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An Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Baking Accident with a Lower Calorie Surprise

Full disclosure: I’m a terrible baker. My husband warns people not to eat anything I bake.

That said, I get the itch to bake periodically and it always has to be scratched. Quiet, uneventful Sunday afternoons get the better of me and my well-stocked pantry. Once I’ve made up my mind, the oven’s on and the flour’s flying.

This past Sunday, I was already in cooking mode, with Chef Devin’s turkey meatballs and homemade marinara simmering on the stove (see the Biggest Loser Family cookbook). When I pulled the oats out of the cabinet to combine with the turkey, I immediately thought “cookies!”. I also had mini chocolate chips left over from a birthday party the previous weekend. A couple of tiny cookies would be the perfect end to our dinner and weekend.

I started reading through the ingredients listed on the oatmeal container and pulling each out of the cupboard and refrigerator. It called for butter. I froze. No butter. Then I remembered the healthier baking swaps article we did last year, and recalled Marisa Churchill’s suggestion for replacing butter with cream cheese. An entire brick of neufchâtel cheese sat in my fridge. Ball dodged.

Then it called for granulated sugar. Completely out. So I Googled “honey replacement for sugar” and found several suggestions for a 1:1 swap. Completely doable.

I carried on with the other ingredients, mixing together what resembled any other cookie dough I’ve ever made. I decided to tell no one, especially the husband. After all, he expects this sort of thing from me and the impending flop.

When they came out of the oven they looked like a pretty typical (for me) oatmeal cookie. Nice little clumps that were hard on the outside but perfectly chewy on the inside. I was delighted. Not 100% perfect, but not a toss-in-the-trash failure, either.

My husband tried them, questioned the amount of sugar I did (or didn’t use), and I had to confess. The real test came after they’d cooled, and I assure you they were as moist and chewy as the best oatmeal cookies I’ve ever had. Although I’m a little close to the situation, I found them to be a pretty tasty oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

So curiosity got the best of me. Had I stumbled on a healthier cookie? It turns out I had, by just a little bit! Using the Calorie Count recipe analyzer, I compared the original recipe to the “new” recipe. The result was a savings of 23 calories per cookie! As well, I cut the fat in half, from 5.7 grams to 2.1, reduced the sodium by 11 milligrams, and added half a gram of protein. The honey caused an increase in sugar of 1 gram.

My revised recipe has only 94 calories per cookie! That’s a steal in the homemade, pretty good, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie world. With a glass of skim milk, they’ve been a pretty satisfying treat this week.

94-Calorie Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies; serving size 1 cookie

  • 8 oz. neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1.25 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups flour (or use 1/2 whole grain and 1/2 all purpose)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned or quick oats, uncooked

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Beat cream cheese, sugar, honey, and vanilla on medium speed until creamy. Beat in eggs until light and fluffy.

3. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Form dough into 2-inch balls (about two rounded tablespoons) and place on cookie sheet about 2-inches apart. (On parchment to avoid sticking or additional oil.)

5. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown and center still appears slightly soft. Let cool for two minutes. Remove to wire rack, let cool.

Recipe modified from Market Pantry old-fashioned oats

May 8th, 2012

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