taste test: which healthy cookie-dough recipe reigns supreme?

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I tested five of the most popular healthy cookie dough recipes on the internet so you didn’t have to. And because it would be delicious. Starting from the top center and moving clockwise, we have dough from: Popsugar Fitness, Natacha Oceane, Well + Good, Goodful, and Tastemade.

I haven’t been this excited about a health trend since just about every wellness guru on planet earth told us we needed to be sleeping more.

There are few things in life that give me as much satisfaction as melting into my couch at the end of the day, switching on Netflix, and spooning mini-mountains of Toll House cookie dough straight into my mouth, salmonella be damned. But real talk though, I haven’t done that since about the 4th grade; most health-conscious individuals, for good reason, wouldn’t advise.

A few years ago I felt like I couldn’t scroll through my Instagram or Facebook feed without witnessing the masses lose their minds over everyone’s dream come true: the opening of cookie dough restaurants. Places like DŌ Cookie Dough Confections in New York City and Doughp (pronounced ‘dope,’ it took me a second too) in San Francisco cropped up suddenly, serving safe-to-eat scoops of flavored dough like it’s ice cream.

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#tbt to when I spent over an hour waiting for ‘unicorn’ flavored dough (whatever that means) from DŌ in nyc earlier this summer.

Thankfully for those of us plebeians who aren’t about to hop on a plane to try some, the internet saved the day.

Hundreds of edible, safe-to-eat cookie-dough recipes can be found online. Baked cookies are almost a thing of the past. While most of these recipes are loaded with dairy, butter, and sugar, leave it to the health community to find a way to hack the system. Do you really expect us to sit around and watch everyone else have all the fun?

Therefore, I had plenty of recipe options to choose from. I selected five from some of the most popular wellness websites to pit head-to-head for the incredibly imperative task of determining which healthy cookie dough is actually worth the effort.

But I didn’t do it alone. As I’ve been keeping keto, I wouldn’t be able to try most of the recipes myself, so I recruited the assistance of the biggest sweet-tooth I know: My mother.

This was serious business. After spending an entire afternoon practically covering my entire kitchen with almond flour and scraping concoctions out of the bottom of my Vitamix, I handed my mom a plate of five individual servings of health-conscious chocolate chip cookie dough (I’ll never get tired of typing that). She knew none of the ingredients of each nor where each recipe came from, but she knew she loved cookie dough, and what else really matters at the end of the day?

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My mom, living her best life honestly. I better win daughter of the year for this one.

A lot of stuff, but for the purpose of this post, nothing else. She rated each dough out of five, with five being the best. She also commented on texture and appearance for the total package. In order to not demolish my entire pantry, I quartered each recipe, but I’ve written out the full measurements below. I skipped on writing out each step for you, but check out the links for full instructions.

So, is cookie dough you can shovel in by the spoonful without worrying about your waistline too good to be true? Let’s meet the contenders.

First up, Tastemade’s Guilt-Free Cookie Dough.

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Ingredients for Tastemade’s version. Vanilla not pictured, I’m forgetful (don’t worry, it made it’s way into the actual batter).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Ease of assembly:

Simple enough. Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, combine, done. Points for not being too complicated, and not using too many ingredients I didn’t already have lying around.

How clean is it actually?

The ingredient list has nothing that worries me, and the inclusion of coconut oil even makes it keto-friendly (I actually got to try this one!). As with all other recipes that called for it, I used a sugar-free maple syrup and a vegan protein powder.

The recipe didn’t break the dish down into servings, so I went ahead and divided it into 4, giving the following macros:

  • 529 calories
  • 27g carb
  • 46g fat
  • 14g protein

(and for those following keto, 6 fiber, making this…less of a keto-friendly choice than I thought. A girl can dream).

Appearance:

Immediately my mom commented on the fact that this not only looked the most like traditional cookie dough, but it looked the most appealing in general. With a pale coloring and smooth texture, it would be easy to confuse it with the real thing.

 

Texture:

“At first it’s doughy, and as you chew it the coconut flour texture comes through. Then it tastes more like coconut shreds.”

Finally, most importantly, overall taste? 

4.5. Off to a good start. It was a sweet, buttery (way to go coconut oil!) dough that was close to the “real deal,” my mom noted.

Next, she tried the Popsugar Fitness 4-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Cookie Dough.

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Just four ingredients. Bless.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons mini dairy-free chocolate chips

Ease of assembly:

Part of me dies every time a food processor or Vitamix needs to get involved, but the fact that this recipe had only four ingredients made up for that ten-fold.

How clean is it actually? 

Seeing that this recipe doesn’t call for oils or nut butters, it’s ideal for someone following a lower-fat protocol. The recipe makes 28 baby dough balls (thanks for actually labelling this, Popsugar), and each serving has:

  • 51 calories
  • 7.4g carb
  • 2.4g fat
  • 1.3g protein

Appearance:

It definitely looked…earthy. The entire base of the dough is finely ground almonds and raisins, making for a gritty facade.

 

 

Texture:

Grainy. See above.

Finally, and most importantly, overall taste?

3.5. “It’s subtle-sweet, but the raisin flavor comes in really strong.” Avoid if that’s not your thing.

Natacha Oceane’s Clean Cookie Dough came next.

 

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Ingredients for Natacha’s version. She uses powdered peanut butter and Sukrin, but I subbed sugar-free pb and stevia.

