Monday, May 2, 2011

Cookbook Project: Secrets of Fat Free Baking

My mom, the one who is afraid of butter, bought some fat-free baking cookbooks awhile ago.  I don't know why, because Mama Barefoot Does Not Cook.  She occasionally bakes stuff, but that's usually slice-and-bake cookies.  So that she constantly buys cookbooks is really odd.  Fortunately, she has a daughter who likes to cook and "help clean out" the cookbook cabinet.  So I took this one in college, when we all still thought saturated fat was the Enemy.  Since it's not, I actually added butter to the recipe I used - partly because I didn't have the prune puree that the book recommends using, and partly because I don't think saturated fat is the enemy.  Since I made that substituton, I had to make another as well - the recipe was lacking in moisture, so I wound up dumping in a good chunk of apple butter as well.  I also threw in some white chocolate chips, and I will tell you, these cookies were amazing.

Cranberry Spice Cookies (p. 170 - Secrets of Fat Free Baking)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (just used whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp unbleached flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 plus 2 tbsp prune puree (or 1 stick of butter, plus apple butter until dough is workable)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I also added in about 1/4 cup white chocolate chips)
1 cup oat flakes or other ready-to-eat cereal flakes (I used oatmeal)

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flours, sugar, baking soda, and spices, and stir to mix.  Add prune puree or butter, honey, and vanilla extract, and stir to mix well.  Stir in the cranberries or raisins and oatmeal.

2.  Grease a baking sheet, drop cookies onto the sheet.  Flatten them with a spoon (I didn't do this - it's advisable - these cookies do not spread.)

3. Bake for about 9 minutes (longer, if you didn't flatten your cookies.)  Transfer to racks and allow to cool.

Prune Puree (if you want to try it)
3 oz pitted prunes (1/2 cup)
1 cup water or fruit juice
2 tsp lecithin granules (or why I didn't make this recipe)

Put all ingredients in a food processor, blend until smooth.  Can refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Verdict:  I really liked these, and husband's office approved as well.  They tasted a bit of apple butter, but not really, and the cranberry/white chocolate chip combination made them really good.  They have a little more refined sugar than I would like, but often when we swap out one ingredient, like fat, we add a lot of sugar to make up for it.  I will be making them again this week for book club and trying to use a bit less sugar, since they get some from the white chocolate chips.

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