There is no greater feeling than making a recipe that plain and simple works. The steps are easy to follow, the process is streamlined and sensible, and the final product tastes straight-up delicious. I recently experienced this undeniably awesome sensation when I made these Crunchy-Chewy Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies—truthfully, they turned out better than I could have ever imagined. Developed by Ann Taylor-Pittman, Executive Editor of Cooking Light, this recipe is one that every home cook should have bookmarked for when the next baking urge arises. Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part—they’re actually healthy.
My dear reader, I’m not going to lie—they taste different than a classic chocolate chip cookie, but I mean this in the best way possible. Because they’re sweetened with dark brown sugar and a swirl of honey, the sweetness is a little bit deeper and richer than that of a classic chocolate chip cookie (which is typically sweetened with a combination of white and light brown sugar). Additionally, because the flour used is whole-wheat (although you can substitute whatever flour you like), the final product has a nuttier flavor (believe me, this is a good thing). These clever substitutions are what make this cookie surprisingly healthy—by using half butter and half oil to make up the fat component of this cookie, you still achieve that buttery flavor without nearly as much saturated fat. Not to mention, you don’t need to compromise the ratio of flour to fat—the ratio for these cookies falls in the same ballpark of your average chocolate chip cookie.
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The toasty, earthy flavor of this cookie almost makes it seem like the butter is browned (it’s not, although you could if you wanted to take it there!). For lack of a better description, it tastes like a graham cracker and a blondie made a beautiful, baked-good love child and dressed it with some flaky salt (*chef’s kiss*).
Despite the fact that it seems like some black magic had to take place in order to pull off a dessert that tastes this good without all the calories (more to come on how healthy these gems really are…), the process of making these cookies is very simple. Even the most novice baker can nail these treats without breaking a sweat. I’d recommend measuring your flour with a kitchen scale for the most accurate results, but if you don’t have a scale, carefully use the scoop and level method, and you’ll be just fine. Additionally, don’t skimp on good quality chocolate. Buy a nice bar of semi-sweet chocolate and give it a coarse chop—a variety of larger chunks and finer pieces makes for a visually pleasing cookie, while also promoting even chocolate distribution throughout (this is very important).
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Lastly, the recipe calls for you to scoop the batter by the rounded tablespoonful—this means that you should be using a measuring spoon and rolling them each into smooth spheres. By carefully portioning out each cookie, this ensures that you’re keeping the calories down, and the size of each cookie remains consistent. The recipe makes an even 36 cookies, and is there anything better than a batch of uniform cookies? Spoiler: No, there isn’t.
Okay, now that I’ve convinced you that they’re easy to make and that they taste like melt-in-your-mouth, salty-sweet nirvana, let me remind you that they’re ~kinda healthy~. Yes, “healthy” is a relative term, but compared to the average salted choco chip cookie, these are a far more nutritionally sound option. They’re only 105 calories a pop, bursting with hearty whole grains, and clock in at a meer 8 grams of sugar per cookie. You can bring them to a party and no one will know it’s a healthy-ified version of classic sweet treat, or you can make a whole dang batch for yourself, and keep what isn’t devoured warm from the oven in a zip-top bag in your freezer for your next chocolate craving. The question is, will you be able to eat just one?