of agave.  Use coconut oil instead of butter.

The dough tasted good enough, as cookie dough goes.  I was pretty excited to see what would turn out.

But truthfully, I can’t say I was pleased when the cookies came out of the oven.

I was late for the the family dinner.  Salem was cranky & clingy.  The cookies looked under cooked & crumbly.

And, our trusty mini-van would not start (I think we’re at the end of it’s life, so long dear one, you’ve done your duty).  I left the cookies on the counter to cool & came to terms with the fact that I would not, despite my best efforts, bring any sweet treats to share because the cookies didn’t seemed fully cooked.  I took my dad’s car & we went off to family dinner.

When we came back home later that night, I was happy to see that my cookies, after sitting on the cookie rack for a few hours, had firmed up.  Still a little crumbly (gf cookies have a way of doing that), but soft & firm(er).  And upon tasting, passed the test–chocolate, coconut & a hint of almond, with no hint of cake-iness.

You can subsitute applesauce for the coconut oil, but I’m just going to say this:  when I eat a cookie, I want it to taste like a cookie.

I do not want it to taste like a brownie, or a cupcake.  I want it to have a firm, dense texture.

So, if you substitute, just know that the applesauce will make it more cake-like.  And for the record, I have not tried this recipe with applesauce, so I cannot vouch for it’s use in this recipe.

Adapted from Mama Pea‘s No Sugar Cookies.

Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Calories per serving: 163

Fat grams per serving: 11 g

Chocolate, coconut, almonds, & oats give these cookies lots of flavor & depth.


  • 1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats (gluten-free, optional)
  • 1 c. almond meal (or additional shredded coconut)
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 2 TBS. ground flaxseed + 6 TBS. water
  • 1/4 c. agave nectar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 c. non-dairy chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. sliced almonds (optional)


  1. Get your oven ready by turning it to 350 F.
  2. Combine coconut, almond meal, & oats & toast over medium low heat in a dry skillet. Use a wooden spoon to turn frequently. You should start to smell the coconut, which will start to turn a light golden brown. Set aside.
  3. Cream together coconut oil, flax + water, agave, & vanilla extract.
  4. Add toasted ingredients, sliced almonds, & chocolate chips. The chocolate chips will melt, which is what they are supposed to do. This will give the cookies a overall chocolately flavor rather than just isolated chocolate chips.
  5. For firmer, easier to handle dough, chill the dough for at least 1/2 hour. I skipped this step (remember, I was in a hurry), but if you have time, do it. It will make for better cookies.
  6. Pack dough tightly in a medium or small cookie scoop. Gently press down the tops of the mounds slightly. Bake for 10-14 minutes (if your cookies are on the smaller side, 10-11 minutes should be fine, for bigger cookies, 13-14 minutes is about right). Wait a few minutes before transferring cookies to rack. The cookies will be very fragile right out of the oven. Don't let this worry you. Once they've completely cooled, they will firm up. Store in the fridge.

Additional Nutrition Info: Per cookie: 3 g protein, 15 g carb, 2 g fiber, 45 mg sodium. For an oil-less cookie, you can try replacing the oil with applesauce--be forewarned, I haven't tried using applesauce in the is recipe, so I can't guarantee results!

Want more healthy recipes?  Check out Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert, & Dogs, where you can find this, & many other great recipes.


Do you have a favorite tv show, movie, podcast, or magazine that you like to watch/read to help you unwind & laugh/cry/feel?


