Place dates in a small bowl and add enough hot water to cover. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to soften.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove dates from water, reserving soaking liquid. Combine dates, walnuts, and vegetable oil in the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse several times until mixture forms a paste and no large chunks of dates remain; this may take several minutes. If mixture is too dry, add soaking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a paste-like consistency is reached. Add egg and vanilla extract; pulse to combine. Add oats, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in chocolate chips; dough will be very sticky.
Use a medium cookie scoop to place rounded balls of dough 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press tops of dough down with damp fingers to flatten slightly.
Bake in the preheated oven until cookies are just set, 13 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely. Keep stored in refrigerator until ready to serve.
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