HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


High protein cookies?

Hey :)
So, recently my grandmother has came to stay with us (for a month or two) She is starting to show signs dementia and one of the main problems we have is she doesn't want to eat and she won't go to the doctors.
BUT she LOVES sweets (she was raised in an orphanage so sweets were not available when she was young) I am hoping to find a recipe for a cookie that tastes sweet but will have some nutrients. They need to be soft due to her having teeth problems. Recently I made some No-bake cookies with pb and oats in them, and she gobbled those up.

Does anyone else have any recipes or ideas that might help us out? and please no judging, we are honestly doing the best we can do to get her to eat, but we can't fight this way everyday.

Thanks :)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Emmnemms, I am really sorry that your grandmother and your family are dealing with her declining health. I am so not a nutritionist, so the ultimate expert would be your gran's gerontologist/primary care doc.

    Will your grandma eat cottage cheese? Lowfat cottage cheese with some sliced ripe strawberries or canned peaches in juice is high protein, plus will give her other nutrients and is soft in texture, and naturally sweet.

    Same for eggs...deviled eggs, egg salad, hardboiled, scrambled, for variety. Not sweet but good.

    Ensure also makes a high protein supplement drink in vanilla and chocolate flavor, I believe. An aunt who uses them to maintain weight tells me they are tasty and sweet.

    Edited to add: As for cookies, I found this recipe online though I haven't tried it. I would omit the walnuts in your grandma's case if too crunchy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinehurst

      Thank you very much for your response :)
      Due to her... being taken advantage of when she is young, she absolutely refuses to go to the doctors. We are doing our best to get her to go, but without drugging her (which I am completely against) I don't see that in her future.

      What we are realizing is that she will eat 2 very small portions of food a day, such as a Yogurt for breakfast and an Egg for lunch, but absolutely refuses dinner. (Some days the meal she refuses changes) but will eat 3 or 4 cookies throughout the day.

      I'm hoping to find a recipe so when she eats those cookies, at least she is getting some nutrients.

      She is just about right weight-wise, and with the exception of some dental work (we are trying to get her to agree to fixing some teeth) and the dementia, she seems to be healthy. She can walk miles and can get up easily from the ground. I'm just worried what will happen if she doesn't eat properly for a few years...

      Thanks for the reply again :) I'll check out those cookies!

    2. Here's a brownie recipe from Jessica Seinfeld (she sneaks healthy food into meals for her family):

      You could add nuts for more protein.

      1. Peanut butter was the first thing that came to mind, but finding ways to add in wheat germ or dry milk powder could be useful too for extra protein. Also I'd look at gluten free flours, which may have some amount of bean flours in them. Bob's Red Mill is just one producer of a lot of specialty flours that may have more nutrients than regular white flour http://www.bobsredmill.com/flours-meals/ There are some Spanish sweets based on egg yolks, where they are basically candied. Never made it, but the concept has always sounded interesting. Also halva. I just bought some that says 14 grams protein per 100 gram serving (and a 33g fat, and 34 g sugar so not health food). Not sure if halva comes in a softer or chewier variety, this stuff is firm but melts in your mouth. Also, if you are near a good Asian supermarket, they have tofu dessert cups that might work. Like these: http://www.sunrise-soya.com/soy-produ... I like the coconut. Consistency is like barely set jello.

        Can you get her to take a multivitamin? If she doesn't eat, protein is not her only concern. Children's chewable gummy vitamins might be more appealing, as long as she doesn't eat too many thinking they're candy.

        1. Here is a chocolate chip cookie pie recipe that uses beans (white beans or garbanzos).
          I think that you could omit the applesauce and use an egg instead. Unsure if these would work as actual cookies rather than a pie.

          I know you asked for cookies, but maybe milkshakes or smoothies could be added, too? Mix together milk, banana, whey protein powder, and any other flavors she likes...like canned pumpkin and cinnamon, or pb and cocoa powder.

          Here is an "oatmeal clafoutis" -- a baked oatmeal. Cut into bars to make them look like cookies. Omit nuts, and possibly add an extra egg for more protein.

          Or black bean brownies:
          Sorry, I know these are not cookies. Just trying to think of high protein sweets.


          1. I tried this recipe for ricotta brownies recently and loved it. There is a lot of sugar, but with four eggs and a cup of ricotta cheese, there' also a decent amount of protein for a dessert. If you can find a high-protein flour that would give you another boost.

            (And speaking of ricotta, there are recipes for ricotta cheesecakes that are pretty good, too - I think of them as slightly healthier than the cream cheese versions).

            This is from "America's Best Recipes: A 1995 Hometown Collection" published by Oxmoor House.

            1. Melt 1 cup of butter with 4 oz of unsweetened chocolate. Stir and let cool slightly.

            2. Beat 3 eggs and 2 cups of sugar together in a medium bowl. Add to the chocolate and stir to combine.

            3. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used whole-milk ricotta), 1 egg, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla in another bowl. Add to chcolate mixture and stir well until mixed.

