Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Kinder, Gentler, Lower Calorie Sugar Cookie (Dairy, Egg and Nut Free)

Here is a cookie that is not only safe for those with food allergies, but you won't break the caloric bank with them either (especially if you don't ice them).  No matter what holiday you celebrate, or if you are just in a mood for a really good sugar cookie, try this one out first. 

Here's what you won't get in these cookies!
  • Loads of sugar
  • No egg
  • No butter
Here's what you get
  • No guilt holiday
  • Healthier cookie
  • Great taste

Makes approximately 18 cookies

1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup Florida Natural Crystals
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-cup whole- wheat pastry flour
1-cup unbleached flour
1 TBSP milk of your choice (I use So Delicious Coconut)
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 ½- tsp. pure vanilla
2-3 drops lemon extract

·         Combine oil, sugar and applesauce. You can use a hand mixer or a whisk until it looks creamy and color is uniform. 

·         Add flour, milk, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated (you don’t have to use a mixer for this).

·         Roll dough into a disk (it may be a bit oily) and wrap it in plastic wrap. I use a Ziploc bag that is cut in half.  The dough doesn’t seem to stick as much to the bag.

·         Place in freezer for 1 hour or more.

·         Set oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets w/parchment paper.

·         Remove from freezer and place it on the half Ziploc bag.  Sprinkle both sides w/flour and place second half of Ziploc over the dough.

·         Flour a rolling pin and roll out dough to ¼ “ thickness.  Turn the dough clockwise to get all sides.  It is so much easier to do this with a Ziploc bag.  I find it works much better than plastic wrap or parchment, especially when you have to “peel” the dough sometimes.

·         Use cookie cutters to shape dough (smaller cookie cutters are best) and place on parchment paper.

·         Bake for 6-8 minutes depending on your oven.

·         Remove from oven and let cookies cool for about 1-2 minutes

·         Slide off baking sheets and place on cooling rack.

A Few Notes for Great Cookies
·       You can double this recipe to make 3 dozen however; I find making one batch at a time yields better dough.  Too much in one bowl is very oily.

·        This is a light, delicious, crispy cookie (make sure you roll it thin) even with the whole-wheat pastry flour.  It is slightly grayer in color (not the full golden color you get with regular flour).  It is slightly grainier, but undetectable to most.  For different results, feel free to play with the flour ratios. 

·        This is very sticky dough.  Use flour to help with rolling and work fast.  As the dough warms up it becomes challenging to work with, so put it in the fridge to firm up for a few minutes.
·         Decorating is the fun part, but I do not like all those artificial sugars and gels.  Here are some other suggestions…

    The most popular cookie so far was the sandwich cookie.  Place two alike cookies flat bottoms up. Fill one cookie with a dark-chocolate ganache, or all natural fruit preserves and press the cookies together.  The preserve-filled whole-wheat pastry cookie was the voted favorite.

·         You can freeze the cookies and any leftover dough.

·         If you have any scraps that aren’t big enough for a cookie cutter…take a small medicine cup and make small circles in the leftover dough.  It’s the perfect shape and you can make mini-filled cookies.

Remember to enjoy your family and your food!! Happy Holiday.

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