(Lower-Fat) Chocolate Chip Cookies


I’ve had a preoccupation with chocolate chip cookies lately. I think I’ve been missing them. It’s been far too long.

This fixation led to near-constant daydreaming this week about David Leite’s quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie in the New York Times last year, and how he had come to the conclusion that refrigerating the dough for 24-36 hours before baking it improved their flavour and texture. More to the point was the fact that I hadn’t gotten around to trying them myself yet. I was mid-thought when I sat down to check out some of my favourite food blogs, and found Shauna had created a gluten-free version of the very same. A clear sign if ever one was presented to me.

But when I got to my mixing bowl this afternoon, printed-out recipe and softened pound of butter in hand, I couldn’t bring myself to start with a cup and a quarter of it.

And then – duh – this is not what I’m all about, is it? I sometimes forget. (Too often lately it seems.) Yes, it’s easy to make delicious cookies out of the better half of a pound of butter and twice as much sugar; easier even to eat far too many of them. I can make low fat versions of stuff like this that are pretty fantastic. I wonder if time spent in the fridge would improve them too?

So I made a batch of my old standbys, which I haven’t made in ages. I always add a bit of Roger’s Golden Syrup, honey or corn syrup to my cookie dough (the low-fat kind, anyway), to add a bit of moisture and to speed up the browning action. (Syrups brown more quickly than sugar.) People tend to want their cookies to be beautifully golden all the way through, and by doing so overbake them in order to get there, and then when they cool down and firm up, they aren’t chewy anymore. You almost need to underbake chocolate chip cookies, much like brownies. (Which has been running a close second to cookies in my brain’s porn channel lineup.)

And since I am currently in a maple mood (my breakfast of choice this past month has been homemade or Highwood Crossing granola with frozen wild blueberries and plain Bles-Wold yogurt, sprinkled with a little of Manon’s maple sugar), as I made the dough I pondered a maple version, made using maple syrup instead, and white chocolate chunks. And maybe pecans. Or toasted walnuts. That’s it – Maple Walnut White Chocolate Chunk Cookies. They wouldn’t have quite filled the proper void tonight, but I am so making them tomorrow. Hell, I might not even get through tonight without mixing up a batch.

Meanwhile, here’s a low fat chocolate chip cookie recipe. (Of course to be considered low fat in Canada a product must contain 3 grams of fat or less per serving, but these contain considerably less fat than a traditional recipe – only 1/4 cup, as opposed to a cup or so. And just look at them! Low-er fat.)

The biggest problem people run into when baking chewy chocolate chip cookies is overbaking – if they are golden all over when they come out of the oven, they won’t be chewy once they cool down. Because they firm up as they cool, make sure they are golden and set around the edges, but still very soft in the middle, if you want chewy cookies.

So. Does this lightened recipe in lieu of going whole hog (or cow, as the case may be – we’re talking butter, aren’t we?) mean I’m back on the weight-loss wagon? I’m sorry to have dropped the subject so abruptly. I could offer up a dozen reasons why, but all sound annoyingly like excuses. And none are any different from the impediments any of us face on a day to day basis. And when I think about it, although I have been pointing myself in far too many directions these days and not keeping on top of anything well, that’s not really the reason the subject (and our “Book Club”) has been backburnered. I think I just took that particular line of my brain off the hook, although I haven’t been able to shut off that annoying beeeep beeeep beeeeep reminder that it’s still there, waiting for me to pick up already. And is it me, or time just blasting by these days? Particularly in this state of global uncertainty, a debilitated economy and complete dismantling and simultaneous reconstruction of popular media. As Shaggy would say – Zoiks.

Part of me thinks no one wants to hear it. I don’t want to bore those who have no concerns about their weight with my ramble. I know I’m getting a little tired of the subject myself – of it occupying such a significant portion of my brain, all the time, for as long as I can remember. (As I may have mentioned, the first time I joined Weight Watchers, with my Mom, I was in the single-digits.) But I don’t really feel much better for ignoring it – it’s not quite the holiday I think my subconscious was hoping for.

Anyway, quick update, and I’ll keep them to the ends of my posts, so that they are easy to skip over if need be. Not much to report, really. You see how I’ve been eating. Still hopping around 204. Meh. Although only 5 lbs back up from when we were shooting in February (how could it be that long ago??) I feel much puffier. Could have something to do with my gym membership running out. Hopefully the coming of spring, coupled with a 90 pound dog, will get me moving again. More importantly, I have to start eating better. And less! (Yes, I realize exercise is important. It is. But people tend to overestimate how much they’ve burned with exercise, and more than make it up calorically. It doesn’t help that Big Food tries to put the blame for obesity rates on TV and computers, when it really has as much or more to do with the enormous quantities going in.)

