Gaia Cookies {oats, coconut, dates, cherries, chocolate}

Because it’s Saturday. 

And you may be needing a special cookie to bake for a friend or party…

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A few weekends ago my boyfriend and I had dinner at a couple’s home that lived in the neighborhood.  

Wanting to bring more than just the bottle of wine we picked up at our favorite little wine shop, packaging up cookies sounded perfect… but I wanted those cookies to feel more special than usual.  

I immediately thought of these “gaia cookies.” 

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I first wrote about these cookies in a blog post two years ago.  If you have never read one of Shauna Niequist’s books, I recommend you add it to your summer reading list.  Her book, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, discusses the joy found in life around the table. It’s not all about the food - but it’s about the people you are with and the memories you share. 

At the end of each chapter, Niequist shares recipes, such as this one for Gaia Cookies.  The cookie is from a hippie vegetarian cafe in Grand Rapids, Michigan called “Gaia Cafe.”  It is loaded oats, coconut, dates, walnuts, and chocolate.  I love everything about these cookies. Now, I have never been to this cafe, but anywhere that sells this cookie is on my bucket list to visit. 

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My recent version had dried cherries and dark chocolate along with the coconut, walnuts and dates.  But you can switch it up to fit your style!  

Gaia Cookies
(adapted from Bread & Wine)
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 ½ cups oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded coconut (I like to toast it)
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped 
1 cup good quality chopped chocolate (I use milk or dark chocolate)
1 cup chopped dates & dried cherries (you can use whatever mix you prefer…raisins, dates, cherries, cranberries)
Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add in the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and mix well.
- Toast the coconut and walnuts in the oven for about 5 minutes or so. Chop the nuts and add it with the coconut to the mix along with the chopped chocolate, chopped dates, and chopped dried cherries. Mix until combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the dough on to a cookie sheet. You can refrigerate the cookies for a few minutes to prevent them from spreading out too much when they bake.  Then bake for about 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool a few minutes on the sheet pan and then remove and enjoy! 

I recommend using an ice cream scoop to make perfect large cookies every time. 

Happy Saturday and happy baking!