12.08.2006

Cookies that are good for you


First, let me start by saying I usually don't like low-fat desserts. There was a time when my cabinets were stocked with Snackwell's chocolate chip cookies, and thankfully, those days are so over. Now when I have dessert, I say bring on the butter. Well, usually.

At Ben & Jerry's, I find the chocolate fudge brownie or cookie dough yogurts just as satsifying as their fuller-fat versions, and when I make tarte Tatin, I top my slice with a scoop of creamy, Greek yogurt instead of vanilla ice cream. And on the nights when my local cookie store has closed and I've had dessert every day for the past, oh, three weeks, but still really need something sweet, these are the cookies you'll find me making.

Cookies -- usually chocolate chip, oatmeal chocolate chip, or gingersnaps, though not always in that order -- are by far my favorite sweet to snack on. Problem is, once I have one, I need another and another. Cupcakes have a similar effect. Which is why I was willing to try this recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Eating Well magazine.

For the most part, the ingredients are pretty similar to your standard cookie recipe, with a healthy twist. You'll need flour (whole wheat and all-purpose), butter (only 1/2 a stick), sugar (light brown and granulated -- Eating Well also suggests Splenda which in my opinion is just gross), chocolate chips (1 cup), and oatmeal (2 cups). So what's the secret ingredient, you ask? Tahini! Yes, the stuff that's mixed with chickpeas to make hummus. A paste that's made by grinding sesame seeds. Believe me, I was very skeptical too.

Then I tried one of these rustic, silver-dollar size treats that have a faint nutty flavor and are crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, and they were really good. Ok, so not City Bakery, one pound of butter per cookie good, but a different good. A more sophisticated good.

Packed full of oats and flecked with just a few chips per cookie, you really do feel like you're eating something that's sort of healthy. Like a granola bar -- with benefits. Eating Well would probably recommend 1 or 2 per person, but I don't feel guilty at all for my usual 4 or 5.

To find tahini, try an organic supermarket. I bought mine in a jar and it was on the same shelf as peanut butter. Since one batch only calls for 1/2 of a cup, you can also try spreading it on toast for breakfast, or if you're like me, just save it for monthly batches of these cookies.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Eating Well
Makes about 45 cookies*
2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon**
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup tahini
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk oats, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat tahini and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until blended into a paste. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; continue beating until well combined -- the mixture will still be a little grainy. Beat in egg, then egg white, then vanilla. Stir in the oat mixture with a wooden spoon until just moistened. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
3. With damp hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the batter into a ball, place it on a prepared baking sheet and flatten it until squat, but don't let the sides crack. Continue with the remaining batter, spacing the flattened balls 2 inches apart.
4. Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 16 minutes, switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through. Cool on the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the pans cool for a few minutes before baking another batch.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per cookie: 101 calories; 5 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 7 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 45 mg sodium

*I've made these cookies a number of times and have never ended up with 45 (and I roll them into fairly small little balls). I'd say 35 is more accurate.

**For some reason, I don't like cinnamon in my chocolate chip cookies, so I usually leave it out when making these. I also think the tahini adds a nice, nutty flavor, so I don't think the walnuts are necessary.



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4 comments:

AnnieKNodes said...

Ayun Halliday made similar cookies at her Dirty Sugar Cookie reading, You're right, they're so good and come with much less guilt. A keeper!

Shauna said...

Wow! I never would have thought of putting tahini in a cookie, Lia. But I love it in everything else. Hm... Okay, I'd have to substitute half the ingredients to be gluten-free, but you have given me definite ideas.

Lia said...

Anne, while the fact that these cookies are virtually guilt-free is so nice, I really don't think you would even notice unless someone told you. But I might be biased.

Me neither, Shauna! It was such a nice surprise. I hope you're able to make a gluten-free variation of these because they really are so good.

Sarah Redman said...

HI there,
I know this post is almost two years old but wanted to drop a not anyway as it's new to me...thank goodness for your archive! I whipped up a batch of these when my family was visiting us in London (where an American style cookie is pretty hard to find much less one that is almost good for you!) These are amazing! Everyone loved them. We all felt a little bit sad when they were gone. You were spot on when you said they are a 'sophisticated good'-- are they ever. Thanks so much for posting this! All this typing has made me want to make another batch right now!

Thanks again!

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