Good-for-you chocolate chip recipes for National Chocolate Chip Day

May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day (There’s also a National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on Aug. 4, if you’re keeping track of such things), so we figured that was as good a reason as any to spotlight a few of the healthier chocolate cookie choices on shelves.

Not surprisingly, that’s much easier said than done.

It’s pretty much impossible to find a truly healthy cookie on store shelves – real cookies – not protein bars flavored or shaped like cookies. We’re not saying they’re not out there; they’re not in the many New Orleans grocery stores that we visited.

Plenty are marketed-as-better-for-you chocolate chip cookies, however, but each has its drawbacks:

The seemingly diabetes-friendly Murray’s Sugar-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are still essentially just white flour and artificial sweeteners (acesulfame potassium and sucralose) – and cookie-for-cookie, they’re about the same calories and carbs as a Chips Ahoy cookie, which has 160 calories and 22g carbs for three cookies.

Vegan chocolate chip cookies may look promising, like those by the Alternative Baking Company, but feature white flour, sugar and a host of other not-exactly-nutritious-yet-still-vegan ingredients, such as potato starch, salt and an oil blend. And the stats for each are staggering: 460 calories and 34 grams of sugar in a single cookie.

Another vegan cookie showing up more often on stores shelves is Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie with “baked nutrition” (whatever that means). Labeled as non-GMO with no dairy, no soy and no egg, each vegan cookie crams in 360 calories and 28 grams of added sugar. With more than a day’s worth of sugar, these aren’t much better than the Alternative Baking Company.

I was hopeful when I saw Munk Pack’s Gluten-Free Protein Cookie (available online), as it has more protein (9 grams) than sugar (8 grams). Problem is, each cookie is two servings – which translates to 16 grams of sugar (and 380 calories) for a single cookie. But of the brands and stats I’ve seen so far, this is among the better of the options. They’re individually packaged, too, which helps with portion control.

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I’ve run across two store-bought chocolate chip cookies that are a little better in terms of carbs, calories and sugar: Aunt Gussie’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Emmy’s Organic’s Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies, both at natural foods stores, such as Whole Foods Market.

Aunt Gussie’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are made with a blend of refined and whole grain spelt flour (spelt is a gluten-containing grain that can be easier for some people to digest, compared to traditional wheat), with no sugar added. Sweetened with maltitol, each crispy cookie has just 60 calories, 0 sugar, and 5.5 grams of net carbs.

Emmy’s Organic’s Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies are more like cookie dough than baked cookies – and you’ve got to like coconut. Gluten free and vegan, these grain-free “cookies” are made with coconut, agave, chocolate chips, almond flour, and coconut oil. Each cookie bite has 100 calories, 8 grams of carbs and 6 grams of sugar. Our informal group of taste testers agreed that they could do the trick to satisfy a hankering for a chocolate chip cookie.

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We couldn’t find just what we were looking for on shelves, so we tested out a batch of recipes, and narrowed it down to the three below so we could build a better chocolate chip cookie ourselves.

All are made with little or no added sugar and fiber-rich whole grains, flours or legumes; all three are gluten-free, and one is vegan….

This Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie is So Good It Stops Time (Almost!)

cookie skillet

There is nothing better than pulling a warm tray of cookies out of the oven – with the exception, maybe, of pulling one giant warm cookie out of the oven. This skillet cookie is not only a delicious new way to get your cookie on, it’s also a gluten-free and Paleo-friendly treat that’s made with seriously wholesome ingredients.

With just a handful of pantry staples (like dark chocolate, duh) and roughly thirty minutes, this big warm cookie is all yours. All of it!

Buying the Ingredients

Traditional chocolate chip cookies are made with white flour, loads of white and brown sugar, and butter. Although as soul soothing as those cookies may be (especially if made by your grandma), there’s a more nutritious way to make them.

This skillet cookie is made with almond flour, maple syrup, nut butter, coconut oil, and dark chocolate – all very delicious (and healthy) ingredients.

Almond flour is made by blanched and finely ground almonds and is a rich source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E. As opposed to almond meal, almond flour has a finer and less gritty consistency. Make sure to use the latter in this recipe.

Maple syrup is a deliciously sweet alternative to white sugar. In small amounts, maple syrup does contain nutrients such as iron, calcium, and zinc. Look for a 100 percent pure organic maple syrup, without any added coloring or sugars. Maple syrup impostors such as those often labeled as “pancake syrup” are made with mostly high fructose corn sup and artificial flavorings and are not what you should be baking with — or pouring on pancakes.

