I’ve been on a streak of really wanting chocolate for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got plenty of recipes to satisfy that craving: the cookie dough parfait, edible cookie dough, and brownie batter, to name a few.
I love all of those recipes, but as a long-time cereal lover, it struck me that none of these recipes have that amazing crunch that cereal provides. It’s long overdue that I create a cereal recipe… so why not capitalize on that chocolate craving and make a higher protein, MUCH lower carb version of cookie crisp?
When it comes to cookies, I prefer soft and gooey. But if you’ve ever dunked a crunchy chocolate chip cookie into milk, you know just how perfect of a combination that is.
My challenge here was to transform a regular ol’ cookie recipe into one that will actually stay crunchy. This is version 3, and I’m very happy with the result. The first attempt ended up being simply mini cookies, which is obviously still awesome, but immediately turns soggy in milk. My second attempt was crunchier, but the cookies were way too large. If the cookies don’t fit on a spoon, is it even cereal?
Version 3 ended up being perfect. Small, crunchy cookies that actually taste like cookies! That’s right- with 10g of protein and only 5g net carbs per serving, these taste EXACTLY like regular cookies. Don’t believe me? Try them for yourself, or put them to the ultimate test and have your kiddos try a bowl. They will not be disappointed.
Since people always have questions about substitutions, let me run through some of the ingredients I used in this recipe and what you can possibly use instead.
- Vanilla Whey: I use Bowmar Nutrition’s Frosted Cookie protein as my vanilla flavored protein in most recipes because I really enjoy the taste. It’s a very similar flavor to vanilla, so you can swap it out for the brand of your choice. I know a lot of people use brands that are whey/casein blends, and I believe that will still work in these. I opted for regular whey because I wanted crunchy cookies, and casein tends to bake a bit softer.
- Almond Flour: I used almond flour to keep these low carb and to get some extra protein in. If you have allergies, you can typically swap all purpose flour for almond flour in recipes. The final recipe will not be exactly the same, but should still work. I don’t recommend using coconut flour in its place.
- Oat Flour: I use a small amount of oat flour in this recipe, but it’s the ingredient that takes these from tasting like “protein cookies” to tasting like real cookies. If you don’t have any oat flour, you can very easily make your own by grinding up some oats- just throw them into a food processor or spice grinder and you’re good to go.
- Light Butter: I used “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” with Olive Oil. It’s a softened butter spread mixed with olive oil that has 60 calories per tablespoon vs the usual 100 in butter. You can sub it out for full-fat butter, and I’ve also had success using coconut oil for cookies, too.
- Chocolate Chips: I love using Lily’s Semi Sweet baking chips as a lower sugar option. You can use any chocolate chips you want here- we’re going to chop them up, so the size of them won’t matter.
These tiny cookies are very simple to make, but I want to walk you through the process very quickly. Basically, all we’re going to need to do is mix together all of our ingredients, and then form the tiny cookies individually. I tried using a piping bag for these cookies, but found is much more effective to shape the cookies by hand.
This process is a little bit tedious, but the end results makes it worth it.
When you’re dealing with high-protein, low-carb dough, it can be quite sticky. I just fill a small bowl with cold water to keep nearby, and just dip my fingers in every once in a while to prevent the dough from sticking to my hands. Then it’s simply a matter of breaking off tiny pieces and rolling them into circles before placing them on a baking sheet. My cookies ended up not spreading too thin, but I didn’t want them to. If you want a more authentic cookie-crisp look, you can use your fingers to slightly flatten the cookies before baking. This is what mine came out looking like:
But they worked great for me! The exact size of the cookies you make is up to you, but keep these small. If you need to visualize the size, take out a spoon that you eat cereal with and make sure you can fit at least a couple of these onto a spoon!
My cookies ended up not fitting on one baking sheet, but as you can see in the photos, I left more space than I needed to. This recipe makes 5 servings, and about 3.5 of my servings fit onto one baking sheet for me. So, I decided to do a little experimenting with the leftover cookie dough…
Making a Cookie Bowl
To be honest, I was not expecting this cookie bowl to turn out, but it turned out SO good. The exact size you make is up to you, but I used a small bowl that is roughly the size of my hand.
All you have to do is cover the bowl with foil and flip it upside down. Spray it generously with non-stick spray, then form your dough over the top of it. The exact amount of dough you’ll use is totally up to the size of the bowl you use, but I’ll add a note on how to calculate the macros in a minute.
Bake the bowl at 325 degrees for 12 minutes, then let it cool for about an hour. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave, letting them heat for 10 seconds at a time and then stirring to prevent burning. Then, all you need to do is coat the inside of the bowl, then add to the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden. If you don’t add the chocolate layer, the milk would just make the bowl soggy and it would slip right through. This worked perfectly to hold all the milk…
I measured the chocolate and I used 20g of chocolate for the bowl, which is just over 1 serving of chocolate chips.
To figure out the calories/macros of your bowl: Once my cookie cereal and bowl were cooled (before I added the chocolate layer inside the bowl) I weighed the entire recipe. When I did that, I got 160g total. This recipe makes 5 servings, and 160/5 is 32g, so I know each serving is 32g. I weighed JUST the bowl, and it weighed 45g. So, I know that the bowl is roughly 1.5 servings, and I can calculate the nutrition accordingly!
Okay, enough talking. Let’s eat some cookies!
Don't forget to check out my recipe books if you enjoy my recipes. There are plenty of recipes in there to help that sweet tooth of yours.
Protein Cookie Crisp Cereal
Macros for one serving (roughly 32g or 1/2 cup)
*1g fiber and 1g sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar. I used a silicone spatula to quickly mix and “whip” these together.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except for the milk and chocolate chips. Using a silicone spatula, mix everything together until a dough begins to form.
- At this stage, my dough was quite thick, so I mixed in 2 teaspoons of almond milk. Depending on the protein powder you use or the substitutions you make, your dough may be fine at this point. But if you follow the recipe as-is, you’ll need these 2 teaspoons of milk to create the right consistency.
- Chop up your chocolate chips into small pieces. Since these cookies are so tiny, we want them to all have pieces of chocolate chips. Fold the chips into the cookie dough.
- Wet your fingers with cold water to prevent sticking, and then break tiny pieces of the dough off, roll them in your hand, and place on a baking sheet. The cookies won’t spread too much, so you can place them pretty close together to fit them all. If you’re unsure how large to make them, use a spoon to make sure they’re small enough to fit on a spoon.
- Add to the oven and bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven, but leave the cookies on the baking sheet so they continue to bake as they cool. Let these sit for 1-2 hours (can also leave them overnight if needed)
- Check how crunchy they are at this point. If you want to speed up the process, adding these to the fridge will help! These cookies get crunchier as they sit.
- Once ready, add to a bowl, and enjoy! These won’t immediately get soggy in milk, but they do soften quicker than standard cereal out there. For this reason, I recommending adding milk as you eat!
Note: I do not count sugar substitute in my carb count. If you are very strict with your carbs, you can factor those in.