Once again, my holiday baking begins with the classic. One of three cookies Mr. B will actually eat. Of course, he's like five, so I must be talking about the Chocolate Chip Cookie. And I am.
I am not allowed to make any other cookie first. Phoebo, our cute penguin cookie jar, must hold chocolate chips first. To clarify, this is not a rule Mr. B has "laid down." But if I don't want to hear constant whining about where his cookies are, when will I make them, and why is Phoebo empty....well, let's just say I make sure these are at the very top of my list.
But, the Chocolate Chip? Come on, I can make that any time of year. What screams "Happy Holidays!" about chocolate chip cookies? Ah, I digress.
Even so, they're Mr. B's favorite. And I love him and want him to eat my cookies. However, the classic is getting a makeover this season. I've tried to switch them up before (but he doesn't like nuts or peanut butter or chunks...) by adding cream cheese (my personal favorite), white chocolate chips ("these aren't too bad," he comments), and a secret: passed along by my friend Jenny, her recipe for this classic cookie involves a package of Instant Vanilla Pudding. And since last September, I've been making her recipe every time Mr. B is in the mood for cookies. And he still has no idea.
But, of course, I always have to mess with a good thing. My goal this year was to make his tasty cookie healthier. Especially since it's the holidays, and there will be a lot of cookie eating in our household. And we all can assume it will be me since I've already stated Mr. B only eats three cookies (and, yes, I will be making each of them for him). I guess, in truth, I wanted a tad healthier chocolate chip. So, I reviewed all of my options on how to replace/reduce sugar, butter, oil, eggs, and flour when it comes to baking.
NOTE: When baking, it's important to remember the texture and color you want to achieve....this will eliminate some of the substitute choices.
Avocado. No, don't want the cookies green. (Although, possibly cool for a "Grinch"-themed program for work.)
Black beans. No, Mr. B won't eat a "chocolate" cookie.
Flax egg. No, I don't want to have to answer for the little specks in his cookie.
And so my mental check-off list continued until I remembered bananas. Bananas!
Bananas can replace butter in baked goods.
But when trying something new, especially on the husband, I knew not to get too crazy. Therefore, I only replaced half of the butter called for with mashed banana. A wise decision.
I personally enjoyed these cookies. I could barely taste the banana, but I think it was because my mind knew it was in there and I was looking for it (mainly to see if Mr. B could detect it.) The batter was a bit stickier and the cookies are chewier, kind of like cake or bread. It's definitely not a crisp chocolate chip cookie. Excellent warm, right out of the oven. You can imagine my excitement when Mr. B came home from work and I could test them out. Here's how that went:
Me: "I made you another batch of chocolate chips. Here you go." (Yes, I forgot to mention I already made him a "normal" batch last week.)
Mr. B: (tossing the entire cookie in his mouth) "Ewww, what did you do to this cookie?" (Short pause while he swallows.) "It tastes like paste!"
Me: "What are you talking about?" (A little offended; it clearly did not taste like paste!)
Mr. B: "You did something to it. I mean, it's not bad, it's just not the normal cookie."
Ugghhh. I failed. But I enjoyed it. And he is such a picky eater. I bagged a few up and took them to work for a few second opinions. I explained the situation to my co-workers but did not tell them about the banana. They tested them, and the verdict: GOOD! It was a different kind of chocolate chip, but not in a bad way. I explained the banana, and at the end of the day, when the cookies were all gone, a co-worker mentioned he could taste a hint of banana in the last one. Okay, success.
On the way home, though, I realized something. The cookies hardened in the bag throughout the day. Phoebo was keeping them quite soft at home. When I got home I took a few out of Phoebo and laid them on a plate. I placed the plate on the counter, very enticingly. Overnight they hardened. The next day they hardened some more. When I came home from work the cookies were gone. Eureka!
Good thing I froze over half the batch or I wouldn't have any to put on my holiday platters. Yes, Phoebo is empty again.
Classic Chocolate Chips
*adapted from my friend Jenny's cookie recipe
makes about 95 bite-sized cookies
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 c banana, mashed (about 1 medium banana)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
scant 1/4 c granulated sugar
1 pkg (3.9 oz) sugar-free vanilla instant pudding mix
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 c flour
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven 375 degrees.
Beat butter, mashed banana, sugars, dry pudding mix and vanilla in a large bowl, with a mixer, until blended. Add eggs and baking soda; mix well. Gradually add flour, beating after each addition until well blended. Stir in chips.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1-2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
*Note: Play around with pudding flavors and white chocolate chips to find your favorite cookie combination!
**Note: If you like to make half the batch and freeze the other half, and then snack on the frozen cookie dough, this is NOT the recipe to use.
Nutritional Information: Per Bite-Sized Cookie (95 in batch)
47 Calories; 2 Fat; 4 Sugar; 7 Carbs; 1 Protein
If you give them a try, let me know your thoughts below! I think I will stick to the "normal" cookie, and pull this one out during the holiday.
With Love and God Bless,