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Fridays require lots of cookies.

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

watch the how to video here:

healthy…ish chocolate chip cookie bars from Half Baked Harvest on Vimeo.

Special Note: making these on Facebook Live today! See the video here.

I think most of you would probably agree with me on that. I mean, if it were up to me, everyday would include cookies. Maybe that was in the back of my mind while I was creating these healthy…ish chocolate chip cookie bars. I mean, healthy cookies can be eaten every day of the week, right?

Yes, totally.

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys, I made these bars based out of my childhood obsession with my mom’s chocolate chip cookie bars. Growing up, my mom would bake every single day. We would always have a homemade treat sitting on the counter when we got home. Whether it was chocolate cake, oatmeal cookies or her K-Bars. Dessert has just always been my mom’s specialty. Actually, most of the time, we’d have dessert made and ready before dinner had even been started (…one of the reason I started cooking!).

Lately it seems everyone around me has been really trying to cut back on added sugars, my chocoholic mom included. I’m sure you guys have noticed all my healthier chocolate treats! Fortunately, I am loving remaking all of our family favorites. With that in mind, I figured it was about time I make our cherished cookie bars just a little healthier. Plus, Red is back in town for a few days, and that kid has a serious, serious thing for chocolate chip cookie bars. He loves them more than anything. Seeing as he is only sixteen, that’s understandable, but the kid is snowboarding daily and needs nutrients. I’d love for him to eat something other than cookies and Chipotle.

So obviously, healthy…ish cookies bars were just a no brainer for today!

Sidenote: using ish as a word is possibly my favorite thing ever. Healthy…ish, done…ish, pretty…ish, I am basically adding it to the end of every word I see fit. I think I greatly annoyed my brother/filmer while we were filming new videos recently. He said I overuse ish and I really need to just stop. Clearly I didn’t listen.

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

So why healthy..ish and not healthy? Well, because these cookies still use things like butter, and yes, sugar (but coconut sugar which, is apparently a superfood!). While I don’t think butter is bad for us in moderation, some might argue that, and while these bars are made with coconut sugar, some might argue that it’s still sugar. So long story short, I didn’t want to just go all out and say healthy. I feel like these are just a balanced cookie, pretty healthy, but probably not a considered superfood, you know?

Here’s how these break down ingredient wise.

…butter: I recommend using high quality organic butter, as it has been proven to have more nutritional benefits and high protein.

…coconut sugar: if you guys are new to coconut sugar, I am so excited to hopefully convince you to try it. It’s the best, a great healthy alternative for granulated or brown sugar.

…almond butter: for healthy fats!

…eggs: because cookies needs eggs…if you ask me.

…vanilla: flavor city.

…whole wheat flour: it’s best to use white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. Using regular whole wheat flour is OK, but it provides you with a pretty heavy and almost dry bar. I like white whole wheat flour best. You can also use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat. That works too.

…baking soda: no dense cookies here

…salt: gotta have it

…maca powder: maca powder is a superfood full of protein, fiber, vitamins + minerals. It helps to balance hormones, increase fertility, balance mood swings and increase energy

…chocolate chips: semi-sweet, dark or even vegan chocolate chips work, buuuutttt I used semi-sweet.

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

You see, you see? Pretty healthy!

The almond butter is really key here. It’s used in place of butter, but adds moisture, a little nutty flavor (but in a very, very subtle way), and a good amount of healthy fats too!

I really can’t begin to describe just how good these are. I spent a good week working on perfecting the recipe, making a batch every other day. After a lot of really hard, really dry batches, and even a really crumbly bland batch (that literally went straight to the trash), I finally landed on this perfect recipe. These bars are moist, doughy, vanillay (another of my favorite made up words) and loaded with chocolate…aka the perfect cookie bar. Take one bite and you’re going to be in love. Take one bite while these are still warm and you will be addicted. At this point, stopping will be pretty much impossible and you should probably just grab a glass of milk, sit down and enjoy your healthy..ish cookie bar.

