Why mess with perfection? Skillet cookies were introduced to us a long time ago. They bake perfectly in a large cast iron pan. Served straight from the oven and topped with vanilla ice cream, you can’t get a better blast of sweet and the flavors… chocolatel-y, carmel-y, vanilla-y. The cookie is gooey in the middle and crispy on the edges. As they say in our part of the world – it’s a dandy!
After consuming many of these cookies baked in a way-too-big, 10-inch cast iron pan, I converted the recipe to fit my more-modestly-sized 6-inch pans. The cookies are smaller, but following the original recipe, all the sugar and fat was still a bit much. So I’d been thinking about how to transform this favorite yet again. While I won’t throw out the original recipe (it is too yummy), what about recreating this treat with a lot less sugar? And more fiber? Maybe an extra kick of protein? Less fat? Could I make a delicious version that was heathy?
It was a dark and stormy day. Cold rain was pelting the window from a nearly horizontal angle. This was the day it was going to happen. As I headed to the kitchen, I already had an idea. I have been experimenting with puréed beans in baking recipes for quite some time. They are a good flour replacement and do the trick of adding more nutrition by way of fiber and protein. Small white beans cook up nice and soft and have no discernible flavor in baked goods. For the sweetness, I had been reading about using puréed dates as a sugar substitute. They have a wonderful caramel flavor and they are powerfully sweet. I still planned to use semi-sweet chocolate chips because… chocolate!
With the first batch out of the oven and cooled, I set a piece before Jack – my expert taster – and took another piece for myself. I told him it was a healthy version of a skillet cookie. He frowned. Since I needed him to have at least some semblance of an open mind, I did not tell him the cookie was actually gluten free and had virtually no sugar. While we agreed that the cookie was not nearly as decadent as the original, it was still full of the satisfying flavors you want in a skillet cookie – it turned out surprisingly sweet and quite tasty. The next day, Jack suggested we put a warm vanilla custard on it. Oh Jack, that kind of kills the healthy factor…but now he’s got me thinking. We did enjoy one topped with raspberry preserves, which was excellent!
The Other Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
- 1 cup pitted dates, soaked in 1/3 cup hot water to soften
- 1 ½ cups cooked small white beans, or 1 15 oz can white beans rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, or light olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- ½ cup quick oats
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 6-inch cast iron pans or a 12-muffin pan.
- Smooth dates and water into a paste using a stick blender or food processor.
- Add beans, applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla into date mixture. Continue to process until all are incorporated and smooth.
- Stir baking soda, baking powder, salt, and oats into mixture.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Divide mixture evenly into prepared pans.
- If using cast iron pans bake for about 25 minutes. If using a muffin tin, bake for about 15 minutes. Cookies should be brown and firm when done.
- Let cookies cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
I was curious about all the nutritional details. Thanks to an online nutrition analyzer, I can easily share what I’ve found with you.