Cookies are delicious — there’s no denying it. Unfortunately, the large amounts of butter and sugar in most recipes also make them highly unhealthy, especially if you have trouble stopping your sweet tooth. Luckily, there are some ways you can make healthier cookies just by tweaking the recipes some. Consider some of these ideas the next time you’re in the mood to bake,
Replace the Butter or Margarine
Butter and margarine are found in nearly every cookie recipe, but the high amount of fat can pack on the pounds. When baking your cookies, replace half the butter or margarine with an oil such as olive, coconut, or canola. Never replace the entire amount of butter, as it’s likely to change the texture too much for the cookies to be enjoyable.
If a recipe calls for shortening, you can use a fruit puree instead. Many recipes taste just as good if you use pumpkin or applesauce. A fruity cookie can replace as much as half the shortening. Other types of cookies taste best when you replace about a quarter of the fat.
Reduce the Amount of Salt
Many cookie recipes call for about ½ a teaspoon of salt, but they will taste just as flavorful if you cut some of the salt out. Try using only ¼ a teaspoon in your next recipe and see how you feel about the taste.
Change the Flour You Use
White flour isn’t exactly terrible, but it doesn’t have any real nutritional value, either. By switching to wheat flour, you can add some health fiber and other nutrients into your cookies. Most bakers recommend white wheat flour or whole wheat flour to avoid a non-cookie taste. They also make softer cookies.
Reduce the Amount of Sugar You Use
There are many options for substituting some of the sugar in your recipe. In many cases, you can remove as much as 25 percent of it without noticing a taste difference. However, because sugar is what helps to keep cookies moist, you should add a bit more milk or other liquid. Other options include evaporated cane juice, fruit purees or other less refined sugars.
Replace the Eggs in Your Recipe
Eggs are healthy when used in moderation, but they are also high in calories and fat. To cut out some of the unnecessary calories, substitute applesauce for your eggs. You could also use a mixture of 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 tablespoons water. Do this for each egg your recipe calls for.
Add in Healthy Ingredients
Chocolate chip cookies are a staple in homes all over the world, but why not make cookies that are as healthy as they are unique? If you mix in a small amount of seeds or nuts, the little tummies in the house likely won’t even notice. You can also try unsweetened coconut, dark chocolate, whole cherries, cinnamon, pumpkin, and a wide range of other add-ins for your cookies.
Make Your Cookies Smaller
If you don’t have the extra time to find replacement ingredients, or if you simply prefer your cookies to taste the way mom used to make, you can make them as you always do, but cut down on portion sizes. Instead of creating cookies the size of one rounded teaspoon of dough, cut each one in half for smaller yet still delicious treats.
Buy a Healthy Premade Cookie Dough
Whether you want healthy cookies or a traditional recipe, you get the best of both worlds when you buy premade healthy cookie dough and you’ll even save time because you won’t need to measure and mix before dropping the dough onto the cookie sheets. Hampton Creek makes a healthy dough that uses no dairy products, making it safe enough to eat straight from the jar — just in case you don’t even want to wait for them to bake. Their cookies are available in traditional flavors such as chocolate chip, peanut butter, and sugar cookie dough.
Even though healthier cookies often mean more nutrients and fewer calories, it is still important to eat them in moderation. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and even healthy cookies can begin to make you feel bloated or unhealthy if you eat too many of them. Stick to the recommended serving size and save the rest for another day; besides, you’ll thank yourself when you get another cookie craving and already have some made to eat!