chocolate chip cookies: the comparison test

traditional tollhouse versus puffed-up lower fat

Speaking of chocolate chip cookies, by coincidence Cooking Light arrives midweek and ms_ani browses  through immediately while bob is otherwise occupied. Spots low fat chocolate chip cookies. Decides to make them that very evening. This is a woman who has never made a chocolate chip cookie in her life, doesn't even really like them, and suddenly has a burning desire to crank out a batch. Go figure. [Hint: she knows bob has a definite weakness for this treat.]

The trick here is applesauce instead of fat. More precisely, instead of half the fat, presumably enough to reach the target number of one third calories from fat. Bob is a bit skeptical about messing with the traditional recipe, but as a committed chocolate chip cookie addict, how could this sudden urge be discouraged? Worth risking a trial run for sure. Bob lends moral support.

The moment of truth. Soft and puffed up as promised. And the taste? Well, the initial impact confronts decades of traditional flavor and texture memories and reveals an obvious difference.  But difference can be good.  In fact in this case, the result is "kicked up a notch", to quote an overused phrase from a ubiquitous food TV voice at the time. The applesauce adds an extra something that validates this healthy meddling with tradition. bob is quickly won over. So is the woman coworker Ani also had in mind when inspired to act. Remember, only one third calories from fat. And redesigned by a guy of course.

We do a side-by-side comparison of the traditional and lightened versions.

ingredients (comparison test data)

trad
1/2 trad
puffed

dry stuff

2 1/4
1 1/4
1 1/4
c all purpose flour
1
1/2
1 1/2
t baking soda
1
1/2
3/4
t salt
wet stuff / sugar

1
1/2
1/4
c  butter, softened (1 c = 2 sticks)
-
-
1/2
c applesauce
3/4
3/8

c granulated sugar
3/4
3/4
1
c packed brown sugar
1
1/2
1*
t vanilla extract
finishers

2
1
1
eggs
2
1
1
c semisweet chocolate chips (1 c = 1/2 12oz package)
1
1/2

c chopped nuts (usually walnut)
-
-

cooking spray

*oops, the original had 1 T which we automatically read as 1 t since it was in the right ballpark, but when these cookies surfaced again for Christmas 2002 in a Cooking Light e-mail, we checked out the reader ratings and the very same day someone had noticed the 1 T and thought for sure it had to be a typo. Probably wasn't. Hmm, we'll have to try these again soon.

 

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (traditional) / 375 F (puffed-up lower fat).
  2. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Sifting does not hurt.
  3. Puffed-up only: drain applesauce into a fine sieve over a bowl for 15 minutes. Discard liquid. Insert into next step.
  4. Beat wet stuff / sugar ingredients in another bowl (until light and fluffy, a couple minutes on medium speed, if using electric beater).
  5. Beat in eggs, one at a time, into the latter.
  6. Gradually beat flour mixture into wet(ter) mixture (low speed, if electric), then mix in chips and nuts, if any.
  7. Drop rounded tablespoons (puffed-up: level tablespoons) onto ungreased (puffed-up: cooking sprayed) baking sheets.
  8. Bake 9–11 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

notes

  1. Yield: ? / ? / 3 dozen cookies. Serving size: one cookie. (Yeah, sure.)
    Puffed-up nutrition data per serving:
    Calories 78 (33% from fat); FAT 2.9g (sat 1.7g, poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 0.8g; CARB 12.8g; FIBER 0.2g; CHOL 10mg; IRON 0.5mg; SODIUM 87 mg; CALC 20mg.
  2. The new twist presented as a whole batch recipe is really a half batch of the traditional recipe minus half its butter, which is replaced by applesauce and extra sugar. Half a batch translates into less temptation, a secondary fat saving feature. And the tripled baking powder does the puffing. Boosting the apparent intake amount per cookie, which one could argue is another fat saving feature, though marginal.
  3. Cooking Light, January/February 2001, p.90: "puffed-up chocolate-chip cookies", courtesy of Don Mauer, cookbook author.
  4. Adding in optional nuts blows the nutrition stats over the limit, presumably. We added in hazelnut crumbs in one rendition, finding our walnut supply momentarily exhausted. Maybe chunks would have made them more noticable. Serving a warm cookie with a small slab of (high fat) softened caramel with pecans ice cream also tends to defeat the intention here. But it was good that way. Twice in a row at one sitting.
  5. During the blizzard of 2003, ani is inspired by the new Eating Well magazine [Winter 2003]  discussion of low crisp versus high chewy chocolate chip cookies and bob reminds her of this recipe, which she finally reads (and discovers a typo). But we have no applesauce, so the jar of aging sweetened chestnut puree comes to the rescue for the substitution, and no brown sugar either so we go with granulated Sucanat Honey (dehydrated sugar cane juice and honey). We try the trick of refrigerating the batter for 15 minute or so to yield taller cookies (they set upright before having a chance to dissipate down). Interesting. Illustrations available.
  6. Another trick for softness is to skip the salt and add one small package [3.9oz = 110g] of chocolate pudding mix to the wet/stuff sugar mix in the standard recipe size batch but bake at 375 F. [After three years pass, this variation calls our attention to the original recipe for comparison purposes and we discover inadvertently that we had listed baking powder instead of baking soda. Oops.] These have to be called chocolate chocolate chip cookies though. Don't skip the nuts. Walnuts and chocolate turn out to be good for us after all.

    But unrefined sugar is being uncovered as a stealth assassin these days. We used Sugar in the Raw in place of regular white sugar this time and tossed out our traditional rock-hard remnant brown sugar [we won't mention any names] after reading the label on the Whole Foods product we'd grabbed in case we ran out after trying to resuscitate it: "Why natural brown sugar? Many brown sugars are only brown on the outside—underneath they are really just refined white sugar. Not Billington's. Our natural sugars are simply produced in Mauritius with the aim of locking in—and not refining out—the natural molasses of the sugar cane. This is why our sugars contain so much more flavour and natural colour." Billington's Light brown muscovado sugar. Sounds good to us. Hmm, Mauritius sounds interesting too. An island country way east of Madagascar. Another gift of the global economy: natural cane sugar produced in Mauritius, packed in the UK and distributed stateside through Sugarland (!), Texas, sold by Whole Foods Markets, formerly our Fresh Fields which is so hard to unlearn when referring to these stores.
chchpcks.htm: 8-mar-2003 [what,ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises ]