Is there a better smell in the world than fresh baked chocolate chip cookies?! I ask the question as this delicious smell wafts through the air of my house currently! Mmmmm, yummy!
Being in the kitchen with my daughter is something that bonds us. (She actually requested we hold hands walking to the kitchen together this morning - melted my heart!!) She gets to assert her independence when she bakes and cooks with me. It makes me happy for her to see how proud she is of herself when she helps create something from scratch to finish. Especially when it comes out tasting delicious! Like these cookies!
As much as I like homemade cookies from scratch, I’m a mom of a very active toddler, so sometimes, we resort to pre-packaged cookie mixes! Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookie mix is our absolute favorite!!!! (*Note this is not an affiliate or a promotion, we just really really really love this mix!). Every single time we make a batch of cookies from this mix, we receive so many compliments! Nobody knows they are gluten free. Additionally, no one knows that I add in some hidden health benefits too ;)
And with the amount of baking we do in our household, I always try to “sneak” in some health to our recipes. Now, I am blessed with a child that loves vegetables and fruit and protein. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t add some nutrition to some of the treats we like to eat as well.
There are a couple ways that I add in some health without anyone knowing! I don’t overdo it. And I pick and choose the ways I’m going to add in health benefits each time we bake (I don’t do everything all at once). Here are a couple of my secrets …
First of all, did you know that you can swap out applesauce for butter?! Unsweetened applesauce can be used to replace part or all of the butter in a recipe. It can be swapped in equal quantities. So for instance, this box of chocolate chip cookies calls for ½ cup of butter. So we would use ½ cup of unsweetened applesauce. I would have used applesauce today, but we used it all last time we baked our cookies (mainly because someone was eating it as we were adding it into our cookie dough haha!!!).
Another thing I like to do is add in ground flax seeds to anything I’m baking. If you sprinkle some in, you really can’t taste it at all. I can’t tell you how many times I have added ground flax seed into cookies and the people eating them have had absolutely no idea that they are in there! Flax seeds have many health benefits, that include: being loaded with nutrients such as protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds may improve cholesterol and flax seeds may lower blood pressure. So you can see, there are many benefits and the chance of being found out that you are inserting some health into your cookies is minimal!
One way my daughter and I like to spruce up our cookies is by adding additional ingredients to them. For instance, sometimes we like to add in additional chocolate chips or dried fruit. One time we baked we added in dried strawberries and it was such a delicious combination of chocolate and fruit in the cookie! This time, we added in additional dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and minerals, plus it contains less sugar than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate may even help lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and improve brain function! I would say that those are all beneficial benefits to a chocolate chip cookie, wouldn't you?!
And yes, I let my daughter lick the cookie dough. In my opinion is a right of passage to baking cookies as a child! Plus I don't want to be a hypocrite as I've been known to lick the dough from time to time as well ;)
The opportunities to add some health benefits to your cookies are countless. Just be creative and understand what will work best for you and your family! I am lucky that we eat an array of different foods often and experimentation is something that just goes hand in hand with the cooking and baking in my family!
Ingredients in the Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix:
(Note, this yields approximately 3 dozen cookies)
Butter (or applesauce)
Instructions (couldn’t be easier!):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees for nonstick cookie sheet).
Stir cookie mix, softened butter (or applesauce), water, vanilla, and egg in medium bowl until well blended. (*This is also the step I’d add in the ground flax seed, the additional chocolate chips and/or dried fruit).
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake - now the box says 11 to 13 minutes, but I cook them for about 9-10 minutes because our family likes the cookies more gooey than crunchy!
Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool completely.
Time for my family and me to enjoy our fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies now!