A revamped treat receives a chocolaty thumbs-up from one of our editors and her spouse.
Credit: Randy Mayor

The Reader: Ben Downie, M.D., 26, Birmingham, Alabama

The Recipe:  Mudslide Cookies

The Story: In the interest of full disclosure, Ben is my husband. During our courtship, I wooed him with dinners of roast duck and potatoes, Korean-spiced pork with noodles, and spicy chorizo chili (all Cooking Light winners). But Ben also has a sweet tooth, and when he tried these brownielike cookies, he enjoyed them so much he asked his friend for the recipe. As a new doctor, he doesn't have much time to bake, so he passed the recipe to me, a confirmed chocoholic.

The Dilemma: Both of us are avid runners, and since I'm a dietitian and because of Ben's profession, we both watch what we eat. We couldn't help noticing the recipe had copious amounts of butter, eggs, and chocolate, which made us suspect the cookies had plenty of calories and fat. "Seven eggs, half a cup of butter, more than 13 ounces of chocolate-wow, no wonder they're so rich," Ben noted. We both wanted a lighter cookie so we could enjoy them more often. And since light baking is such a delicate science, I brought the recipe in to the Cooking Light Test Kitchens for help.

The Solution: A team of Cooking Light food editors and Test Kitchens professionals found our biggest challenge was trimming the chocolate while still maintaining the cookies' rich flavor. We cut the original's seven ounces of unsweetened chocolate and six ounces of bittersweet chocolate back to two ounces of each, which trimmed 52 calories per cookie. To boost the overall chocolate flavor, we added a half-cup of fat-free unsweetened cocoa. And instead of the original/s 1 1/2 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips, we used 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips to save another 33 calories per serving; minichips are better dispersed throughout the cookies.

The original's half-cup of butter added 27 calories and three grams of fat per cookie. Using 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter saved 22 calories and 2.4 grams of fat. We also replaced the original's seven eggs with two eggs and 1/2 cup egg substitute to slash the cholesterol by 35 milligrams per cookie. Finally, we used 1/2 cup of walnuts instead of the two cups called for in the original recipe. Walnuts provide heart-healthy fat, but they pack a lot of calories. Cutting back on the amount eliminated 39 calories per serving.

The Feedback: "The new cookies have the same intense flavor as the original," says Ben, "and I'd be happy to share them with friends and colleagues." And once I decide what to prepare for our Valentine's Day dinner, I think I'll finish our menu with a few of these .

Before | After

Serving size
1 cookie

Calories per serving
294 | 142

17.4g | 4.7g

Percent of total calories
53 percent | 29 percent

To the Rescue
Do you have a favorite recipe that needs a healthy makeover? Maybe we can lighten it up. Send it to us, along with your reasons for wanting a healthier version and any interesting stories or traditions about the recipe. To submit a dish, e-mail your recipe to our editors at CL_recipes@timeinc.com, along with your name, address, daytime telephone number, and a brief note about why you love it or how you came up with it. You can also mail it to Reader Recipes, Cooking Light, P.O. Box 1748, Birmingham, AL 35201. We can't lighten every recipe we receive, but if we adapt yours, we'll send you a Cooking Light special edition. We reserve the right to edit all recipes. All recipes submitted become the property of Cooking Light and may be republished and used for any purpose.