The end of October marks the beginning of the indulgent holiday season! While treats are fun, delicious, and traditional we know they can harm our family’s health. There are several strategies that can help you and your family stay happy and healthy year-round.

One method that works for my family is making healthier versions of old favorites. Plant-based cashew cheese sweet kugel, chickpea flour potato latkes, sweet potato brownies – you name it we’ve tried it! We find that while some recipes do not come out identical to their traditional counterparts, our new versions prove to be plenty satisfying and enjoyable.

With the holiday season in mind, I came up with this recipe for Somoas Inspired Cookies – a delicious take on everyone’s favorite cookie with a shortbread base, coconut and caramel shell, and chocolate on top. This recipe is perfect to bring to holiday parties and is suitable for those with gluten, dairy, or peanut allergies. While a healthier and allergy friendly option relative to more traditional sweets, these cookies are too delicious to push aside on the dessert table.

Admittedly, I was overwhelmed with creating a healthy, gluten free shortbread recipe de novo, and I came across a surprisingly simple recipe from a blog called “kitchn”. It worked perfectly, and you can’t change a good thing! The shortbread recipe listed below is straight from the kitchn blog, which is linked at the bottom of this page.


– Katie

To see other creative and flavorful meal ideas, follow me on Instagram @coconut_katie!

Makes 12 cookies, Prep time 40 min, Cook time 12 minutes


Date Coconut Caramel:

  • 5 large medjool dates, pits removed and soaked in hot water until soft
  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs coconut milk or cream


  • 2 cups almond flour (not almond meal)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate drizzle:

  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (vegan or allergy friendly if necessary)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. For the date caramel, pour enough boiling water over the pitted dates to cover them and set aside. After the dates soften around 10 minutes or so, drain them.
  3. Toast the coconut flakes on a rimmed baking sheet until golden and fragrant. This can be done in the oven at 350 degrees, or in a toaster oven. It will take about 5 minutes but watch closely for burning.
  4. In a food processor or high speed blender, mix the dates, vanilla, and coconut milk until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and fold in the toasted coconut with a spatula.
  5. For the shortbread cookies, mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Scoop tablespoon sized dough balls into your palm and roll each into a ball. Place each ball on a lined and greased cookie sheet and gently flatten the cookies. I kept my cookies fairly thick which yielded moist, tender bases for this recipe.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, or until firm and lightly golden. Once baked, allow to cool almost completely before using a spatula to remove them from the sheet.
  7. For the chocolate drizzle, place the chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between until the mixture is totally smooth and glossy.
  8. Time for assembly! Using a small spatula or backside of a spoon, smooth a small amount of the coconut caramel mixture onto the top of each cookie. Then, using a small spoon, drizzle the chocolate mixture back and forth over the cookies. Optional: dunk the bottom of each cookie into the chocolate mixture and place on parchment or wax paper.
  9. Place the cookies in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden. Best kept in the fridge or freezer.


Shortbread recipe from kitchn blog:

This cookie boasts the familiar flavors of everyone’s childhood favorite, but has an even more decadent, chewy bite! A real treat just in time for the holiday season!

To see what else I’ve been cooking up, visit me on instagram @coconut_katie