Step 1: stick to two cookies, instead of putting away the entire sheet. (And I don’t mean into Tupperware.) Totally doable.

(Lower-Fat) Chocolate Chip Cookies


Yields1 Serving

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. golden syrup, honey or maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla or maple extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325°F.


In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until well combined — the mixture will have the consistency of wet sand. Add egg, corn syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.


Add the flour, baking soda and salt (stir them together first only if you want to) to the butter-sugar mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add chocolate chips and stir just until blended. It may seem dry at this point - I always find it easiest to get in there with my hands toward the end.


Drop spoonfuls of dough (or roll rough walnut-sized balls) about 2” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Flatten each a little with your hand, just to give them a head start. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden and set around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Makes 20 cookies.


 1/4 cup butter, softened
 1 cup packed brown sugar
 1 large egg
 2 Tbsp. golden syrup, honey or maple syrup
 2 tsp. vanilla or maple extract
 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 tsp. baking soda
 1/4 tsp. salt
 3/4 cup chocolate chips



Preheat oven to 325°F.


In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until well combined — the mixture will have the consistency of wet sand. Add egg, corn syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.


Add the flour, baking soda and salt (stir them together first only if you want to) to the butter-sugar mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add chocolate chips and stir just until blended. It may seem dry at this point - I always find it easiest to get in there with my hands toward the end.


Drop spoonfuls of dough (or roll rough walnut-sized balls) about 2” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Flatten each a little with your hand, just to give them a head start. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden and set around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Makes 20 cookies.

(Lower-Fat) Chocolate Chip Cookies

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37 comments on “(Lower-Fat) Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Vivian
    April 18, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Julie, luv, give yourself a break. YOU are the same effervescent, joyous, inventive, loving human being… whatever body you currently occupy. We love who YOU ARE, not your shape or weight. So many of us have that lesson to learn.

  2. Carolyn
    April 19, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Hey Julie – Did you see the email I sent you last week on the very topic of refrigerating the cookie dough? This is the very best chocolate chip cookie recipe!

  3. pauline
    April 19, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Julie, Vivian just said it all. So many of us are with you on this weight issue thing. I would love to be a lot lighter, but oh the pain to get there. Wonderful as it would be. You know what I just know the fat would come back, and then again I would beat myself up. Not that I don’t do it now . I love food, I love a glass of wine. I love to cook and eat out. Moderation is the key if I could just learn to have a cookie not 6 in a day. One small piece of cake not a big hunk and one more a little later because it was so good. Nuf said . I think you are fabulous Julie.

  4. glenda
    April 19, 2009 at 5:39 am

    Tomorrow is New Years day for me…back on the healthy wagon after a few weeks hiatus – for no good reason!
    And maybe my focus should be healthy….and not diet.
    Here we go!

  5. Kathy
    April 19, 2009 at 6:29 am

    Julie, I sure appreciate your honesty. I can relate. I have struggled with weight since I hit adolescence. I too think about my weight probably every day. I too wish I didn’t. [My habit of looking at myself in mirror sighing, beats self up–can’t be too good for my self-esteem- ya think?]

    Why do we, as in the collective we as women, do that d’ya think?

    Hang in there Julie. I finally watched a bit of It’s Just Food last Sunday afternoon on City–You look great!

  6. supersu
    April 19, 2009 at 6:47 am


    i hear ya….eventually we will all get there!

    thanks for your honesty-makes me feel a LOT better knowing i am not the only one.

    enjoy your cookies…

    <3 <3 love love love your blog <3 <3
    thank you so much

  7. thepinkpeppercorn
    April 19, 2009 at 8:08 am

    You are so open and honest. Good for you, on your ability to articulate all of that!! Sometimes I notice that when I obsess, the scale increases…. I do find that when I eat foods with fat (vs. little or none) I eat a lot less.

    BUT I’m all for trying these cookies, a cup of butter has always seemed at least a tad excessive!! I like to add a tablespoon of cornstarch, and have found that keeps the cookies soft too, thanks for the corn syrup tip – you always have tips I haven’t heard of before – LOVE it.

  8. Rachel
    April 19, 2009 at 8:32 am

    It occupies a large portion of my brain too, and I think it always will, even when I’m finally satisfied with the amount of weight loss (which hasn’t been significant yet). I have a lot of friends who can eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and they don’t have to exercise at all (I’m 19, so this isn’t too surprising). I’m just not one of those people…anyway, I guess I’m trying to say that I find it helpful to hear about your successes/struggles, and wish you all the best!

    I tried these cookies last summer following Leite’s recipe exactly, and they were fantastic, so I am reluctant to change it up, as I don’t make them very often at all. But I think I’ll give your adaptation a shot.