  1. Kristen
    on January 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm said:

    I just made these cookies tonight and ….Oh wow delightful!!! I used Enjoy Life brand chocolate Mega chunks instead of chocolate chips. They did not all melt but when the cookie was baked and cooled there were smaller melt-y yummy chunks of chocolate inside each cookie!! Yum! We love these cookies! Thank you Janae for sharing your talents with us. You seriously make a positive impact in the world of blogs. 🙂

  2. Melissa
    on October 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm said:

    The show, Parenthood, both amuses and annoys me. I started watching in last summer when I realized that my co-worker’s niece (her sister’s daughter) is on the show. (Her name is Erika Christensen, and she plays the younger sister, Julia. LOVE HER!) I also really like Lauren Graham, aka Lorelia Gilmore. (Her character, Sarah, annoys the crap outta me, though.)
    Thank goodness for Hulu and allowing me to watch it without commercials when I have the time.
    Thanks for posting photos of cookies… I really want a ChocoChip now! 🙂

  3. Elenore Bendel Zahn
    on September 28, 2012 at 9:06 am said:

    So funny.. I had to go and check out that series once I finished reading this post (to be honest I´m quite the series nerd) anyway..I´m hoooked – it´s an awesome show. Don’t know whether I should blame it on you or thank you;) Haha..

    The cookies sounds (and look) divine and I wish you a fab weekend with them!

  4. Gena
    on September 28, 2012 at 5:06 am said:

    I used to have a big aversion to dried coconut, but I’ve actually started to like it quite a bit more, and these cookies look like the perfect way to celebrate my newfound taste for the stuff. Yum!

  5. Ricki
    on September 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm said:

    These sound totally amazing–and they are stunning to boot! I actually *do* like cake-like cookies, so maybe I’ll go for applesauce? And wow, yes, how cool that kids eventually grow up that way –and parents appreciate it! 🙂

  6. lfwfv
    on September 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm said:

    I *love* parenthood! We discovered it on Netflix as well. And Gilmore Girls is one of my all-time favorite series ever!!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm said:

      GG is one of THE best drama/sitcoms, ever. IMHO. I’m glad you agree–you have good taste :). Even more reason I’m convinced we’d be just best friends if we ever lived in the same town!

  7. Dana
    on September 26, 2012 at 3:12 pm said:

    Ohhhh but those cookies look deelish! Thank heavens I’m not a coconut fan or I’d be up til 2 am baking them later. Of course, knowing me, I’ll try them anyway, subbing something out for the the coconut and the oil and generally revamping the whole recipe (and then wondering why they don’t look as fantastico as yours!).

    We rented the first two seasons of Parenthood on dvd as well and loved it. So funny and so many situations that most parents have gone through and to which we can relate. Always comforting to know we are not alone in the craziness! We are anxiously awaiting Season 3 to be available on Netflix. We also like Modern Family- totally different, none of the slapstick humor, but quite good and something to which we can relate as well. Frankly, I’d like to be half the mom that many of the characters are on the show. Our Saturday night date-nights are spent with a grown up dinner in the den once the kids are asleep, watching these shows or some type of romantic comedy film. Just the kind of relaxing, non-mentally-taxing few hours we need after a long week!

    Sorry about your van. Hope it can limp along for a few more months til J gets home. Enjoy your “free” time as a mom to just two… though I know you are missing the girls like crazy.

    • Janae Wise
      on September 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm said:

      “So funny and so many situations that most parents have gone through and to which we can relate.” Yes! This is why it’s a gem. I loathe shows that make light of parenting (like–whoever’s writing this must NOT be a parent, because this is so not what it’s like!) or shows that make the dad out to be a dope all the time, annoying things like that.

      You know, it is sad about our van, because this means I’ll be without a car for the next while (we’re not going to buy a car until we move to TX), BUT on the other hand, we were so lucky it lasted as long as did. So the way I see it, we totally scored.

      (& I’m so sad you’re not a coconut fan. Joseph isn’t either. Terrible shame. Oh well, more coconut for me.)

  8. Alissa N
    on September 26, 2012 at 1:39 pm said:

    I am obsessed with Gilmore Girls. I got the DVDs for Christmas last year and I watch them over and over (I have a really old tube TV and DVD player in my office at home, and I have it on in the background while I do blog things!). I have wanted to try Parenthood because of Lauren Graham, but it seemed a bit serious for me. I will have to give it a try. My current favorite show is Parks and Recreation, because it makes me laugh out loud.
    I love that these cookies worked out!! They look incredible!!!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 26, 2012 at 11:18 pm said:

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one with a really old school TV & DVD player. We actually put our out in our front yard with a sign that said “free” when we moved a few months back, so when we finally get to our more permanent location, I suppose it’ll be time to get something a bit more modern, like a flat screen, since they don’t even sell those old chunky tubes anymore!

