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Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints (Gingersnaps)

I’ve said before I’m not a big fan of making a dessert more healthy, since you usually lose in the taste category. Not so with these cookies. They taste delicious, are easy to make, and feel like everything you love about fall. Add the candy on top, and you’ve knocked one out of the park.

I will warn you that the cookies have a strong molasses flavor and are not overly sweet. I like them that way. Even my 18 month old liked them. I think you should try them before immediately increasing the sugar. These cookies are great without the candy, but the toppings make them even more fun for the fall holidays.


Gingersnaps or Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints (Makes about 2 dozen cookies)


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Granulated sugar for rolling
Pumpkin spice Hershey kisses, optional
Fall mix candy, optional

1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Blend in egg and molasses. Add remaining ingredients, and mix until combined.

2. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. If decorating with candy, place candy in freezer.

3. Roll dough into balls about the size of walnuts. Lightly roll in granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 ½” apart.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies have melted and puffed. For crisp cookies, bake until flattened.

5. If decorating, lightly push candy into center of cookie immediately after it comes out of the oven. Let cool until candy is solid.

Nutritional Information (Amount per cookie, plain):

Calories: 110
Protein: 1.5 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 15 mg
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Fiber: .8 g
Sodium: 82 mg

Recipe Notes: If you are decorating with the candy, you want a soft cookie, so bake closer to the 8 minutes. You want the cookie to stay together coming off the cookie sheet, but not much crisper. It is important to freeze the candies, so they don’t melt on the hot cookie. Don’t push too hard, or the cookie might break or have a lumpy bottom. The cookies will need to set up for a couple hours to let the candy re-harden. If not decorating, I usually bake mine a little closer to 10 minutes.

Source: adapted from my sister-in-law’s recipe

Low-iodine adjustment: Use shortening in place of butter. Use 2 egg whites in place of whole egg. Don’t use blackstrap molasses. Use non iodized salt.

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“Healthier” Chocolate Chip Cookies

When it comes to making a dessert healthy, I have mixed emotions.  I am totally on board with making small changes to improve a dish’s nutrition.  However, you shouldn’t mess with dessert too much.  I have found that “healthy” desserts often don’t satisfy my cravings.  Unsatisfied, I either eat more or eat something else in addition to the original dessert, completely negating my “good” choice.

These cookies hit a good balance.  A few ingredient tweaks make them a little healthier, but they still satisfy my cookie craving.  Remember, though:  these are still cookies.  Compared to my regular chocolate chip cookie recipe, I saved 15 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, and 42 mg of sodium.  Not life altering savings, but enough that it adds up after several cookies.  And let’s be honest, you eat more than one cookie.

“Healthier” Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies)

IMG_5317 - Version 2label

1/2 cup unsalted butter or coconut oil, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large egg whites
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash cinnamon (optional)
3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cream butter/coconut oil and sugars together on medium speed of mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and egg whites.

3. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon (optional), mixing until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool briefly on sheet before cooling completely on wire rack.

Nutritional Information (Amount per cookie)

Calories: 90
Protein: 1 g
Fat: 3.3 g
Saturated Fat: 1.9 g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Carbohydrates: 15 g
Fiber: 1 g
Sodium: 49 mg

Recipe Notes: The nutritional analysis uses butter rather than coconut oil. I have tried using coconut oil in this recipe. As I mentioned in my previous post about coconut oil, my cookies were darker, flatter, and crisper. I also found I needed to add a little bit of water to the coconut oil cookies to get the dough to come together. I have not tried this recipe with traditional whole wheat flour, but I’m guessing the results would be tolerable but less similar to a regular cookie. I like to add cinnamon to my chocolate chip cookies, because it gives them an extra flavor that reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate. That is entirely optional. I use milk chocolate chips, but you can easily use whatever flavor you prefer.

Coconut oil cookie (left) compared to butter cookie (right)


Source: slightly adapted from Cooking Light

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