Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a sucker for large, buttery chewy cookies that you can find in the bakery aisles of most grocery stores. My favourites would have to be the Tesco’s Finest Chocolate Chunk Cookies or the Lidl bakery cookies. They are delicious in small doses, but the grease stains on the paper bag are both tantalising and make the health-conscious side of me run away in terror. However, I still end up eating them anyway.
These cookies are a lighter version of those bakery cookies, but just as delicious. 130 calories, full of delicious chocolate chunks and just as rich tasting as any other cookie? It’s not impossible I swear.
I posted earlier this week that I have been on a cookie crusade to make a healthy cookie recipe using Greek yoghurt and that is true.
I am a lover of all things chocolate and cookie, so I made 10 batches of cookies, tweaking each one slightly to get them just right. Some of them got close and they were eagerly devoured by my younger sister and her friends, but while good, they still weren’t what I wanted. They were chewy, but not as chewy as the cookies I liked and while soft, I wanted soft and chewy and that rich buttery taste without the same amount of butter.
Chronicles of the Cookie Crusade
Well, first I looked at recipes of bakery style cookies and tried to reduce the amount of butter by replacing it with yoghurt. It worked, the yoghurt provided moisture, but it was also too cakey.
Then I looked at other recipes with ‘healthy’ cookies and saw what others were doing. Amy’s Healthy Baking was a great place to start and her post for the Ultimate Healthy Soft Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies helped me see how much butter I could reduce it by and still achieve a chewy cookie with a delicious buttery flavour.
Alton Brown’s recipe for The Chewy One guided me further. I have been a fan of Alton Brown ever since watching his show Good Eats when I was a teenager and being intrigued by the science behind cooking.
From this, I took to using bread flour which gave a chewiness to even the cakeiest of cookies that I made, but once again, it still wasn’t enough. I made half batches, using egg yolks to increase the moisture, and the cookies fit what I wanted, roughly 100 calories per cookie, reduced amounts of sugar and butter and a limited amount of sweetener added.
Batches 4-8 were variations on different variations of the Greek yoghurt. They all had a similar texture, but I got closer to getting them chewy. The Greek yoghurt made the batter sticky and harder to work with and also stopped it from spreading enough to make the thinner, chewy cookies that I wanted.
Finally, after scouring various recipes and seeing how to do it, I finally discovered it. Using an invert sugar in place of some of the sugar was the way to go. An invert sugar is a liquid sugar and that is what gives these cookies their delicious chewiness. I used golden syrup, but I have tried with honey as well and it worked just as well.
Also I used a low calorie sweetener to add some sweetness to this, but xylitol or sucanat can also be used. While not calorie free, for those of you who wish to avoid artificial sweeteners, you can use this instead.
Be careful not to overbake these cookies. They take roughly 6 minutes in the middle rack at 180°C in a fan assisted oven and slightly longer in a non fan assisted oven. Take them out when the edges look set, but the middle is still slightly undercooked. This will keep them soft and chewy rather than thin and crispy.
Chewy Low Calorie Bakery Style Greek Yoghurt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep time: 30- 180 minutes
Cook time: 6-8 minutes
Total time: 36-3 hours 8 minutes
Yield: 24 large cookies
Calories per serving: 140 calories per cookie (for a serving size of 12)
- 240g/ 2 cups Bread flour
- 1 Egg, at room temperature
- 2 tsp Cornstarch
- 84g/ 6 tbsp Butter
- 60g Full fat Greek Yoghurt
- 100g White sugar/ Brown sugar (use brown for a softer cookie, but adjust the baking time as necessary and chill beforehand)
- 60ml/ 4 tbsp Golden syrup/ Liquid sweetener
- 20ml Vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup Low calorie sweetener
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1 cup/ 150g Chopped chocolate/ Chocolate chips
- If baking straight away, preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a baking tray or aluminium foil.
- Melt the butter in a bowl and set aside to cool down and allow the egg to come to room temperature.
- Measure out the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Cream together the melted butter, sweetener, sugar and syrup together. It may form a large clump, so continue to whisk until it does so.
- Add in the vanilla extract and greek yoghurt and whisk to combine and make sure that the sugar has dissolved.
- Add in the egg and whisk until mixed.
- Stir in the dry ingredients, little by little, until just combined together. Overworking the flour can make the cookies tougher.
- Fold in the chopped chocolate/ chocolate chips and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow you to form into balls and flatten them easier. You can bake straight away,but the dough may be sticky to press down. To avoid this, lightly cover your hand and spoon with oil or cooking spray and this will prevent the cookie dough from sticking to it.
- After chilling, take 2-3 tbsps of cookie dough and roll into a ball and flatten into a flat disc on the baking sheet about 1 cm/ 1/2 inch high.
- Bake on the middle rack for 6 mins, rotating halfway through or until the edges have set and the centre is just slightly undercooked. For thicker cookies, increase the baking time, but be careful not to burn them. If the edges are turning darker brown then they are done or close to being done.
- Leave to cool on the baking sheet until you can use a spatula to remove them and place them on a cooling rack. Do not let them overlap as they will be sticky at the bottom and may stick together.
- Leave to cool (if you can) and serve.
I like a variety of chocolate in my cookies, so I used a combination of milk and white chocolate chopped into chunks, however you can use one single type of chocolate. You can add chocolate bars or fruit into these as well, but the calories will change depending on what you add.
I made a half batch of these cookies using an egg yolk instead of the egg and half the amount of ingredients and they turned out fine, so if you don’t want to make such a large batch, then feel free to half the recipe. I mostly made half batches as I was making lots and didn’t want to be eating cookies for the next year (although, sometimes I don’t think I would mind it that much)
The Greek yoghurt adds moisture, but it can be replaced by another liquid such as milk or low fat yoghurt, however these runnier liquids will make the dough stickier and it may need to be chilled. I cannot guarantee the results from these as I haven’t tried, but it may work as long as it is chilled.
I have not tried using brown sugar instead of white sugar, however you can use it in place of this, but the dough will be moister and the baking time may have to be adjusted and the dough may have to be chilled before baking.
I would not recommend using low fat spread here, as the butter gives it a delicious flavour and texture, but you may substitute at your own risk.
I really recommend using bread flour (also called strong flour in some parts of Europe) as it is crucial for the chewiness of the cookie, however the addition of an extra egg yolk can increase chewiness, if using plain flour. Replace 30g of the yoghurt with the yolk.
Calories: Roughly 130 calories per cookie
Sugar: 10.5g (will vary depending on your additions)