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 24 bars
Calories Per Serving: 204 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and coconut sugar until light, fluffy and fully combined. Add the almond butter and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, and vanilla, beat until combined and creamy. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, maca powder, if using, and 1 tablespoon water, beat until combined. If the dough seems dry, beat in another tablespoon of water. Stir in the chocolate chips.
    Spread the dough out in the prepared baking pan. Transfer to the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, just until set in the center. It's important not to overbake these. I found 18 minutes to be the perfect time. Eat warm or allow to cool. Store for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Healthy...ish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | @hbharvest

Friday cookies in for the win. Whoop. Whoop.

ps. be sure to stop by tomorrow for a special Saturday post. I’m sharing a recipe from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen: 150 Delicious Palo-Friendly Recipes to Nourish Life and it’s seriously so good!

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  1. 5 stars
    Excellent! So yummy straight out of the oven. Hopefully they’ll be some left when daughter gets home from school.
    Second recipe that I made of yours with great success😃

  2. 2 stars
    Unfortunately they did not come out at all like a cookie bar. They came out with the texture of a muffin which tasted pretty good but I was looking forward to that cookie bar texture. I did use earth balance margarine instead of butter so maybe that messed it up. I usually can sub that in place. Oh well, the experiments must go on. Will give it to the neighbors who don’t cook so it won’t go to waste. Im thinking in order to get that bar cookie texture I might have to use maple syrup instead of sugar. Any thoughts on what could have failed for me please let me know. Thanks.

    1. Hey Jen,
      So sorry you had issues with the recipe, I have not tested these with earth balance so that could have been the problem. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Happy Holidays! xTieghan

  3. I make this recipe with tahini instead of almond butter, and add a lot of pumpkin spice and those are delecious ! Tank you.

  4. I’m sorry to say this is the first recipe from HBH that didn’t hit it out of the ballpark! I almost exclusively bake with white whole wheat flour so I didn’t expect it to taste identical to regular chocolate chip cookies, but I found the wheat taste overwhelming in these. If you’re looking for a healthy treat these may satisfy the craving, but I don’t think I could serve these to others and not have them know they were different. The texture was also really soft and not chewy like a cookie.

    1. Hi Hil! I am so sorry these did not work for you. Is there any questions I could help you with, so maybe you can try these again? Please let me know!

  5. 5 stars
    Turned out great! I noticed a lot of people asking about an almond butter substitute and many mentioned sunbutter. I used it per an allergy in the family and FYI it turned the cookies green. I had to Google it because it was kinda weird but totally normal I guess.

    1. HI! I am not sure as I have never made these using almond flour. I would try with using an equal amount almond flour. Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  6. haha yess this healthy enough for me with white whole wheat, coconut sugar, and dark chocolate. You did great!

  7. I absolutely love the flavor of these bars, but I wasn’t able to achieve a crunchy exterior and a dense interior like most cookie bars. I didn’t want to overbake them just to get more crunch, but now they have almost a bread-y texture. Do you have any suggestions for what to do? It might just be the nature of the almond butter and the increased protein content, but I figured it was worth a shot to ask!

    1. Hey Natalie! So these are not a crunchy kind of cookie and yeah, it’s because of the almond butter and healthier ingredients in these bars. I wouldn’t over bake them as I dont think that will give you a crunchy style cookie. Let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂

  8. Hi, these look GORGEOUS, but as I’m allergic to far too many of the healthy ingredients, could you tell me what the original, non-healthy recipe looked like please? It’s my birthday next week and I’m going to make myself some as a birthday treat! Thanks, Donna x

  9. How about we call these cookies healthy, because we’re only going to eat one or two, and then we’re going to give the rest of the neighbors? Giving cookies to the neighbors is very healthy, because next time it snows or whatever they’ll be out there helping you shovel and you won’t throw your back out. And that’s healthy. The whole point is, these cookie bars look way too good to keep to yourself!

    1. Haha that sounds like an awesome plan!! They are way too good to keep to yourself haha! I hope you like these, thanks!!

  10. Hey Tieghan! Wondering if these will freeze well? I’m definitely planning on making these next week, but I’m worried I won’t be able to finish everything!

    1. Hey Connie! I have not frozen them, but I don’t see why they would not freeze well. Let me know if you have other questions and I hope you love these!

