Heart Healthy Trail Mix Cookies {gluten-free, vegan}

With Valentine’s Day being just a few short days away and February being National “Go Red” month for Heart Disease Awareness, I wanted to make a sweet treat that you will love and will love you (and your heart) back! These cookies are packed with heart-healthy ingredients: almonds, pecans, coconut oil, flaxseed, dark chocolate chips, and wholesome oats. This is the almost Registered Dietitian in me talking, but here is a little summary of the health benefits of each of these ingredients:

Almonds: Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, good quality protein, and healthy unsaturated fatty acids.
Pecans: Pecans are high in antioxidants, heart-healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Bonus: they are also one of the best tasting nuts!
Coconut oil:  Coconut oil is a better choice than butter or margarine for use in baked good, however, it is still high in saturated fat and should be consumed in moderation like any other fat source.
Flaxseed: Flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber, essential fatty acids, and is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Oats: Oats are a great source of fiber and can help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
Dark Chocolate Chips: Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots.

If you thought it couldn’t get any better: these cookies are both gluten-free and vegan. I do not personally follow a vegan diet but enjoy making delicious vegan recipes from time to time as they often include health boosting, energizing ingredients!

Heart Healthy Trail Mix Cookies {gluten-free, vegan} 

Ingredients: 
1 cup rolled oats (I used Trader Joe’s gluten-free)
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp flaxseed + 2 tbsp water to make a “flax egg” (you can also use 1 egg if you do not have flaxseed)
1/4 cup coconut oil (you can also use vegetable oil)
1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
1/4 cup honey, agave, or maple syrup
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together the flaxseed + water in a small bowl and set aside to congeal.
3. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats-salt).
4. Combine all of the wet ingredients in a medium sized bowl (coconut oil-vanilla).
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
6. Spoon the dough onto a greased baking sheet into 1-inch balls and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are a golden brown color.

Love, 
Emily

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