Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Berries and Grains for a Holiday Recovery

Bet that lured you into thinking that this post would be all health food and diet guru-y-ness... well, I hate to disappoint, but I've still got holiday goodies to tell you about! At least these ones are physically gone from the hous - to my mom's relief. She's actually said that she wished I didn't cook and bake so well because all my goodies were addictive. Well, I don't know about that, but I can't be taking the credit: I had a few really good teachers!

I suppose that there has to be something to be said for the fact that these cookies were a little bit closer to the "healthy" side of the holiday table, and as far as I know they tasted great, since my mom actually hoarded some for her own personal "work stash" and the guests that had a taste went back for seconds. I figured that I had to make the holiday gig my last real baking "hurrah" for a while, so I was going to make it worthwhile! A few of my loyal taste-testers / eaters have recently been bemoaning their apparent weight gain (just where they're gaining it, nobody else can see!) and I've been taken on as a personal nutrition consultant for a handful of them - I've turned it into a self-fulfilling job hunt, I guess! (By the way, I am taking online clients... you can email or Tweet me for details).

But yes, these cookies. Well, the first ones are the more "virtuous" of the two I have for you today, if you can believe it! They're packed with oats, flaxseed, granola and flax, with just enough chocolate and Craisins for that little touch of decadence. They're also vegan, for those of you out there who are egg-dairy-animal product free, and are both crunchy and chewy... not to mention filling! If it wasn't for the chocolate and fairly high sugar count, you could get away with calling these breakfast. Mind you, there are cereals out there with cookie in their names... so a cookie with a cereal in it's name is kind of fitting! I am going to play around with the sugar ratio though, as these spread a ton - not a problem if you like flattish cookies, but I'm more in the fat / chunky camp.

Berries n' Chocolate Granola Cookies
Makes 30
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup hot water
¾ cup shortening
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar (I'm thinking maybe 1/4 cup next time)
1 tsp fresh-grated ginger
1/3 cup tart cherry juice
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp strawberry extract
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup Kamut flakes
2 cups strawberry granola
½ cup flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup Craisins
½ cup dark chocolate chips
  1. In a small dish, whisk together flaxseed and hot water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, cream together shortening and sugars.
  3. Beat in flaxseed mixture, ginger, cherry juice, vanilla and strawberry extract until well blended.
  4. Mix together oats, granola, flours, baking soda, and salt, then mix into shortening mixture just until blended.
  5. Mix in Craisins and chocolate chips.
  6. Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F, line cookie sheets with parchment or SilPat.
  8. Form balls of dough and place onto sheets.
  9. Bake 11 minutes, then cool completely on the sheets.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 152.4
Total Fat: 6.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 24.6 mg
Total Carbs: 23.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 1.8 g

You can blame my incessant blog-reading, eye for gorgeous photography and love for all things nifty for these next ones. I think it was this photo on FoodBuzz from Kitchen Confidante that netted me first... but it was her recipe that sealed the deal. I had (have!) both leftover cranberries and roasted chestnuts hanging around, so I couldn't wait to see how the fresh fruit behaved in a cookie. Well, the Italian side of the family - being chestnut lovers - adored them, and the few that remain from the parties are being carefully savoured by the cookie monsters in the family!

Cranberry Chestnut Cookies
Makes 12
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground ginger
¾ cup chestnuts, roasted and chopped
2 oz butter
2 oz shortening
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped fresh cranberries
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup white chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, line baking sheets with silpat or parchment.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking soda and ginger, set aside.
  3. Cream butter, shortening and sugars.
  4. Add egg and vanilla, beat well.
  5. Add flour mixture and chestnut pieces crumbs, mix until just incorporated.
  6. Add cranberries and chocolate chips. Mix.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool completely on sheets.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 251.0
Total Fat: 11.7 g
Cholesterol: 28.3 mg
Sodium: 42.2 mg
Total Carbs: 38.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
Protein: 2.7 g

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