Who Doesn’t Love a Good Chocolate Chip Cookie?
Are you a chocolate chip cookie lover? Do you have a favorite recipe that you go to over and over? I think that chocolate chip cookies are a very personal thing. Some people like them thin and crispy, some like them soft and gooey, some like them with little to no chocolate chips (!), some like them packed full of goodies. What if I told you that you could get that delicious chocolate chip cookie flavor, but in a healthy cookie? Or at least… healthier??
Well you are in luck! with a few substitutions, you can cut back on calories, sugar, carbs… but keep a lot of the delicious flavor. I’m going to walk you through those substitutions – and hopefully give you some tricks to try to make YOUR favorite cookie recipe just a bit healthier.
For years my go-to recipe for chocolate chip cookies has been the classic NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® chocolate chip cookie. I’ve made just a few modifications over the years that I stick to religiously: add a teaspoon of cinnamon, don’t pack the brown sugar, add a little extra flour, and sometimes add up to 1 cup oatmeal! Since I’ve married Hubby, adding in butterscotch chips is now also a must 🙂
You can find a link to this original recipe HERE. And if you have never tried them, you should do it today!
The Search for a Healthy Cookie Recipe
On my venture for better health, however, cookies have fallen by the wayside. But a girl (and her hubby) can only live so long without chocolate chip cookies! And so for the last few months I have been trying several different substitutions to cut back on calories, fat, sugar, and carbs. But still maintain a yummy cookie taste and texture.
I am going to share with you some of the substitutions I’ve tried, in case you too are an exploratory baker. Or maybe you’ve been searching for a healthy cookie recipe you can add to your baking repertoire. These substitutions will work just as well for your favorite cookie recipe – use them as a reference to inspire your own cooking experiments! I’d love to hear what you’ve tried as “healthy” substitutes in some of your baking recipes! Leave a comment to share!
Through all my experimentation, I believe I’ve landed on an EXCELLENT healthy chocolate chip cookie recipe that you’ll find at the end. It has become my new go-to!
Substitution Options for a Healthy Cookie Recipe
The classic recipe I referenced calls for 1 cup of unsalted butter. I’ve tried different substitutions for up to half of this fat. Here’s a list of substitutions I’ve tried for 1/2 cup of butter:
- 8 oz avocado (!) Yep, I tried this, and it worked! It made the color of the cookies a little off, and they did taste more “healthy,” but overall texture and flavor was pretty good.
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce. After trying this, I prefer it to the avocado in both final taste and texture. It also cuts out more calories, so added bonus there!
- Coconut oil. Most recently I’ve been substituting 1/2 cup of coconut oil for the 1/2 cup butter, and then still subbing in applesauce for the other 1/2 cup butter. I’ve also tipped this from half and half to one third cup coconut oil/two thirds cups applesauce, and it turns out nearly the same. See recipe at the end!
2 large eggs are also found in the classic recipe, and I’ve tried substituting egg whites instead – 4 tablespoons egg whites for 1 egg. Try substituting for just one, or both!
The easiest way to cut back on sugar is to simply reduce how much you use.
- The classic recipe uses 3/4 each granulated and light brown sugar. I have regularly cut this back to 1/2 cup each, and you’d never know!
- I’ve also substituted 100g Medjool dates (softened in hot water and blended to a paste) for the full 1 cup of sugar (1/2 cup each granulated and brown). This is a good option if you are trying to cut back on processed or refined sugars. I found that it worked quite well, and added in plenty of sweet. You do need to cut back on some moisture somewhere else to account for the “paste” of the dates. If you are using applesauce as a fat substitute, you can reduce that amount by about half.
- Measure the chocolate chips! You might find you don’t need as many to still get a well-balanced dough. See my recommendation in the recipe below.
The Flours: Increase Whole Grains, Reduce Carbs
I’ve also played around with different flour combinations to cut back on carbs, and add in some extra whole grains.
