Low-Sugar Low Calorie Oatmeal Raisin Cranberry Cookies

April 11, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 3 hours 25 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes 16 to 20 cookies
Author Notes

When I was playing around with the idea of writing a low-sugar book, I had one and only one priority: the recipes had to be so good and so delicious that you could serve them without announcing the caveat that they were made with less sugar. They had to stand on their own as scrumptious and mouthwatering—and it just so happened that they were also low sugar.

I started with a classic—oatmeal-raisin cookies—and tweaked and tested until I had a recipe that I could proudly serve at a dessert reception. And that’s exactly what we did. These cookies made their debut at a reception welcoming one of my favorite food writers, Mark Bittman, to Boston.

Recipe and headnote excerpted from Baking With Less Sugar (Chronicle Books, 2015).

On The Genius Recipe Tapes, Kristen checked in with chef and co-owner of Flour Bakery and Myers & Chang Joanne Chang—they discussed how the past year has gone, "the mom test," and what authenticity means to Joanne in her work. Listen here.Joanne Chang

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks/225 grams) unsalted butter, melted and completely cooled)
  • 6 tablespoons (75 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins, about half of them chopped roughly
  • 3/4 cup (120 grams) dried cranberries
  1. If you’re baking the cookies on the same day you prepare the batter, heat the oven to 350° F (175° C) and position a rack in the center of the oven. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or mixing by hand with a wooden spoon or an electric hand mixer), mix the butter and sugar together on medium speed until the two are completely mixed together, about 5 to 7 minutes (10 minutes if mixing by hand). Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle itself a few times; the sugar and butter love to collect here and stay unmixed.
  3. Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla on medium speed until thoroughly combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Again scrape the bowl and the paddle to make sure the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, oats, baking soda, salt, grated nutmeg, and ground cinnamon. Add the raisins (both whole and chopped), cranberries, and walnuts to the flour mix and toss to combine. Turn the mixer on low speed (or continue to use a wooden spoon if mixing by hand) and slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Mix until the flour and raisins are totally incorporated and the dough is completely mixed.
  5. For best results, scrape dough into an airtight container and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 3 to 4 hours) before baking.
  6. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350° F/175° C and position a rack in the center of the oven.
  7. Drop the dough in approximately 1/4-cup balls onto a baking sheet, with about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of space between each one—they don't really spread that much.
  8. Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and slightly soft in the center, 14 to 18 minutes, rotating the tray about halfway during baking. Be careful not to overbake! Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the sheet, then remove the cookies from the sheet and let them continue cooling on a wire rack.
  9. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. The unbaked dough can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sharon Altenhofen Stadsvold
    Sharon Altenhofen Stadsvold
  • AntoniaJames
  • Smaug
  • Carol Skeer Diamond
    Carol Skeer Diamond
  • normadesmond
I am a pastry chef/restaurateur in Boston passionate about all things sweet and savory. I co-own Flour Bakery+Cafe and co-own Myers+Chang, both in Boston. I love my work, I'm crazy about my husband, my staff keeps me going and is truly the most amazing group of people I've ever known, I am addicted to ice cream and fruit of all kinds. I used to run marathons but have scaled back a bit and am trying to be more well-rounded by attempting yoga. I read voraciously, I plan obsessively, I feel so very lucky to have found a life partner and a life passion both of which make me happy every day.

