Turtle Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans, Chocolate, and Medjool Dates

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 18, 2013

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Let’s keep this holiday goodie train chuggin’ along, with a new cookie recipe that I made recently for a holiday get together. It’s inspired by the Turtles candy, with a nutty, “buttery” base of toasted pecans, caramel-like Medjool dates, and mini dark chocolate chips. They did not last long. I bet you’ve never had an oatmeal cookie quite like this one – it’s a keeper, for sure! I have to say, it replaces my oatmeal raisin cookies as the new reigning champion. And I didn’t think anything could top those.

Introducing the world’s best tasting cookie dough. Try it and see…

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The cookies aren’t too shabby either! My favourite way to eat them is straight from the fridge or freezer. Weird, right? They get really firm and crispy when chilled – almost caramelized in texture – and I just can’t get enough.

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I’m so sorry to do this to you, but I’m keeping the recipe a secret.

Don’t be mad.

Sometimes I just want to keep a recipe all to myself. Is that wrong?

I feel horrible!

Ok, ok stop punching your computer screen. I’m only joking! Poor computer screen.

For the full recipe, head on over to Keepin’ It Kind where I’m participating in Kristy’s Vegan Cookie Swap Party.

Edited to add: you can now find the recipe below:

4.7 from 31 reviews
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Vegan "Turtle" Oatmeal Cookies

Vegan, gluten-free

By

Inspired by one of my childhood favourite candies, these "Turtle" Oatmeal Cookies are studded with caramel-like Medjool dates and dark chocolate chips, all surrounded with a nutty toasted pecan and oat base. If you can stop eating the dough for long enough to bake them, you are in for a real treat. This sounds a bit strange, but my favourite way to enjoy these is straight from the fridge or freezer where the cookies get firm and crisp.

Yield
16 large cookies
Prep time
Cook time

Ingredients:

  • 1 + 3/4 cups pecan halves
  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, divided
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Pamela’s brand, see note)
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat or unpacked brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/3 cup pitted dates, diced
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast pecans for about 9-11 minutes, until golden and fragrant. After toasting, remove from oven and cool for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F. Add pecans into food processor along with 1 cup of oats and process until coarsely chopped with some fine powder (see photo in blog post). Be sure not to over process or the oils in the nuts will release.
  2. In a large bowl, stir the pecan/oat mixture, the remaining 1 cup rolled oats, flour, Sucanat, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture on the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  4. In a small bowl, coat the chopped dates in 1/2-1 teaspoon of flour and toss until coated. This prevents the dates from sticking together. Fold the dates and chocolate chips into the dough.
  5. Take about 2 tablespoons of dough, roll it into a ball, and then press down on it with your hand to flatten it on the baking sheet. Space cookies a couple inches apart. Repeat until you have about 16 cookies.
  6. Bake for 12-13 minutes at 350F until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 3-4 mins before placing cookies onto a cooling rack for 15 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Tips:

Notes: 1) Instead of gluten-free all-purpose flour, you can probably swap it for regular all-purpose flour. Depending on the flour you use, the results can vary. 2) As for the gluten-free flour blend, I recommend using one that is rice based (such as Pamela's brand) and avoid using one that is garbanzo based (such as Bob's Red Mill) to avoid any bean-y flavour.

 

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Page 3 of 3«123
Alison March 29, 2015 at 5:51 pm
Recipe Rating:

Hi there, they came out dry for me. The only variables I can think of are: cooking with two preschool boys and sub’d coconut four. Suggestions? Can’t find Pamela’s flour

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Annalise September 19, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Hi Alison, I made my own flour blend:
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
2 tbsp arrowroot starch or potato starch

I’d encourage you to try this recipe again. These cookies are wonderfully healthy and packed with flavor! Good luck. :)

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Alex April 12, 2015 at 11:10 pm
Recipe Rating:

AMAZING. So much flavor.

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Patrick May 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm
Recipe Rating:

All I can say is ‘Awesome’ vegan cookie recipe. Thank you for sharing.
I modified the recipe because I didn’t want brown sugar in them.

