A healthier chocolate chip cookie? Here's how
And taste isn't compromised either -- with a more nutrient-filled version
With a more nutrient-filled chocolate chip cookie, taste isn't compromised either. It's downright delicious and has 66 percent less saturated fat than traditional recipes (Photo Ken Burris/EatingWell/TMS)
Add "chocolate chip" to that equation and now you've really lost me. There is no possible way to preserve the integrity of this sacred cookie while making it healthy without completely screwing it up. Or is there?
That was my stance, until I tried this oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. It's downright delicious and has 66 percent less saturated fat than traditional recipes.
What are the secrets to a healthier chocolate chip cookie that still tastes amazing?
Follow these strategies:
1. Use healthier fats: Classic chocolate chip cookies are loaded with butter. And butter is loaded with saturated fat (7 grams per tablespoon). But we all know butter is delicious. It imparts a rich, nutty taste that's not easily replaced without taking a hit in the flavor department. In our cookie, we replace some of the butter with tahini -- a sesame seed puree. It has less saturated fat (about 1 gram of saturated fat per tablespoon) than butter and adds that subtle nutty flavor you may be missing.
2. Add oats: You may think that adding oats to a chocolate chip cookie is sacrilegious, but oats add fiber (about 4 grams per cup) without imparting an off taste. Plus they add texture. This allows us to cut back on the chocolate chips a little (which add calories and fat) without feeling like we're missing out.
3. Add some whole-wheat flour: The taste of whole-wheat flour can take some getting used to and may make for a tougher cookie. But when it's mixed with all-purpose flour, it's more subtle and you still get an added boost of fiber. Choosing whole-wheat pastry flour is an added benefit, since it has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour, making for a more tender cookie.
4. Add nuts: Although not always traditional, adding chopped nuts to chocolate chip cookies is a great way to boost flavor, provide an added crunch and add additional healthy fats. Walnuts are the only nuts that offer a significant amount of the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA's anti-inflammatory properties halt plaque buildup in the arteries.
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Note: These oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have the familiar flavors of brown sugar and chocolate, but get a sophisticated twist from tahini (sesame paste). Tahini helps to lower the saturated fat by more than 66 percent while adding a nutty flavor to an old classic.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Makes about 45 cookies
2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see ingredient note)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tahini (see ingredient note)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk oats, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat tahini and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until blended into a paste. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; continue beating until well combined -- the mixture will still be a little grainy. Beat in egg, then egg white, then vanilla. Stir in the oat mixture with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
3. With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on a prepared baking sheet and flatten it until squat, but don't let the sides crack. Continue with the remaining batter, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.
4. Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 16 minutes, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through. Cool on the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the pans cool for a few minutes before baking another batch.
To make ahead: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days or freeze for longer storage.
Tips and Notes:
Ingredient notes: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large super markets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. Look for it in natural-foods stores and some supermarkets.
Per cookie: 102 calories; 5 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 7 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 45 mg sodium; 53 mg potassium; 1 Carbohydrate Servings
EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute. EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at eatingwell.com.
(c) 2011, Eating WEll Inc.
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