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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies

‘Tis the season for holiday cookies! Sugar cookies, molasses cookies, spice cookies, nut cookies, big cookies, small cookies, rolled cookies drop cookies, cookie bars…sheesh…I’ve got a lot of baking to do! Speaking of which, I want to share one of my favorite cookie recipes with you…something to keep in your cookie arsenal for years to come: Chewy Gooey Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Yes, you read correctly LOW FAT cookies. Now, before you run for the hills and start cursing my name, please give this recipe a chance. I promise you that it’s not just some cardboardy cookie with the single virtue of being better for you. The number one reason you will love these cookies is because they are fantastically delicious. The low fat bit just makes the package that much sweeter.

This ooh so gooey and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe is a bit different than a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. First, it relies on browned butter (a technique where butter is melted on the stove until it turns light brown and starts smelling nutty). Browning the butter bumps up the buttery flavor meaning you can use less of it while maintaining the same intensity. Also, in order to keep these cookies moist and chewy, dates are used. The dates are chopped up, cooked down and strained so they become a puree (and are undetectable in the final cookie). The dates do not impart any fruit flavor in this cookie, thanks largely to the browned butter.

The rest of the ingredients are more standard…I like to use all dark brown sugar because I like it’s deep intensity. A good amount of vanilla and some salt round out the rest of the flavors and make these cookies out of this world. This is a chocolate chip cookie recipe to replace all others.

Chewy Gooey Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies
(adapted from Cook’s County)

1 cup water
4 tablespoons finely chopped dates (I like using Medjool dates)
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar (dark or light)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Bring water to boil in small saucepan and add dates. Simmer until tender and most of the water has evaporated (~20 minutes). Using a rubber spatula, press dates through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl (discard the bits that you can’t get through the strainer). You should have about ¼ cup of the date puree.

Cook butter in a saucepan over medium heat until nutty brown (~4 minutes). Let cool.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat (with a stand mixer or by hand) the browned butter, brown sugar and date puree in a medium bowl until blended. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons chips and stir remaining chips into the batter by hand.

Roll 2 tablespoons of dough at a time into balls to get 18 cookies. Space the cookies about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Press the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the cookies.

Bake until the edges are golden brown and center are soft and puffy, 15-18 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheets halfway through baking. Cool cookies completely on baking sheets.


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