Well, kids, there’s no denying it. Bikini season is here. And, as my inspirational cardio kickboxing instructor says, “No one wants to wear a one-piece! Not even me!” He’s right, you know.
With that in mind, TRB has been on the hunt for dessert recipes to keep your sweet tooth satisfied and your waistline whittled. (Although, the Boozy Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars certainly do *not* qualify!!) Now that we’re in the full swing of summer, it’s time to get serious.
A funny little thing happened to TRB recently, as she was on this quest for healthy, yet taste-good recipes. Joy Bauer, resident nutritionist on NBC’s Today Show, reached out (okay, Joy’s “people” reached out) and asked if TRB might like to preview her cookbooks for some inspiration. Apparently, they’ve been following little ‘ol TRB; and, to think, she thought the fan base consisted of just Mom and Dad…
Well, TRB has taken a real liking to Joy’s Slim & Scrumptious cookbook. The recipes are easy to follow, contain ingredients you can feel good about eating and, more importantly, taste deee-licious. (In addition to these cookies, TRB has also become addicted to Joy’s Pistachio Chicken Salad – yum! And, no, TRB has not been compensated for her opinions).
Getting back to what’s so special about these cookies:
1. They do not contain any butter. (Yes, you read correctly – no butter. Paula Deen, cover your eyes!) Applesauce, a tablespoon of canola oil and egg whites act as fat and binding agents here.
2. Instead of only using all-purpose flour, this recipe incorporates whole wheat flour and oats, which are packed with fiber.
3. As if you needed an excuse, chocolate, my friends, is a perfectly good treat for you – in moderation, of course. TRB used her beloved Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips for this recipe, since the flavor is front and center in the cookies.
4. Joy’s recipe actually calls for dried cherries, but A) TRB isn’t a huge fan of dried cherries and B) she didn’t have any on hand. Dried cranberries are a perfect substitute and work very well in this recipe.
5. The dough is pretty versatile. TRB could envision eliminating the oats and making good old fashioned chocolate chip cookies out of this recipe. Another variation would be to add butterscotch chips instead of chocolate and skip the dried fruit. (Of course, that probably would not be as healthy). If you’re a nut fan, you could add some pistachios to the original recipe. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.
The bottom line: Think of this healthy little package as something to wrap your chocolate in as you model your bikini in the mirror.
Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
(From Joy Bauer’s Slim & Scrumptious Cookbook)
Yield: Approx. 28 cookies (TRB made 21)
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rolled oats, flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the chocolate chips and dried cranberries, and stir to combine.
3. In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, canola oil, egg whites and vanilla, stirring until smooth.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the applesauce mixture. Stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
5. Drop scant tablespoons of cookie dough onto the baking sheets and press down lightly with your fingers to flatten the cookies slightly. (Dip your fingers in water before pressing onto the cookies to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers).
6. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until the cookies start to turn golden brown at the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.