High-Iron Cookies

I’ve been vegan for awhile now and recently, my bloodwork started showing some anemia – despite a vast consumption of leafy greens and legumes.  To bring the numbers back up I turned to organic, unsulphured blackstrap molasses.  However, downing blackstrap molasses by the tablespoonful is a little unpleasant, albeit effective (for me – don’t go about trying it unless you’ve checked with your healthcare provider on what’s best for you as an individual).

This cookie was my more reasonable answer to getting the iron I need while also satisfying my sweet tooth.  It took a few iterations to come up with a cookie that I really craved: a little crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, not too sweet, no added oil.  Furthermore, I optimized again and again to increase the iron content by looking to whole foods naturally high in it: tahini, dried mulberries, buckwheat, dates and oats.  Should you not be worried by the iron content of the finished fare, and want something a bit sweeter and less robust, then feel free to swap the blackstrap for fancy molasses which has a much milder flavor.

Yield: 30 cookies

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3/4 cup organic, unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped Deglett Noor or Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup white or sprouted (and dehydrated) buckwheat groats (not kasha – unroasted is what you want), ground into a flour after measuring
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup dried mulberries

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two 11×17 baking sheets with Silpat liners or parchment paper.
  2. In a small capacity food processor (2,5 cups to 4 cups; a larger bowl and you’ll have to double recipe to get the dough to come out properly), whizz together the tahini, molasses, dates and salt until completely smooth and uniform.  This will take several minutes so be sure to stop as required to let the food processor’s motor cool.
  3. When everything is smooth and uniform (and pretty warm from all that spinning), then add the ground buckwheat groats, oat flour, spelt flour and soda and process until incorporated.  You’re looking for a very thick and gummy batter that will drop from a tablespoon after prodding at it with another spoon and cursing a few times.  Depending on how thick or thin your tahini is, you may need to add a bit more flour or a bit more of something liquid (water, juice, more molasses) to get the texture right.
  4. Once the texture of the cookie dough seems pretty good, add the mulberries and pulse to incorporate.  If the blades don’t want to help you, then hand-twirling the mulberries in there may just be easier.
  5. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared cookie sheet(s).  The cookies shouldn’t spread a whole lot, but give them space just in case since low-gluten and vegan cookies can be touchy and have mood swings from one day’s batch to another.                                                                                                               IMG_4238
  6. Bake 10 minutes, one pan at a time.  Let cool 8 to 10 minutes on the pan and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.                                                             IMG_4239
  7. These will keep nicely in an air-tight container at room temperature for 4 days or so, although the outer crisp will suffer a bit.  They also freeze really well, so I usually keep them there and take them out as needed, thawing overnight in a covered container.


  • Swap the mulberries for finely chopped dried figs and add the minced zest of a grated lemon when you add the figs.
  • Use prunes instead of dates for a cookie that isn’t quite so sweet and carries more laxative potential.  (You can also replace the mulberries with prunes for even more prune action).

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