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I have my chocolate chip cookie recipe which uses a 1 to 1 sugar to flour ratio. The texture is chewy because I under-cook them on purpose. When cooked golden brown they are snappy like the supermarket chocolate chip cookies. (like pepperidge farm)

I'm trying to reduce the sugar in this recipe for taste and health reason. (I know that chocolate chip cookies are not celery and carrots :D )

I reduced the sugar to reach a ratio of 75% sugar to flour ratio. The cookies need more cooking time, and come out bready/cakey.

Here is the final low-sugar recipe for reference (my original recipe is based on the one on the back of the Tollhouse chocolate chip packages):

  • 250g butter
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pack of baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 270g flour
  • 300g chocolate chips
  • Bake 12 minutes at 190°C

My understanding is that the sugar contributes to some kind of caramelization of the cookie, making it chewy/snappy.

Is there a way to substitute the sugar? Change the ingredients ratio so that we still have a not-too-sweet and not-too-unhealthy cookie?

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    The Nestle Tollhouse recipe calls for 1.5 cups of sugar and 2.25 cups of flour. I've been using this recipe for years. I've never seen one with the proportions you mention above. – Tim Nevins Jan 7 at 15:16
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    @TimNevins well, that's what the OP is saying - he reduced the sugar compared to the original Tollhouse recipe. The question is about counteracting the texture effect of that reduction. – rumtscho Jan 7 at 18:43
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    I was about to write an answer when I realised it sounded rather familiar. Despite the title the question I've linked is mainly about cookies. Also How can I get chewy chocolate chip cookies? might be of interest – Chris H Jan 8 at 13:20
  • @ChrisH are you sure it is a duplicate? I read the old question as "will there be an effect if I leave out sugar and do nothing more", the new one as "I know what the effect is of simply leaving out the sugar, what further, more complicated changes can I do to counteract that effect". If we were to reword to that effect, would you see it as reopenable? – rumtscho Jan 9 at 18:45
  • @rumtscho if it concentrated on the second part, and was reworded by the OP (because their meaning wasn't how I read it) then yes. In that case the old question could possibly end up as a duplicate of this more detailed one. I was only first in calling it a dupe, and can't speak for the others. – Chris H Jan 9 at 19:47
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You can toast your sugar. Stella Parks on Serious Eats and in her cookbook Bravetart explains that toasted sugar undergoes thermal decomposition that make a more complex, less sweet flavor and (importantly to your question) is lower in the glycemic index:

Not only does toasted sugar taste less sweet, it has less sucrose, fewer calories, and a lower glycemic index than plain sugar. How much lower would depend on the extent of thermal decomposition

Toast sugar by putting white sugar on a baking sheet in the oven at 300°F for one to five hours. Stir occasionally. You will likely need to place the resulting toasted sugar mass in a food processor to break it up. It can be used 1:1 for the sugar in the original recipe.

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    how lower are we talking? – Agos Jan 9 at 9:20
  • Stella Parks does not provide detailed nutritional notes and I have not been able to find a source that has the nutritional breakdown of toasted sugar. – Fisher Jan 9 at 18:31
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Your best option is to replace the sugar with something which will give similar properties to the sugar. You're best finding a low sugar recipe instead of trying to adapt your current one.

I'm not a huge fan of sweeteners, especially for baking, but honey can be a good alternative. You usually need a lower quantity in weight (it's more sweet) and it tends to give good texture and flavour.

Here is an article about reducing sugar in cakes you may find useful.

  • Thank you. I actually found the first link googling before asking the question. I realized that she just replace sugar by sucanat. I've never tried it, but I expect the same sweetness, but the calories are definitely the same as sugar. – Antoine Catton Jan 8 at 19:28
  • For the second link, it is pretty good information. However this is targeted to cake. In my experience, reducing sugar in cake does not affect the texture so much. :/ – Antoine Catton Jan 8 at 19:29
  • @Antoine, the main point of my answer is that amending the recipe will be unlikely to leave you with the required results – Bee Jan 9 at 10:28

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