            4. Spread batter in a greased 9x13x2-inch pan. Sprinkle 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans over the batter, if desired. Bake 40-45 minutes at 350 F or until a ttothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

            1. There are lots of Low Carb recipes that are very healthy with better nutrient profiles- and higher calories. Google for recipes like "black bean brownies" and "flax cookies". You could go ahead and add some real sugar instead of low carb sweetners- while still using the base recipes and benefits. You can also add flax meal (for Omega3 and fiber), ground chia seed (protein and antioxidants) in almost any traditional recipe to increase the nutritional value by leaps and bounds. I use whey protein powder (in vanilla flavor) to add to my muffins and cookies.

              I wonder if she might eat a protein bar (covered in chocolate) if you cut it into squares like you baked it yourself :) Or protein shakes? Elderly folks typically like Ensure chocolate or vanilla shakes too. If she will drink a shake, making your own super healthy ones are really easy.

              3 Replies
              1. re: sedimental

                Wow, thank you all very much for your responses! When I have a minute, I will have to check out each and everyone of these recipes :) At least I might be able to get a foot hold in somewhere.

                As to all the comments about shakes and smoothies, the issue I see coming from this is that she is always freezing! We will turn on the heater and she will still be wearing a thick jacket (she does insist on wearing a skirt and nylons, even though we try to convince her to wear pants and socks) I'm afraid a smoothie would just make her colder. It is kind of ironic that she is always cold, since she is visiting from Alaska! (I live in Oregon)

                Thank you again!

                1. re: Emmnemms

                  While a lot of whey protein powders recommend you used them as shakes, there should be no problems mixing them into a cookie recipe instead. It's just that shakes are easier for body builders to make and consume.

                  Here's a recipe form a bodybuilding site for some no bake cookies:

                  Chris's "Gourmet" Lab Rabbit Cookies


                  1.5 Cups Old-Fashioned Oatmeal [toasted or raw]
                  3/4 Cup Natural Peanut Butter or Almond Butter
                  2-3 Scoops Low-Carb Metabolic Drive, chocolate (Whey protein powder, this is the brand the website sel... er... recommends)
                  1 Cup Organic, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
                  Just enough water to allow easy mixing


                  Toss the oatmeal into a bowl. Toss the protein powder and coconut on top of it. Add peanut butter and just a little warm water and mash it all together with your grubby paws. Form into cookies (or even just balls) then roll them in a plate of extra coconut flakes if you'd like.

                  From this NSFW website: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_a...

                  1. re: Emmnemms

                    Could you make some hot chocolate type of beverage and sneak some protein powder in? (Cocoa powder is high in iron, if you need justification for that).
                    Peanut Butter cookies with a tbsp or two of oat bran for soluble fiber might also fill the sweets bill. If you sweeten with less processed sugars, i.e. maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, that would be a bit healthier. And remember that anything prepared with your love will be perfect.

                2. You may want to try the Runner's World website and see if they have any recipes. A friend of mine gets the magazine and every issue features healthy but tasty recipes. I would think they would have a high protein cookie or granola recipe. Also, check the NYTimes, because it has at least two sections devoted to healthy eating w/ recipes. This is one recipe I found doing a quick search on NYT after reading your post.


                  1. This page is from a vegan blog, but it deals directly with incorporating protein powder into food including treats. She talks about subbing protein powder for flour! Maybe you will get a bit of inspiration here.

                    1. This might be a helpful thread on healthy cookies for kids:


                      As I note there I have made the sneaky chef breakfast cookies which were good. I couldn't find them for you on that site, but they are here: http://www.pregnancy.org/article/brea...
                      But according to that website they are pretty low cal which might not be what you want.

                      1. not sure if this is up your/her alley, but...

                        6 tbsp butter
                        2 tbsp almond butter
                        1 oz quinoa flour
                        1 oz soy flour
                        1/2 oz toasted wheat germ
                        4 oz bread flour
                        1/4 c nonfat dry milk powder
                        1/4 c cornstarch
                        1/2 tsp baking soda
                        1/2 tsp sea salt
                        1 ounces granulated sugar
                        5 ounces light brown sugar
                        1 egg
                        2 yolks
                        1-2 tsp vanilla
                        add-ins of choice - dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, coconut, etc.

                        Melt butter (brown it if you're so inclined); stir together with sugars. Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix together all dry except add-ins. Mix into wet. Put add-ins of choice in. Refrigerate for at least a few hours. Underbake for sure... sometimes I do at 350 if i want a crispier edge; sometimes at 300 or 325 for a slow bake, and still pull out before seemingly done.

                        1. Hi Emm,

                          I am so sorry to hear of your grandmother's situation.

                          Would she eat popovers with butter and jam or curd? With the jam or curd, they would be sweet. You can make the popovers with more whites than yolks to boost the protein.

                          Ditto for Dutch Babies---use more white than yolk and use a sweet topping such as caramelized apples or a blueberry sauce. You could even top the Dutch Baby with a fruit sauce AND ice cream to get a in few more calories.

