Another chocolate chip cookie recipe? Yes, I’ve gone there (and I’m sure this won’t be the last time). Would you believe that this is a healthier version though?
A few weeks ago, I challenged myself to learn more about healthy baking and to try healthier dessert recipes (a personal goal for improvement, so to speak). That might mean one new recipe or 100, only time will tell. I still must remain true to myself and let’s face it… I’ll be where the chocolate is. 😉 I began racking my brain to try to come up with a new recipe, but with no luck. I wanted to give up on my quest.
Soon thereafter, my friend, Davida from The Healthy Maven, announced her Valentine Day healthy bake-off. Without knowing it, she was encouraging me to return to my quest for healthy dessert that still tastes great. At the onset of my personal challenge, I was too ambitious and in turn, far too hard on myself when things didn’t work out, but I think I’m back on track. Baby steps, T. Look for good recipes, learn from them, create them, and then conquer the world. 😉
These chocolate chip cookies are made with date puree and browned butter to replace some of the missing fat and sugar. They are still as tasty and as chewy as the original real deal!
Light Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
(Makes 18 cookies)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup dates, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, packed (equivalent to 10 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a medium saucepan, over Medium/High heat, bring the water and finely chopped dates to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until most of the water has evaporated (about 20 minutes).
- Mash the dates through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, and then scrape the remaining bits from the strainer into the same bowl. (I found a rubber spatula best for this.) Stir the date mixture until it has a consistent texture.
- In a small saucepan or skillet, over Medium heat, cook the butter until it’s browned (about 4 to 8 minutes). Let it cool.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the browned butter, date puree, and light brown sugar.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons of the miniature chocolate chips and gently stir the remaining into the batter.
- Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough into balls and flatten them a bit. Press a few of the miniature chocolate chips on top of each cookie.
- Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes or until the edges are set. Note that the center will be soft but it will firm up once it’s cooled. It’s important not to over bake them otherwise they will come out hard and tough.
Store them in an air tight container or in a freezer friendly bag in the freezer.
The secret ingredient is… dates! I feel like the chairman from Iron Chef America. 😉 Well, technically you have to turn them into a date puree first, but it is an awesome substitute for butter. I promise you that you do not taste dates in these cookies, at all.
I told my sister about my new found phenomenon and she said something to the effect of, “That sounds like a lot of work. Can I buy pre-made date puree?” Think of it this way, if you chill your cookie dough, then you’re not investing any more time with this recipe because making the date puree actually takes less time than the chilling process would. If you don’t chill your cookie dough, then yes, this is more time consuming, but once you see how much fat you get to remove and how many calories you’re saving (see grid below) you may find it worth your time.
There is only three tablespoons of butter in this recipe, so browning it will help to enhance its flavor. I love how these substitute ingredients are everyday ones (nothing special required here). 🙂
Make sure you pack the flour when you measure it. I hate saying that because in general it’s not the correct way to measure flour. However, that’s what this recipe called for and I’m honoring it.
The cookie dough will be a tad crumbly but it will hold its form when you press it together.
I used miniature chocolate chips so that the chocolate flavors are scattered more evenly in each cookie. You won’t even notice that there are fewer chocolate pieces.
This recipe is loosely based on the Nestle Toll House recipe but with over three quarters of the butter removed. Try to imagine that for a moment. How on Earth would you ever be able to compensate for that much removed fat? Well, I have to say that while I didn’t really expect it to work, some how the dates filled that void. It’s not exactly right if you think you will be eating a greasy delicious cookie, but I found these to be fantastic in their own way.
I ate three or four cookies during my photo shoot. I don’t usually make a habit of that because I’d need to live in my sweat pants if that were the case. I had my doubts that this recipe would produce such a tasty cookie, but the fact that I kept eating them proves it did.
I’m eager to try the date puree in other baked goodies. 🙂
As an experiment, my handy dandy husband made the below grid to compare some of the ingredient changes between this recipe and the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe. It was quite the eye opener for us. I’ll let the facts speak for themselves.
|Ingredient||Nestle Toll House||This Recipe||Result*|
81.3% less calories
81.3% less fat
|Sugar||1 and 1/2 cups
|1 and 1/4 cups
16.7% less calories
16.7% less carbs
|Chocolate Chips||2 cups
75% less calories
75% less fat
75% less carbs
2360 mg sodium
1180 mg sodium
50% less sodium
350 mg cholesterol
175 mg cholesterol
50% less cholesterol
* All reductions shown are just for that ingredient, not the complete recipe. For example, using less egg reduces the cholesterol from the egg, but has no relation to cholesterol from the butter.
Challenges are not meant to be easy, but it sure makes life more interesting. 🙂
Slightly adapted from: The America’s Test Kitchen: Family Baking Book
Here are some of my other favorite chocolate chip recipes.