This is my favorite cookie recipe in the world and I’ve made it so many times that I don’t need to look at the recipe. The inspiration for the recipe comes from a vegetarian restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In college, friends of mine lived close to the restaurant and we tried to go as often as we could afford to dine out. My friends and I spent a lot of time trying to recreate the taste and this recipe is our best effort. Before baking, I generally shape the dough into balls that are 1.5 to 2 tablespoons but if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to GAIA they make them about four times as large. If you happen to visit Grand Rapids, I highly recommend going to the restaurant. Their address is listed below. You have to look carefully on the corner for the brick building because otherwise you might not realize it is a restaurant. There is a nice funky vibe to the place and you can see employees washing pots, chopping produce and cooking food right as you walk in the door. This is the only place I have ever dined where a hole-in-the-wall restaurant lures in people from all walks of life. When it is busy you find dreadlocks and power-suits sharing tables. I suppose their prices and daily specials make it appealing to just about everyone. If I lived in that region of the state I’d definitely be a regular.
GAIA Cafe, - 209 Diamond Ave Se, Grand Rapids , MI 49506
Their veggie hash rocks my world as do their burritos, freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and well just about everything on their menu or specials board. The proportions are generous which always makes me really happy!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and in a large bowl beat until just combined:
1 stick butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 Tbs vanilla
Sift the next ingredients together and then mix with the sugar mixture
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup chopped dates (in a pinch you can substitute raisins)
½ cup unsweetened coconut
½ cup granola (my best results are with a oat-based granola with little or no dried fruit)
¾ cup toasted walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Stir everything until just combined, form into balls and bake on parchment or lightly buttered baking sheets at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes – rotate pans on the racks halfway through
These smell divine and be forewarned – you will get beggars if you make this recipe. I keep telling Lobo that he cannot have chocolate, but he just doesn’t want to believe me. I get “the eyes” each time I make up a batch.