July 17, 2011

(Healthier) Chocolate Chip Cookies

whole grain chocolate chip cookies

Most days, I spend most of my time thinking mostly about food.  Buying it. Chopping it. Mixing it. Cooking it.  Eating it.  The bounty of summer makes it easy to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Lately though, I’ve been harboring an irresistible urge to bake something sweet.  I deftly staved it off several times last week by grilling veggies or whipping up a pasta dish or other relatively healthy dinner item.  On Friday, I finally decided that if I was going to succumb to the desire, I was going to make the most of it by attempting to create a slightly healthier version of a baked treat. 

These cookies contain 25% less butter and about 17% less sugar than traditional chocolate chip cookies.  And they’re made with mostly whole grains:  whole wheat flour in place of half of the white flour and a generous amount of oatmeal.  Of course, the true measure of a good cookie is the resulting flavor and texture, and these are not lacking in either.  They boast the ability to satisfy even the most discriminating palate – buttery, sweet, moist, chewy, chocolatey, with a bit of crunch.  Their hearty yet delicate texture is just as good on day 3 as it is fresh out of the oven.  The cookies can easily stand on their own without the addition of chocolate, or they can accommodate any number of other additions, such as dried cranberries or walnuts. 

In a word, they’re perfect.  I like them even better than traditional chocolate chip cookies.

whole grain chocolate chip cookie

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield 60 2" cookies.

1 cup whole wheat flour (“pastry” flour if you have it, but I used the standard variety)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ⅓ cup rolled oats (not quick-cook)
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
optional additions: ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins; ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars.  Add the vanilla, eggs, and milk and beat until well combined.

Add the flour and mix until just combined. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and any other additions.

Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, distribute dough balls (about the size of a heaping tablespoon) about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until just beginning to turn golden around the edges.  Be careful not to overcook them.  (In  my oven, 8 minutes and 30 seconds was the perfect amount of time.)

Wait about 2 minutes before removing to a rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

The cookies keep well stored in an airtight container for several days.

whole grain chocolate chip cookies and milk


jxxc said...

Mmm! These look delicious! It seems that every time I make cookies these days I'm trying to make them healthier, but they usually just turn out not very tasty (although, last time they weren't that bad! but I can't remember exactly what I did...) Did you just reduce the butter without replacing it with anything? I read all the time that you can use applesauce instead of oil/butter with great results, but things never turn out that great for me. Maybe you're only supposed to replace a portion of the fat with applesauce. Any experience with this method?

Elizabeth said...

I just reduced the butter, added the milk (2%) for a bit more moisture and reduced the flour slightly (2 cups instead of 2.25 cups), but that was mostly because I was adding so much oatmeal. I had no idea how these would turn out texture-wise. I think the oatmeal had a lot to do with their success -- it's very forgiving. :) As far as flavor, I think the extra vanilla really brought out the butter. I thought they tasted even more buttery than usual.

I seem to remember trying the applesauce substitution once and not liking it at all. I think it was brownies, and they were really spongy. Gross. I have never tried it with cookies though. Have you?

Caroline France said...

They sound amazing!

Elizabeth said...

Caro, they are! Let me know if you get to try them!

jxxc said...

well, i think so, and if i remember correctly they turned out dry and not cookie-like. although, i think the last cookies i made i may have only substituted half of the butter with applesauce and they turned out okay, but not amazing. i don't know. it seems like a nice idea, but i think i'm giving up on it. i just get sucked back in by people raving about using applesauce and how their (insert baked good) turned out just great. though others claim to do it, i don't think cookies are right for this swap. cookies just need butter and that's that.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah. Just use butter. Real butter. It's not like we make cookies every day, (as much as I'd like to). :)

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