Instead of 1/2 cup brown sugar, I took 1/2 cup of puree dates and 1 tablespoon honey. Blend the dates with the wet ingredients and incorporate into dry ingredients.
In lue of chopped dates, I put dry blueberries. Raisins, dried apricots or any dried fruit would work.

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sb July 5, 2015 at 10:19 pm

These look delicious. I am wondering though if you would consider posting the nutritional information for your recipes with your posts (e.g. calories, proteins, fats, carbs etc)?

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Annalise September 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm
Recipe Rating:

What a lovely recipe! These cookies are delicious, healthy and easy to throw together. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Angela! :)

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Annalise September 19, 2015 at 11:13 pm

I used coconut sugar and they turned out lovely.

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Heather September 26, 2015 at 2:57 am
Recipe Rating:

The only thing I can complain about is that they take 12min to bake. In which time I ate 1/3 of the dough. Omgoodness soon good & tasty & crunchy edged. YuM
Made a 2nd batch with Walnuts vs Pecans – just as yummy

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Julia January 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm
Recipe Rating:

I had to replace so many ingredients because I didn’t have them in my pantry : Rye flakes instead of rolled oats, macadamia instead of pecans, coconut sugar instead of Sucanat, flax milk instead of almond milk and no vanilla extract :(
and to my surprise, it turned out AMAZING ! Crunchy and chewy at the same time, full of flavours and I couldn’t be happier ^^

Thank you for this recipe, I printed it and will keep it forever :)

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Larisa January 8, 2016 at 1:13 am

Can I use prunes instead of dates?

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claudia March 14, 2016 at 10:14 pm
Recipe Rating:

made them. not a fan at all.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 1, 2016 at 8:12 am

Hey Claudia, So sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy these! Can you let us know what went wrong?

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Rachel April 10, 2016 at 9:13 am

Would coconut flour work?

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Cailin Grant-Jansen June 15, 2016 at 9:57 am
Recipe Rating:

These cookies are heavenly! Using pecans as a base is such a good idea, delicious! I made these at the cafe I work in and we sold them all in no time! Thanks for the recipe :)

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Kathryn October 29, 2016 at 9:05 pm
Recipe Rating:

I made these cookies to give to my neighbor, a sweet but ailing older man who lives alone. He always knocks on my door when he notices I have a package on my doorstep that I haven’t retrieved (I always forget to check the mail), so I wanted to repay his neighborly kindness with a bit of my own. I know he’s going to love these! I was originally planning to make your jumbo chocolate chunk cookies today, but I couldn’t find arrowroot flour, so I ended up going with these instead. They turned out so perfectly moist, chewy, and delicious! Sweet but not cloyingly so. I followed the recipe as-written except that I added chopped up chunks of 54% dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. This one’s a keeper!

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Angela Curran December 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Hi Angela,

Love your cookbooks and blog! For the flour, is the measurement for after the flour is sifted? Or straight from the bag?

Thank you so much and happy holidays!

Angela

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Jen December 29, 2016 at 11:52 pm
Recipe Rating:

These are the best cookies I have ever made. We don’t have a food processor, so the oats went in whole and the pecans chopped. “Fantastic” is how my husband describes them.

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Pattie January 5, 2017 at 3:50 pm

The directions say to preheat the oven to 325F but to bake at 350… I’m pretty sure I should bake at 350, but wanted to double check? What did everyone else bake at?

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Kruti Mehta January 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm
Recipe Rating:

WOW, my family adored these! We made them with regular (not GF) flour, coconut sugar and without dates because we wanted to eat these immediately after reading about them and that’s all we had on hand. Needless to say, they were divine. I think the only thing I’d change next time (oh yes, there will be a quickly approaching next time) is that I’d add less sugar/maple syrup if I were to include dates. I felt like these were already on my extreme scale of sweetness and I don’t think I could’ve handled the sugar content if dates were added. Just a heads up for those also a bit sensitive to sweetness! Thank you for all the wonderful recipes as always–they’re so enjoyed both by my family and home and by my friends on campus!

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Charlene Carr January 11, 2017 at 8:33 pm
Recipe Rating:

Now, they don’t rival Turtles, but for a much healthier alternative, my gosh, these are yummy!!! And hearty, too. Just two cookies feels like a mini-meal. Thanks for the recipe. :D

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Angela Liddon January 12, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Thank YOU for the great comment! So happy you’ve enjoyed the recipe.

