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Make it Healthy: A simple recipe for home-baked cookies

Published May 8, 2012 4:27 pm

Make it healthy • A reminder of how easy it is to make cookies from scratch.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Grocery stores are packed with products that may tout convenience, but contain ingredients that aren't healthy. Today, we highlight Kraft's Chips Ahoy Original Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I grew up dunking Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies into milk. When I was old enough to cook, I would cut coins of ready-made Nestlé Tollhouse cookie dough that came in tubes, place them on baking sheets and enjoy the cookies with milk. Soon, I began to make my own chocolate chip cookies, first with a combination of butter and Crisco shortening, then all butter.

I'd like to think Chips Ahoy's cookies didn't contain the unhealthy ingredients back then that they contain now — partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and caramel color.

If you look closely at the Nutrition Facts on the package, there are zero grams of trans fat listed. Chips Ahoy's website has this explanation: "When a label shows 0 grams trans fat per serving and lists a 'partially hydrogenated' vegetable oil (such as soybean or cottonseed, among others) in the ingredients, the product may contain up to 0.49 grams of trans fat per serving." The recommendation is that neither adults nor children consume any trans fat.

Some studies indicate that excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup contributes to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But organizations such as the American Medical Association say the jury is still out on the effects high-fructose corn syrup has on the body. For those wanting to avoid processed foods altogether, the answer is simple: HFCS is highly processed, so avoid it.

As for caramel color, this is heated sugar. The problem is that when it's produced, it creates 4-methylimidazole (MEI) that, in large quantities, has been linked to cause cancer in mice.

Making cookies from scratch takes more time, for sure, but baking chocolate chip cookies together also serves as a food memory for my kids.

If you'd like a healthier substitute for a processed food in your pantry, email your request to lneilson@sltrib.com. —

Chocolate chip cookies

Note • Crisp, crunchy and classic, this is an endlessly versatile recipe. Add toasted pecans, stir in shredded coconut, toss in a handful of raisins or dried cranberries — or keep them as they are, plain, simple and good.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon warm water

1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease 2 baking sheets.

In the bowl of an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy and light, about 2 minutes. Add both sugars and beat well. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Sift together the flour and salt. In a small cup, stir the baking soda into the water; set aside.

Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat well. Beat in the baking soda mixture and then the remaining flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Drop the dough, using about 1 tablespoon per cookie, onto the baking sheets, spacing the cookies 1½ inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula and let cool on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.

Makes • 3 dozen cookies

Source: Rosemary Black, "Cookies Year-Round: 50 Recipes for Every Season and Celebration," 2007 Chocolate chip cookies don't need to contain unhealthy ingredients such as partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, high fructose corn syrup and caramel color. —

At a glance

The amounts listed are per 3-cookie serving of Chips Ahoy Original Chocolate Chip Cookies. The daily recommendations are based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day. They don't take into consideration individual weight, age or gender.

Category Chips Ahoy Made from scratch Daily recommendations

Calories • 160 198 2,000

Total fat • 8 g 10 g less than 65 g

Saturated fat • 2.5 g 6 g less than 20 g

Trans fat • up to .49 g 0 g 0 g

Cholesterol • 0 mg 24 mg less than 300 mg

Sodium • 110 mg 38 mg less than 2,300 mg

Carbohydrates • 22 g 27 g 300 g

Dietary fiber • 1 g 0 g 25 g

Sugar • 11 g 17 g 25 g (6 teaspoons)

Protein • 2 g 2 g 50 g