Desserts and sweets can be among the first casualties of better eating. These foods are often packed with sugar (a danger for diabetes) and fat (an enemy of heart health), and represent ‘extra’ calories outside the realm of the sensible meal. By the same token, sweets pose a big temptation, one that we may not always be able to resist. Trying to abstain completely can sometimes result in the opposite: giving in for something especially rich, and quite possibly going overboard.
Instead of banning sweets forever, consider allowing yourself a healthier indulgence…in moderation. These hearty cookies contain almost no fat, thanks to an ingenious substitute for butter, and less sugar than many recipes. Using egg whites only wipes out unhealthy cholesterol. Raisins add natural sweetness, and oatmeal provides texture and dietary fiber. At less than 100 calories per cookie, it’s a sensible way to indulge a sweet tooth while staying mindful of dietary restrictions.
Oatmeal Cravin’ Cookies
Servings: 24 cookies | Time: About 30 minutes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 c brown sugar
2 egg whites
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a (separate) large bowl, mix brown sugar, egg whites, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in the oatmeal and raisins.
- Lightly coat 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto the sheets, and bake for about 10 minutes, or until slightly browned.
- Transfer to a cooling rack or plate to cool, and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories: 85; Fat: 0.4 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 85.1 mg; Carbohydrates: 18.6 g; Fiber: 0.9 g; Sugars: 8.5 g; Protein: 1.9 g.
- The key to baked goods — especially a dish this low in fat — is precision. Be sure to carefully measure everything, especially the dry ingredients. Flour and oatmeal will drink up moisture, and too much can make the cookies dry or crumbly. If the finished dough is too runny to scoop into spoonfuls, add flour a little at a time until it reaches a more sticky texture.
- Because of the delicate chemical processes that come into play during baking, additions and substitutions should be kept to a minimum. Omitting raisins, for example, will leave out natural sweetness for a blander cookie. One addition that won’t throw off the recipe is 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, such as walnuts or almonds. As always, remember that any change to the ingredients will alter the nutrition content accordingly.
- For even healthier cookies, you can substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. Whole wheat flour uses all parts of the grain, providing nutritional and digestive benefits. (Note that these two types of flour can behave differently in recipes: if you switch to whole wheat, use only 1 1/2 cups for this recipe).
- With less than 100 mg of sodium, one cookie can be considered low in salt. However, people who are watching their sodium to manage heart disease may prefer to eliminate the salt altogether.
- Don’t skip the step of spraying the baking sheets. Most cookie recipes contain enough fat to let them lift off easily. These extremely low-fat cookies, on the other hand, are more likely to stick to the sheet. Another option is to line your baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent sticking.