The nut butter in this recipe is a creamy and nutritious way to reap healthy fats and a soft cookie texture. Any sort of creamy nut butter will do in this skillet cookie recipe including almond, peanut, sunflower, and cashew butter.

Using a bar of high quality dark chocolate, at least 70 percent cacao solids or higher, provides hearty chocolate chunks and a heavenly flavor to this skillet cookie. Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains more of the beneficial nutrients (including antioxidants to support…

Forecast: Yum! 8 Snow Day Treats To Bake With Kids

After the kids tire of sledding, bring the fun into the kitchen with these easy baking recipes.

Snickerdoodles are sweet, buttery sugar cookies lightly dusted with cinnamon. With their whimsical name, crackly tops, perfectly crisp edges and soft centers, I don’t know anyone who can resist them. Kids love to form the squishy dough into balls and roll them in cinnamon-sugar. GET THE RECIPE

Homemade chocolate pudding is silky-smooth and intensely chocolate — a world apart from instant or store bought. Kids love it — like lick their bowls clean, clank their spoons, get all quiet when they eat it love it — but don’t think of it just for kids. Adults love it too. GET THE RECIPE

These have got to be some of the world’s cutest cookies. They look like little yo-yos, thus the name, and are popular in Australia. You make them by joining together two buttery shortbread disks with a layer of creamy chocolate-hazelnut spread. GET THE RECIPE

If…

You Guys, Girl Scout Cookies Really Do Suck (But You Can Still Offer Support)

You Guys, Girl Scout Cookies Really Do Suck (But You Can Still Offer Support)
istock/catlane

As sure as spring flowers and butterflies arrive each year comes the siren call of Girl Scout cookies.

Most of us have bought them for years, nay decades, and many of us also sold them as little girls.

I did. I joined Girl Scouts because of the cookies – I thought we would get to bake them, too. My sweet tooth emerged early in life. But these days, I keep boxes of cookies and other sugary treats out of my house lest my sweet tooth commandeer my brain. I had managed to avoid buying the cookies for years until one fateful Saturday afternoon when I heard a small knock at my front door.

Would You Like to Buy Some Cookies?

Two adorable Girl Scouts wearing patch-covered vests stood beside a little red wagon piled high with boxes of cookies. One had a sprinkle of freckles on her nose and the other, a snaggletooth smile. Much like their sweet treats themselves, the Girl Scouts were impossible to resist. I bought two boxes for $4 each: Thin Mints and Samoas.

Back inside, I ripped into the package of Thin Mints like a fiend and crammed one in my mouth. Hmm. It didn’t taste nearly as good as I remembered. I tried the Samoas next – and they too fell short of expectations. Crumbly, dry, and a little bit waxy.

The Chocolatey Truth

10 Easy-To-Tackle Super Bowl Sweets

Every Super Bowl gathering needs an assortment of hand-held treats to satisfy the sweet tooth. But who wants to spend all day in the kitchen? From Chocolate Chip Pecan Blondies to Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies, these crowd-pleasing desserts are all easy whip up before the game.

Part cookie, part brownie — who doesn’t love blondies? And the best part is that they’re ridiculously easy to make. GET THE RECIPE

Calling all lemon lovers! With their buttery shortbread crust and luscious lemon topping, these bars are serious crowd-pleasers — and they’re as pretty as they are delicious. GET THE RECIPE

Stuffed with chocolate chips and pecans, these cookies emerge from the oven puffy, gooey, chewy and crunchy. They are so rich and chocolatey, they almost beg for a glass of milk. GET THE RECIPE

You can never go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter. These squares have a chocolate cookie crust, a creamy peanut butter…

A Healthy Cookie Dough to Quell Sugar Cravings

As the new year peaks over the horizon and 2016 descends back into the darkness from whence it came, it’s time to reset, rebalance and take some time for introspection.

But, perhaps most pressing, it’s time to rid yourself of those nagging sugar cravings you’ve cultured after weeks of snacking on cookies, cakes, alcohol and sweets. It can be a difficult cycle to escape. Sugar is so tasty, just a little bit more won’t hurt, right? Sugar cravings can quickly spiral out of control, which is why I developed my own recipe to quell sugar cravings, but still satiate that need for a subtly sweet comfort food.

