Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before you get mad at me for posting a cookie recipe less than two weeks after New Year’s…

Did you really picture 2012 without cookies?

I didn’t.

With the cold weather, sunset by 4, and lack of insulated windows in our apartment, I’m baking cookies.

These chewy, chocolate chip cookies.

Any excuse to turn the oven on really.

But! They have half the oil and aren’t tooth-achingly sweet.

Continue Reading for Recipe

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Chewy Peanut Butter (Banana) and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes you just need to bake yourself a batch of cookies.

Come back from grocery shopping to discover that what you thought were “full” boxes in the pantry are actually empty because your boyfriend thought it was a good idea to leave you a tablespoon of whatever in each box?  So time for baking cookies.

Last K-cup was used yesterday but you had no idea till 5:30 this morning?  Drag out your mixing bowls.

Cats claw open the ziploc bag of rosemary syrup on the counter? Handful of chocolate chips for you, and then your batter.

Eat half a jar of Speculoos Cookie Butter last night?  Throw the cookie batter into the fridge to chill and get back to that jar.  There’s still half left!

I love that these cookies are absolutely peanut buttery and loaded with chocolate chips.  But what puts my mind at ease is that they actually have less fat and sugar than your average peanut butter chocolate chip cookie; all without compromising on taste.

Half of the butter is swapped out with banana, maintaining that chewy cookie texture but with a subtle boost in flavor.  The banana is very mild, but when great men like Elvis loved the peanut butter and banana combination, how could one go wrong with it in a cookie?

These cookies are both delicious raw (you may make more than 40 cookies if you have more self control than I did when scooping out the dough) and baked.  And for someone thinking about embracing a plant based diet for their New Year, this is probably the easiest way to start!

Make these cookies for your co-workers, your loved ones, or for the most important person of all, yourself.

Makes About 40 Cookies

Note: The batter needs to be chilled for at least a half an hour so please plan ahead when making them!

Ingredients

Three quarters of a cup of creamy peanut butter (I used natural, well stirred, and it turned out fine)

Quarter cup of mashed banana (one small banana was enough for me)

Quarter cup of butter (like Earth Balance)

One cup of sugar (this yields a not too sweet cookie)

Half teaspoon of vanilla extract

Three quarters of a cup of white whole wheat flour (if you only have all purpose, that will work)

Three quarters of a cup of all purpose flour

Half teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Three quarters of a teaspoon of fine sea salt

Half a cup of bittersweet chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet chips, just note that it’ll be a sweeter cookie because of this)

2 – 4 tablespoons of soy milk (or your choice of non-dairy milk, sweetened is fine) as needed if the batter is too dry

Equipment

A stand mixer (or at least electric beaters, I don’t think this will work if mixed by hand.  Peanut butter is a fickle thing.)

A medium sized mixing bowl

A whisk

A spatula

A clean tablespoon (your fingers will suffice in making dough balls as well)

A cookie sheet (two to make baking go faster)

Parchment paper (optional), just makes clean up faster

Add the peanut butter, banana, butter, sugar and vanilla extract to your stand mixer bowl.  Beat the ingredients together till well combined.  Scrape down the bowl to ensure it’s fully incorporated before adding your dry ingredients (down the sides, to the bottom then back up top).

In your medium sized mixing bowl add the flour(s), baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix the ingredients with a whisk till well combined and there are no visible lumps.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in increments.  Be sure to scrape down the side of the bowl, down to the bottom and back up with your spatula, to ensure that all the ingredients are combined.

The dough may be a bit dry (it was in my case).  Add a tablespoon of non-dairy milk at a time, as much as needed.

Add the chocolate chips and mix till just combined.

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes (if you live in New England, you can take full advantage of your porch/garage during this cold weather and store it there without losing crucial fridge space).

Place your oven racks to the upper middle and lower middle positions in your oven.  Preheat your oven to 350F.