  11. Hi there! These look amazing and I definitely want to make them. Just wondering: is it possible to prepare the dough, put in it the fridge in the pan, to be baked the next day? I want to prepare them tonight to bring to a friends house tomorrow and I want them to be warm and fresh when I bring them. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

  12. I never comment on recipes but I made these a couple of days ago and had to come back and say that I have a huge sweet tooth and bake a lot – with regular flour, sugar and butter – and these are the best cookie bars I have ever had! I am in love. Thank you so much for inventing these. I will be making them over and over again.

  13. I wish I could grab one right off my screen Tieghan! These look delicious and if they’re even a bit healthier, then they’re just what I need right now.

  14. So I made these yesterday. Unfortunately due to the fact that I had two roofers, a contractor and a visitor all here at the time, the ensuing chaos meant that I forgot to put the baking soda in. They were still freaking delicious! My son who HATES nut butters AND whole wheat items, couldn’t get enough. Had to use half whole wheat half regular as you suggested as supermarket didn’t have white whole wheat, but looking forward to making these again as written! ? Thanks for yet another great recipe.

  15. Okay not sure how you managed it but these are incredible! Even my husband approves and he hates healthy-ish. I’ll admit I doubted for a moment when I was mixing my white while wheat flour into my almond butter mixture (I’m sorry! Should have had faith!) but yep these really are that delicious.

  16. I think healthy-ish is exactly how I’d define my diet, so these cookie bars obviously need to be worked into my meal plan.

    These things looks ridiculously delish.

  17. What can I substitute the almond butter with? I’m fine with using ingredients that aren’t on the healthier side when I’m baking… 🙂

    1. Hi! I would use 1 stick of butter in place of the almond butter. Let me know if you have questions. Hope you love these! 🙂

  18. These beat out even a fudgy brownie for me, delicious! Can’t ever pass up chewy/gooey chocolate chip cookies!

  19. I am with ya, I LOVE your ‘healthy!’ My mom was not a baker, but her mom was amazing and she loved to spoil her grandkids with treats. Thanks for making it relatable that everyone is going ‘healthy.’ It is so true and it it great, but finding a way to revive those childhood treats is genius.

  20. I love what you’ve done with these! Thoughtful traditional ingredient replacements and can’t wait to try them out. Beautiful photos too! Happy weekend! xoxox

  21. The MACA most definitely makes them healthyish!lol!Read a few articles on that stuff,and have been putting that in my smoothies ever since!Wonder if cacao nibs would alter the taste of your recipe?Probs too bitter.At 55 need all the help I can get!!? You’re the best?

    1. LOVE maca powder as well! I think cacao nibs would be great, maybe a little crunchy thought? If you are OK with the flavor of cacao i’d say it’s worth a try. Hope you love these!

  22. Ya know something Tieghan? I have all these ingredients and I am totally saying YES to all the healthy-ish justification in the list above. Totally yummy looking.

  23. Yes! I love how you threw in lots of healthy ingredients to a treat. I think it’s important, to be a healthy person, to treat yourself once and again. I’ve been loving all your “healthy-ish” sweets lately. And these look so gooey and not healthy-ish!

  24. These look delicious. Last May I made chocolate chip cookie bars for my son to take with him to school. We’d just moved and it was his birthday. Come to find out homemade treats are illegal in Minnesota!? The bars were confiscated until the end of the day and he brought home the full pan untouched. I called them “contra-band bars” and the name has stuck.

      1. In Oregon, No homemade foods can be shared at schools. Been that way for several years. All has to be commercially purchased.
        btw what is MECCA powder? Sun butter?

        Have a great day. Snowed again overnight, sigh
        Please.. Tell me Spring is coming soon.

        1. Hi leslie! maca powder is a superfood full of protein, fiber, vitamins + minerals. It helps to balance hormones, increase fertility, balance mood swings and increase energy

    1. Hi! I would replace with 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or is you can use sun-butter, that will work too! Let me know if you have questions. Hope you love these!

  25. I use coconut sugar in some GF,DF goodies for family members that have to eat that way. It is lower glycemic. These look delicious.

  26. Might make today..they look wonderful so thank you for developing this recipe. I already have coconut sugar on hand too!

  27. Hi! I would replace with 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or is you can use sun-butter, that will work too! Let me know if you have questions. Hope you love these!