Related: A Guide to Cutting Sugar Out of Your Diet

For me, there is nothing better than a sweet, doughy spoonful of chocolate chip cookie dough. But, cookie dough is full of refined sugar and flour. It’s a great treat, but it will set you right back on the wonky sugar train. This healthier alternative I have developed—grain-free, nut-free, vegan and with no added sweetener—is pretty darn close to the real thing, but way better for your body, especially your blood sugar.

This recipe relies on the magic of tigernuts, a small tuber with a natural sweetness,…

A Recipe for Gluten-Free Trail Mix Cookies

Looking for an afternoon snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth too? Look no further! These trail mix cookies are loaded with nuts, seeds, and chocolate, which will make your taste buds happy and ward off hunger pangs. Whether you’re avoiding gluten in your diet or not, these cookies will put a smile on your face!

gluten-free-cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour/meal
  • 1 stick of butter (8 tbsp), softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp…

18 All-Star Cookie Swap Recipes

Cookie swaps: the perfect excuse to party with friends and sample copiuous amounts of cookies. Whether you prefer the classics or want to try something new, these cookies are all tested, perfected, and family-approved.

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Buttery with a thin layer of glaze that adds just the right amount of sweetness, these cookies are as delicious as they are pretty. They’re also a pleasure to make: the dough is easy to work with and the cookies hold their shape perfectly when baked. GET THE RECIPE

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These snickerdoodles have crackly tops, perfectly crisp edges and soft centers. They’re fun to bake — kids love to form the squishy dough into balls and roll them in cinnamon-sugar. GET THE RECIPE

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These chocolate chip cookies are crispy outside and chewy inside, chockful of all kinds of good stuff, and just right. GET THE RECIPE

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This is the perfect ginger cookie: it’s got just the right balance of spices — think ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and black pepper — and a wonderful crisp texture. GET THE RECIPE

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Buttery in flavor with a crisp and sparkly outside and tender interior, these cookies are truly crave-worthy. I discovered the recipe years ago on the King Arthur Flour website, and it’s been my go-to for sugar cookies ever since. GET THE RECIPE

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These chocolate cookies stuffed with chocolate chips and pecans emerge from the oven puffy, gooey, chewy, and crunchy every single time. GET THE RECIPE

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These thumbprints could win a cookie contest on looks alone. The cookie is actually a Mexican Wedding Cake (AKA Russian Tea Cake, Viennese Crescent or Snowball), which makes the perfect shortbread-like base for a dollop of luscious fruit preserves. GET THE…

Trying to Cut Back on Flour and Sugar? Make These Insanely Amazing Cookies

Got an insatiable sweet tooth, but you’re trying to cut back on processed sugar? Head to your kitchen and bake these cookies right now! They’re not only free of white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or any other processed sweeteners, but they’re also flour-free, gluten-free, and vegan, so if you’re trying to eat cleaner, you can feel good biting into these chewy gems.

These cookies are made with dates instead of white sugar, and ground rolled oats…

3 Easy-to-Make (and Nutritious) Holiday Cookie Recipes

Holiday cooking can be healthy and delicious—even dessert doesn’t have to be completely devoid of nutritional content this year. Watch this video to learn how to make three simple and delicious healthier cookie recipes for all your holiday party needs this season. Each recipe incorporates whole…

The 3-Ingredient Cookie Recipes That’ll Help You Ace Holiday Baking

Holiday baking season is upon us and that means one thing: so many cookies. Between the shortbread, the thumbprints and the crinkles; the making, giving and receiving of cookies; this time of year we’re running on a constant sugar high.

It’s great, except for the fact that not all of us have the time or know-how to turn our kitchens into small-scale bakeries. We have a…

Swap This Way: Gingery Nut Butter Cookies

cookie

The classic sweet treat gets an unexpected upgrade.

Crumbly or crisp, warm or ice-box cold, cookies take the cake any day, which is why there’s nothing I look forward to more than a good old fashioned holiday cookie swap. This year, I plan on making my classic sugar cookies, pecan sandies (my grandmother’s recipe) and this gingery nut-butter based treat I came up with while playing with classic peanut butter recipes.

Think of it as a ginger snap meets peanut butter thumbprint. You can use powdered ginger spice or fresh ginger and play with the amount to suit your tastebuds. I like a lot of zing so I tend to go heavy on the ginger. The Maldon salt finish (sprinkled on top of each cookie before baking) adds texture, detail and that little bit of salinity that brings the whole…