Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recipe for Whole Grain Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Chocolate Cookies with Pecans

Whole Grain Low-Sugar or sugar-free Chocolate Cookies with Pecans
Whole Grain Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Chocolate Cookies with Pecans

When Suzanne Lenzer wrote about One Smart Cookie for Mark Bittman's column in the New York Times, I was intrigued with her idea of trying to make a chocolate cookie using whole wheat flour and oatmeal. I saved the recipe to my "recipes to try" folder back in April, so you can tell there isn't a lot of cookie-baking going on around here for most of the year. But during the holidays I do like to add a few cookies to my collection of South Beach friendly Christmas recipes, so I've made these a few times to come up with a version that's diet-friendly and still delicious.

This may be my favorite chocolate cookie recipe ever! I did make quite a few changes to Suzanne's recipe, substituting Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener (or Splenda) for most of the sugar, switching pecans for the chocolate chips, and using ground "oatmeal crumbs" and doubling the oatmeal for an even more whole-grain cookie. I used butter, since I have a hard time thinking of Christmas cookies made with margarine. But if you wanted to be stricter about making these South Beach diet friendly, you could use margarine and make the cookies with all Stevia or Splenda. (I'd be careful to pick a type where some type of oil was the first ingredient, because I don't think water-based margarine would work here.) I didn't try making a gluten-free version of this recipe with almond flour, but I'm betting it would work. If anyone tries other experiments, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Combine whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients.

In a smaller bowl mix the softened or melted butter, Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener or Splenda, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients (and try to resist the temptation to just start eating the dough immediately!)

Mix the oatmeal or "oatmeal crumbs" into the dough, which will be stiff. (I think this photo is from my first version with whole oatmeal, and you can use that if you don't want to bother grinding up the oatmeal to make "oatmeal crumbs" but I preferred the cookies with coarsely ground oatmeal.)

Then mix the finely chopped pecans into the dough mixture.

I used parchment paper to bake these, but I don't know if it's essential. I used a heaping tablespoon of dough, and then rolled it into a small ball.

Then use a flat spoon or turner to smash down the cookies slightly. They don't spread out too much, so you can put them pretty close together.

Bake cookies about 15-16 minutes at 350F/175C.

These cookies were slightly crumbly when they're hot, so let them cool a while before you eat them.


Whole Grain Low-Sugar (or sugar-free) Chocolate Cookies with Pecans
(Makes about 20 medium-sized cookies, recipe adapted from One Smart Cookie created by Suzanne Lenzer for the New York Times.)

Ingredients:
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (you could use white whole wheat, but I just used regular whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup + 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened at room temperature or melted on lowest setting in microwave)
6 T Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener or granular Splenda (or use sugar, if you don't care about having a low-sugar cookie)
3 T brown sugar (or use 3 T more Stevia or Splenda if you want sugar-free cookies)
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup "oatmeal crumbs" or rolled oats (To make "oatmeal crumbs" buzz the rolled oats in the food processor or blender until they are coarsely ground, then measure the amount you need. I use these in lots of baking, and they're also good as a binder in meatballs or meatloaf.)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (measure 1/4 cup pecans, then chop with chef's knife)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F/175C. In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, combine the whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a smaller bowl, stir together the melted or softened butter, Stevia or Splenda, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. (I used a rubber scraper to scraper out every bit!) Stir the "oatmeal crumbs" into this mixture, then fold in the finely chopped pecans.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or if you don't have any parchment paper, I'd use non-stick spray. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough at a time, roll into a ball, then arrange on parchment, leaving about two inches between cookies because you're going to smash them down. Use a flat turner or the bottom of a glass to smash down the cookies so they're about 1/4 inch thick.

Bake cookies 15-16 minutes, until they are fairly firm to the touch. Remove and let cool on cooling rack for 20 minutes or longer before eating. These will keep several days in a plastic container with a lid if you can manage to keep them around that long!

