Did you know that October is National Cookie Month? Yes, get excited. Full disclosure here: I’m a dietitian with a serious sweet tooth and a soft spot for homemade baked goods. To satisfy my sweet cravings and keep my health in check, I’ve come up with a few tricks along the way to help healthify my beloved cookie recipes.
Add whole-grains. A cup of rolled oats or whole-wheat flour goes a long way in the fiber department when it comes to cookies. Adding oats also helps give a nice hearty texture and crunch to cookies. When substituting whole-wheat for white flour in a recipe, use ¾ cup whole-wheat for every cup of white flour. Or if you’re not ready to make the jump to baking with whole-wheat flour, try white whole-wheat flour, which boasts the nutrients of whole grains without sacrificing taste or texture.
Get on the fat-substitute bandwagon. Many cookie recipes call for a ton of butter, but you can easily get creative and slash some of the saturated fat by using ingredients that mimic the properties of fat in baking, such as Greek yogurt, avocado, fruit purees (apples, prunes or banana), coconut oil or chia gel.
Bonus points for adding dried fruits, nuts and dark chocolate. Instead of adding extra sugar to your cookies with ingredients like milk chocolate, caramel, marshmallows and white chocolate, add ingredients that will help boost the nutrient profile. Dried fruits (no sugar added) and dark chocolate will help bump up antioxidant levels, and nuts will add vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats.
To inspire you to get started on healthifying your cookies this month, check out my (gluten-free, dairy-free) recipe below.
Dark Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Cookies with Sea Salt
Recipe developed by Kara Lydon, RD, LDN
⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
¾ cup maple syrup
1 cup almond butter, unsalted, creamy
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups rolled oats (gluten-free)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (dairy-free)
Maldon sea salt (or any course sea salt)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, almond butter and vanilla. In a separate large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, cinnamon, baking soda and dark chocolate. Combine wet ingredients with dry in the large bowl and stir to combine.
- Drop 1/4 cup of dough onto the sheet and sprinkle with a few sea salt flakes. Repeat with remaining dough, separating by at least a couple inches on the sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.