My significant other correctly suggested we could improve our cookie habit. As far as cookies go, oatmeal is a healthy ingredient, Chocolate has some benefits. So the cookie was reimagined into a Healthier Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie. The goal was to make a cookie that is healthier, but to be frank about it, “is still a treat.”
Based on my experience with analytics, I proceeded with some analytical tasks. I performed some web-scraping and worked on the resulting data with what is called Natural Language Processing (NLP). These techniques are a foundation of Artificial Intelligence techniques that are becoming common. Although my approach is light compared to those techniques, it was very productive. I came up with a recipe that reduces the calories from fat by about 15% and the calories and carbohydrates from the sugars by about 33%. Enough to make my significant other happy. Nonetheless, there was still a problem. The resulting cookie was so good, she stated, “those are so good, it is hard to not stand up and get another one.”
Notes on Ingredients
Almost every recipe included in my analysis used some combination of brown sugar (usually light brown) and regular white granulated sugar. A handful added molasses. Since brown sugar is white sugar with molasses, it occurred to me I can get the taste I want by using only dark brown sugar. This gave a great molasses flavor and was plenty sweet while reducing sugars by about 33%. Success.
BTW, the measurement in the recipe for the brown sugar is 85g, weight is going to be the most accurate, but I determined that a lightly packed 1/2 cup is a close measurement if a scale is not available.
Butter and Eggs
Most recipes use a stick of butter (8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup). Additionally, most of them used 1 egg, and a few used 2. I determined I could remove 2 tablespoons of butter and use 2 eggs. The result was a 15% reduction in fat, a bit more protein from the eggs, and great taste. Again, success.
The recipe calls for Chocolate Chips. The brand is up to you, but I prefer a brand that is a bit darker than the more common brands.
The recipe calls for unsalted butter and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. The salt brings out rich flavors. If using salted butter reduce the measurement of extra salt to 1/4 teaspoon. You may also reduce the salt if reducing your intake of sodium.
Notes on Technique
Chilling the Dough
The instructions ask you to chill the dough for 30 to 45 minutes. This is important to let flavors meld and for making it easier to work with the dough.
Scoping and Pressing
Using an ice cream scoop or similar spoon, scoop out balls of the dough. It will make 16 to 18 cookies depending on how big you want them. Form into balls and place on parchment paper or a silicone mat on a baking pan. Press down on the middle to flatten. I have found that nothing works better than the palm of the hand for this task.
Freezing the Dough
The last objective for this recipe is to be able to have a healthy cookie available when desired. Frankly, these cookies are better when fresh. Feel free to make enough for only a day or two.
Freezing the dough accomplished this – producing fresh cookies when desired. Simply take the balls from the preceding discussion, leaving them on the parchment paper and pan. Freeze on the pan and remove and seal for storage.
To use the frozen balls, remove from the freezer, and place them on the parchment paper on the baking pan to thaw. As soon as thawed, press down on the center as discussed above and bake as usual.
- 1 1/2 cup (135g) rolled oats
- 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (85g), lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (200g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a medium-sized bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt first, then stir in the oats using a spoon.
- Using a mixer beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamed. A couple of minutes should do.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- At low speed add in the dry ingredients a third at a time. Mix each third in completely before adding more. Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips.
- Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, pre-heat oven to 350°F. (See note if planning to freeze the dough.)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, and scoop out the dough to the desired size (16-18 cookies). Form into balls and place on pan. Press the middle of the dough with the back of a spoon or spatula to flatten.
- Bake for 14 minutes or until set.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To freeze the dough for later use, scoop them into balls and place them on a baking pan. Freeze on parchment paper and a pan, then remove and leave frozen in a sealed container umtil needed.
To use to frozen balls, remove from freezer, replace on the parchment paper and pan. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the countertop. As soon as thawed, press down on the center as discussed above and bake as usual.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 2.4gSaturated Fat: 1.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1.3gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 104mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 2g
Calculated Nutrition is estimated.