Going Batty: Raw Walnut, Carob, and Cinnamon Cookies for Halloween
Raw Walnut, Carob, and Cinnamon Cookies
Raw Walnut, Carob, and Cinnamon Cookies

Before we get to the easy and delightful walnut and carob cookies that are the topic of today’s post, I want to say that my heart goes out to everyone in the Northeast who has been affected by Sandy. I’ve never been an alarmist about weather. I’ve marched out into countless storms that kept others at home, including the storm that hit DC on Monday and Tuesday, and I tend to dismiss the warnings on weather stations and news as “hype.” D.C. got drenched this week, but otherwise the damage seemed to be modest, so I was feeling quite upbeat when I woke up and checked email this morning.

Until, of course, I saw images from my beloved New York, tattered and submerged in water. I wanted immediately to be home, which may sound odd, but I just felt the need to be a part of the city’s solidarity in the face of a crisis. And I was so sad to see how many people in New Jersey and Delaware have had their homes destroyed or damaged. I’ll be keeping all of them in my thoughts, of course. I’ll also be thinking of the many stray animals who may have been hurt or displaced by the storm, as well as any lost companion animals who are without homes right now.

It always feels a little strange to write cheerfully about food when you’re focused upon serious events or suffering, but then, food and words are also the things that tend to give me comfort when something—anything—is wrong. So let us now switch topics for a moment, and talk about these cookies:


They happened on a whim—I wanted to make something festive for Halloween, but I quickly realized that I wasn’t in the mood to bake (especially since I’ve been on a pie crust rampage for my next Food 52 column—spoiler alert!). Making these little guys was so much faster than baking would have been, and the result is every bit as tasty (tastier, if you ask me!).

To give the cookies their dark color and flavor, I used carob. I’m often asked if I think there’s anything wrong with cacao. As you can imagine, my answer is no! Chocolate is one of my personal favorite things, and I think that if you eat it in moderation and don’t find it “stimulating” (which I don’t, but some do), you should enjoy it often. That said, carob, which is often presented as a chocolate substitute (as if there could be such a thing) is tasty in its own right, and boasts both calcium and iron. I love making desserts and baked goods with carob, and I enjoy it for reasons that are different than the reasons I like chocolate. I find it sweeter, and a little nutty. Yum.

If you are such a cacao/cocoa fiend that you simply MUST make this recipe with chocolate, however, I’ll certainly understand. And if you don’t happen to have bat-shaped cookie cutters around (though the recipe is cute enough to warrant getting some), you can roll the cookies into balls or use any cookie shape you do have.


Raw Walnut, Carob, and Cinnamon Cookies (vegan, can be GF if you use GF certified oats, soy free)

Makes 8-10 large bat cookies

1 1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup oat flour (or 2/3 cup rolled oats that you’ve ground in a food processor)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp carob powder (or cacao)
1 cup pitted dates, tightly packed
2 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil

1. Grind walnuts, oat flour, sea salt, cinnamon, and carob in a food processor fitted with the S blade.

2. Add dates. Pulse till mixture is very crumbly. Add the syrup and oil and process till the mixture is coming together and holds its shape well when you squeeze some in your hands.

3. Turn the “dough” out onto a clean surface and sprinkle it with some extra oat flour. Use a rolling pin to roll it to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into bat shapes (or any shape), or roll into balls. Serve.

The texture is close to that of raw brownies. Bliss!


Hope you’ll try these cookies in time for Halloween. And if you have kids or friends of kids who will be passing through your place, share them! What a great alternative to some more conventional kids’ candies.

Happy Halloween, all Smile


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Categories: Cookies, Raw Desserts
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Raw, Soy Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Holidays

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  1. I’ll be making these for a friend who can’t have both chocolate (I know, be still my beating heart), agave/maple, or walnuts but I know these may still be possible to whip up for her….
    A few questions before I tackle them: Can I sub cashews for the walnuts? Or a combination of cashews and seeds? Ok to omit the agave? Thanks!! 🙂

  2. These are sooo cute!! Wish I saw this recipe sooner for Hallowe’en 🙂

  3. These are adorable! Those kids you volunteer with must be rubbing off on you 😉

  4. These look amazing! I’ll definitely be making them; though I might go with rounds now that Halloween as come and gone! 🙂 Great recipe!

  5. They are pretty cute. I also like Carob as Carob, and not so much as a cocoa replacement. Cocoa does stimulate me now, or maybe I just notice it now since I eat much more cleanly and mindfully (yay yoga influencing eating habits). These guys are a fun idea. I’d not thought to use cookie cutters for energy bar mixes. Adds some fun and lightheartedness to quick bring to work snacks.

  6. I re-discovered carob a few weeks ago and have made chia pudding with it a few times… so yummy!

  7. Do you think if would work if I sub pumpkin or sunflower seeds for the walnuts? I’m allergic to nuts but these look delicious! 🙂

  8. These look awesome!
    I am definitely going to try them out with the cacao powder … these are going to fly off the plate! 😉

    Thanks for the recipe Gena!

  9. These are just too cute – absolutely love ’em! I’m not 100% raw yet, but with recipes like this it’s just getting easier and easier!

  10. ahhh! these are so cute! i don’t have any fun cookie cutter shapes…so mine would prob just be balls ha. hope your fam is safe in nyc! i imagine you saw plenty of rain where you are as well! i’m lucky pittsburgh just got rain and some wind but not too bad!

  11. Creative! This is fantastic! I thought these are real bats .hehe.

  12. Is it called Food52 as in one for each week of the year?

    Thanks for sharing and being so sensitive! We got a big snow dump just to sympathize 😉

    _Love_ the recipe–I love the walnut/carob combination. And I totally agree–calling carob a chocolate substitute is dooming carob to being disliked. It is absolutely nothing like chocolate in almost any way, except for being brown and powderable. Actually, they go really well together.

  13. OK these look amazing. But I have to ask…where do you buy your dates? Everywhere I look they are very pricey. 🙁

    • Hi Kait!

      I totally hear you. I often find good deals online, from Nuts.com or from The Date People (great company). Bulk bins are also great for dates.


  14. Soooo between these, the brownies and the walnut maca balls, what’s the best? You’ve been spoiling us lately!

    • Ha! They’re all good! I can’t pick. They all have subtley different things going on: maca for the balls, pumpkin for the brownies, and cinnamon here. Guess you’ll have to make them all 🙂

  15. Gena these are so ridiculous adorable and creative! Wow!

    I want to eat bats right now 🙂

  16. Although I was happy that DC was not hit as hard this time, because there have been some really rough storms for you all over the past few years, I am saddened by the storm’s impact elsewhere.

    Bat Brownies are one of my favorite Halloween treats! So cute!

    • Yes, our June storm was very bad (26 deaths), but nothing like this. My heart aches for the northeast.

      I’m so glad you like them!

  17. Gena…you’re fantastic. Thank you for sharing your heartache over the impact of Sandy and your brilliant bats. Healthful food can give us all a little pleasure and the energy to carry on when “stuff” gets real.


  18. It’s so crazy to see what happened in NY and NJ! We got hit here in Boston, but it was nothing like what happened there. Also, these cookies look really cute!

  19. random question, but ive been wondering for a while…what does the 52 in food52 stand for? i figure there must be some significance, but i have no clue.

  20. These are absolutely adorable! I have a major “thing” for bats (they were our wedding theme/”mascot,” even). The cookies sound delicious, as well.