With a clean tablespoon (or your fingers, whatever), scoop out the dough and place onto your (lined) cookie sheet, about one cookie’s width apart.  (On my cookie sheet, I was able to place 20 cookie dough balls on it.)

Bake your cookies for about 12 – 15 minutes.  They will look soft when they come out, but if you check their bottoms, you’ll notice that they will be browned.  Don’t over bake them.  They will not spread out like crispy cookies and look a lot like the dough balls that you placed in the oven.

Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for at least a minute before moving (so you can rinse the sheet off with cold water for reuse)/devouring them.

Double Ginger Lemon Cookies

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably going over to someone else’s house to eat today’s dinner.  Although I am helping my mother cook this year, I still feel pressured to bring a hostess gift.  It’s something that’s been ingrained since childhood.

These cookies are quite honestly, perfect.  They are packed with flavor; loads of lemon zest and freshly grated ginger, only to be finished off with a slight crunch from the sugar that they’re rolled in.  I also love the scalloped imprint that they have from the back of a fork.  I am a sucker for pretty cookies, and to me these are exactly that.

I hardly think anyone after a Thanksgiving feast wants to eat something super heavy around 8 at night.  My mother always made a pot of tea and had a cookie or two before getting ready for bed; a tradition that goes back to my first memorable Thanksgiving dinner.

There’s something comforting about seeing my mother go through the same motions, every year: tea towel wrapped around the kettle to keep it warm, a flowery piece of good china from the back of the cupboard, only to place a handful of cookies on, and always the same cup, because it was her favorite; tiny ivy leaves winding up the back of the handle.

While the dough needs to rest for an hour in the fridge, I’ll use that time to shower and get dressed.  Overall these cookies are quite easy and quick to make, with a baking time of about 15 minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Adapted from Organic and Chic

Makes 60 – 70 cookies (For me, it made 67)

*Please note that before baking these, the dough requires at least an hour of chilling (up to 1 day).  So plan ahead!

Ingredients

Dry

Three cups of white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Half teaspoon of baking soda

Quarter teaspoon of salt

Wet

Half cup of unsweetened applesauce (I used homemade)

Quarter cup of mild flavored olive oil (or any other mild flavored oil like canola)

2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed

1 cup of sugar

Quarter cup of freshly grated ginger (I know it seems like a lot, but it’s so worth it, especially with the amount of lemon you’re putting in. It’s a one-two punch of flavors.)

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Grated lemon zest from 1 lemon, about a tablespoon (this is for an equal amount of lemon with ginger in flavoring, if you want the ginger to be more of a star, use half)

Juice from 1 lemon

Half teaspoon of vanilla extract

Half cup of sugar set aside, for rolling the dough balls in (optional, but really pretty!)

A handful of flour for your hands, to prevent the dough balls from sticking to your skin (I don’t mind, but some care)

Equipment

One medium sized mixing bowl

One large sized mixing bowl

A whisk

A spatula

A cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or greased) or two

Some plastic wrap or a tupperware container to let the dough rest and be chilled

A plate (to pour some sugar onto and roll the dough balls in)

A fork (to press into your cookies for a pretty scallop imprint, optional)

In a medium mixing bowl add your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk the ingredients together till well combined and no lumps are visible.

In a large mixing bowl add your wet ingredients: unsweetened applesauce, oil, ground flaxseed, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Stir till well combined.

Add your dry ingredients into your wet, in increments.  Stir the two mixtures together until they are well incorporated.  At first, it’s going to look like a dry, chalky mess.  Keep going, it’ll come together.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap (or put it in a sealable/coverable container) and chill for at least an hour, up to 1 day.

When the dough is ready to go…

Place your oven racks in the upper middle and lower middle position in the oven.  If you’re using just one cookie sheet, then place one oven rack in the middle position in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a plate, pour the sugar set aside onto it, if using.  Dust your hands with flour, if you are keen on not getting the dough stuck to your hands (I don’t care, more snack for me!).

