Low(er) Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Low(er) Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip CookiesEarlier this week I did something I should have done months ago. I cleaned out my freezer. Why I continually put this task off is beyond me, but it took my fridge making a horrid noise for me to finally to do it. (Alas, the noise did not stop, even with the cleaner freezer.)

What did I find between the freezer burned edamame from Trader Joe’s and super old something wrapped in layers and layers of foil? My homemade applesauce that I had glorious plans to use in cookies and brownies last year. Oh yeah, that applesauce.

I immediately put a container of it in the fridge to defrost and started Googling low-fat oatmeal cookie recipes with applesauce. There are a ton of them! I quickly discovered this four-and-a-half star recipe and decided to give it a shot. I am happy to report these cookies are delicious–moist and chewy inside with a bit crisp on the outside, which to me is the perfect texture for oatmeal cookies. And there is no way you can tell they are missing all that butter! In fact, I think the next time I make them I may replace the two tablespoons of butter with two additional tablespoons of applesauce. Maybe even use some whole wheat flour and see what happens. I know, I live on the edge.

Photos of the process here.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup plain unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Beat in the egg, followed by the applesauce and the vanilla extract. Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Drop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, flattening each cookie slightly. Bake for about 10-12 minute Cookies will be light brown at the edges when done.
  5. Let cool on sheet for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields about two dozen cookies.

Recipe from RecipeZaar.

Low Fat Banana Muffins

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Low Fat Banana MuffinsI’ve read about how applesauce can be used in baked goods in place of fats such as eggs, oil, and butter but hadn’t tried the substitution until now. And I’m happy to report it’s a good substitution!

Of course, these muffins are not meant to replace my favorite banana bread. They are simply a low fat alternative, and even with the chocolate chips they are still only three points each. They’re easy (no need for a mixer!), moist and flavorful, and lighter than I was expecting after reading some of the reviews.

The lightness may be because I made muffins rather than a loaf (I like wrapping them individually then freezing them so I can defrost one at a time). I made the mistake of using paper liners, and the muffins completely stuck to them so I suggest spraying a muffin tin with Pam and forgoing the liners.

Photos of the process here.

4 very ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar (I used Splenda Sugar Blend)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
4 tablespoons applesauce (I made my own)
1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional


  1. Mash bananas in a bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  3. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes if making muffins (or 50 to 60 minutes if making a loaf), or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

Yields 16 muffins or one loaf.

Recipe adapted from Recipe Zaar.

Fudgy Brownies

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Low Fat Fudgy BrowniesHi there! Remember me? I’m the one that used to bake all kinds of fat and calorie filled desserts and force my coworkers to taste them at 8:00 a.m., before they even got their first cup of coffee of the day.

Yeah, about that. I’m trying to lose weight. And I have no coworkers because I’m currently unemployed. And well, that combination makes it hard to make decadent desserts every week, because there’s no one to force feed two dozen brownies to on a regular basis. And I have no willpower, so keeping them in the house is out of the question. Duh.

Enter these brownies. They are chocolaty. And rich. And fudgy. But the best part? Around 100 calories and 3 grams of fat. And let me tell you, a little goes a long way. One of these brownies and I’m happy. OK fine, I ate the corner of a second one and immediately put the rest in the freezer. Remember that willpower thing I mentioned before? Still don’t have it.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, American-style or Dutch-process
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (50-72% cacao), coarsely chopped, plus 2 1/2 ounces chopped into mini chip-size pieces (I chopped up some caramel-chocolate swirl chips), divided
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup blended with 3 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts (I omitted these)


  1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, letting it overhang on two opposing sides (I used parchment). Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Sift flour, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together into a small bowl. Combine the 3 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate and oil in a heavy medium saucepan; place over the lowest heat, stirring, until just melted and smooth, being very careful the chocolate does not overheat. Remove from the heat and stir in granulated sugar, corn syrup mixture, vanilla and salt until the sugar dissolves. Vigorously stir in egg until smoothly incorporated. Gently stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts (if using) and the remaining 2 1/2 ounces chopped chocolate just until well blended. Turn out the batter into the pan, spreading evenly.
  3. Bake the brownies until almost firm in the center and a toothpick inserted comes out with some moist batter clinging to it, 20 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 1/2 hours (hahaha, that’s funny).
  4. Using the overhanging foil as handles, carefully lift the brownie slab from the pan. Peel the foil from the bottom; set the slab right-side up on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, trim off any dry edges. Mark and then cut the slab crosswise into fifths and lengthwise into fourths. (In other words, cut the brownie slab into 20 pieces.) Wipe the blade with a damp cloth between cuts.

Recipe adapted from Eating Well.

Low(er) Fat Lemon-Raspberry Muffins

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Low-Fat Lemon-Raspberry MuffinsAs I’ve mentioned before, I’m watching what I eat (I’ve lost 4 pounds thus far, yay!) and am always looking for good low(er) fat and low(er) calorie recipes that don’t have weird ingredients in them. Fortunately, I stumbled upon this recipe.

The muffins are moist, flavorful, filled with fruit, and only four points each! (Update: These got a thumbs down the next day from my family. Oh well.) Also, I found it interesting that the recipe calls for grinding the sugar (or in my case, Splenda blend) with the lemon zest. I think I may try that next time I make sugar cookies.

1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat buttermilk (I could only find low-fat)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour (see Shopping Tip)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 large (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
  2. Zest one lemon. (If you don’t have a Microplane zester, treat yourself to one!) Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor; pulse until the zest is very finely chopped into the sugar. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla and pulse until blended.
  3. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
  4. Bake the muffins until the edges and tops are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. (Mine took about 18 minutes.) Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm.

Recipe from Eating Well.
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Whoopie Pies*

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Weight Watchers Whoopie PiesIt’s official, I’m back to counting points (if you don’t know points are, consider yourself lucky). But have no fear, I will still be making yummy treats, I just won’t be eating any as many of them, and I hope to find some tasty lower fat/calorie recipes as well. Speaking of lower fat, I first saw this recipe about six years ago when I did WW for the first time, but wasn’t as into baking back then so I never tried it. Fortunately, the recipe was just a Google search away.

These cookies were simple to make, quite good, and have a nice mild chocolate flavor (and not at all bad for two points!). And while marshmallow fluff adds a little bit of sweetness, it also caused a whole lot of problems. First, I was using my small cookie scoop to scoop the fluff on the cookies when the scoop broke. The spring popped out, it made a horrible noise, and it ended up in a few pieces. Who knew fluff was so sticky and stiff? Secondly, after adding the fluff and sandwiching the cookies, they all started to tilt (they aren’t flat after all), causing the fluff to leak out, thus making a huge mess and some ugly looking cookies. (I know WW chose fluff to help keep the fat and calorie count down, but there must be another option that won’t spread and leak. Any suggestions?)

*I understand these are not true Whoopie Pies. They are simply a Weight Watchers version of them. If you have an issue with the name, complain to Weight Watchers, not me. Thanks in advance.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg white
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk (I used buttermilk because that’s all I had in the house)
3/4 cup marshmallow cream


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar, shortening and egg white in a medium bowl until fluffy and well blended (about 2 minutes).
  4. Stir in the flour mixture, then add the milk until just blended.
  5. Drop the dough (it will be a cross between cake batter and cookie dough in consistency) by spoonfuls onto large, ungreased baking sheets (I used Silpats), making 36 cookies.
  6. Bake until top springs back when lightly touched (5-7 minutes).
  7. Cool completely on the sheets on a rack.
  8. Spoon 2 tsp. marshmallow fluff and spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies.
  9. Top with remaining cookies.

Yields 18 cookies (I got 15). Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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