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Tori January 16, 2017 at 3:13 pm
Recipe Rating:

I made these today, and they were delicious. Thank you for the recipe! I started following your blog and trying recipes 3 years ago, and now nearly all the meals I make come from your books or blog. I’ve been vegan for over 10 years, but was never much of a vegan cook until I found this website!

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Angela Liddon January 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Oh, I’m so happy you liked the cookie recipe, Tori! And thanks so much for your lovely comment. :)

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Cyd January 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm
Recipe Rating:

Hi Angela,
If you could please comment on why I could not get these to hold together. Every time I tried to roll them they crumbled so I put them in a smaller cookie sheet to bake them as bars. The batter was delicious, I made no substitutions so not certain what I did incorrectly. They are baking now – taking longer than if I had accomplished cookies.
Also, is the oven temperature 325 or 350 degrees – both temperatures are listed on the recipe.
Thank you so much for all you do and all of your delicious recipes!!

Reply

Angela Liddon March 17, 2017 at 9:37 am

Hi Cyd, I’m so sorry to hear you ran into problems! I’m not sure what might have been the cause; I haven’t encountered this issue with these cookies before. Is it possible somewhere along the line your ratio of dry ingredients to wet got thrown off accidentally? On the plus side, it sounds like you made the best of the situation with those cookie bars–yum! In terms of oven temps, the pecans should be toasted at 325, and then the cookies baked at 350. Hope that helps clarify!

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jamie Mayden February 2, 2017 at 8:48 pm
Recipe Rating:

WOW!!! My kids and I love love love them!

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Kat April 15, 2017 at 4:34 am

Hi Angela!
Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous recipe! So glad I have found your website!
I have a question please, havent found the answer in comments here.
What is the best way to store these cookies to keep them fresh? Airtight container I guess? How long do you think they last until they go bad?
Keep on baking and blogging, please :)
Kat

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Angela Liddon April 26, 2017 at 10:35 am

I’m so happy you love the recipe, Kat. :) Yep, you got it! I’d recommend storing these cookies in an airtight container or zip bag in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer in a freezer-safe, airtight container or zip bag for 2 to 4 weeks. Happy baking, Kat!

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Adrienne April 25, 2017 at 4:42 pm

These cookies are amazing!! I love them, and so does my whole family ( they don’t even know they are vegan and GF ) : )

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Erin Collins June 26, 2017 at 9:50 pm

Cookies are great! I doubledthe batch. Can you freeze the dough?

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Angela Liddon July 10, 2017 at 9:12 am

Hey Erin, I haven’t personally tried freezing it yet, but if you do I would suggest freezing a single cookie portion. That way, if it doesn’t work out you won’t ruin the entire dough. Hope this helps! And please let me know if you end up trying it out.

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Ashley July 29, 2017 at 10:32 pm
Recipe Rating:

These were amazing! They are definitely near the very top of the list of my favourite cookies ever, vegan or not. Bonus: the dough is DELICIOUS and perfectly safe to eat! And they are decently healthy enough that I don’t feel guilty after eating one (or three lol).

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Aoife October 22, 2017 at 8:23 am

Just made these – lovely combination of flavours. I did make a few substitutions though. First, having made recipes from this site before I know that I don’t have as big a sweet tooth as Angela- I left out the sugar and I reduced the amount of maple syrup by half, and they were just right for me. I added a tablespoon extra of almond milk to make up for the reduction in liquid. I didn’t have any vanilla, so left that out. I think baking soda is the equivalent of bicarbonate of soda, but since there was no acid in the recipe to activate it I used baking powder instead. (Dunno what the north American equivalent of that is!) I might leave it out next time just to see if it’s really needed. Might put in more dates next time too. But there will be a next time! Thanks for the recipe!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 23, 2017 at 7:13 am

Thanks so much for sharing your modifications with us! So happy that you came up with something delicious. :)

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Denise October 29, 2017 at 6:29 pm
Recipe Rating:

These cookies are wicked crazy delicious, Angela!! Knowing that our family loves Medjool Dates,, pecans, etc…, I went ahead and made a double batch! Definitely, NOT a mistake! That was a couple of weeks ago – tonight, I’m at it again.
I’ll be sharing again with our neighbors, and they are ALWAYS shocked that they’re vegan. No eggs? No butter? But, how?! ;-)
I have refrigerated this dough with great success. The dough is sticky to work with, so I put it in the fridge for 1/2 hour. It’s much more manageable to shape.
As well, refrigerating the dough for 4 days and baking a fresh batch is fine.q

Love your cookbooks and app, Angela. Thank you for sharing with us.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) October 30, 2017 at 7:37 am

Hey Denise, I love the way you think!! Double batch? Yes please! And thanks for the tip on chilling the dough for up to 4 days…that’s really helpful to know. And thanks for your sweet words about the cookbooks and app…it means the world to me.

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Night January 5, 2018 at 1:07 pm

Oh, refrigerating the dough is a brilliant suggestion. I was a sticky mess last night and still not sure how anyone followed the instruction to “roll the dough into a ball.”

Granted, I used pastry flour, which was all we had in the house. Wonder if that was the source of my problems.

(Once I got clumps off my hands and onto the pans, they were amazingly good.)

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Hey Night, Gluten-free AP flour (which is what I used) tends to be more “thirsty” due to the starches, so this may be why your dough was too sticky with the pastry flour. I like the chilling the dough idea too! Always a great tip when the dough is sticky. I’m so happy you still loved the cookies. :)

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Nicole December 8, 2017 at 9:45 am
Recipe Rating:

Made these last night with my 16 yo daughter who tricked them out even more. She made a chocolate drizzle out of enjoy life chips & coconut oil and caramel drizzle out of coconut sugar, almond milk and coconut oil. Oh my word they are so good!! This is an awesome recipe. We couldn’t stop ourselves from devouring the dough either. We will be making these many more times to come! Thanks for the perfect healthy cookie that tastes sinful.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 8, 2017 at 11:45 am

Hey Nicole, I’m so happy you enjoyed these! I’m making them this week and can’t wait. I love the caramel drizzle…omg!

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Karen R December 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm
Recipe Rating:

Just made these for a cookie swap. They are delicious!! The only thing was that I had to add a little more maple syrup to help them stick together before baking. But they came out great!!
Thanks***

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm

Thanks Karen! I’m so happy they were a hit. I made them the other day with walnuts..really good.

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Tess December 20, 2017 at 7:29 am

Angela, I make these for presents, put them in a pretty can and people always offer the cans back and ask for refills. They’re the best cookies ever, and to be honest, I have them for breakfast as well. I sub maple syrup sometimes for rice syrup if its not in the pantry, or dark brown sugar for light but I pretty much stick to your recipe. It. Is. Fabulous. Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 20, 2017 at 8:25 am

Hey Tess, This is such a great idea! What lucky friends you have. :) I love that you can swap out the sugars and it still works too. The nutty base in the cookie dough is just fabulous isn’t it? I’ve made these with walnuts instead of pecans and it works too.

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Night January 5, 2018 at 1:10 pm
Recipe Rating:

Previously commented that the dough was intensely sticky and did not roll for me (using brown sugar and pastry flour substitutions.)

I’m just wondering: why do we preheat the oven only to 325º if we are to bake the cookies at 350º? Do you suggest turning the temperature up once the cookies are in the oven?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 5, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Hey again,
The 325F is for toasting the nuts. :) I will insert a line in the directions to mention to increase the heat to 350F after toasting the nuts!

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Nicole January 11, 2018 at 1:40 pm
Recipe Rating:

These are amazing. Making them again since we ran out this morning. Really a great breakfast cookie! They taste like the ol Dad’s cookie I used to eat as a kid.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 11, 2018 at 2:10 pm

So happy to hear that Nicole! I used to LOVE those Dad’s cookies!

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Madi R March 21, 2018 at 10:49 pm
Recipe Rating:

I just made this and they are my favourite of all your cookies! I used regular flour and an ice-cream scoop before flattening. So yummy thank you so much!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 22, 2018 at 7:35 am

That sounds incredible…so glad you love them Madi :)

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