February is heart health month. Valentine’s Day is of course all about matters of the heart.  And who doesn’t love chocolate?  These awesome cookies tie all of those together with a pretty little bow.

Several years ago, I participated in a research study which explored the effects of stress on care-givers of heart patients. It was called “The COOL HF Study.”  One of our sessions was all about healthy food – not just for the patients, but for everyone concerned with heart-health.  We were served an entire meal that we could enjoy with the patients we care for.  Here is the recipe for the cookies we enjoyed as part of that meal.  I hope you like them…

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate chopped and melted (see Tip)

Directions:

  1. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer until foamy, about 1 minute.
  5. Beat in granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream.
  6. Scrape down the sides, then beat in brown sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  7. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  8. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate.
  9. Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon.
  10. Drop the batter by tablespoonsful onto the prepared baking sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart.
  11. Bake the cookies until flat yet springy, with slightly cracked tops, 10 to 12 minutes.
  12. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. Let the pan cool for a few minutes before baking another batch; replace parchment paper if torn or scorched.

Makes about 36 cookies.

Nutrition facts: Serving Size: 1 cookie; 68 calories; 1 g fat  (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 14 g  carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 26 mg sodium.

Tips:   Help with melting chocolate – Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on High for 1 minute.  Stir well, then continue microwaving in 30- second increments on High until two-thirds of the chocolate has melted, stirring well after each heating.  Remove the bowl and continue stirring until all the chocolate has melted.  Cool for 5 minutes at room temperature.

Feel free to add 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts or 2/3 cup raisins or dried berries.

These cookies also freeze well! Layer them in a freezer­ safe container between sheets of wax paper; thaw 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Included in COOL Study participant materials, March, 2013. Revised for accuracy and clarity.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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