Greek yogurt has become a mainstay of grocery store fridges and cookbooks. A lesser known trend is baking cookies with this richly textured, calorie-reducing ingredient. Cookies made with Greek yogurt offer several benefits to the health-conscious, frugal or perfectionist baker: indulge with fewer calories, buy fewer ingredients, or tweak the texture of your favorite recipes.
1. Greek Yogurt 101
Compared to traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt is thicker and tangier, with less water and more protein. Its rich consistency gives baked goods a moist, delicate texture, and its tanginess brings out their sweetness. It has a neutral taste in baked goods and can be used interchangeably with sour cream. Greek yogurt is most often used to moisten cakes, muffins and quick breads. Cookies are crispier, so making them with Greek yogurt will slightly alter their texture.
2. Instead of Butter
Tweak your favorite recipes by replacing each 1 part butter with 1/4 part Greek yogurt and 1/2 part butter. Substituting Greek yogurt will result in a puffier, chewier texture rather than a flat, crisp cookie with golden edges. The basic taste is the same. Consider which cookies would be enhanced by a more delicate, cakey texture, such as sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies. For best results, follow a recipe that specifically calls for Greek yogurt.
3. Other Substitutions
If you are baking cookies that incorporate sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, buttermilk or heavy cream, you can substitute equal quantities of Greek yogurt. Water it down to match the consistency of buttermilk and heavy cream. Substitute 3/4 part Greek yogurt for each 1 part vegetable oil. Always use plain Greek yogurt unless the recipe specifically calls for a flavored variety, and taste it to make sure it will work with the other flavors in the cookies.
4. Additional Considerations
Quickly heating Greek yogurt will destroy the consistency, so let warm ingredients cool before combining it with them. If possible, use glass bakeware instead of aluminum, which reacts to Greek yogurt's acidity. Consider making safe, raw cookie dough treats by replacing eggs with the same quantity of Greek yogurt. Freeze the raw dough balls and dip them into melted chocolate for a whimsical treat. Make a Greek yogurt and cookie parfait by alternating layers of crumbled cookies and Greek yogurt, topped with honey and nuts.
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