Sunday, July 13, 2014

Merry Berry Cookies

I think cookies are one of the most perfect desserts out there. Not only are they perfectly portioned, portable and quick to make, but they're infinitely variable too. It's hard to find a type of cookie that can't be modified in some way, be it for dietary restrictions, using what's on hand, boosting nutrition or simply personal taste. Cookies have a relatively seasonless quality to them as well - I mean, how can you pass up a chocolate chipper, whether it's -30°C or blazing hot and humid outside?

Obviously, some flavours are more suited to say, July than December. I think of the "spice" cookie family (i.e. gingersnaps, speculaas) fitting into the menu once the temperature drops, but they're not what I consider "summer" fare. Fruity versions, though, especially those with a slight acid note like lemons, limes and berries, are perfectly at home on the picnic table or cookout dessert tray. Take these cookies for example. When I found the original recipe in Joanne Fluke’s Lake Eden Cookbook, it looked like the perfect treat for summer camp - packed with mixed berry jam, the fruit lightens up the richness of the butter and ironically cuts the saccharine nature of the sanding sugar topping. I took some licenses with the mixture - cookies are aching for variations, after all - swapping in silken tofu for the eggs, using a canola oil and butter mixture, and tossing in cardamom, oats and oat flour for flavour and texture. The coarse sugar called for was so boring, so I used coloured sanding sugar for a pretty dazzle too.

Merry Berry Cookies

The resulting cookies are soft, tender and ever so slightly cakey, but travel well and are packed with flavour. Eight dozen cookies is a ton to bake (and eat) all at once, obviously, so unless you have a small army of cookie monsters to feed I would strongly suggest freezing batches of dough (I divided mine into 4 lots). Baked cookies make awesome sandwich "bread" for a smear of peanut butter too, if you need something other than simple, berry goodness!

Merry Berry Cookies
Makes 8 dozen
½ cup melted butter
½ cup canola oil
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup berry jam, warmed until runny (I used Xyla Mountain Berry Jam)
5 oz low fat silken tofu
2 ½ cups flour
1 cup oat flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cardamom
½ cup quick oats (not instant)

For Rolling:
⅓ cup purple, pink or red decorating / sanding sugar
  1. In a food processor, puree the butter, oil, sugar, jam and tofu until smooth.
  2. Add flours, baking soda, salt, cardamom and oats, pulse in to combine thoroughly.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic and chill at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment.
  5. Place decorating sugar in a shallow dish and set aside.
  6. Form dough into walnut-sized balls, then roll the balls in the sugar. Place on the baking sheet.
  7. With the bottom of a lightly greased glass, flatten the dough balls slightly.
  8. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 12 minutes
  9. Cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 53.6
Total Fat: 2.3 g
Cholesterol: 2.6 mg
Sodium: 10.1 mg
Total Carbs: 8.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 0.7 g