Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sugar Cookies... Healthy?

Forgive me Santa, for trying to prevent your coronary this year...

Is this a yuletide sin? I made these for both my wonderful hairdresser Christina, my favourite teacher V, and the Exxon group's Christmas (or holiday, to be politically correct, *cough*) gifts this year. The Exxon "party" is on Wednesday (yay, more sushi lunch!) and since I'm always bringing them so many "not-so-healthy" treats I figured I could redeem myself a bit. Maybe? Ah well, I know I won't score any points with the Holiday purists who would rather scarf batches of shortbreads (not that it's a bad thing, come on, butter IS better!) but these are some good, flavourful eats anyway.

First up are some crispy, delicious whole-wheat brown sugar cookies. Ever-so-slightly crisp, they're deliciously caramel-flavoured and extraordinarily beautiful. If you are going with the DIY Christmas gift thing this year (as many people are, and I love that idea!), a decorated bag of these is such an excellent touch! If you (or those around you) have a major sweet tooth though, you may want to liberally frost these with royal icing or dip them in chocolate - these aren't incredibly sweet alone.

Caramelized Christmas Cookies
Makes 12
1/4 cup margarine (you can use soft, but not light), softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp almond or maple extract
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat or spelt flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tbsp cornstarch

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the margarine and brown sugar.
  2. Beat in extracts and water.
  3. Separately, whisk together flours, baking powder and cornstarch.
  4. Slowly blend flour into the creamed mixture. Mix until well blended.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 week.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F.
  7. Roll out dough fairly thin (about 1/8") on a floured surface.
  8. Cut with cookie cutters and place 1" apart on cookie sheets (tip: flip sided sheets upside down for more even browning).
  9. Bake 10 minutes, and cool completely on sheets.

Calories: 84.2
Total Fat: 3.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 34.8 mg
Total Carbs: 12.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 1.2 g

This second recipe is a veganized, semi-healthified and scaled-down version of an old Crisco recipe (aren't back of the box recipes great?). It's great for making cut-outs that are rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking like snickerdoodles, or icing afterwards with royal icing (like I did). They are tender and crumbly due to the rice flour (which I discovered while trying to shift cookies from sheets to racks... losing 2 to the floor and being forced to repair 3 others with gratuitous icing), but my dad said they were delicious, perfectly sweet and toothsome, with a nutty backnote from both the oat flour and the almond extract. These may need more flour, depending on the humidity in your kitchen, I have made batches before that were super-soggy and others that were perfect. Go with the flow!

Tri - Flour Sugar Cookies
Makes 25-30
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp golden, corn or maple syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Cream sugar and shortening.
  3. Add water, syrup and extracts and beat until well blended.
  4. Combine remaining ingredients in another bowl, gradually beat them into the creamed mixture.
  5. Roll out dough on a floured board to a little thicker than 1/8" and cut out desired shapes.
  6. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets about 6 minutes. Do not overbake!
  7. Cool 2 minutes on sheets, then remove carefully to a wire rack.
Calories: 108.6
Total Fat: 5.5 g
Cholesterol: 2.9 mg
Sodium: 3.1 mg
Total Carbs: 14.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Protein: 0.9 g

My favourite part about cookie-baking is decorating them. I went hog-wild with these ones, taking over 3 hours to ice just under 30 cookies with royal icing. Some were Jackson Pollock-y, others were closer to reality, but all look gorgeous to me!
So, I humbly proceed to submit these two little creations of mine to FoodBlogga's aforementioned event that I am so thoroughly enjoying, Eat Christmas Cookies!! Really, go check it out, there is something for everyone!

2 comments :

Bellini Valli said...

Love your little cookie people Sarah in all their finery!!!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Yeh! I love that you submitted a vegan cookie, Sarah. Thanks for two more tasty treats. It sounds like you dad is enjoying this event too! :)

-Susan