It’s a perfect lunchbox treat or after-school snack: Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. The flavor combination is fantastic, and it’s a great way to use up an overripe banana and an almost-empty jar of peanut butter.
When it comes to reducing saturated fat in cookie recipes, we typically use a mixture of soft tub margarine and reduced-fat cream cheese to replace the butter. For today’s cookies, we swapped out the margarine and replaced it with peanut butter. Creamy or chunky will work.
Sugar has an important role to play in baking, as it delivers not only sweetness but also tenderness, texture, and volume. Making drastic cuts to the amount of sugar used in baked goods can be difficult, so start small. Try cutting the amount of sugar by one-eighth or one-fourth of a cup. If you’re looking for a softer, chewier cookie, use a higher ratio of brown sugar to white sugar.
While we’re on the subject of chewy cookies, I have a baker’s secret to share: Adding a small amount of cornstarch to the dough helps to create a cookie with crisp edges and a soft, slightly gooey center.
In an effort to incorporate more whole grains into the diet, we typically use a combination of whole-wheat and all-purpose flour, as we did in today’s recipe. A general rule of thumb is to use half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.
More: Key lime pie parfait is a healthier take on key lime pie
We really like using white whole-wheat flour. It’s milled from hard white spring wheat, which has a milder flavor and lighter texture, making it more appealing to those accustomed to all-purpose flour. Traditional whole-wheat flour is milled from red wheat berries, which can have an astringent, bitter flavor. Because whole-wheat flour contains the oil-rich germ, it will turn rancid, so wrap it tightly and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Even with our healthy tweaks, a cookie is still a cookie. Keep in mind that moderation still matters.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes: 26 cookies / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes
Parchment paper or vegetable oil cooking spray
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
¼ cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 medium very ripe banana
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ⅓ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat together cream cheese, peanut butter, banana, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat flour mixture into sugar mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheet. Using a ¾ ounce scoop (#40) makes the perfect size cookie. A #40 scoop is about 1 ⅔ tablespoons. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.
Created and tested by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD for Heart Smart and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
138 calories (26% from fat), 4 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 24 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 86 mg sodium, 2 mg cholesterol, 11 mg calcium, 1 gram fiber. Food exchanges: 1 ½ starch, ½ fat.
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