                          Ellie Krieger's Breakfast Cookies are not particularly high in protein, but they have lots of whole grains and they are delicious.

                          I loved the peanut butter cookie idea someone posted.

                          Would she eat custards and puddings? She'd get milk in those and you could experiment with upping the eggs in them. If she loves sweets, I'd be looking at something like butterscotch or caramel pudding first.

                          Angel Food Cake? Topped with an egg-custard?

                          Christina Tosi has a recipe for Blueberries and Cream cookies with milk crumbs made from powdered milk. I think the crumbs are the best part of those cookies. I think you could increase the quantity of milk crumbs in her cookies (which I plan to do the next time I make them) and they'd be even more delicious (and higher in protein):

                          Adding nuts to cookies will up the protein too, of course.

                          What about bread pudding made with eggs?

                          1. I have been making this simple peanut butter cookie for kids and their friends for years.

                            PROTEIN RICH PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

                            1 egg
                            1 c. sugar (white)
                            1 c. crunchy peanut butter

                            Mix together. Oven at 350 degrees about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

                            BTW, if she has teeth issues, you can use smooth peanut butter as well. My kids used to
                            love them and I've even cut the sugar down to 1/2 cup at times. If your grandmother likes
                            peanut butter, she will love these cookies.

                            1. If you have access to chickpea flour, I can vouch for these cookies: http://www.chefslittlehelper.com/node...

                              You can play around with the seasonings and thrown-in ingredients -- for example of the latter if you're looking at cramming as many nutrients in as possible, when out of chocolate I made them with dried cherries and sliced almonds broken up a bit. Orange as a flavour goes well too.

                              I also second pinehurst's cottage cheese dessert idea; my mom used to feed us cottage cheese with chopped pineapple, and it was easy to eat.

                              1. one more thought... Financiers... decent protein from the ground nuts and egg whites... i have a good recipe if you're interested... you can bake them in muffin cups as well if you don't have molds...

                                1. I have a bag of Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour that can be partially substituted for flour in cookie recipes for added fiber and protein. There's a tasty sugar cookie recipe on the bag. Just another option...

                                  1. Unjury protein powder is highly recommended in the medical community (I've used it and a friend with cancer uses it). You get 20 grams of protein a serving. It makes shakes yes BUT you can also use it in hot milk for hot chocolate. Unjury is available online. Link below.

                                    You can also make nice soft peanut butter balls with Unjury that pack a nice protein wallop:

                                    Unjury Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls


                                    3/4 cup peanut butter ( I like Simply Jif)
                                    3 scoops chocolate Unjury protein powder


                                    1. Put peanut butter in a mixing bowl.
                                    2. Add protein powder, 1 scoop at a time, stirring well after each scoop until dough is formed.
                                    3. Roll dough into 10 to 12 balls.
                                    4. Wrap and freeze overnight. Serve at room temperature. (For parties, I put mine in small paper baking cups to serve. And yes, I have actually served these at some parties.)

                                    Optional Additions: Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, or cherries), spices (cinnamon or nutmeg), oatmeal, chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds).


                                    1. Emmnemms, I am so sorry that you are going through this. My grandmother has alzheimer's and it was very hard to get her to eat a lot at the beginning as well. We basically just let her eat what she wanted, basically a lot of sweets. However, I really wish that I had thought of incorporating protein like you are doing into them. I would recommend trying out bodybuilding.com for protein cookie recipes and I would also look up Jamie Eason's carrot cake squares. They are high in protein but are still sweet. I hope this helps!

                                      1. Sorry to hear about your challenges. I'd recommend egg white protein powder, which is the easiest thing to digest. http://www.roseacre.com/ Rose Acre Farms is the best source for this and it'll be super reasonable on your budget.

                                        We use this egg white powder to make both protein shakes (with veggies, fruit, whatever), and to make our own protein bars - most of the commercial stuff is simply terrible and full of things that we'd never eat.

                                        You can easily add this protein powder into cookes or whatever. You can also use egg whites as a binder to help everything stick together and stay moist.

                                        For protein shakes, use some kind of juice. We prefer peach nectar and mango nectar, and those are usually in the latin or asian section of your store. But you can easily use apple cider, apple juice, or whatever you like. Add a banana, or other fresh fruit, and some honey to sweeten it, etc. Perhaps even a touch of vanilla.

                                        That aside - what might really be a big help to her is to start getting a good amount of high quality fish oil into her diet. This is easy to hide in a shake. The best and most reasonable out there is Carlson. It does not taste or smell at all like fish and she won't have any gas or bad breath as a result. This is a wonderful refined oil that is very high in DHA and EPA. These are critical to maintaining mental health. Start her on 1 TB a day. More won't hurt and might help! This stuff has been absolutely proven to help avoid or even reverse the deterioration of mental health!

                                        Online sources are the best way to get it - local stores are much more expensive.