26 Reviews

Starchgirl October 26, 2019
There are many wonderful oatmeal cookie recipes. This is not one of them. My gut told me it was way too much butter.....and it was way too much butter.
margaretpm September 17, 2017
Please advise! After baking, my cookies are sitting in a pool of butter, as a previous commenter mentioned. It seems more flour is needed in this recipe, or what is causing this to happen?
Sharon A. August 2, 2017
Dough is resting in refrigerator now, but I too had too much butter so added more flour to get consistency of cookie dough I felt was needed to even bake them. Will let you know.
Amy February 7, 2017
flavor is good - even without dried fruit, but my cookies are sitting in a small pool of butter. did that happen to anyone else?
AntoniaJames May 23, 2016
I highly recommend this recipe. I add a healthy pinch of cardamom and left the cinnamon out. Dried sour cherries work really well in place of some of the raisins, to make them even less sweet. Will certainly be making these again. ;o)
Jason April 9, 2016
Looks good but ingredient measurement is completely wrong. The example would be "3/4 cup (75 grams) walnuts," "3/4 cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour " 3/4 cup isn't 75 gram either 105 grams, so I wonder which measure should I follow 3/4 cup or 75grams
BeyondBrynMawr May 3, 2016
3/4 cup refers to volume; 75 grams refers to weight. Since walnuts and flour do not weigh the same amount, the same volume would weigh different amounts.
drlbennett August 7, 2015
Thanks for sharing this recipe--I'm so excited to try these! I've stopped baking most desserts, because the amount of sugar in them gives me more guilt than pleasure
Monica B. July 19, 2015
Please put nutrition facts if you are making health claims about a recipe i.e-"low sugar"
zoumonkie July 25, 2015
217 calories per cookie if you make 20 from the recipe. Thirteen grams of fat; 6 grams from saturated fat.
Monica B. July 25, 2015
Thanks, What about sugar? Not convinced this recipe is low sugar.
zoumonkie July 26, 2015
There is 75 grams of sugar in the entire recipe. Divide that by. 20 cookies and you've. Answered your own question. Add a little in for the raisins and cranberry. No one can ever just eat one cookie, so double everything.
Monica B. July 26, 2015
Actually, did the calculation myself.
approx 200 grams of sugar if you include the dried fruit
so 20 grams of sugar per cookie=5 teaspoons per cookie!
not a low sugar cookie at all. It should be a reduced sugar label
zoumonkie July 27, 2015
More sugar in dried cranberries than raisins.
Monica B. July 27, 2015
I calculated for the quantities of each. There is actually a little more sugar in raisins than sweetened cranberries.
zoumonkie July 27, 2015
You're right, 120 grams of dried cranberries have 87 grams of sugar and raisins have 71 grams. It probably varies by the brand, but insignificant either way.
Bunnee B. July 19, 2015
I made these and agreed they were less sweet; however, I didn't like them as well as the original version in "Flour." The only substitution I made was dried tart cherries for the cranberries (no added sugar), so perhaps if I'd used cranberries, it would have been just a bit sweeter. I also made them much smaller. I consider cookies an indulgence, not a health food, so I don't worry about the fat.
Martine July 18, 2015
This low sugar cookie is just ok, would I make it again no way. Yes the raisins chopped replace some sugar however raisins are loaded with sugar so beware. Also there is a load of butter and really that takes over the taste profile.Still always searching for a great low sugar cookie, my quest continues.
Smaug July 18, 2015
This is an interesting recipe. The proportions are very odd- it's twice the butter and eggs for the amount of dry ingredients of the usual oatmeal cookie recipe; these are by no means "health" food. Hydrating this type of oatmeal always takes some doing; I suppose that's the idea behind melting the butter. For the same reason, I think the overnight rest is pretty essential; the dough was more like a batter when first made, but firmed up overnight, as the oatmeal and fruit soaked up much of the moisture from the butter and eggs. Giant cookies seem to work for bakeries, but I don't think they make much sense for a home cook- this recipe made 40 more normal sized cookies; they baked in 15 min. (I like them a bit crisp around the edges). They taste pretty good- the sweetness is about like a zucchini bread or some such, and I like the addition of nutmeg, but I thought the vanilla was a bit much. They didn't run much- a little surprising with the amount of butter- but the final texture is somewhat crumbly (don't know that this is good or bad- just an observation). I don't think that they are good enough to justify the high fat content.
monika July 17, 2015
I have been baking with less than half of the recommended sugar for years now, and most people have told me that they actually prefer the less sweet version. For health reasons, I also cannot really eat sugar, in particular not in larger quantities, and have learned to adopt, and it has done me a world of good.
Kate July 16, 2015
low sugar or not these cookies are 1 tbsp butter per cookie!?!? Thats almost 12 grams of fat per cookie before you account for the walnuts and egg!?!?!
Carol S. July 15, 2015
I agree with norma, there is a lot of sugar in dried fruit, however oatmeal cookies are notoriously loaded with granulated sugar, and raisins, so I guess this is overall less sugar. Can't wait to try and to peruse your latest cookbook!
normadesmond July 15, 2015
it would be fascinating to find out the sugars & carbs in this recipe versus the original. i do know that dried cranberries have a lot of sugar. nevertheless, i may have to try it.
Joanne C. July 14, 2015
Hi cbforesman! Yes you are correct- it won't really get light and fluffy but you do want to mix until the sugar completely mixes in. Thx for the catch!
cbforesman July 14, 2015
I'm confused by step 2... If you start with a full cup of melted butter and just 6T of sugar, how does that get light and fluffy, even if you beat it for 10 minutes? Isn't it still a cup of liquid butter?
Two T. July 14, 2015
Can't wait to try this!! I recently made some Austrian shortbread and realized I could have gone with a nice cinching of sugar in the dough easily. One question: do you ever freeze this dough scooped and bake?