Just okay-ish cookies, please!
December 9, 2020 4:30 AM   Subscribe

I do not want your best cookie recipes: I want your okay, everyday, good enough, that'll do cookie recipes! The cheaper and easier the better!

I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday (with loads of butter, sugar and chocolate) and we ate them all. 2 adults and 2 kids, 25 big cookies, gone in 30 minutes. That is not sustainable.

That's why I'm now looking for recipes which will give us cookies that are good enough to statisfy that cookie craving, but not good enough that we eat two dozen at a time. Please help our waistlines!

Preferred cookie types: chocolate chip, coconut, oatmeal; but hey, we have plenty of time on our hands to try other types.
posted by gakiko to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
At least for me, it’s the butter and sugar that create the cravings for more rather than quality per se. Look into cookies that aren’t very sweet and are light on fats (using applesauce for some of the butter). Fiber helps you feel full too, so substituting some of flour with a whole grain may help.
posted by redlines at 4:43 AM on December 9, 2020

(using applesauce for some of the butter)

That and/or egg-replacer should help. Maybe use whole wheat.

but not good enough

I think you'll have luck with older vegan chocolate chip cookie recipes.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:49 AM on December 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Look up healthy cookies. :) But here’s our defaults:

1 cup quick oats + 1 mashed banana + a handful of chocolate chips. Scoop heaping tablespoons onto nonstick tray or parchment paper laden tray. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Small batch, easy, not too yummy.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:51 AM on December 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

Here are the cookies my dad makes to keep around. As I understand it, they are his adaptation of a low-GI cookie, and they are pretty good but not the kind of thing where you devour ten.

These keep forever as long as they are reasonably tightly lidded. A full recipe makes a lot. They spread a good deal while baking.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
3 T Gran. Sugar
1 Cup + 2 T Old Fashioned Oats
1 Large egg
1 t Vanilla

3/4 Cup(3 oz)Finely shredded unsweetened Coconut
7 oz Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Finely chopped Walnuts

1/2 Cup All-purpose Flour
1/4 t Baking Soda

In a large glass or ceramic bowl microwave the Butter until very soft, melting, or melted.

Add both Sugars and the Oatmeal, stirring until mixed.

Stir in the Egg and Vanilla, then the Coconut, Chocolate Chips, and Walnuts.

Stir the Baking Soda into the Flour, then add to the rest, stirring thoroughly.

Heat oven to 375˚ F. Drop Tablespoon sized or larger amounts of the cookie dough onto cookie sheets. (Note: these do not bake well on jelly-roll sheets with the sides all around).
Bake just one sheet at a time. You can prepare the second sheet while the first is baking.

Check them at nine minutes. Usually the first sheet needs about 90 seconds to 2 minutes more. The second sheet sometimes is ready at nine minutes, never more than ten or so.

Cool 2 to 4 minutes on sheet, then transfer cookies to cooling racks.
posted by Frowner at 4:52 AM on December 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Oh smush them with a fork before baking.

There’s also a Kraft easy peanut butter recipe that is peanut butter, egg, sugar, vanilla or something like that that’s similar.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:52 AM on December 9, 2020

Maximally Easy Oatmeal Cookies:

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar (brown if you've got it)
1 cup margarine or salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder

mash all ingredients like hell with your hands; roll into little ball-discs and bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes depending on size of little ball-discs

if you want to add things like cinnamon or vanilla or raisins or chocolate chips or nuts, go for it! but honestly just the brown sugar and oats and salty margarine goodness is more than enough

my favourite thing about this recipe besides how easy it is is how scalable it is--the math is so easy it's not even math. also, no eggs means no foodsafety concerns.
posted by cabbage raccoon at 5:03 AM on December 9, 2020

A simple molasses cookie, like the one described here can work. Bake a little less for a chewy cookie, or a little more for a crisp one.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:08 AM on December 9, 2020

Sounds like a job for afghans, https://edmondscooking.co.nz/recipes/biscuits/afghans/ Which also uses up those little cornflake crumbs at the bottom of the box. I don’t put 2 cups in, only 1. I also use bran flakes. The cereal gives the biscuit extra crunch.

These are really quick to make and little so you can set a two bikkie each limit. We love em in NZ but they may be an acquired taste elsewhere and be only “meh” for you.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 5:20 AM on December 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

British Flapjacks? They're more like a sort-of granola bar than a cookie, but sweet enough to satisfy the "cookie!" craving. They're basically a shit-ton of oatmeal just barely held together with butter and a couple of sugar syrups.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:28 AM on December 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

No-bake chocolate cookies are easy to make. They are so tooth-achingly sweet that my family eats them much more slowly than most other kinds of cookies.
posted by belladonna at 5:43 AM on December 9, 2020

I'd say Mary Berry's three ingredient cookies hit this spot for me.
posted by heavenknows at 6:17 AM on December 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also, for chocolate chip cookies -- do not bake them all at once! Just bake what you want for now and freeze the rest of the dough in little balls. Then you can put one straight in the oven when you want one -- only takes about 8-10 minutes. This has saved me!
posted by heavenknows at 6:19 AM on December 9, 2020 [21 favorites]

1 egg, 1 cup of peanut butter, 1 cup of sugar. 350 degrees for 10 min or less. Works best with commercial peanut butter, not natural.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:28 AM on December 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Try using carob.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:45 AM on December 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

This is a great topic and I'm interested to see what other people suggest.

