Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let me tell you now that these are by far THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES I’ve ever made and tasted, even better than the full-fat ones. And I really wish I have myself to credit for the recipe, but alas, no. It’s from Cook’s Illustrated Light Recipes. This is the 2nd recipe of the two that I’ve tried from that issue and I’m continued to be impressed with it.

Seriously. Make this. It’s worth the hassle of cooking and straining the dried pitted dates. You read that right. I know it doesn’t sound so palatable now, but trust me on this: You won’t even know it’s there but boy oh boy this tastes magnificent. It’s like the magical switcheroo, which will have you clamoring for more.

The recipe makes 18 big cookies and it only contains 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar. The chewiness is phenomenal, the full chocolate-y and there’s-something-else-so-good taste is something you’ll remember for days and weeks to come.

I just made this again while I’m here in Vancouver. I would have to emphasize the importance of using a really good cookie sheet to get the best results. When I first made it, these chocolate-y mounds came to life on an insulated cookie sheet [we got ours from Crate & Barrel and I highly recommend it!] and they came out PERFECT — as perfect as gourmet cookie store-bought cookies can be. I used regular cookies sheets the second time around and the results weren’t as stellar. It was disappointing. So, please, invest in a good insulated cookie sheet or use your trusty silpats and bake away. You won’t regret it and the cookie lovers in your household will love you more for it.

I’ve taken the liberty to take step-by-step photos for your viewing (and learning/cooking) pleasure.

Go bake ’em! This is sure to be a hit at your next picnic. Or just enjoy it at home or pack it in your brown bag and make your co-workers jealous.

Here’s the recipe:

Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies [from Cook’s Illustrated Light Recipes 2008 magazine]
» Download PDF recipe

Ingredients: [makes 18 cookies]

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dates
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325ºF. Line 2 baking sheets (or one big insulated sheet) with parchment paper.
  2. Bring water to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add dates and simmer until tender and most of water has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Using rubber spatula, press dates through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl. Scrape dates remaining in strainer into bowl (you should have 1/4 cup puree). Cook butter in small saucepan over medium heat until nutty brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat melted butter, brown sugar, and date puree until blended. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons chips and stir remaining chips into batter by hand.
  4. The Jagged Edge Technique to get the craggy tops on classic chocolate chip cookies:
    Roll 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull it into two equal halves, creating jagged edges. Rotate the cookie halves together at their base so that they form a single ball. Space the balls of dough, jagged side up, 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Press remaining 2 tablespoons chips evenly over cookies.
  6. Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light golden brown and centers are soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating baking sheet front to back halfway through baking. Cool cookies completely on baking sheet. Serve.

Note: Cookies will keep in airtight container for up to 3 days.

Nutritional Information per cookie:
Calories: 120 Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 2 g

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  • June 9, 2008 8:59 am

    I would never have believed these are low fat – they look wonderful!

    Patricia Scarpins last blog post..Spiced madeleines

  • June 9, 2008 9:28 am

    Wow, you’re certainly building quite a library of (relatively) light treats! Yum! I can only find fresh dates here, though, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them dried (at first glance I thought you were talking about prunes– which is too bad ’cause I’ve got too many of them here! :) )

    Manggys last blog post..Korean Barbecued Chicken

  • June 9, 2008 9:54 am

    I have to give these a try. I’m really intrigued about only using 3 tbsp of butter. I love dates, so won’t have any issues throwing them in. Thanks!

    Chucks last blog post..Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice

  • June 9, 2008 10:50 am

    What a great recipe. Just stumbled upon your blog and am loving it!

    Jennys last blog post..Peanut Butter Whopper Cookie Sandwiches

  • joy
    June 10, 2008 9:44 am

    Patricia — Thanks! Yes, looks can be deceiving.

    Manggy — Yup. It’s getting to be that age. LOL. Hey my mom said you can buy it there at the grocery stores or in Quiapo. I know she used them before for baking.

    Chuck — You better! I don’t think you’ll noticed the lack of butter at all.

    Jenny — Thanks!

  • June 10, 2008 3:20 pm

    Oh yes. This is on my to-do list this weekend and I don’t have to (fully) give up on the diet. Excellent!

  • June 11, 2008 11:40 am

    i LOVE cook’s illustrated! and i am obsessed with america’s test kitchen too. i’m going to try to find this issue at barnes and noble on my way home!

    katys last blog post..Rhubarb Jam

  • joy
    June 12, 2008 11:56 pm

    Lorissa — Right on! You’ll love it. :)

    Katy — Love it, too! I hope you can still find it. The only one I see these days are the Summer Barbecue one. I haven’t tried any ATK recipe, I just watch the show. Haha.

  • ciao90
    August 18, 2008 2:30 am

    Awesome recipe, thanks for posting it! I just made these last night-followed the directions exactly without altering anything. The date puree works like a charm. I skipped the parchment paper and just greased my insulated cookie sheet.

    I think I made the cookies smaller than suggested and they didn\’t flatten out like in the photos above. But they taste fabulous.

  • heartburn
    January 11, 2009 5:48 am

    I just tried your recipe today and wanted to say thank you, because it was really tasty! :)

  • April 21, 2009 2:10 am

    What an interesting recipe with the date puree! Will have to try them, perhaps with xylitol in place of the sugar. They look fabulous!!

    Lauren Bs last blog post..Healthy Low Carb Chocolate Pie

    • joy
      July 31, 2009 6:48 pm

      I was skeptical about the date puree in chocolate chip cookies until I actually tried it. Simply awesome.

  • Jessie
    July 31, 2009 11:24 am

    You’re a lifesaver! I love these cookies, but since my Cook’s Illustrated issue with the recipe went missing, I haven’t been able to make them… until now. Thanks!

    • joy
      July 31, 2009 6:24 pm

      You’re welcome Jessie! Glad to help. I love these cookies!

  • best baker
    August 6, 2009 6:55 am

    AWESOME!!!! My kids are beggin for more!

  • Christina
    July 8, 2010 5:50 pm

    This recipe looks great! I can’t wait to start baking these. But I have a question – is there a way to substitute for dates?

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