I’m not usually drawn to recipes that require specialty ingredient substitutions to make a dish healthier. Brewer’s yeast, soy cheese, nut cream—not my thing. I often find little other uses for expensive health alternatives.
Oh, but today’s cookie—a whole different (do-able) story.
Pear readers know not to bother visiting this spot for dessert recipes. It’s not that I don’t like desserts—if I could bake, I would eat the entire pan of whatever chocolate-y goodness popped out of my oven. Thankfully, I flop at nearly everything I bake, which means it’s easier to be healthy when there’s no cookies in the house.
Let’s also clarify something: ours is a healthy home, so I don’t really endorse daily cookie eating. Or recipes that call for funky ingredients and substitutions. BUT HERE’S WHERE I’M WILLING TO MAKE A PERMANENT EXCEPTION.
When Vegetarian Times magazine called this “The Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookie in the World”—let’s say I was intrigued.
I am an oatmeal-for-breakfast girl through and through (berries + cinnamon + honey = mmm mmm), and typically I would raise an eyebrow at you if you ever tried to put my breakfast in a dessert. But seriously, people: the exception.
Besides that this is deliciously chocolatey and moist, let’s talk nutrition facts for a sec. Take a Mrs. Fields’ Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (65 grams) made with butter, brown sugar, whole eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda—standard cookie ingredients…
MRS. FIELDS THIS COOKIE
280 calories 173 calories
13 g fat 10 g fat
8 g sat. fat 3 g sat. fat
40 g carbs 21 g carbs
140 mg sodium 122 mg sodium
35 mg cholesterol 0 mg cholesterol
1 g fiber 2 g fiber
17 g sugar 12 g sugar
Two big points I take away from this cookie comparison is the fat content—both cookies are high in fat per serving, but the cookie with walnuts and oat flour has less saturated (artery-clogging) fat. The cookie here is also cholesterol free.
It is not time to start substituting cookies for breakfast or a nutritious snack, but this is a great dessert alternative for get-togethers—a huge hit among a crowd of family members that might have freaked if I mentioned the word “vegan”… With nine people in the house the weekend I cooked these in Delaware, they were gone by morning! This cookie is work, but not complicated work. This cookie is worth it.
Note: I found oat flour in Giant’s “Natural” health aisle. (Does it drive anyone else bonkers that a commercial FOOD store has a single aisle devoted to “healthy” products?)
The Heart-Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World
Vegetarian Times, February 2009
makes 30 cookies, active time: less than 30 minutes
3 Tbs. canola oil
2 cups walnuts
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups oat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
3 3.5-oz. bars bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped, or 12 oz. dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
Blend walnuts in food processor 30 seconds, or until ground into a fine meal. Add canola oil, and blend 2 to 3 minutes more, or until mixture has the consistency of natural peanut butter, scraping down sides of food processor occasionally. Transfer to bowl.
Whisk together brown sugar and ½ cup water in small saucepan, and bring mixture to a boil. Pour brown sugar mixture over ground walnut butter, add vanilla extract, and stir until no lumps remain.
Whisk together oat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in separate bowl. Stir oat flour mixture into walnut mixture. Cool 10 minutes. Fold in oats, then chocolate chips.
Shape cookie dough into 2-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten cookies with bottom of drinking glass dipped in water.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies begin to brown and tops look dry. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
There aren’t too many desserts here, as baking is simply not my strong suit (ironic that I was employed as a baker four years ago…) Still, there are a few desserts I love to recreate. Find my galette, brown-butter krispies, fresh berry tart, watermelon bites, chocolate peanut-butter pie and more here.