Ingredients:

  • 50g oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp of powdered peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp Sukrin
  • 50g egg whites
  • Chopped dark chocolate to taste

Ease of assembly:

I wanted this one to pull through so bad, since Natacha is one of my favorite fitness vloggers of all time. It was sort of a drag that the recipe called for some less-common ingredients like Sukrin and powdered peanut butter, but the swaps for those were seamless (I used regular peanut butter with the wet ingredients and stevia instead of Sukrin). Also, this is the only recipe that actually calls for raw egg (typical protein-loving Natacha), but my mom said it wouldn’t bother her. If that’s pushing it for you, use any nut milk instead.

How clean is it actually? 

Natacha made it real easy on me and listed out the macros for this single-serving dish at the end of her instructional video. However, she did not include any addition of chocolate in these calculations, so be sure to keep that in mind if you test this out:

  • 348 calories
  • 37g carb
  • 16.5g protein
  • 4.5g fat

Appearance:

 

Goopy. See below.

Texture:

I’m not sure what happened with this guy, but her measurements led me to a pretty sticky, watery mess. I had to add a bit of coconut flour to actually get the dough-like consistency I wanted, so my advice would be to add the egg whites or milk little by little until you do the same. Also, because you’re basically making your own oat flour in this recipe, the texture is pretty grainy again.

Finally, and most importantly, overall taste?

3.5. “It tastes like an actual oatmeal cookie. It’s sweet and it is an exact match for the texture of oatmeal cookie dough you’d expect. Strong cinnamon flavor, it’s slightly overbearing. Not bad though.”

Moving on to food blogger Arman Liew’s Edible Cookie Dough (posted by Well + Good as an excerpt from his new cookbook Clean Sweets).

Ingredients:

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Liew’s ingredients for his cookie dough morsels.
  • 1⁄4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp nut butter of choice
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1⁄4 cup nut milk
  • Chocolate chips to top

Ease of assembly:

This was another major winner for convenience. No processing or Vitamixing involved, plus the recipe suggests adding the nut milk little by little until desired consistency is reached, which is a helpful tip applicable to basically all of these recipes.

How clean is it actually? 

The ingredient list a win for me, plus seeing that you can use any nut butter instead of just peanut butter gives me some wiggle room to use almond butter, which is a slightly more health-conscious choice. Once again, indeterminate number of servings, so I just calculated the whole thing this time:

  • 602 calories
  • 37g carb
  • 37g fat
  • 33g protein

Appearance:

 

The recipe has you shape the dough into cute little balls and top with a singular chocolate chip. Just one lonely chocolate chip is not going to cut it. I topped the serving I gave my mom with three, but still, part of the excitement of cookie dough is seeing all those gorgeous chocolate chunks folded in.

Texture:

After immediately taking a swig from her water, my mom only had one response: “Dry. Too dry.” I wasn’t too concerned with this though, as the recipe pointed out, add more nut milk for a wetter consistency.

Finally, and most importantly, overall taste?

“I’d give it a 2.5. A little bland. I didn’t dislike it,” my mom said. However, I actually tried a bit of this one too since it’s carb count wasn’t monstrous, and I saw some great potential. A little more liquid to offset any dryness and it’s up there with the Tastemade version. However, it definitely rides on the flavor of your protein powder, so make sure it’s one that you enjoy (like my all-time fave, Vega Viva Vanilla Protein Smoothie powder. It’s vegan!).

And finally, Buzzfeed’s Goodful Healthier Edible Cookie Dough 4 Ways.

Ingredients:

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Goodful’s ingredients. Please excuse my crystallized honey.
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained (liquid reserved) and rinsed
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chickpea water
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Ease of assembly:

The amount of fun I can equate making this cookie dough to is closest to sitting through a round of extractions from a facialist or foam rolling after leg day. It was painful. You have to peel the skin off of every chickpea in the can. Every. Single. One. Maybe it can be slightly…meditative? For the most part I found it tedious.

How clean is it actually? 

Shoutout to Goodful for being real with itself. This recipe is definitely more apt to be labeled ‘healthier’ rather than ‘healthy,’ as the recipes shown in their trademark videos are chock-full of additions like white chocolate chips, marshmallows, and sprinkles. Plus, while honey is a natural sweetener and a better option than sugar or corn syrup, it’s high glycemic compared to the much more reasonable choices featured in the other recipes (like stevia or protein powder). Anyways, the recipe makes 4 servings. The macros for each one are as follows:

  • 688 calories (ouch)
  • 69g carb
  • 17g fat
  • 31g protein

Appearance:

 

 

Uhg, struggles. See below. My mom also noted this one was tinted an off-putting shade of orange.

Texture:

Maybe my peanut butter was too oily or maybe I added too much chickpea water, but this came out more like cookie soup than cookie dough (hence the bowl pictured). I added a bit of coconut flour before serving it to my mom to reach that doughy consistency I wanted.

Finally, and most importantly, taste:

1. My mom took one bite and immediately grimaced. “It tastes like shoe polish,” she noted. Huh. Interesting comparison. She attributed this leathery(?) taste to the lack of sweetness in the mixture. The copious amounts of honey I added seemed to mysteriously disappear.

Kudos if you’ve stuck through this monster of a post until the end. It’s all in pursuit of the perfect cookie dough, an extremely worthy cause, so I would’ve done the same. We have a clear winner, Tastemade’s Guilt-Free Cookie Dough. It was sweet, creamy, and came with an ingredient list that wouldn’t damage those bikini bod goals (in moderation. While all of these recipes are eons healthier than a brick of Pillsbury, they should still be enjoyed every once in a while as opposed to, I don’t know, for every meal). While I’m probably going to need some thoughtful time apart from my food processor and gluten-free flours for a day or two, it was nice knowing my mom had a great day, as she continued to nibble on her favorites and tell me “this is the best job ever!”

 

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