      I’ll have to check into Parks & Rec. I do think Amy P. is amazingly talented, & boy she can instigate some serious laughs.

  9. Heather @ Better With Veggies
    on September 26, 2012 at 10:44 am said:

    These looks delicious! I like to watch TV to unwind, my favorite is Dr Who, Everyone should watch that show. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on September 26, 2012 at 11:13 pm said:

      Never heard of Dr. Who. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for the recommend, Heather.

  10. Joy
    on September 26, 2012 at 9:34 am said:

    These look delicious! I smiled at your words about realizing you wanted to bring something to your in laws two hours before you were expected to be there. This is my problem, every single time. Last time it happened, we ended up with tasteless (but cute) hand pies. We’re having company on Friday and I’m determined to be better prepared this time. Cookies, for the win!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 26, 2012 at 10:01 am said:

      I know, I’m seriously the worst procrastinator & you just can’t do that with 95% of all baked goods. I’m better when I have a menu plan, but even then, I’m prone to wanting to change plans at the last second. Good luck with your entertaining this Friday!

  11. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family
    on September 26, 2012 at 8:25 am said:

    I meant to include a compliment about the cookies…they look tasty (even if they needed a little drying time on the cooling rack).

  12. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family
    on September 26, 2012 at 8:22 am said:

    HA! My 5 year old Andrew asked me a couple of months back how babies came out. That was fun. I tried going with “the doctor helps you get them out.” That satisfied for a little while, but then he could figure out with the exit was. So I had to explain (without using the “v” word) that babies come out where girls pee. Still not a ton of fun and I too was driving when he asked.

    It’s like kids know just the right time to ask the questions you don’t want to answer. I mean driving a car you are a captive audience.

    Good luck with the conversation when it comes back around 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on September 26, 2012 at 10:05 am said:

      We were in the car when Hyrum asked the question, too. See, I don’t have a problem discussing the birds & the bees, it’s just that I was caught totally off guard & was not prepared. When he asked, I was like: “Crikey! I forgot about *that* part of parenting. I suppose it’s enivitable.” Also, I’d like the dialogue to happen with Joseph present so we’re on the same page about things.

      “It’s like kids know just the right time to ask the questions you don’t want to answer.” Yes!

  13. Beth @ Tasty Yummies
    on September 26, 2012 at 8:15 am said:

    These cookies look incredible. I have been on a major cookie kick lately (hence my most recent recipe). I cannot believe you get all of this done with 4 kids, heck I can’t believe you get it done with just two, I struggle to get everything done and I don’t have one kid, just hubby and our dog!. You are definitely super-mom!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 26, 2012 at 10:10 am said:

      Beth: I know 4 kids sounds like a lot, & as weird as this sounds, I think you somehow get more productive once you *have* to. I remember taking an HOUR and a half getting ready in H.S. Now, I’ve streamlined it (without cutting too many corners) to about 20-30 minutes. When put to task, I think most people can do it. & thanks for the compliment, but I’m completely seriously when I say I think having 4 kids, in many ways, is much easier than just having 1 or 2!

  14. Ashlee Crozier
    on September 26, 2012 at 4:59 am said:

    Sounds like you found your keys! I lost my keys for about four days last week, too. I was joking with Paul and saying, “I should tell Janae — check your jogger stroller!” J.K.

    I guess they still didn’t help you out, tho. Sorry about your old faithful friend coming to an end. Every family car tells a story.

    I’ve started to really reduce the wheat in my diet. I like spelt flour, a lot. I know it is not gluten free, but it is wheat free. I hardly ever eat bread. Most of my cookies are made with oat flour. Life just feels better that way.