I have a sweet tooth. I like all things dessert, but one dessert that I am particularly fond of is the cookie. Nothing beats a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven. My favorite cookie recipe is right off the back of the bag of chocolate chips, and this recipe happens to be (like most other cookie recipes), loaded with butter. One recipe calls for 2 sticks, which results in delightful cookies but also piles on the calories and fat.
The Internet is brimming with people sharing ideas on how to cut butter out of recipes and replace it with something else, so I decided to do an experiment to decide which butter replacement resulted in the most satisfying cookie. I made three batches of cookies, each of which contained a different replacement. In each batch, I still used half of the butter required (to ensure at least some semblance of the cookie texture that I want), and replaced the other half with either avocado (1/2 of one avocado), applesauce (1/2 cup), or plain Greek yogurt (1/2 cup). These were my results:
The cookies made with avocado took on a slightly green tint, were a soft texture and also were just slightly flavored by the avocado (which I did not mind at all). Although they were more puffed up than my cookies normally are, I appreciated their texture and the more complex flavor. After a day or two however, I did feel that these cookies had a more dry texture than a cookie with all of the butter would have had.
I used a cinnamon flavored applesauce, which added a nice light spice to the cookies. The texture was very moist and these cookies spread out a lot more than the avocado cookies did. One thing that I would consider if I were to make cookies using the applesauce again would be the amount of sugar that is contained in applesauce. I think that it would have been helpful to cut back on the granulated sugar in this recipe, because the already super sweet dough became even sweeter, and the chocolate chips didn’t shine as much as I would have liked. Perhaps plain applesauce would have been a better choice, but the texture was definitely good and I don’t think that these cookies could dry out it they tried.
The Greek yogurt cookies resulted in my favorite cookie texture. The cookies were still chewy, but also had a spongy, more cake-like, airy texture. These one maintained a nice height (not too puffy, not too flat), and I liked the flavor that the yogurt brought to the recipe. If I had to pick which butter substitute I would use next time I make cookies, it would probably be this one.
The butter replacements definitely have their merit and will now have a place in my kitchen. One thing to consider (that I completely forgot) is that the butter that I normally bake with is salted. In these cookies I did not add any additional salt to the recipe to compensate for this, but I think it may have added some nice flavor. The applesauce cookies in particular might have benefited from a more conscientious balance especially since the applesauce contained extra sugar. Overall, I found the cookies just as satisfying as cookies with all of the butter. I am pleased to say that cookies with half the fat do not have half the flavor.