If you ask my daughter what my favorite cookie is, she will tell you it is chocolate chip.
In fact, around my house it is pretty common knowledge that I love chocolate chip cookies better than all the other cookies. I make them anytime I have any sort of excuse to make them – we’re having people over for dinner? Chocolate chip cookies. Going to someone’s house to watch a football game? Chocolate chip cookies. My daughter needs a special treat for her class because she’s “student of the week”? Chocolate chip cookies. I have made all sorts of varieties, and even settled on a standby recipe that I love. But it got to the point that I was making (and eating) them so often, that I realized I needed a healthier alternative. Hence, Lower Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Now let me be straight. These are not healthy cookies. Healthy cookies do exist and they contain little sugar and fat, and lots of nutritious ingredients like flaxseed, nuts, dried fruits, whole grains and maybe even some hidden veggies. These cookies are not that. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for healthy cookies, but I don’t want my splurge-worthy chocolate chip cookies to go there. So these are healthier cookies. They are made with less sugar (almost half that of my traditional recipe), and they sugar they do have is natural, unrefined sucanat (dehydrated cane juice, commonly found in the natural foods or bulk section – commonly available through Wholesome brand).
These lower sugar chocolate chip cookies are every bit as chewy, melty, buttery and gooey as my cravings dictate. Just less sweet. And if you use the good quality dark chocolate, you won’t even notice. I have served these to guests both adult and child countless times, and the only comments I ever get is how great they are. No one has ever commented that they taste “healthy”.
The one thing I will note about them is that the color is a little different than other cookies. They come out a little on the yellow side due to the brownish color of the sucanat.
Making lower sugar chocolate chip cookies is not much different than using a regular recipe. The sucanat granules are larger than those in granulated sugar, so I found it helpful to cream the butter and sucanat together a little longer than I normally would.
Once you have the dough mixed up, it will be very soft. Do NOT skip the chilling step. If you do, I’m willing to bet your cookies will spread all over the cookie sheet, and will not be thick and chewy at all. Chill the dough for at least an hour and you won’t be disappointed.
Lower Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 10 Tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sucanat (see note)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 5 Tablespoons of the butter and cook, swirling often until fragrant and golden brown. Pour into a small heatproof bowl or measuring cup and cool completely.
- Whisk together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Add the remaining 5 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, the cooled browned butter and the sucanat to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream the butter and sucanat together until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy but granular in appearance (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla to the creamed butter mixture. Mix on medium high speed until the mixture becomes very light and fluffy and resembles buttercream frosting (another 3 minutes)
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix on low speed, just until all of the flour mixture is incorporated (about 1 minute). Add the chopped chocolate and mix at low speed until it is evenly distributed (about 30 seconds).
- Cover cookie dough completely with plastic, or transfer to and airtight container. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 2 days. Alternatively, cookie dough can be frozen to bake at a later date (thaw at room temperature before baking).
- Move oven racks to upper middle and lower middle positions and heat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Scoop dough in roughly 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoon portions, form into balls and place about 2 inches apart, flattening slightly. Bake for 12-14 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking time, until cookies are golden brown at edges but still soft in the middle. Don't overbake. Cool cookies on baking sheet. Once they are completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container to store.
Lower Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies Nutrition Notes:
Compared to a traditional (eg. non lower sugar) chocolate chip cookie, these lower sugar chocolate chip cookies have 50 less kcal, and 8g less sugar (mostly added) for a similarly sized cookie. They are not significantly lower in fat or saturated fat, so while they are comparatively healthier, they are not healthy and should still be considered a treat, to be eaten in moderation.