Monday, May 3, 2010

Chocolate Chip and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Boyfriends are fun to mess with. Especially mine. I have a simple trick that I like to play on him: I take some of our favorite dessert recipes, make some healthy substitutions (without him knowing of course), and innocently watch him to see if he notices any differences. Yes, he is the official guinea pig of MsMeanie's Test Kitchen.

I'll admit it though, some recipes don't fool him, and he can detect a hint of healthy, but these oatmeal cookies? They get him - every, single, time.

The first time I made these cookies, I followed the recipe exactly and they were amazing - rich and chewy and just sweet enough. A few weeks later I made them again, this time with a few healthy tweaks, and guess what? They were STILL amazing. Deliciously rich from the chocolate and pecans, with a balance of crispy on the outside and chewy in the center. My tastebuds loved me, my arteries thanked me, and my test kitchen guinea pig devoured them without suspecting a thing. Now, that to me is cookie perfection.

Chocolate Chip and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from Smitten Kitchen and David Lebovitz, makes about 36 cookies)

*4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
*4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
*3/4 cup white sugar
*1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*1/2 cup all purpose flour
*3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
*2 cups chopped pecans
*12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a large cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and applesauce in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about three minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time.
3. Sift together the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Stir in half of the flour mixture to the butter. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half. Stir in the oats, pecans, orange zest, and chocolate chips.
3. Place a small piece of plastic wrap over the dough and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours (at least 1 hour). This step gives the cookies a great texture and really enhances the flavor. The longer the cookies are chilled, the chewier and more flavorful they will be.
4. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for a few minutes, then drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack.


  1. The applesauce is a great substitution to keep a cookie soft and cut on the butter!

  2. Oh, you would have tricked me on these, too!! I've never tried tricking my girlfriend with healthy substitutions but then again she's not crazy about desserts *gasp!*. I will try out this recipe for myself though (without the nuts hehe). YUM!

  3. Hey Ms. Meanie, I was just thinking today that I want cookies with chocolate and pecans. For some reason, I find pecan to taste caramel like once it is cooked/toasted-love it. These look extra delicious to me right now!

  4. your boyfriend's a lucky fella and he knows it! anyone who gets to taste-test things that come out of a kitchen as fine as yours should count his blessings!

  5. These cookies look so good I will not be able to resist them! I like the little changes you made, including the whole wheat flour.

  6. Oh you tickle me! I do the same thing with recipes... try to healthy them up and see if anyone notices a difference. It's fun!

    Those cookies look great!

  7. I thought the whole POINT of boyfriends was to be guinea pigs. Really? No? I'm going to have to rethink my whole strategy.

    These cookies sound delicious! Cookies in general are very hard to healthify and if you found a way to do it, then I need to try it!

  8. deliziosi questi biscotti! me ne mandi un vassoio?:)
    bravissima!! ciao!

  9. I'll keep your secret!
    Whole wheat flour gives a nice nutty flavor which would be perfect with oatmeal cookies.

  10. I can't wait to make these! I LOVE oatmeal cookies, but my boy friend is so-so on them. He does like pecans, so maybe that'll be enough to get him to try 'em. Because I know that once he does he won't be disappointed.

  11. Love oatmeal cookies -- though I've never tried making them using the applesauce trick. Might just have to try this!

  12. I use that same trick on my Husband... but since he rarely eats sweets, it's more for my benefit than anything! Your cookies look like they have that touch of "cake-ness" from the applesauce, and really look tasty. *Mental bookmark on this one!*

  13. What a great idea to test on bf! I always use healthy substitutions in my for example omega brownies with flaxseed meal and honey coconut etc. I made many healthy treats that my partner tried, but I can't help splurging out the words "It's Healthy!!" as he's eating it, but I still get good feedback, still I should keep my mouth shut.

  14. Hmm - they look tasty. But with 1 3/4 cups of sugar, I'm not sure about healthy!!

  15. Thank you everyone for the comments!

    AfricanHoneyBadger - "healthy" is a relative term. I never said these cookies are diet food. They just have less fat than traditional oatmeal cookies and contain whole wheat flour. Still, I get about 36 cookies from this recipe, so it comes out to about 3/4 tablespoon of sugar per cookie.

  16. These look so good! I love the fact that there is apple sauce and little butter.

  17. Talia, if you try these cookies, let me know how they turn out!

  18. Yummy! These look delicious. In fact, I've been through several of your blogs and they all look so good! I love chocolate chips. I just made chocolate chip granola bars. Oatmeal and chocolate chips are the perfect marriage, aren't they?
    Clever you, tricking your boyfriend like that. *giggles* My guy lives in France, but when he was visiting I would try things out on him also. Men! (and the things they let us do to them).

    I think the addition of applesauce in place of a stick or two of butter is awesome! And you still get enough butter to add that creamy, decadent taste.

    I've added you to my "favorites" list so I can keep in touch and pop in for visits into your kitchen.

    So nice to make your acquaintance. Thank you for taking the time to visit me. I'll see you around.

  19. Hi! I think your photos are really nice! Am a lover of chocolate myself. Just went thru all your 'chocolate' posts - gosh...really have to try some of the recipes there!

  20. How have I not seen your blog before?! The recipes are so much fun, and the pics are great! Love this cookie recipe ... will experiment on my hubbs with it :)

  21. Are you sure? I don't trust an oatmeal cookie.
    Also what's that plate you have there? Is that from leave it to beaver's house?

  22. As much as your bf and mine are usually alike, mine would be happy to be tricked into eating healthy food -- in fact, I usually have to trick him into eating slightly less healthy food. And I just can't get him to eat junk food. My world is upside down, can you tell? Well, except when we're near an In 'n Out, then he's a double-double kind of guy :)
    So, about these cookies, they look perfect and they have all the right ingredients for a cookie I'd want to eat every day of the week. And I LOVE that you already wrapped two of them up as a present for me (see second picture) ;) Waiting anxiously for the mail every day now.