Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Sea Salt

February 27, 2014 | | | | |

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healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-saltShopping is one of my many talents.

Not to toot my own horn, but excluding my mother, I’m the best shopper I’ve ever met. It all boils down to stamina. Most people start to get antsy after twenty minutes in shopping situations, and once they’ve tried on 3-5 items, they’re ready to throw in the towel. Not this kid. I can try on everything in an entire store without breaking a sweat. (This is sort of a lie because trying on coats and sweaters always makes me sweaty, but you know what I mean.)

Besides my kitchen and Northeast Harbor, clothing stores are my happy place. Call me superficial, but I live for racks of beautiful clothes and salespeople’s faux compliments. It pains me to admit this, but I’m pretty much the opposite of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when I shop. First of all, I dress up, as I find that doing so attracts the salespeople. (I probably internalized the importance of this as a child from Julia’s unfortunate experience). Because I like to try things on, I always have at least ten items in my hands by the time a salesperson materializes. Looking at me dressed to the nines and holding my weight in potential purchases, their eyes light up like Christmas has come early. Some of the more eager salespeople look like they might break into a rendition of “Hey Big Spender” at any moment. I actually feel guilty when this happens because helping me is a big mistake.


healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-2Due to this whole self-employment thing, I’m not currently able to actually buy the majority of the clothing items that I’d like, so I mostly just try infinity things on for future reference. (The pained expressions on the formerly giddy salespeople’s faces when they realize I don’t plan to pay their rent for the month often reminds me of the animals in the ASPCA commercials. I have to look away.) However, when I do make bigger purchases, I try to be strategic about it. If I really like something, I won’t buy it right away. I leave it in the store, and if I’m still thinking about it a week later, I’ll come back for it (budget permitting). This system works remarkably well to weed out impractical purchases, as I usually forget about most neoprene crop tops and sweatshirts reading “HEY BOY” in sequins after a day or so. Thank God.

I tend to take the same approach when it comes to the recipes that I post on this site. If I have an idea, I’ll write it down and then let it marinate for a while. I have a lot of ideas (duh), but it’s the ones that I can’t stop thinking about for days on end that show up here. This process is actually invaluable when it comes to maintaining the integrity of Domesticate ME! If I simply made and posted recipes as soon as I was struck with inspiration, this blog would be a whole bunch of champagne cocktails and quesadillas, which would be glorious, but about as practical as a wardrobe of crop tops and bedazzled sweatshirts.

Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Sea Salt is one of those recipes that I’ve been obsessing over this week…

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-4These wonders started out as regular cookies but slowly morphed into this oatmeal version over the course of the week, and I’m pretty excited about them. They’re not overly sweet, but the combination of oatmeal, intense dark chocolate, tart cherries and buttery pecans is satisfyingly decadent. Crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, each cookie oozes melted chocolate when you bite into it, and the comforting flavors are punctuated by the ridiculously delicious crunch of sea salt. Unreal.

Honestly, I was hesitant to go from Tuesday’s dissertation on supermodels and kale salad to chocolate-laced cookies, but I actually feel surprisingly good about this transition. These cookies are healthy little bites of heaven. First of all, oats are all kinds of wonderful for you. They stabilize your blood sugar, boost your immune system, lower your risk of diabetes and several forms of cancer, and they’re loaded with antioxidants.

In addition to the oats, the extras in these cookies pack a serious nutritional punch. Everyone knows that dark chocolate is practically a health food based on its antioxidant content and fabulous mood-boosting properties, so I really capitalized on that. The addition of dried tart cherries was also a calculated decision on my part, as they too are brimming with antioxidants and are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and melatonin content. (Dr. Oz claims that tart cherries actually help you sleep better at night, so I plan to eat these cookies in bed.) Chopped pecans add a little extra fiber and protein, and they happen to have the highest antioxidant content of any nut. Yes, I realize I keep saying “antioxidants,” but there are so many in these cookies. SO many! You should feel anti-oxidized just looking at them.

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-5Oh, and I also swapped white flour for whole wheat to give these babies a whole grain boost, and I used heart-healthy coconut oil in place of a stick of fat butter. Bing bang boom.

The best part about these cookies is that they’re ridiculously easy to make. There’s no fancy equipment required, and you’ll only need to do about 15 minutes of hands-on prep work (and that’s if you’re working at a snail’s pace). The recipe is easily doubled to feed a large crowd, and as always, you should feel free to adapt it to suit your personal tastes. Dark chocolate haters can sub in semi-sweet or milk chocolate chunks, cherries can be replaced with cranberries or raisins, and nuts can be varied or omitted if they’re not your style. Making any of the aforementioned substitutions/modifications will obviously change the badass nutritional composition of these powerhouse cookies, but perhaps wearing a thong bikini is not at the top of your priority list. To each his own…

Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Sea Salt: (Makes about 20 cookies)

½ cup coconut oil (in solid form)
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
¾ cup whole wheat flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill Organic)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1¼ teaspoons sea salt, divided
1½ cups rolled oats
3.5 ounces dark chocolate (1 bar), chopped (you can also use dark chocolate chips if you prefer)
½ cup dried tart cherries
½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preparing your Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Cherries and Sea Salt:

-Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract and egg to a large mixing bowl.