I've started to avoid any recipe that calls for a stick of butter or more. We're only two people, weak people at that. If I bake it, we'll eat it. Quickly. So it's better to bake something less unhealthy.

Nutrition Action recommends a maximum of 7 tsp of added sugar per day. I trimmed the sugar in my recipe so there's only 1 tsp of sugar or less per cookie. This recipe makes 14-18 cookies. There's no salt, no butter, and just a little oil. It takes one bowl, two measuring cups, one spatula, and fits on one baking sheet because these don't spread. I've tried 18 variants on the recipe. I never thought of banana, but I’ll try that next time on warriorqueen’s suggestion.

I've asterisked the items that can be tweaked.

*1/3 C oil (I've used olive, walnut, hazelnut, sesame oils)
*1/3 C packed dark brown sugar (I've used light brown, raw, raw cane, but not white)
1 large egg
*1 tsp vanilla extract (almond, orange, lemon)
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
*1/2 C all purpose flour (buckwheat, almond flour, cornmeal)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 C rolled oats, not quick-cooking
*1/2 C dried currants or raisins (I can't stand raisins in cookies, so I've used choc chips, craisins, toasted walnuts, chopped dates, dates and walnuts, coconut, chopped apple)

Put the oil and sugar in a bowl and then start adding the other ingredients in order. It stirs together easily and drops easily onto the baking sheet. I use a Silpat but if you don't, you might need to grease the cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through.
posted by sevenstars at 7:09 AM on December 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Any boxed cake mix + 2 eggs + 1/3-1/2 cup of oil (start with less, add if it seems too dry).
Drop onto a cookie sheet. Bake for around 12-15 minutes at 350.

You can get fancy by adding chocolate chips or M&M's, dipping in white chocolate, or dusting cinnamon sugar on top of yellow cake mix to make snickerdoodles.
posted by Mchelly at 7:19 AM on December 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I find cakier cookies to do this for me—they’re nice enough but more resistable. The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook has pretty consistently cakey cookies, if you want a source.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:29 AM on December 9, 2020

You can start with the same recipe, plan to make a batch every week/few days, and just gradually reduce the amount of sugar and/or butter. Maybe add a LOT of walnuts to feel a little better (reduce butter to compensate). At some point you might start mixing in toasted (or not toasted) oats.

Your batter will be slightly eggier/liquidier. Add a tiny bit more flour and/or a bit of milk to get to a more cookie-dough (or biscuity) consistency.

Bonus: if it doesn't turn out being amazing, that's fine. They're still cookies, and you'll learn something.

Eventually you'll wind up with granola bars. Granola bars that aren't too sweet.
posted by amtho at 7:47 AM on December 9, 2020

I came in to suggest the peanut butter cookies that tiny frying Pan mentioned above - super easy, very yummy. You can also add chocolate chips if you want!
posted by firei at 8:32 AM on December 9, 2020

Yesterday I made sugar cookies using the following recipe:

2 cups flour (whole wheat pastry flour or regular white)
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
4 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder or apple pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
----- Rolled to 1/4 inch thickness, cut into shapes, baked 12 minutes @ 350F, cooled, and then iced.

To me, this is a more health-conscious version of the average sugar cookie which tends to have way more fat and sugar than this. The texture of this cookie is identical and the taste, especially with icing on, is indistinguishable from regular sugar cookies. Big thumbs up!

However, the real hack here is to get everyone to ice their own cookies in elaborate ways.

(a) Something about the truly joyous family activity of icing cookies feels adjacent to the satisfaction and satiation we get from eating a cookie. The kids and I felt like we spoiled ourselves eating just two-three cookies each.

(b) When we are limited to eating only the cookies we make the effort to ice painstakingly, it lowers the number of cookies consumed just because of the concrete imposed delay in gratification

(c) Best of all, it helps us savor each cookie and become present to our experience of eating every bite. Eating the accidental wonky eye on the snow person which has a decidedly evil look becomes ~an event~. Mindfulness helps satiation too.
posted by MiraK at 8:37 AM on December 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

I've always had good luck with this crinkle cookie recipe. They end up looking a lot more complex than they actually are.
posted by sacrifix at 8:40 AM on December 9, 2020

substitute banana for the butter in your cookies. ET VOILA.