  9. Cheryl
    April 19, 2009 at 9:34 am

    This is a perfect post for us today. While I love baking with The Monster, the overload of cookies is getting to me. My freezer is filled with bags and bags of cookies. I put them there so I don’t eat them. We’ll be trying those for sure, the butter is already on the counter since she’s been bugging me all morning to bake.

  10. Steph
    April 19, 2009 at 11:54 am

    For a lower in fat cookie, those look great! I’m glad it’s an actual lower fat version and not just a scaled down version that some people like to call ‘low fat’.. haha.

  11. Erin M.
    April 19, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Mmmm…those look delicious. I will definitely give those a shot next time my little guy wants cookies. The white chocolate version sounds to die for too! Hope they turn out like you hoped. I agree with the other ladies, dont beat yourself up, you look great. If I spent as much time around delicious foods as you do I think I’d weight 500 pounds lol. Every little bit of effort counts even if we fall back into old bad habits everyone once in awhile I find the amount of time off the wagon decreases everytime.

  12. gail
    April 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Julie, you might want to take a look at Cook’s Illustrated. They have all the science about the different sugars that make a cookie chewy (which I’m sure you know already) along with a concern about the amount of butter in the original recipe so they have a go in this month’s issue at this very recipe — the one that refrigerates the dough for 36 hours. He found out a much faster way of doing it. I made the cookies and it’s the world’s EASIEST recipe — easier than any cookie recipe I’ve ever made — and it certainly made a good cookie. (Though I confess, like Eric Peterson the actor, I much prefer oatmeal cookies with coconut and chocolate chips). I thought of writing you at the time — I guess we were both channelling the same thoughts about chocolate chip cookies cause yes *I* had a yen for them too, fulfilled by the Cooks Illustrated version.

  13. Cheryl T.
    April 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    These sound DELISH — I’m definitely trying them. And, from looking at your pictures, you definitely do not need to worry about weight!

  14. Avery
    April 19, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Dude… I JUST made chocolate chip cookies yesterday. Not the low fat-kind, either (the recipe was on the back of the President’s Choice chocolate chip bag). Funny, usually I resort to your choco-chip cookie bar recipe, but this time I wanted a real cookie. They’re great, but its true… it just makes you want to eat the whole sheet!!

  15. Manon from Ontario
    April 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Julie, what is Roger’s Golden Syrup? Gees, you must think I’m such a virgin when it comes to cooking!
    Hey thanks for the “plug”, and I’m really glad you enjoy my products, I love sharing our sweat stuff 🙂
    This weekend we worked at cleaning the sugar shack. Then we began working on our apple orchard, cleaning the “apple shed” and picking up the branches we trimmed off our 500 fruit trees, and our other trees on our 10 acres area around our home.
    So you will understand that I haven’t been cooking much, except for making diner, and haven’t been on my weigh loss plan in a good three months.
    I’m glad that I’m working alot outside, walking, burning branches, and next weekend we plan to clean the pipeline, so lots and lots of walking, bending, and lifting legs….good good good for my butt!

    I love hearing about your weigh loss journey…I’d love to be at 204…but I’d be dreaming, I’m still too far from 199 to think about it for now.


  16. Manon from Ontario
    April 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    oops, I meant sweet stuff 😉

  17. Jenn
    April 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Hey Julie!

    Totally agree with Vivan^^ I think it shouldn’t be about weight or body shape, necessarily, as you so pointed out numerous times, its all about eating healthy!! Keep it up, and I LOVE your cookies!!

  18. JulieVR
    April 20, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Carolyn – no.. I don’t think so? Did you send it to onesmartcook[at]hotmail.com?

  19. pauline
    April 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Julie! doing the the happy dance print post is working. Yes. Cookies look so good.

  20. Nancy
    April 21, 2009 at 8:38 am

    I love reading and using your recipes, but have to blink and look away quick at some of them since I rejoined WW in Feb. We are about the exact same size/shape but I’ve already lost 15 lbs. without killing myself (still enjoy my weigh in day wine!!!) so if you do feel like getting back to it, it really is worth it! You have to be mentally ready though, as you know. I have little ones too, so the challenge of not eating the grilled cheese crusts and plate leftovers is hard, but doable!

    Didn’t mean this to be a sermon, just support if and when you are ready to get back on the wagon!

    I adore you and your Grazing book and have started a fan club with my friends – we take turns getting it out of the library, waiting for the new one to be printed!!!

  21. JulieVR
    April 22, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Thanks – you’re so right! I’m still down 15 lbs from Christmas, so that’s something. (It was 20, but you know..) I did lose 165 pounds about 8 years ago- and you’re right, you just have to just do it, and it’s so worth it! Gotta shed this chubby cocoon! Thanks for the support!

