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Date and Puffed Rice Cookies {vegan and gluten-free)

“These look healthy.” Robbie took one look at the plate and that’s what he said. He’s right. Lusciously laced with warming cinnamon, ginger, and spicy pepper, these date and puffed rice cookies are unassuming little treats. With caramel-like naturally sweet dates and whole grain puffed brown rice cereal, you won’t find yourself with a cookie hangover!

Date and Puffed Rice Cookies | Letty's Kitchen

Chewy and freaking flavorful, these cookies are both gluten-free and vegan. High fives to the genius who figured out that a gelatinous slurry of flax seeds and water behaves a lot like an egg. It’s such a flax mixture that bonds a few simple ingredients into this sliceable dough.

A few ingredients for Date and Puffed Rice Cookies

The spicy finish going on in every tasty bite? Those spices come with powerful health perks! Cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne all have anti-inflammatory benefits, and ginger and cinnamon are well-known antioxidant spices.

Click here to PIN Spicy Date and Puffed Rice Cookies!

I’m not a nutritionist–I make no claim to get even close. It’s that for me and maybe you, dates are a better choice for my sweet tooth. Dates are low on the glycemic index, which means they won’t cause a huge sugar spike. They boast fiber and B vitamins, making them a heart-healthy sugar.

Rolled dough log for Date and Puffed Rice Cookies

To make these healthier cookies, put all the ingredients in the food processor for a two-minute whir, until everything comes together in a ball. Shape that mass of spicy warming goodness into a log, and pop it in the freezer. Keep it there until you’re ready to slice and bake.

slice and ready to bake Date and Puffed Rice Cookies

I like that I can make and shape the dough ahead, and slice and bake them when I want. Alternatively, instead of slice and bakes, you can roll the dough into 1-inch balls and flatten them with the bottom of a glass. The bonus there is that you can make and then bake your cookies immediately, in case you don’t want to wait for the log to freeze. Either way, these cookies are easy.

Date and Puffed Rice Cookies

Date and Puffed Rice Cookies recipe details:

  • You definitely want to use a food processor in order to combine all the ingredients. You’d be chopping and mashing for days without the help of your food processor.
  • This is a soft cookie dough. You want to slice the log into cookies when frozen.  They don’t spread during baking, so place them close to one another on the baking sheet.
  • For a bit of eye candy, I decorated the tops with pieces of candied ginger. (Candied ginger is made with processed sugar syrup. If you aim to keep your date and puffed rice cookies naturally sweetened, don’t add the candied ginger.)
  • Adapted from a recipe on the bag of puffed brown rice cereal.
  • You might also like these gluten-free Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Wishing you a fabulous week! Be sure to get in the kitchen and cook something healthy and just a little bit sweet!

plated Date and Puffed Rice Cookies

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This is an update with new photos of a recipe I posted several years ago. If you make these cookies, please consider leaving a blog post comment. Your comments help other readers learn more about the recipe.

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Date and Puffed Rice Cookies
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
32 mins
You can prepare these spicy gluten-free and vegan cookies well ahead and pull from the freezer to slice and bake as needed. Or you can form the dough into small balls, flatten with the bottom of a class and bake right away.
Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Gluten-free, Vegan
Servings: 3 dozen
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed see note
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 cups puffed rice cereal (I used Arrowhead Mills puffed brown rice)
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3 tablespoons avocado or grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • Candied ginger optional
  1. In a small bowl mix the ground flax seed with the warm water. Set aside to jell for at least 15 minutes, until it becomes thick and gelatinous. Put the puffed rice, dates, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, both white and cayenne peppers, salt, and the flax mixture in the work bowl of a food processor.

  2. Process 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough sticks together in a ball.

  3. On a piece of parchment or waxed paper, form the dough into a log about 12 inches long. Wrap the parchment around the dough and use it to round out the log. Freeze several hours or overnight, until firm enough to slice.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice cookies about 1/4-inch thick and arrange on baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart. (see note) If you wish, press small pieces of candied ginger into the top of each cookie

  5. Bake 10 minutes or so, until the bottoms are light brown, darker than they were when you put them in the oven.

Recipe Notes
  • For vegans, this gelatinous flax seeds and water mix replaces eggs. If you prefer, substitute an egg for the flax egg mixture. Cookies made with real egg take less time to bake than those with "flax egg".
  • After slicing the cookies, if I have the time, I use my fingers to reshape the cookies so they are more round. Even though they come from a round log, slicing the log takes them out of round.
These chewy date and puffed rice cookies are vegan and gluten free. They pack plenty of spiciness, with cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne!

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