Cooking Done Light

Cooking Done Light header image 2

Low Calorie, Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies, “Just the Way You Like Them!”

October 8th, 2007 · 64 Comments


I have received quite a few requests for some “healthier” chocolate chip cookies in the past few weeks. Traditional chocolate chip cookies can vary from 120 calories PER COOKIE (that is the “lowest” I could find) up to a whopping 285 calories per cookie, depending on how they are made!!! Now I don’t know about you – but for 285 calories, I want more than one stinkin’ cookie!!!

So what’s the problem? Well, I have been hesitant to post a recipe for two main reasons:

#1 – People are VERY particular about their chocolate chip cookies. There are typically two groups of chocolate chip cookie lovers – the soft, moist chewy group, and the crispy, crunchy group.

#2 – You can use the same exact recipe time after time when making your cookies – and one time they will come out perfect, “just the way you like them”, and then the next time – something is just not quite right. How can be this be? Well I have listed quite a few reasons for this phenomenon (along with “tips and tricks” on how to get them “just the way you like them every time. So be sure to check out all of the useful information that follows the recipe!

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 cup all purpose)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level it off with a knife. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir to blend. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugars, butter, egg white, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. If the batter looks more “crumbly” than smooth, add just a splash of water at a time (ONLY if needed) until it smooths out.

Drop by level spoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets coated lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 -10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let stand 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans to cool on wire racks. Enjoy!


Makes 2 dozen cookies. Per cookie: 61 calories, 1.5 g total fat, less than 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 11 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 9 g added sugar, 2 g protein, 37 mg sodium, less than 1 g cholesterol



So sometimes chocolate chip cookies are soft and chewy one time, and then thin and crispy another time when using the same recipe. And sometimes, the soft cookies seem to get hard after a day, and the crisp cookies seem to get soft. This is the dilemma of the chocolate chip cookie! So why does this happen? Well, very subtle changes in proportions, mixing methods, and baking can produce very big differences.

What makes cookies soft and chewy is a high moisture content, as well as baking time and oven temperature. “Binding” the water with the flour – through the use of butter, eggs, and\or brown sugar (brown sugar contains molasses, which is 10 percent water) – slows its evaporation. The dough needs a little extra flour, which makes it stiffer. The stiff dough spreads less, less liquid evaporates, and the cookies are thicker. Mass also helps cookies stay moist–big dollops of dough make softer and chewier cookies than tiny spoonfuls of dough. Bake these thick cookies for a shorter time at a high temperature to firm them quickly and minimize spreading, and most importantly don’t bake them too long. You want to remove them from the oven when the outer edges are light brown but at least 1/3 of the center top remains pale. The cooked centers will then be softer.

However, too much extra liquid in your dough will make the dough more elastic and will add steam as they bake, making them puff more and come out more “cake-like”. So it really is a very delicate balance.

Now on the other hand, reducing the amount of ingredients that will hold moisture makes it easier for liquid to evaporate, which will produce thinner, crispy, crunchy cookies. For crispness, bake cookies longer at a lower temperature to give them more time to spread before they firm. Then bake them long enough to “dry” and brown them evenly to develop the maximum toasty flavor and crisp texture throughout.

If you typically have trouble with your cookies spreading too much (you know, those thin wafer-like wisps that were so NOT what you were hoping for!), most often the cause is low-fat butter or margarine spread, which has about 20 percent more water. When you use it in place of “regular” butter or margarine, this extra liquid causes a problem because now there is way too much moisture and the batter becomes almost runny once you put it near the heat. Low-fat products can’t be used interchangeably with regular fats for baking without making other recipe adjustments. Cookies can also spread too much when you drop the dough onto a warm or hot baking sheet; the heat “melts” the dough, and the cookies spread before they’re baked enough to hold their shape. Always make sure the baking sheets used are at room temperature (I put mine in the fridge for a few minutes before I drop the dough on).So, the way that we measure our ingredients and the “real” temperature of our our ovens are the usual reasons that we all get different results from the same recipe. Flour should always be stirred to loosen and fluff it, then spooned gently into a dry-measure cup (the kind you fill to the rim) and the top scraped level with the back of a butter knife. If you tap the cup or scoop flour from the bag, the flour gets packed down and you can easily add 2 to 4 extra tablespoons flour per cup.

You can scoop up white sugar, because it doesn’t pack, but you should firmly pack brown sugar into a dry-measure cup and scrape the top level. Dry ingredients should not be measured in heaped-up cups or with spoons; you always want to scrape dry ingredients level with the surface. Always measure liquid ingredients with liquid-measuring cups.

If your cookies bake faster or slower than the recipe indicates that they should, chances are your oven’s thermostat is not registering accurately. It’s a good idea to double-check your oven temperature every once in a while with an oven thermometer and adjust the oven temperature as needed (oven thermometers only cost a few dollars, and can be found in most supermarkets).

