These Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Ranger Cookies with Pecans, Coconut, and Chocolate are delicious for a healthier cookie option!
We're just heading into the time of year when there are cookies and other sweet treats everywhere you look. I doubt many people are religiously dieting during December, but even for those of us who are just trying to limit our consumption of holiday sweets, it can be a challenge.
For a few years now I've been experimenting with recipes for low-sugar cookies for the holidays, and this recipe for Ranger Cookies, which comes from The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook, is one of the most satisfying low sugar cookies I've tried. It's full of flavor from pecans, oatmeal, unsweetened coconut, chocolate chips, and whole wheat pastry flour, and even if you skipped the Splenda or Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener and used regular sugar, this would still be a pretty healthful and low-sugar cookie.
The book claims the cookies are named for forest rangers who like these cookies for their energy-boosting ingredients, and if you're looking for a barely sweet cookie to get you through December, this might be just the one.
Whole wheat pastry flour is a type of whole wheat flour that's more finely ground than traditional whole wheat flour, and it's a great ingredient for baking.
Then process together the bran cereal, oatmeal, coconut, and chocolate chips until it's a coarsely ground mixture. (It took a bit longer than I expected to get the chocolate chips ground up.)
Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener or Splenda (or sugar), egg, and vanilla.
Use a tablespoon to scoop out heaping balls of dough and arrange 2 inches apart on cookie sheet that's been sprayed with non-stick spray. (The recipe said 16 cookies, but I only got 12.)
Bake cookies at 375F/190C for 16-20 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and the top of the cookies feels dry. (The original recipe said 10 minutes, but I baked mine for 18 minutes, and I don't think a couple minutes more would have hurt.)
Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Ranger Cookies with Pecans, Coconut, and Chocolate
(Makes 12 cookies but recipe could easily be doubled because these cookies freeze well; recipe adapted slightly from The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook.)
1/4 cup pecan halves or pieces
1/4 cup bran cereal (I used Fiber One, which has no added sugar)
1/4 cup rolled oats (I used Bob's Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (the recipe called for bittersweet, but I only had semi-sweet)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup trans-fat free margarine, butter, or coconut oil (Use margarine for the South Beach Diet)
1/4 cup Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener, Splenda, or sugar (use Stevia or Splenda for the South Beach Diet)
1 T vanilla
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Put pecans on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 6 minutes, or until they are becoming fragrant and lightly toasted. Let pecans cool for 2-3 minutes.
While pecans are toasting add bran cereal, rolled oats, unsweetened coconut, and chocolate chips to food processor. Add pecans as soon as they are cool, then process until the mixture is coarsely ground. (It took about a minute for me to get the chocolate chips ground.)
In a small bowl, combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, use a hand beater on high speed to cream together the margarine (or butter), Splenda, Stevia, or sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and use a low speed to mix until all ingredients are combined. Remove beaters and use a spoon or rubber scraper to mix in the oatmeal-pecan mixture, stirring until it's well blended into the batter.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Use a tablespoon to scoop out heaping spoonfuls of batter and place them 2 inches apart. (Original recipe said 16 cookies, but I only got 12.)
Bake cookies 16-20 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and the top of the cookies feel dry. (Cookies in the photo were baked for 18 minutes.) Let cool 20-30 minutes. These cookies freeze well.
South Beach Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
These cookies (made with Stevia Granulated Sweetener or Splenda) would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. Bittersweet chocolate chips would be the best choice for South Beach or low-glycemic diets, but the semi-sweet chocolate chips I used only had 8 grams of sugar in 30 chips, so if that's all you had these would still be pretty low sugar cookies. These are probably too high in carbs for traditional low-carb diet plans.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan.
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 Ideas for Low-Sugar Cookies:
15 Delicious Low-Sugar or Sugar-Free Cookies to Bake for the Holidays from Kalyn's Kitchen