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
I've already confessed to using butter in my cookies, but remember I've been on phase three for many years now! If you want to make these cookies as South Beach Diet friendly as possible, make them with all Stevia or Splenda and using margarine. They would still be limited to phase 2 or 3 because of the whole wheat flour. (Be sure to choose a margarine that doesn't have water listed as the first ingredient.)

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Tasty Cookies for Christmas:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Flourless and Low-Sugar (or sugar-free)_ chocolate Shortbread Cookes from Kalyn's Kitchen
Flourless and (almost) Sugar-Free Cookies with Peanut Butter and Chocolate from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gluten-Free Brown Sugar Buckwheat Thumbprint Cookies from Karina's Kitchen
Brown Butter Rolled Christmas Cookies (with whole wheat flour) from Enlightened Cooking
Special Christmas Cookie Recipes for Every Type of Diet from BlogHer
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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19 comments:

  1. Oatmeal and chocolate sound like a killer combo to me. And what cookie recipe doesn't benefit from chocolate chips and brown sugar? These look so tasty.

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  2. Mmmm, oatmeal. Thank god they recent started manufacturing gluten free oats in special mills! Now I can eat them like everyone else.

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  3. boy, this one is tough to even read...

    i will love your next recipe, but whole wheat cookies sound ... well, they sound like an attempt that will never measure up

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  4. Another great option for those watching their sugar, but still craving holiday treats. I really like the idea of the oatmeal crumbs and would like to try that in some of my cookie and muffin recipes.

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  5. Looks like a great way to celebrate the season. I love the combination of oats and chocolate - yum!

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  6. These are right up my alley...I love oatmeal in chocolate chip cookies!
    They look great Kalyn- looking forward to making them soon!

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  7. I can't get enough of your cookies:)

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  8. Glad people are liking these, because I can assure everyone that even with whole wheat flour, these cookies are completely delicious! I tried them out on my sister Pam and she gave them thumbs up!

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  9. Wow those look so thick and delicious! I've actually never seen a chocolate oatmeal cookie before - but why not?

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  10. I'm glad to see this recipe. I like Splenda and have not taken the time to learn how to cook with it. All I know is that you don
    t need as much of it as sugar. This will be a good starter recipe for me. Thanks for the recipe. These look delicious.

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  11. Joanne, the cookies are more like a flour/butter based cookie than an oatmeal cookie, especially if you grind the oatmeal. Very tasty though!

    Lea Ann, I guess it's a personal preference, but actually when I'm adapting a recipe from sugar to Splenda, I use Splenda+brown sugar in the same amounts as the sugar in the original recipe. I don't find Splenda to be that much sweeter than sugar, but I do like it in recipes much more when the Splenda is combined with a small amount of brown sugar.

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  12. Love all of your whole grain recipes!

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  13. Do you measure the oatmeal before or after it's ground? Looks delish! thank you

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  14. Oldwaystable, thanks!

    Julia, I measured the oatmeal after it was ground, will edit that in the recipe (thanks!)

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  15. Hi - I just found this recipe and want to mail them as a care package to my husband, who's on the road. He's trying to limit white flour & sugar...but he is NOT a big chocolate fan. Does anyone have an opinion on how they would be if I left out to cocoa?
    thanks

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  16. I don't really know, but I'm guessing they won't be that good without the cocoa. I'd probably look for another whole wheat cookie recipe. There are a couple of them in the recipe archives (on the left) under low-sugar desserts.

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  17. Can't wait to try...they are in the oven now. Curious, why do they need to cool for 20 minutes or longer?

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  18. The cookies are just kind of crumbly when they're hot.

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  19. Hello Kalyn. This is my first time posting a comment to your blog. I just wanted to let you know that this cookie recipe is easily one of the best I have ever made. Not only do I love thesse cookies, but my family and even sugar-loving husband loves them. I have been asked to make these cookies multiple times and I think they genuinely make my family happy when they see a new batch made! Your blog is user-friendly, pleasing to the eye and overall a great resource for people that love to cook and eat yummy food. Thank you! =)

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible.

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