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-1-Cream them together until smooth. If you have a stand mixer (fan-cay!), you may use it. You can also use an electric hand mixer, or a regular old whisk. Just make sure that you get the mixture as smooth as possible. You may notice there are some lumps of coconut oil. I recommend using a spatula to smoosh them. (I know that “smoosh” is not proper culinary terminology, but you know what I mean.)

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-2-In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of sea salt.

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-3-Stir the flour mixture into the coconut oil/sugar mixture until just combined.

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-4-Add the oats, chocolate chunks, cherries and pecans (if using).

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-5-Mix until well combined.

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-6-Cover the dough with plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Yes, you can skip this step, but your cookies will end up slightly less thick, and that’s on you.

-Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

-When the oven is ready, scoop heaping tablespoon-sized balls of the chilled dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Ideally, you want the balls to be at least 2-inches apart. (Never thought I’d say that.) Sprinkle each ball with a few flakes of the remaining sea salt.

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-7-Bake your cookies for 13-15 minutes (the exact cooking time will vary slightly depending on your oven and how cold your cookie dough is when it goes in) until they are slightly golden. Note: Sometimes the cookies star to get slightly misshapen while they cook. I like to remove them from the oven after about 8 minutes and gently nudge them back into a round shape with the back of a spoon.

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-8-Remove them from the oven and let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-step-9Get naughty with these. Very, very naughty.


healthy-dark-chocolate-chunk-oatmeal-cookies-with-cherries-and-sea-salt-7I’m thrilled to be a part of Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast this week. For more delicious cookie recipes, check out the amazing blogs below.

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Quinoa Oat Cookies
The Heritage Cook: Meyer Lemon Shortbread Cookies with Meyer Lemon Curd
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: French Palmiers
Weelicious: Homemade Oreo Cookies
Devour: Top 5 Chocolate Cookies
Taste With The Eyes: A Korean Sweet Treat – Hwa Jeon with Honey and Flower Petals
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies with Chocolate Ganache Filling
Red or Green: Chocolate, Almond and Ginger Cookies
Food for 7 Stages of Life: Rose and Cardamon Nankhatai (Eggless Indian Shortbread Cookies)
Virtually Homemade: Oatmeal Caramel Skillet cookie with Marshmallows and Chocolate
The Sensitive Epicure: Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten-Free)
FN Dish: Cookie Comfort

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  1. Diane Salter on May 27, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Let me just say that these have been my Go To cookies for over two years now, and that’s saying something because I love to bake! Make. These. Today. I am!

  2. Tess Danesi on April 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    These cookies are mine tonight! To the KitchenAid…

  3. Jane Bonacci on February 27, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    These cookies sound absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to make them!

    • Serena_Wolf on February 28, 2014 at 8:58 am

      Thank you, Jane! I can’t wait to make your Meyer Lemon Shortbread cookies. Lemon curd is one of my favorite things in the universe, and yours looks unbelievable!

  4. Dixya Bhattarai RD on February 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    i like when cookies fit right into my breakfast, snack, dessert, and inside my purse because a girl needs some energy while shopping right?

    • Serena_Wolf on February 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Agreed on all fronts! Full disclosure: I ate two for breakfast this morning with almond milk.I thought it qualified as a well-rounded meal.

  5. Elizabeth Hughes on February 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I love cherry and chocolate together! I’ve put that flavor combo into brownies, granola and snack mix. Cookies are beauties – fun doing Comfort Food Feast with you 🙂

    • Serena_Wolf on February 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks, Liz! The chocolate/cherry combo is my go to for most baked goods too. I died over your skillet cookie today. THOSE PICTURES. Can’t wait to try it!

  6. Anna on February 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    These look incredible… Definitely going to make them!

    • Serena_Wolf on February 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks, Anna!

  7. Prudy Blank on February 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    haha..as always, I laughed through this post…. 🙂
    This post made me very happy for a couple of things…first of all, I love cherries. Add chocolate to them, and I’m completely giddy.. 🙂
    Second.. I received this big jar of coconut oil from My Spice Sage for buying $25 worth of spices not too long ago. I’ve never used it, and had no idea what to do with it! It’s been sitting in my cupboard for about a month now.
    And third… I have every last ingredient for this recipe in my pantry. LOVE that!!
    So guess what I’ll be baking this weekend? 🙂 Yum. YUM!!!
    By the way…I made the BBQ chicken grilled cheese the other night. Holy smokes man. DELISH. I can usually only eat 1/2 of a grilled cheese. I ate the whole damn thing!! There was a 1/2 of one left over, and I ate that while I was cooking dinner the next night! The only thing I didn’t have in the house was the cilantro…not because I don’t like it, because I love cilantro..I just didn’t have any. So I substituted fresh dill instead. While I know that the cilantro would have been crazy good, I have to say that the dill gave it a very nice flavor!! That is a keeper for sure!!

    • Serena_Wolf on February 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      AH! I am very impressed that you already have all of the ingredients for these babies, and I’m thrilled to give you a reason to put your giant jar of coconut oil to use (weird fact: it also makes great eye makeup remover). So happy to hear about the grilled cheese success! I am very intrigued by the dill situation, which sounds weirdly delicious. xo

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