So, there you go! I hope that all of this information helps, and that everyone gets their cookies to turn out “just they way they like them!!” Good Luck, and if anyone has any further questions, feel free to get in touch.

Tags: Desserts

64 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Crystal // Oct 8, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    Oh.. in your tips and tricks, you mention dry-measure cups and liquid-measuring cups… and it has been a thought of mine for a while that the dry ones are actually smaller than the liquid ones… is this true? Or is it just that my dry cups are a bit smaller than all measuring cups? I always thought that 1 cup was 250 mL (as stated on my liquid cup) but the dry one is something like 230 mL… is there actually supposed to be a difference?

  • 2 Katelyn // Oct 8, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    thanks for the recipe and the tips and tricks! i cant wait to try these out!!

  • 3 The Happy Rock // Oct 8, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Nice post! We will have to try this recipe, although we have taken to using 100% whole wheat. The tips and tricks idea is a great!

    I personally like to add a lot more chocolate chips, dark chocolate is preferable.

  • 4 Patty // Oct 9, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    I saw this post late last night and had all the ingredients so I decided, what the heck?! They came out just as good, too. Perfect, in fact, just like you said they would. I received approval from both the husband and all 4 of my close co-workers… and they are all tough critics! I’m kind of glad the recipe only made 24 cookies that way there’s not enough for me to keep eating!

  • 5 foodnut // Oct 28, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    These look tasty! …and best of all health-friendly! Do you think you can freeze the dough…so I’m not tempted to eat two dozen at one sitting? :)

  • 6 Shannon // Oct 29, 2007 at 8:32 am

    I don’t see why you couldn’t freeze the dough. I have never tried – but I have baked the whole recipe and then frozen the already baked cookies, with great results.

  • 7 Deborah // Feb 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    These turned out really good but they were a little sweet for me. Next time I might cut the sugar some. Do you think cutting it in half would be too drastic and ruin the taste?

  • 8 azzah // Dec 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    is there any way you can put a recipe up for snickerdoodles? they are one of my favorite treats, but have soo much fat in them! ive been craving them forever!
    thank you!!

  • 9 mukti // Apr 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

    i only have regular wheat flour, not pastry. would that work or do i need the pastry kind?

  • 10 95Down // Apr 30, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Great recipe!! I have been trying to find a tasty, low-calorie chocolate chip cookie and these definitely fit the bill! Thanks for this GREAT post!!

    To Deborah- I used half the sugar and they were perfect! You might want to also try using fewer chocolate chips as these can make them too sweet also.

  • 11 Shannon // May 5, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Regular wheat flour would make them very dense. You can substitute a mix of half all purpose/half wheat.

  • 12 Emily // Jul 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    Just made these today and got rave reviews! Said they were the best chocolate chip cookies they ever had! Although when i made mine they did come out a bit thin and not as fluffy as the ones pictured. Not quite sure why. I didn’t substitute low-fat butter and my pans were not hot. Maybe next time they’ll be fluffier! Either way they were delicious!

  • 13 Shannon // Jul 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Emily – So glad that they were enjoyed! Sometimes, my cookies come out flat too – even after all of the MANY times that I have made them! I have learned that if you follow all the right steps, and they still come out flat, one of these three things is usually responsible:
    1. The baking powder/baking soda used is not quite fresh
    2. There is a high amount of humidity in the air (which causes the flour in the dough to absorb excess moisture and makes the dough “heavy”)
    3. The dough was just a little too “warm” when the cookies were scooped (you want your dough at *about* room temperature when scooped, but if it is very warm in the room, they will spread too rapidly once placed in the oven)

    Hope that helps!

  • 14 Gretchen // Sep 3, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Shannon- These cookies were fantastic! I gave one to my husband, who hates anything lowfat, and he couldn’t tell the difference. Thank you for the recipe. I will be visiting your blog and cooking light much more frequently!

  • 15 Shannon // Sep 4, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Gretchen – I’m so glad you liked them! They are definitely one of our favorites!

  • 16 LaRene // Nov 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Can I substitute applesauce for the butter? How would that affect the texture. We like our cookies soft and chewy.

  • 17 Shannon // Nov 8, 2010 at 6:35 am

    LaRene, I would think that you could substitute at least half of the butter with applesauce without changing the texture. I have never tried replacing the whole amount, so I’m not positive how they would turn out. If you try it, let me know!!

  • 18 Liz // Nov 16, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Hi! I just made these and they are quite good. Is it ok to substitute half the sugars with splenda and do the wet ingredients need to be beaten with beaters or is a whisk ok?