Form the dough into about 1 inch balls (I basically rolled the dough ball to match the length from the tip of my thumb to my first knuckle…I think that’s about an inch).  Roll the dough balls in the sugar, if using.

Place the dough balls onto a lined or greased cookie sheet, about a 2 inches apart. With a back of a fork, if using, press into the cookie so that it’s imprinted.

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes (this is how long it took in my oven) to 18 minutes, until they’re very slightly browned and firm the to touch.  These cookies will not brown much so be careful not to leave them in the oven for too long.

Let the cookies cool before eating, but honestly, I’ve eaten them warm and they were delicious.

Pumpkin Cranberry “Bites”

Lately I’ve noticed my desire for something sweet after dinner has become worse and worse. Usually, I would eat piece of fruit after.  Somehow it progressed to a piece of dark chocolate, to now cookies or cake.  All of which wouldn’t bother me, except the feeling I get prior to satisfying my growing sweet tooth.

It’s a need.  Like, a feeling of unrest until I get something laden with sugar, kind of need.  I don’t feel this way after breakfast or lunch, so I’m at a loss as to why having something after dinner has become such an issue.  And unfortunately, this nighttime habit of having one cookie usually doesn’t stop at that.  It’s as if once I start feeding my sweet tooth, the bigger and more demanding it becomes.

I’ve also noticed that Roo gets a bit irritated after dinner when he goes rummaging in the kitchen and comes up empty handed.  There has even been a few times when he’s asked if I was planning on making a cake or cookies that evening.  Inquiries like that made me realize we’re probably not doing something right.

In an effort to curb our nightly vice, I poured myself into my one-too-many-cookbooks to find a treat that wouldn’t leave me jittery after, or my sweet tooth demanding more until it made me sick (it happens).  I wanted something light, made with few, but mostly natural sugars, and a hybrid between cookie and cake (because I couldn’t make up my mind about which one I wanted more).

What came about was a pumpkin cranberry “bite.”  It’s a cakey cookie packed with the quintessential flavors of fall, perfect for “eating in the now.”  Pumpkin and cinnamon wrapped around a few cranberries make a lovely after dinner treat, especially with just a dab of peanut butter.  I love making a cup of earl grey with lemon and having one or two of these while Roo and I sit on the couch watching Parks and Rec reruns.  While you don’t need a good cup of tea or Parks and Rec to enjoy these “bites,” if there’s any take-home-message, it would be to try them with just a bit of peanut butter.  Please.

Adapted from Happy Herbivore

Makes about 20 “bites”

Ingredients

Half cup of pumpkin puree

Half of a large super ripe banana (like black), mashed

2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk (I used “original” almond milk)

Half cup of sugar (this yields a not too sweet bite, which is what I was after.)

Half teaspoon of ground cinnamon

One and a half cups of old fashioned oats

Half cup of white whole wheat flour

Quarter teaspoon of baking powder

Quarter teaspoon of baking soda

One eighth teaspoon of fine sea salt

A Quarter to Half cup of dried cranberries (or raisins, whatever your fancy)

Equipment

1 medium sized mixing bowl

1 small sized mixing bowl

A whisk

A spatua

A clean tablespoon

A cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper, optional)

Cooking/Baking spray *this is a must as there is basically no fat in the cookies

Place the oven rack in the middle position in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the pumpkin puree, mashed banana, non-dairy milk and sugar.  Mix till combined.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the old fashioned oats, white whole wheat flour, ground cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Whisk the ingredients together until well combined and there are no lumps.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Stir together till combined.   (*It may look dry at first, but keep going, it’ll all come together.)  Add the raisins/cranberries if using.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all the ingredients are incorporated.

With a clean tablespoon, spoon out the batter onto a lined or greased cookie sheet.  The bites don’t run together when baking, so they can be put fairly close to one another.

Bake the bites for about 15 to 20 minutes, until they are firm and springy.

Allow the bites to cool on the cookie sheet before eating.

*Seriously, try a little dab of peanut butter on these. So yummy!