- Almond flour, while not lower in calories, is much lower in carbs that all purpose or whole wheat flour. If you substitute almond flour for less than half the total flour volume it doesn’t impact texture at all that I’ve noticed.
- I’ve also read a lot about whole wheat flour substitutions, and what most people say is that substituting up to half the volume of all purpose flour with whole wheat flour won’t impact the final texture/density.
In my final recipe I use a combination of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and almond flour. And then I add in some bonus old fashioned oatmeal for texture and more whole grains.
The Final Healthy Cookie Comparison
So… putting it all together, here’s the twist for a healthier chocolate chip cookie that I’ve settled on lately. It’s a real winner, and one I hope you’ll try as well! Compare my healthy cookie with the nutrition breakdown of the classic recipe recipe. My goal was to get a cookie close to 100 calories, and this does it, without sacrificing flavor.
- NEW -vs- OLD
- Calories: 106 -vs- 160
- Fat: 5g -vs- 8g
- Carbs: 14g -vs- 20g
- Protein: 2g -vs- 2g
- Fiber: 1g -vs- 1g
- Sugar: 9g -vs- 14g
Ready? Give this healthy cookie recipe a whirl! For another creative cookie twist – check out my banana coconut chocolate chip cookie recipe!
- Small strainer
- Half sheet pan
- Cooling rack
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup almond flour (or use a full cup whole wheat flour instead of splitting with almond flour)
- 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 6-8 tbsp coconut oil (extra virgin/unrefined)
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce (drained)
- 1 large egg
- 4 tbsp egg whites (or use 1 more large egg)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Goodies (see notes)
- 75 g butterscotch morsels
- 100 g semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- Pour applesauce into a strainer and let sit over the sink or an empty bowl while you prep the rest of the ingredients. This step helps to drain out some of the extra water. I have made this recipe without straining the applesauce and it works fine. But if you remember and have a few minutes, straining will make the final dough texture is a bit more firm.
Combine Dry Ingredients
- Combine all the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl, except the oatmeal.
- Whisk together.
- Add the oatmeal to the rest of the dry ingredients and mix it in well.
Blend Wet Ingredients
- Measure the sugars into a mixing bowl that you can use either a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of your electric mixer with.
- Add the coconut oil, and mix until well blended.
- Add in the eggs and egg whites, one at a time.
- Mix on the highest speed you can without flinging dough everywhere 🙂 and mix for 1-2 minutes on high – you are just trying to get some air incorporated for an extra "lift" to your batter.
- Add in the vanilla, blend to incorporate.
- Add in the applesauce (it should have lost some of the extra liquid by now), and mix at low-medium speed until well incorporated. (See notes.)
- Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl periodically to be sure ingredients aren't getting left out!
Combine Dry Into Wet
- Slowly add the dry ingredients into your wet ingredients. I usually add about 1/3 at a time, mixing on low speed, and them fully incorporate between additions.
- Transfer the mixing bowl to a scale, and weight out the goodies into the bowl, then mix by hand to incorporate.
Chill, Bake, Eat
- Chill the dough for a couple hours up to overnight. I have made this recipe baking the cookies immediately. They turn out more flat, but have crispy edges and bake up just fine. If you chill first you will get more of a "mounded" cookie like you see in the pictures. So choose the option that matches your cookie preference!
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Scoop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat baking mat. I like to use a 1½ Tablespoon cookie scoop filled just below level, and this ensures I get about 36 evenly sized cookies. If I do it by feel they always turn out bigger, and then the calorie calculations are off!
- Bake for ~8 minutes, until just turning golden brown, but still very soft in the middle. This will get you a slightly gooey finished cookie texture.
- Let the baked cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. If you transfer too soon, you will likely squish the warm cookies, and maybe leave some of the melted morsels behind, stuck to the sheet.
- Eat fresh within a couple days, or freeze for up to a month and enjoy straight from the freezer. Or freeze, and bring to room temperature for 10 minutes before enjoying.