  • 19 Shannon // Nov 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Liz – I often just use a whisk when I am making them. As far as substituting the sugar is concerned, I have never tried it, but I’m sure you could use the “splenda for baking” mix – just follow the substitution guidelines on the package

  • 20 Move Over Betty Crocker! // Dec 9, 2010 at 9:04 am

    […] better not be telling a fib about these low calorie delights and this chocolate chip classic from will hopefully live up to the […]

  • 21 Ryan // Dec 20, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I made these tonight, with some slight modifications for ingredients I had on hand. I replaced the brown sugar with nonfat dry milk, added an extra teaspoon of vanilla, and used 1/4 cup of eggbeaters instead of the egg white. They came out absolutely amazing, chewy and smooth. And the extra information you have hear is going to be very useful. Thank you for this!

  • 22 Best ever healthy plain COOKIE RECIPE? // Jan 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    […] Calorie, Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used Splenda) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted 1 […]

  • 23 Leah // Jan 10, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Made these today and LOVE them! Accidentally made 12 giant cookies instead of 24 though – oops! :)

  • 24 Kaitlynn // Jan 15, 2011 at 1:42 am

    I don’t get it. I made this recipe the first time and they came out just fine. Then the 2nd and 3rd time I made them they fell, and basically were thin and burnt.
    I have no idea what I did differently the past two times I’ve tried these. The only thing I can think of is that I put them in the over WHILE it preheated, not after.

    I’m totally bummed out…this recipe is awesome otherwise!

  • 25 Jamie // Jan 23, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    These cookies are better than the real ones. I just made them and they are amazing. They are truly amazing.

  • 26 Andrea // Jan 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I think they tasted too much like flour, I might reduce it to 3/4 cup to make them less dry. Also the egg white makes the cookies develop a sort of crust on the outside similar to a meringue cookie, not in a bad way though

  • 27 MPA // Feb 23, 2011 at 8:50 am

    A friend brought them over…love ‘em! Asked her for the recipe and will be making them soon…YUM!

  • 28 Lisa // Apr 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Have you ever tried to substitute splenda and/or splenda blend for sugar(s)?

  • 29 Shannon // Apr 28, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Lisa – I have never tried Splenda, but some readers have, and they said that they came out fine. Just make sure to sure the Splenda that is made for baking, and follow the substitution directions on the back of the bag.

  • 30 Kate // May 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

    These could not have turned out better. They turned out absolutely amazing. Will only use this recipe from now on.

  • 31 GreatCookies // May 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I just made these and these are absolutely amazing! I ended up having to add a couple of splashes of water to the mixture (which had me worried), but the consistency of the finished product was incredible.

    These are great cookies, kind of on the smaller side, but delicious!! Yumm <3

  • 32 Recipe Corner: Peanut Butter Chip Coconut Cookies | A Weighty Mix // May 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    […] pretty excited about. I was trying to find a good recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and found one here. I was sold at the cookies only having around 61 calories, and not being made with Splenda, so I […]

  • 33 Jackie // May 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Really outstanding cookies. Soft, chewy, and just delightful. The only problem I have with them is that it only makes 11 cookies. But, they’re incredible so MAKE THESE COOKIES!

  • 34 Cynthia // Jun 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I made these cookies today and they turned out, well, not so well. They spread out quickly and combined to form one huge cookie. Then, as soon as I took them out of the oven, they disinflated. I tried them, and they tasted delicious. They just didn’t look it. I wonder what I did wrong…?

  • 35 Shannon // Jun 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Check out the “Tips and Tricks” at the end of the recipe – it sounds like your dough might have been too warm, or they may have had too much moisture.

  • 36 Lisa // Jun 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Dear Lisa

    This is great

  • 37 Jennifer // Aug 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I’d really like to try these out but the problem is I just ran out of brown sugar. I have molasses though so if i mix the granulated sugar with molasses will it turn out well?

  • 38 Shannon // Aug 5, 2011 at 6:07 am

    They should work out just fine Jennifer!

  • 39 Kitty // Aug 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    I just made them. They were quicker than I thought and taste better than I thought.
    Better than any recipes I’ve ever tried. AND low calories too?! Can’t get any better.

  • 40 10 ways to eat chocolate on a low calorie diet | chocolatechap // Aug 27, 2011 at 8:12 am

    […] 1 Chocolate covered cookies can be very low in calories as the chocolate only thinly coats the […]

  • 41 Kerry // Aug 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Amazing recipe! Happy to say I made my first-ever successful batch of chocolate chip cookies with this recipe!

  • 42 Alexis // Sep 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I made these cookies, but changed things up a little bit. I used 1/3 cup regular flour, 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats. And I substituted applesauce for the butter, using no butter at all. They turned out great and are now oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

  • 43 meaghann // Sep 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Ok so when it a 1/4 cup butter melted. does than mean a 1/4 cup after its been melted or 1/4 then melt it?