  22. chocolate
    August 7, 2010 at 9:00 am

    hellooo…I jus baked a batch of chewy chocolate chip cookies…but there’s a problem wif it..=(
    Firstly,the cookie look so brown..???isit bcuz i added to much granulated sugar to it and thus it causes it to brown so badly???
    Secondly,the middle of the cookie seems so soft…???isit bcuz its not cooked yet???

  23. JC
    January 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve tried 5 different chocolate chip recipes in the past few months, and this one nailed it! Thank you thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  24. Sandra Molendyk
    March 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Hi, I tried making your cookies today, except I substituted a lot. It turned out pretty good.
    For instance, I only had 1/8 of butter, so I also used 1/8 c olive oil. I used 1c non packed brown sugar. I added cinnamon, cardamon, ginger. I also tried to use 1 cup of whole wheat and 1 cup of presoaked (24 hours) rye flakes. However, because of the extra moisture from the olive oil and the wet rye flakes, I had to actually use 2 cups – 2.5 cups of whole wheat flower. I also added 1 cup of soaked pecans and 1 cup of mixed (seeds, cashews, raisins and almonds) with bran noodle type cereal and aspen cereal.

    So all in all, your recipe helped me to make a good low fat, high fiber, nutrient rich cookie. With half the amount of sugar and half the amount of fat, but of course also extra fat from organic nuts and seeds.

    Next time, I would probably cook the nuts and rye flakes up a bit to crisp them before adding to mixture, so it is more crunchy and less cake like.

    Thanks so much for your recipe, it was the best one I found for an active person not wanting butter or sugar.

  25. eprairiegrrl
    June 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    It may be wrong but I just added bacon to these cookies…figured maybe it would make them not quite as bad as the full on bacon cookie recipes I’ve seen. Only problem is that now I’m wondering if they could become cookie dough truffles too lol!

  26. Wei-Wei
    August 7, 2011 at 4:40 am

    I’ve made these cookies millions of times with M&Ms and they are always the first thing to disappear at a bake sale. Best cooke recipe… ever.

  27. ALS
    January 14, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Possibly THE best cookie recipe ever!!!!

  28. Jenny
    December 2, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe, I was feeling a little down this weekend and these were just what I needed. You seem like such a beautiful person, love yourself as you are and thank you for being so open and honest, I can relate but I don’t have the courage that you have.

  29. Barbara MacLeod
    February 12, 2018 at 11:05 am

    I would love the nutrition breakdown for these cookies. Is it available, and I just missed it?


  30. Jade
    July 11, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Hey!! These are delicious!! First successful cookie!! Exactly as you have described and just what I wanted after waking up from a nap!
    I’ve got ibs and too much fat is a trigger for me but I dreamt about cookies I think so I searched “low fat cookies” to see if it was possible! Turns out it totally is!
    Also.. I veganised this recipe by using a flax-egg instead and I used vegan butter. Amazing. So content. I could die now hahaa.

    • Julie
      July 23, 2019 at 8:36 pm

      yay, so glad to hear it!

  31. Valerie
    September 11, 2019 at 10:49 am

    These are really good! I like that they stay chewy, thanks to the syrup addition, and are a bit less of an indulgent treat than the standard chocolate chip cookie. We’re lovers of maple syrup around here, so of course that was my choice of the three options…. Thank you very much for sharing!

  32. Mary
    October 27, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    This recipe looked like it had potential. Made these in muffin tins and they failed miserably. I blame myself for possibly using a little extra butter, and somewhat darker brown sugar. The main issue was that I 2/3rd filled the tray and they rose so high and spread and burnt. Going to try baking the second half with some adjustments, but will be hesitant to use honey in the future because they became sticky and hard. Thanks for the recipe though! I just wanted to give everybody a heads up about using them with muffin trays.

  33. Nancy
    November 14, 2020 at 11:13 am

    I have been trying to make the perfect thicker, chewy cc cookie for I dont know how long…unsuccessfully, and these are divine!! I found them looking for a low fat version as I need to cut the fat 😉 and these are better than the unhealthy versions!! Thank you so much!! Best wishes to you.

  34. Ayesha
    November 20, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Made these cookies yesterday and they were excellent ! Thank you soo much for sharing this recipe, I couldn’t be happier with the result… I did add a teaspoon of artificial butter flavour, but otherwise no changes or additions to your recipe… Tasted just as good as a regular butter laden chocolate chip cookie and the texture was perfect too.

  35. Chelsea Greenwood
    March 21, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    These are perfect!!! I needed lower fat in order to not upset my gallbladder- but I wanted a cookie. I used date syrup but otherwise followed the recipe. They were tasty and almost caramelized fresh from the oven. But actually the next day after being in a air tight container they were even more delicious! Their fluff level went up. Thank you so much!!!

  36. Sonja M Ford
    January 9, 2024 at 5:07 pm

    Mrs. Julie what is the nutritional information for the Lower-Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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