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Is this Such A Thing as a "Healthy" Cookie Recipe?

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Request from my husband, please find me a healthier cookie! I'm not a baker at all, because I don't personally have a sweet tooth, so I'm totally mystified by this request.

He had heart surgery a few years ago, but still struggles with his love of food and especially all things sweet.

Now, the sugar isn't the real problem, it's that many cookies are made with either Crisco (the evil hydrogenated oils - a big no-no in our home) or, tons of butter (saturated fat - another avoidence when possible).

We both hate using unnatural ingredients, I'm not talking about using fake sweeteners or fats. I'd like to just find a cookie that is a bit more heart healthy. Biscotti would probably be a good choice, but unfortunately, he wants something chewier. He specifically is craving an oatmeal cookie (not my fav but I'm not craving cookies at all).

Of course, I've tried to get him to realize if he could just be satisfied with 1 really good cookie, that wouldn't be so bad but the truth is, that is never going to happen LOL.

Any ideas? Get your thinking caps out!


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  1. I don't have any recipes, but you can sub unsweetened applesauce or lowfat yogurt for part of the fat, esp. in bar cookies or drop cookies. (It's nearly impossible with rolled cookies.)

    You can also sub nut butters if you like them. It won't reduce the fat, but they'll be a healthier kind.

    Also, many cookies (like pie crusts) can be made with oil, assuming you don't have to cream them with sugar for fluffiness.

    1 Reply
    1. re: piccola

      I just made Cinnamon Pumpkin Bars this weekend and the man really likes them (and I added walnuts). Considering we're both trying to slim down for our wedding in 6 months and I have high cholesterol, I am in the same situation as your husband. I like this linked book (and I will have to double check it's the right one tonight)for that very reason. She substitutes a lot of the butter with non-fat sour cream or yougurt and cuts down on the eggs with more egg-whites. I will generally cut down the fat with applesauce in breads and cookies, but not completely. I also will glaze now with 3 tbls. of non-fat vanilla yougurt, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar. It doesn't fully harden, but I keep the goods in the fridge and the icing is delicious.

      Bars are not the same as cookies, but it's a start!

      Link: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/book...

    2. Meringue cookies are relatively healthy, made with just egg whites and sugar. Unsweetened cocoa powder can be added, as can chocolate chips. If they are slightly underbaked, they are satisfyingly chewy.

      1. Do a search for Biscotti--they are usually made w/oil rather than butter and you can add almonds, chocolate, ginger or whatever. I think they are "healthier" than your average cookie.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Rita

          Actually, biscotti recipes generally do not call for any fat.

          1. re: shaebones

            Not true - they usually call for eggs, and the yolk is almost entirely fat. But you're right in the sense that there shouldn't be ay added butter or oil.

            1. re: piccola

              I have 4 biscotti recipes cut out at home - all call for some butter or oil. Not a lot, but some. Do I have bad recipes?

              1. re: danna

                No such thing as a "bad" recipe if it tastes good. :-)

                I hesitate to use the word, but... "Authentic" biscotti recipes use just eggs. But as all other recpies, they evolve with the times and the people who make them.

                I don't think many people can tell the difference once the biscotti are baked.

                1. re: piccola

                  I'm with piccola on this. I hate the word authentic, but, a more authentic recipe doesn't use butter or oil. What's more important is whether it tastes good to you. If so, go with it.

              2. re: piccola

                One egg has only 5 1/2 gms fat (1.7gm saturated fat). Most recipes don't usually call for more that 2 eggs. A recipe yeilding 16 biscotti would provide less than 1 gm fat each....thats pretty much no fat.This one is my favorite. Of course, the chocolate and almonds will add considerably more fat to each cookie. :/

                Link: http://www.joyofbaking.com/printpages...

          2. macaroons are typically made with little more than egg whites, nuts, sugar, and a dash of salt. low and slow should make them chewy. good luck.

            1. One of my favorite cookie recipes is an oat crisp that is reasonably healthy -- though more crisp than chewy. Still, it's a super easy recipe full of oats and doesn't have a lot of butter, sugar or corn syrup -- just a little bit of each. I'll paraphrase it here for you:

              Oat Crisps from "Four-Star Desserts" by Emily Luchetti (this is a great book, btw):

              2 1/2 tbls unsalted butter
              1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
              2 tbls granulated sugar
              2 tbls dark corn syrup
              1 cup rolled oats (not instant)

              Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter (I melt in the microwave) in a medium-sized bowl. Then mix the butter, and all other ingredients except the oats together. Finally add in the oats and combine well.

              You will want to line a baking tray with parchment paper (no wax paper for this one!) and place about 1 rounded tbls of the mixture for each cookie, leaving plenty of room between cookies because they spread quite flat when they bake. (Don't worry that the mounds seem messy when you place them on the parchment; they'll pull together and flatten into nice cookies very fast. Bake the cookies until they are golden brown and bubbly. I bake for 15 minutes rotating sheets half way through.

              Let them cool for several minutes, then slide the parchment paper off the tray and onto cooling racks. Let the cookies cool enough that their shape firms up before trying to take them off the sheets if you want them to be flat. With more batches, be sure the cookie sheets are cool before placing more oat mixture on them.