  • 44 Chewy Lowfat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Pecans « Sumptuous Spoonfuls // Oct 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

    […] Adapted from Cooking Done Light. […]

  • 45 Rachel // Oct 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    I made these tonight, cooked them for 8 minutes at 350 degrees and they burned! Maybe it’s because I substituted the granulated sugar with Splenda…

  • 46 Marisa // Nov 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    These were delicious and VERY easy to make! You sure they’re only 61 calories per cookie? :o)

  • 47 Kayla // Dec 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    These were awesome ! I just had some, 3 to be exact. They were perfect size, nice and fluffy and soft…I am tempted to get up and get more but i have to share them with everyone and show off this amazing recipe !! I substituted the sugar for splenda and splenda brown sugar. still turned out great!

  • 48 Mary // Jan 11, 2012 at 10:47 am

    These cookies were a very pleasant surprise! I made a couple of substitutions: I used a whole egg, omitted the 1/2 cup of white sugar, and used carob chips with no added sugar. And these cookies were STILL seriously good! I made them for myself, since I’m trying to eat less sugar, but my whole family ended up really enjoying them.
    I also really appreciate the fact that even after a few days, the cookies don’t taste dry or stale; most chocolate chip cookies are only good for a day or two. They are still nice and chewy.
    Thanks for coming up with such a great recipe!

  • 49 Allison // Jan 18, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I made these cookies with outstanding results. My brother tried them and didn’t know they were healthy. And I substituted half the butter for applesauce and the sugar for “Splenda For Baking”. If your cookies came flat, try refrigerating the dough before baking. I always keep some rolled in a log in my freezer so that I can cut it up and make a quick batch! Thank you SO much!

  • 50 Amy // Feb 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Do you think this recipe would work in a ramekin to make deep dish cookie pies? Of course, they would probably need to bake a little longer.

  • 51 Adrian // May 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Hate to be a Negative Nancy but in order to make a under 70 calorie cookie these come out really small if you make 24 as the recipe says. So if you make a real size cookie you still have a 130ish calorie cookie. I was only able to get 18 on a tray, and these were still only about silver dollar size. On the up side they are very tastie.

  • 52 Adrian // May 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Meant to add I use
    For my own recipe calorie analysis when I cook and these came out to 86 per cookie. Still not bad though.


    […] […]

  • 54 Nic // May 27, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you! Definitely the best low cal cookie recipe I’ve tried. I added a little bit of instant coffee to the batter (stolen form the Neiman Marcus recipe :-) and they were delicious!

  • 55 jill // Aug 30, 2012 at 12:00 am

    they were fantastic…. absolutely perfect.. will so make again. i recommend using a electric hand mixer because it beats the flour more thoroughly leaving you with a cookie that doesn’t have that raw flour taste. i also recommend using the yolk of the egg too because it makes it just slightly creamier and more moist. but if you don’t want the extra calories, just use two egg whites. its virtually the same thing.

  • 56 Tim // Sep 16, 2012 at 10:04 am

    can you use a 1/2 cup of stevia instead of granulated sugar?

  • 57 » Chewy Lowfat Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Pecans Sumptuous Spoonfuls // Oct 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    […] Adapted from Cooking Done Light. […]

  • 58 Kathy Taylor // Jan 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm


  • 59 Nisha // Jan 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    These were really really good!
    Unfortunately I over baked them slightly, which resulted with hard edges, but I guess such a mistake can be tolerated for a first time cooking cookies :P.
    Anyway, they were (and are!!!) quite awesome!

  • 60 Sandra // Feb 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I made these and the only thing I changed was using the MINI semi-sweet chocolate chips since I knew they would be a smaller cookie. They came out fantastic! I pressed the dough into a tablespoon measuring spoon and I ended up with 25 cookies. Will make these again! Thanks! (And when these are gone will try your cinnamon roll recipe :) ) Thanks again!

  • 61 Kimberly // Apr 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    These were fantastic!
    I used dark no sugar added chocolate wafers instead of chocolate chips (I just broke them up into smaller pieces) and substituted the brown and white sugar for 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar! They are SO good. I’m looking forward to playing with the recipe a bit – maybe switching the margarine with coconut oil and/or applesauce. Mine made 20 good sized cookies, by the way. Thank you so much – I can’t wait for my son to wake up from his nap to try these!

  • 62 Kathy // May 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I made these but substituted applesauce for butter. I also cut the sugar in half by using only the 1/2 cup of brown sugar since I didn’t want to use an artificial sweetener. I also used half chocolate chips and half butterscotch chips and took one of the other reader’s advice and cut them in half. I used almond extract instead of vanilla because I was out. The batter was very moist. If anything, the cookies came out really sweet. I’m going to cut down the sugar even more. The batter made 27 cookies at 43 calories a cookie.

  • 63 PonyLover // Jul 7, 2013 at 10:53 am


  • 64 PonyLover // Jul 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Good cookies!