6 Secret Ingredients for Healthier Cookies

Once upon a time, cookies were evil. Laden with refined flour, excessive amounts of sugar, hydrogenated fat, and Frankensteinian preservatives, there was really nothing redeeming about them. The Bad Cookie was Public Enemy Number One. Well-meaning super-innovators looking to be heroes have long tried to rehabilitate the Bad Cookie.

First there was the valiant attempt to eliminate fat from the Bad Cookie, but sugar only gained ground. Then there was the stealth mission to bring down sugar, but then mutant fake sugar tried to take over. After that, refined flours were slated as the real scoundrels. Before long, pandemonium struck and many citizens spiraled into a vortex of fad diets, deceptive claims, and the false hope of The Next Big Promise. Meanwhile, a handful of true superheroes left the fray for the comfort of their own kitchens, experimenting with ways to embrace the Bad Cookie for what it was, all the while coaxing it toward a better version of its old self. As it turns out, healthy cookie recipes that include alternative fats, whole grains, low sugar or natural sugar alternatives, plus protein and fiber in the form of whole and pureed fruits and nuts, paved the way for the Bad Cookie to become the Pretty Healthy Cookie. Some even became good enough for breakfast.

Like the Bad Cookie, the Pretty Healthy Cookie has the ability to go anywhere. But this new super-cookie can also conceal uber-healthy things inside, freeze or thaw on command, be whipped up in a flash, and keep kids begging for more. Here to save the day are six secret ingredients that make up my favorite Bad-Cookie-Turned-Pretty-Good recipes—all from bakers of the superhero variety.

1. Spinach

spinach cookie recipe

Namely Marly’s Shortbread Cookies 

2. Whole Wheat Flour

wheat flour cookie recipe

Good Heavens Baking Blog’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

3. Honey 

honey cookie recipe

Whole Grain Gourmet’s Oatmeal Cookies

4. Coconut Oil

coconut oil cookie recipe

The Baking Stone’s Samoa Cookies

5. Navy Beans

navy bean cookie recipe

Cook Eat Share’s Breakfast Cookies

6. Quinoa

quinoa cookie recipe

The Smart Kitchen’s Peanut Butter Cookies

pumpkin quinoa cookie recipe

Gluten-Free Goddess’ Pumpkin Cookies

What are your tricks for making healthier cookies? Please share! Or better yet, start recording them in a recipe photo book!

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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen February 23, 2012, 9:14 am

    Thanks for the love! Quinoa cookies really ARE delicious…but I’m eager to try some more of these ideas. :)

  • Rach Merritt February 23, 2012, 10:40 am

    I use whole wheat flour that I grind myself. When making cookies w/it, I sift it-makes for a much fluffier cookie. I use honey in my cookies as well as Sucanat (naturally dried sugar cane). Oatmeal is a big one and so are craisins. They are healthy for you–but give a different flavor than always using raisins. I have found that my daughter now prefers the whole wheat, sucanant, craisin cookies to the bleached flour, white sugar cookie recipes I used in the past! :) I cannot get the chocolate chip link to work–would love to see what is perhaps different in their recipe.

  • Patricia Roth February 24, 2012, 7:12 am

    These cookie recipes look amazing! I can hardly wait to try some of them. Thanks for sharing them…

  • invest liberty reserve March 22, 2012, 4:56 am

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