If using whole dates, roughly chop or process for 30 seconds in a food processor and set aside.
Grind oats in a food processor for about 30 to 45 seconds, until a fine flour is formed.
Add dates, peanut butter and vanilla to the food processor and process for 45 to 60 seconds. The dough should look a bit like crushed pretzels and it should stick together when pressed.
Using a cookie scoop and your hands, press and roll the dough into equally sized balls. If the dough is too dry/crumbly and not sticking together, add a splash or two of water.
Gently press the cookies flat with the tines of a fork while simultaneously creating a crosshatch pattern.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Enjoy!