I love making cookies for our friends and family every year. I usually dedicate one day to baking as many cookies as I can. I try to involve the children in some of the fun ones. I plan it just like an investment cooking day. I pull together all my recipes and compile a grocery list of all the ingredients I need. Then I put together a plan of which order to do them in. Some need the dough refrigerated and other recipes need to be baked right away. I grind all the flour I need for all of the recipes at once. I also use parchment paper on the pans to make clean up and doing the next batch easier.
As I have become more health conscious I have looked for cookie recipes that are actually good for you instead of ones filled with trans fats, refined sugars and flour. Some simple changes you can make to recipes are just ingredient replacements although you will need to experiment to make sure that you get the consistency you desire. By making these simple changes even your holiday cooking can be an investment in your health.
Here is a basic list of replacements:
All-purpose flour: soft wheat/pastry flour, spelt flour or if you must use white flour try King Arthur’s unbleached white flour
Fat: you can use butter or Spectrum Naturals has an all vegetable shortening made from palm oil that is not hydrogenated and therefore has no trans fats in it, you can also use applesauce in cake, brownies or moist cookies with good results
Refined Sugar: use evaporated cane juice sugar (Sucanat or Rapadora), honey or molasses
Make sure that if you are using baking powder that you use a brand that contains no aluminum in it. Rumford is the brand I use.
Instead of grabbing regular salt use one that still has minerals in it. Use an unrefined sea salt. I like RealSalt which is readily available.
Always use free range eggs instead of the battery eggs. The yolks should be a bright golden to orange color not the pale yellow that you get from the normal grocery store eggs. If you can get your eggs from someone locally that has their chickens outside all days that is even better!
Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
½ pound butter — softened
1 cup brown sugar — firmly packed
½ cup evaporated cane juice sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups oats — rolled, raw
1 cup raisins
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, & cinnamon.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture; mix well.
By hand, add oats & raisins; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
3 ¾ cups soft wheat pastry flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter
½ cup shortening (non-hydrogenated)
2 cups sugar (evaporated cane juice)
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Sift together 1st 4 ingredients. Set aside.
Beat butter & shortening for 30 seconds; add sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add eggs, milk and vanilla, beat well.
Add dry ingredients a cup at a time mixing until well combined.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
Form dough into balls the size of walnuts; roll in mixture of cinnamon & sugar
Place on cookie sheet & flatten slightly.
Bake at 375 for 10-11 minutes or until light golden brown.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
½ cup butter — softened
½ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
4 cups soft wheat pastry flour — divided
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream together butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add molasses and eggs.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour, baking soda, salt & spices; beat into molasses mixture. Gradually add remaining flour by hand to form a stiff dough.
Divide dough into 2 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shaped with cookie cutters.
Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
(Dates are one of the highest fiber foods, have more iron than beets and more potassium than bananas!)
In a food processor combine:
10 oz. pitted dates
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup nuts (we like almonds)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup shredded coconut
Whiz together until everything is mixed then add 2 tablespoons of barley malt or brown rice syrup to bind it all together.
With damp hands, roll mixture into balls.
Variation: Use peanuts and peanut butter
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”