Protein Cookie Dough (like the real thing!)

Hands down this is the best, creamy protein cookie dough out there. Since cookies are one of my weaknesses, I should know. 🙂

I often will make cookie dough and only bake one tray of cookies for my family. Meanwhile, I enjoy the cookie dough off the spoon! So rather than risking salmonella, I make this protein cookie dough. 

This homemade protein cookie dough is really rich, and creamy but doesn’t make you feel ‘bleh’ after a few spoonfuls. This gluten free, cookie dough offers 14 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and plenty of other phytonutrients!

Overhead shot of protein cookie dough covered in chocolate chips and finishing salt

Ingredients

  • Chickpeas: if you’ve never made a dessert dip with chickpeas you are missing out. Chickpeas are my favorite legume. They’re one of the highest protein containing legumes with 8 grams per ½ cup.
  • Collagen protein powder: I enjoy using collagen because it’s a neutral flavor and mixes well. I didn’t find other protein powders suitable for the recipe. So, if you opt to use a different type of protein, it may not be successful.
  • Chocolate chips: I prefer a mix of chocolates; including mini, dark chocolate chips. I like Ghiradelli. Plus chopped or large chocolate chips. Pick your favorite!
  • Whole oats: gluten free as needed.
  • Monk fruit sweetener: I buy monk fruit with erythritol, a sugar alcohol. Research states erythritol is safe (maybe even beneficial for your microbiota) but research is early. My suggestion is enjoy it in small quantities, just like any other sweetener.
  • Maple syrup: choose maple syrup ideally in a glass bottle. The darker the color, the richer the flavor.
  • Coconut oil: choose cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil. I bet butter would be tasty too, or perhaps ghee.
  • Vanilla extract: buy the real stuff, no imitation vanilla for this recipe, because it doesn’t use heat, there’s no risk of degrading it.
  • Salt: I like celtic sea salt for the recipe and then finish with some sprinkles of flaked salt. That classic sweet and salty combo!
No bake Protein Cookie dough ingredients

Steps to make protein cookie dough

To make protein cookie dough, first, pour off the aquafaba from the chickpeas. This is the liquid that surrounds the legumes, you should have about 3/4 cup. Aquafaba acts as a thicken or leavening agent such as when used in pancakes or chocolate pudding.

Rinse the canned chickpeas really well, under cool water for a minute or two. This helps reduce the bean-y flavor.

Next add the chickpeas, collagen powder, sweeteners, oats, coconut oil, salt and vanilla extract to the food processor. Everything except the chocolate chips.

You’ll process this for ~3 minutes to get a really smooth cookie dough texture. You don’t want to feel the oats or legumes. The dough may be warm, so I recommend chilling before adding the chocolate. Otherwise they’ll melt and tint the dough brown.

Once chilled for 10 minutes or so, mix in your favorite chocolates and place back in the fridge to cool for at least an hour. The flavor improves as the temperature of the protein cookie dough drops.

Why this recipe works

The base of this protein dough is primarily chickpeas, which when ground are creamy and a bit nutty. Combined with a little fat helps to firm up the recipe so it feels like creamy, cookie dough.

Traditional cookie dough has more sugar, but I felt the few tablespoons were sufficient once the chocolate chips were added. Chilling builds the sweetness too.

I made this recipe over a dozen times, with ingredients like peanut butter, soaked nuts, almond flour, milk and other typical cookie dough ingredients. But I found all of those ingredients fell short from the real cookie dough flavor of this one!

Can I bake this cookie dough?

No. This is edible cookie dough, not intended to be baked into cookies. But I’ve made these chickpea cookies and they’re delicious!

Tips to make the best protein cookie dough

  • Be sure to allow time for your cookie dough to chill, it’s best cold! 
  • If you don’t have collagen powder, use a fine particle, unflavored or vanilla protein powder. I found the protein powder used can really dictate the flavor – so make sure you like what you’re using!

What’s healthy about this recipe?

Chickpeas are high in fiber, they contain ~15 grams per ½ cup. They’re especially high in the prebiotic oligosaccharide, known as raffinose. Which can slow down digestion, thus improving blood sugar.

This fiber may also improve bifidobacteria levels in the gut microbiome

Collagen powder also has some great research behind it for ailments such as arthritis and stiffness (type II) and improving the health of your skin.

No bake protein cookie dough served with an apple slice

Frequently Asked Questions

Is collagen a complete protein?

No, collagen is lacking tryptophan, one of the nine essential amino acids. But, the perfect thing about this recipe is that chickpeas contain tryptophan. Which makes these a great complementary protein pair.

What are the benefits of eating chickpeas?

Chickpeas contain fiber, and resistant starch. Resistant starch is a starch that resists digestion in the small intestine. They generally make it to the large intestine where they ferment and act like prebiotics, feeding your gut bacteria. 

They’re high in protein (~8 grams per 1/2 cup), keeping you full longer. Chickpeas are also a good source of B vitamins, and iron – making them a good choice for those who avoid meat. 

This legume also contains phytic acid, sterols, tannins, carotenoids, and other polyphenols such as isoflavones. Sometimes these nutrients aren’t on the nutrition label, and provide benefits beyond basic nutrition.

I promise you will not be disappointed; this chocolate chip cookie dough dessert tastes good, and will make you feel good too!

I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering, let’s dig in!

Overhead shot of protein cookie dough covered in chocolate chips and finishing salt

Creamy Protein Cookie Dough

Protein cookie dough that tastes just like the real thing! But, comes with 14 grams of protein per serving, plus 4 grams of fiber, resistant starch and the various polyphenols like carotenoids and phytic acid.
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Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Kids, Make Ahead, Quick, Summertime
Allergen: Dairy Free, Gluten Free
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 215kcal
Author: Jessica Gutsue, MA, RDN, IFNCP

Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Chickpeas 1 full can, rinsed and drained*
  • 1/4 cup Collagen powder**
  • 1/4 cup Whole, rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp Monk fruit sweetener, or granulated sweetener of choice
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Salt, plus finishing salt or additional salt as garnish
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Mini chocolate chips, regular chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, or cacao nibs***

Instructions

  • Begin by adding everything (except the chocolate!) to a high speed food processor and process for ~2-3 minutes, until everything is smooth. This is key, process as long as it takes for your tongue to no longer feel the oats and legumes.
  • Transfer to another bowl, hand mix in your chocolate of choice. If your mixture is somewhat warm after pulverizing (as it may be), chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes or so before adding your chocolate chips.
  • Once finished, chill for 1+ hours. The cooler this is, the sweeter it tastes (and more reminiscent of real cookie dough). Enjoy with apples slices, rice cakes, graham crackers or just a spoon!

Notes

* Rinse the chickpeas well under cool water for about 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the food processor, no need to pat dry. 
**I tested the recipe with other protein powders and found all others to be unsuitable either due to flavor or texture. Experiment at your own risk 🙂
***I enjoy a mix of chocolates, and generally pour them in a little heavy handed. Allow the mixture to chill before adding the chocolate so they don’t slightly soften and melt, which will tint the color of your dough.
  • To make vegan: omit maple syrup and choose vegan chocolate chips and protein powder.

Nutrition

Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 33IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg

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