              The crisps will be similar to tuiles, and you can shape them while still warm if you'd like by curling them around the outside of a rolling pin, glass, etc. One of my favorite ways to serve is take the crisp off the parchment still warm and press inside a small cup so that when it cools it is in a bowl shape, turning it into a small bowl for ice cream or my fave, Haagen Dazs lemon sorbet (yum!) Also, the book recommends serving these with creme fraiche and fresh blueberries. This is good, and so is serving them with key lime pie filling to dip in (love the flavor combo), but obviously that won't be as healthy. (The sorbet bowl option might knock your husband's socks off, though!)

              1. Your husband could be craving something a lot less healthy than oatmeal cookies. I think you could modify a standard recipe fairly easily. I bet the recipe on the back of the Quaker oats container is solid.

                My FIL makes a healthier version of oatmeal cookies by reducing the fat and using some butter but mostly olive oil. As another poster said, applesauce and mashed banana are often used to replace some fat, but you have to play w/ ratios. You can reduce the sugar in recipes too, but that will affect texture some. I would underbake a little to make sure they have some chew and don't dry out. This will take some experimenting to perfect, but I have a feeling that your husband won't mind.

                I like biscotti, but that would never satisfy a cookie craving. Other healthier options might be fig or date bars.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Carb Lover

                  You are correct. the recipe on the lid of the Quaker Oats box is great.

                  I use exactly HALF the butter it calls for. That means one stick..still not exactly spartan, but better. I replace one of the called-for yolks with another white. Otherwise, I make the recipe exactly (except perhaps experimenting with mix-ins...choc. chips, dried cherries, etc.)

                  My husband loves this, and over the years has come to see "normal" cookies as "too greasy".

                  Be SURE to buy the regular rolled oats, not the dessicated quicker-cooking oats.

                  Also, if you don't mind the nuts, try the butterless/flourless Payard cookies discussed in the thread from a week or two ago.

                2. Laurie--
                  The Kripalu Center's cookbook has a tasty cookie that, I think, they call their Triathlon cookie. Anyway, it's made with vegetable oil, i think i use canola, and the amt is small, maybe 1/2c and this makes lots of cookies. you use rice syrup and maple syrup instead of sugar and no egg b/c these are vegan (no less!). there are oats involved, whole wheat pastry flour and raisins and i put choc chips in too. I can't remember the recipe off the top of my head but will post it or email it to you later if you like. They're really good, despite being healthy ;)

                  Btw, I always halve the butter in all cookie recipes if i'm not giving them to someone else. the thing i've found is that in some cases, you're sort of getting fewer cookies, so are you really coming out ahead? eh, not always...however, some recipes, like my standard choc chippers, you do get the usual amt, but the consistency is just crunchier, as there is less fat, more flour. However, if you get the proportions even slightly wrong, they end up being chewy in a bad, floury way. I've been trying for a long time to make lower fat cookies and find that oatmeal are the way to go since the crunch of the oats overrides any flouryness you might get from lower fat...

                  1. Yes, you can make a healthier cookie...
                    I have a few recipes that are lower in cholesterol, contain complex carbs. The calorie issue is always there... the healthier cookie the more of them you eat! They all require an hour of walking.

                    Macaroons with just nuts and egg whites and sugar (I want to experiment with splenda-does anyone have any suggestions?)

                    Almond Tort Cookies with just almonds, oats, whole wheat, canola oil, maple syrup, spices and jam.

                    Chocolate Sabes with no eggs.

                    Buckwheat Cookies with half the butter of other recipes. This recipe contains two egg yolks which is a no-no, but two egg yolks streached out to so many cookies must be watered down to a minute portion. This recipe is great with carmalizied sugar and walnuts folded in... so it strays.

                    The Buckwheat Cookie I've been experimenting with. I concocted a Tahini Buckwheat cookie with no egg and hardly any butter and it came out with a fabulous crunch, but a peculiar taste that people either loved or hated. I'm wondering what it would be like with other nut butters.

                    The Walnut cookies from Chez Panise Menu Cooklbook, with whole wheat, 1/4 or 1/3 of the butter, and you can make this in a bar form with apples on top. These are fabulous.

                    My roomate goes nuts over my rendition of a "health food store" cookie which has a long list of ingredients including coconut, oats, barley syrup... I can't remember what else right now.

                    Butter is the main problem with cookies but butter isn't the only tasty fat out there. I get bored with butter cookies.

                    1. There is a fat substitute for baking made out of prunes, I used to make Toll House Cookies (chocolate chip) using it.

                      Comes in a ~10-12 oz jar. Costs ~$3.

                      1. I'm not sure if you would consider this healthy, but I made this peanut butter cookie for my friend when she was diabetic during her pregnancy. The cookies, to my surprise, came out great. Nice texture and very tasty. I used organic/natural peanut butter. This recipe is by Paula Deen and it is a very, very easy recipe.

                        1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
                        1 1/3 cups baking sugar replacement (recommended: Splenda)
                        1 egg
                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

                        Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet.

                        In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup sugar replacement, the egg, and vanilla, and stir well with a spoon. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork, dipped in sugar replacement to prevent sticking, press a crisscross design on each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar replacement. Cool slightly before removing from pan.