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30 Oct

Primal Holiday Desserts

Halloween signals that the sugary season is upon us again, that willpower-testing time of year when bowls of candy and plates of baked goods seem to appear at every turn. If indulging at some point is inevitable, make it something that doesn’t divert too far from the Primal foods that will keep you feeling healthy during the holiday season. Enter Primal desserts.

You know what some of our typical dessert choices are; usually, the simpler the better. A square of (very) dark chocolate (dipped into almond butter, perhaps) or berries with whole cream don’t require a recipe and aren’t accompanied by a load of guilt. When holiday season is full swing, we’ve also been known to enjoy a mug of Primal Eggnog and a slice or two of Primal Pie.

This holiday season, we’re adding three more desserts to our rotation of holiday goodies: Coconut Macadamia Bark, Primal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Holiday Spice Balls. Just remember, the holidays are all about spreading the good cheer around, not hogging it for yourself. Whip up a batch of these desserts, then bring a goodie bag to the neighbors or your co-workers. It’s an easy way to get your fix without going overboard.

Coconut Macadamia Bark

Servings: 12 squares of bark or more

A simple recipe, and a few bites will both satisfy a sweet tooth and give you a hit of healthy fats. We’ve made a very simple version, leaving plenty of room for embellishment. Add dried fruit or dark chocolate chips. Swirl in some melted dark chocolate. What’s your favorite version of coconut bark?


  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 2/3 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts


Mix together oil, coconut flakes and nuts. Line a pan or plate with parchment paper.  Pour the oil mixture onto the parchment paper. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Break apart into pieces of bark. Store in the freezer.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings: 1 dozen cookies

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? If you’re in the minority who doesn’t, add fresh blueberries or dried cranberries instead of dark chocolate chips.  These cookies are softer and moister than some, but will hold their shape well after baking.


  • 4 dates, pits removed
  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grind dates in the food processor until a paste forms, about 40 seconds. Add walnuts and pecans and blend until very finely chopped, about 35 seconds. Add baking soda and salt and pulse a few more times.

Warm the coconut oil so it is in liquid form. With the food processor running, drizzle it into the batter with the egg and vanilla. Stop mixing as soon as the egg and oil are blended in.

Scrape the batter into a bowl and stir in coconut and chocolate chips by hand. The dough will be sticky and wet. Drop 12 portions of the dough onto a cookie sheet, then flatten slightly with your fingers.

Bake 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Holiday Spice Balls

Servings: 12 balls

These Holiday Spice Balls are similar to Cocoa and Coconut Snacks, but the addition of cinnamon and cardamom are perfect for autumn. Using pumpkin pie spice, if you have it on hand, would be very autumnal as well.


  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 4-6 dates
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Process everything in the food process until it comes together in a sticky paste-like consistency.

Form into balls and refrigerate.

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Brought the Holiday Spice Balls into work today for a holiday potluck. I must say, they turned out pretty delicious! I think I’ll add almond butter to the next batch.

    ThePrimalBrett wrote on December 17th, 2010

    gogus buyutucu wrote on January 29th, 2011

    rx1 wrote on January 29th, 2011
  4. I have this made and in the freezer. I added chopped dried apricots to the mixture.

    Rosemaryandthegoat wrote on February 10th, 2011
  5. Any chance anyone has a nut free version of paleo chocolate chip cookies? My wife has a very severe nut allergy, and I’d love to be able to give her some satisfaction for her sweet tooth that is at least somewhat healthier than the junk she normally eats. Thanks!

    D.J. wrote on April 12th, 2011
  6. I would appreciate some dessert recipes without coconut…. I’m getting quite sick of it.

    Sarah wrote on June 15th, 2011
  7. Any ideas on what I could sub for the egg in the cookie recipe? I’d love to make these for a friend, but he’s got an egg allergy. Or do you think they’d hold up just leaving out the egg?

    Rad wrote on August 21st, 2011
  8. I know I’m 2 years late but the cookies are to die for!

    Molly Michaels wrote on September 11th, 2011
  9. I made the bark with coconut butter rather than oil, and pecans. I can’t even begin to describe the utter deliciousness of what came out of the freezer.

    Milla wrote on October 28th, 2011
  10. Can you make the spice balls with apricots that come in a bag, instead of dried?

    Rebekah wrote on December 20th, 2011
  11. The chocolate chip cookies are awesome! They even have the texture of the traditional version. They taste just like a less sweet version of the traditional version.

    RobG4 wrote on January 18th, 2012
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    Casey Drumgoole wrote on April 4th, 2012
  13. Can someone explain why dates are so ubiquitous in paleo/primal recipes? They are quite high in sugar…

    Madeleine wrote on December 14th, 2012
  14. My husband loves your blog and has been talking non stop about how good the primal chocolate chip cookies looked. So, for one of his christmas presents, I made a batch of them :). You were right…the dough was very wet/oily. Kinda scared me but after I baked them they were perfect! I even tried one still warm. Delicious! First words from my mouth were, “Oh my gosh!”. LoL! Cant wait to see his face Christmas morning!

    Lyra wrote on December 21st, 2012

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