"you brought low fat cookies! wow... thanks... we'll just... put them over there"

(but still sweet and edible, much better than no cookies at all)
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:25 AM on December 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

It might use a lot of wrap/clingfilm but you can manufacture restraint if you freeze balls of dough on a per-cookie basis and make only one or two each time you put the oven on.
posted by k3ninho at 11:21 AM on December 9, 2020

What about strong ginger cookies? I don't have a recipe here, but my experience is that the spicyness is delicious but doesn't inspire cravings like sweeter bakeware does.
posted by mumimor at 12:00 PM on December 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Icebox cookies! This is a kind of old fashioned thing but there is infinite variation. You make a cookie dough that's really quite sturdy and roll it into a log, wrap it in wax paper and set it in the freezer. Then once solid you slice them into cookies and bake. The benefit here is that you can bake exactly as many cookies as you need for an occasion and store the rest of the log in the freezer. Also they aren't the current giant crispy-chewy-etc monstrosity of contemporary cookies, more something to have with tea or coffee. The one I'm most familiar with has pecans but my family has done them with various mix-ins and substitutions as well as fancy versions with like a chocolate dough and lemon dough chess board pattern thing.

Here is my mom's recipe for something just called "nut cookies", pretty sure this is verbatim from some Betty Crocker edition:
1 cup brown sugar
1/4lb butter (1/2 cup or 1 stick)
1 egg
1-3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecan or walnuts

Mix all thoroughly and roll in long roll. Wrap in waxed paper and place in fridge or freeser. When hard slice 1/4 inch or thicker and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes. 3 doz large or 5 doz small (depends on the diameter of your cookie log.) Watch carefully. Very easy to burn bottom.
posted by Mizu at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Tiger Candy: mix peanut butter, rolled oats, honey, and dehydrated milk powder (optional, but good for texture and nutrition) until it forms a dry-ish ball. Include raisins, nuts, and chocolate chips as you like. Roll into balls and chill until firm; store in wax paper twists.
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend making cookie dough, forming into a tube shape, and hiding a lot of it in the freezer, bottom shelf is the coldest.

Otherwise, may of my nutrition-conscious friends reduce the fat, use applesauce for some of it, reduce the sugar, and swear they .taste the same. They don't. Personally, if I want adequate cookies, I'll get storebought boxed ginger snaps; 1 brand is pretty cardboard-y, but satisfyng enough when I must have cookies.
posted by theora55 at 2:42 PM on December 9, 2020

Maybe something like 3 ingredient banana almond flour cookies ? I've also been experimenting with various ratios of almond butter + banana + chocolate chip, but that is a work in progress.
posted by oceano at 3:42 PM on December 9, 2020

I made Mary Berry's three ingredient cookies from upthread today and I am here to warn you that if you like simple, old-fashioned cookies they are not resistible. I think that due to their plainness and lack of chocolate kids might not like them as much, but I ate two in the blink of an eye and only rigid determination kept me from going on. They're not quite a shortbread, not quite a sugar cookie...but so good. I'm thinking of making them as the simple option for my Christmas cookies.
posted by Frowner at 4:01 PM on December 9, 2020

I don't know anyone who binges on ginger snaps, even though they're good. They're pretty hard, and a little spicy...some people even add black pepper. They don't even look appetizing.
posted by wryly at 4:52 PM on December 9, 2020

I'll nth scooping the dough onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freezing. Then just throw them in a container. Take needed number of cookies out when needed. I've baked them from frozen or let them thaw in the fridge. I have a huge amount of frozen cookie dough in my freezer. I started making bake sale cookies during lockdown. Now there isn't a bake sale. I'll bake 'em and give 'em to coworkers.
posted by kathrynm at 5:18 PM on December 9, 2020

Like the people who suggest freezing, I only bake what I want to eat right away, say two or three cookies per person. Cookies taste better as the dough ages over several days, so this method also means the cookies get more delicious every night!
posted by sumiami at 7:31 PM on December 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Shortbread cookies are easy with few ingredients. I love them, but I don't consider them cookies people typically binge on. Your family might be more voracious than mine. You can modify the linked recipe very easily with lemon, vanilla, chocolate, lavender, or even earl grey tea.
posted by Stoof at 7:27 AM on December 10, 2020

The Smitten Kitchen salted peanut butter cookies are extremely easy and good, but one usually does it for me (in contrast to, say, her chocolate chunk cookies, which I could eat until I collapse and die from sugar overload).

Lately I've been reducing the sugar by 1/4–1/2 cup and adding some chocolate chips.
posted by catoclock at 7:44 AM on December 10, 2020

I eat graham crackers plain for this purpose, to suppress my sinful urges (I'm joking, but seriously, the history of them is ridiculous)
posted by yueliang at 9:12 AM on December 10, 2020

I sometimes keep cookies similar to these digestive biscuits on hand for those (rare) times when I don't feel much like eating and just want a little something to go with a cup of tea, or to eat enough that I can take meds. They can live safely in my cupboard for weeks, safe from my sweet tooth.

Here's a recipe.
posted by bunderful at 10:42 AM on December 10, 2020

There are many flavor variations on this so I won't post a link so you can choose your own, but chick pea cookies are (a) healthier, with less fat and more protein, and (b) not as delicious as other cookies but still good. Basically, pureed chick peas are the base of the dough; sugar and other flavorings hides the chick pea taste from the final result.
posted by metasarah at 7:38 AM on December 11, 2020

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