Monday, March 5, 2012

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
(with cranberries)
I was reflecting on my posts from this time last year and unsurprisingly my thoughts are moving in a similar direction; panic about what the winter months have done to my waistline. How on earth will I fit in my summer clothes without too closely resembling the muffins I make?

So, when it came time for my monthly girls get together, and therefore another excuse for me to bake, I chose to take the high road. I pulled out my Food and Wine Magazine, March 2011 issue and there was the perfect healthier recipe. It hit all my requirements; wholesome and yet totally quick and easy.

The cookies do have some butter for flavor but also a little canola oil, plus they are made entirely with whole wheat pastry flour. If you can't get that, I would suggest white whole wheat flour or half and half regular flour with regular whole wheat flour. You can choose to bake them as bars (as I did) or cookies (a little more time than I had available). The original recipe calls for toasted chopped pecans in addition to the chocolate chips but I didn't have any so added some cranberries.

My guinea pig buddies were enthusiastic and the recipe was requested; a good sign of success I think. They are really quite like a blondie with an extra bite.

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used 60%)
1/2 cup cranberries 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Butter a 9 x 13" baking pan then line with parchment paper
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside
  4. Using your mixer, beat the butter, oil and sugar until creamy
  5. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again until smooth
  6. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until just incorporated
  7. Finally add the chocolate chips and beat on low again until just mixed
  8. Turn the dough out into the baking pan and smooth out the top evenly using a spatula 
  9. Place the baking try in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden and just set in the center
  10. Cool the bars in the pan and then lift them out onto a cutting board
  11. Peel away the parchment from the sides and cut into squares
Alternative substitutions that I think would be tasty: 
  • white chocolate chips and chopped dried apricots
  • Dark chocolate chips and cherries
You could successfully freeze the cookies in the pan prior to baking (if well wrapped) or after baking. After baking I would not cut them, leave them as a slab and triple wrap in cling film.


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