Tag Archives: Milk

The Egg-onomics of Cost Sensitive Chocolatey Cookies

Last week the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released national price data, which showed that egg prices were up 7.7% in December, and 10.7% over the past year. The American Institute for Economic Research attributes the price hike to two factors: (1) the avian flu in Mexico, which reduced that country’s domestic supply and increased demand for U.S. eggs, and (2) new regulations in California, the fifth-largest egg-producing state in the U.S., which now requires that hens have enough space to stand up and turn around, thereby increasing costs. Both of these reasons should make the increase in egg prices temporary, but for now, the egg cartons at the grocery store come with higher price tags.

Before you panic about the increasing cost of your omelette, there is hope! Especially if your ingredients include cheese or milk. That’s because the cost of milk is dropping. According to the Associated Press, milk sales set records in 2014 but due to overproduction the prices have fallen and are expected to continue to drop through 2015.

So how does all of this news affect the SensitiveEconomist Cookie Price Index? The price per batch in February 2015 is down 3% overall compared with February 2012. Prices for agave, whole wheat flour, and vanilla extract have decreased; while prices for the chocolate, all purpose flour, butter, local honey, and eggs have all risen. cookie_index_Feb2015

What’s a SensitiveEconomist to do with all of this information? Make cost-sensitive and refined sugar free cookies, of course! I used Ellie Krieger’s recipe for Triple Chocolate Cookies, with some modifications. I substituted the cane sugars with coconut palm sugar and maple syrup (agave would work fine here too). I avoided using honey because its current price is high relative to the other sweeteners, according to my price index. Since whole wheat flour was less expensive than the all-purpose variety, I used more whole wheat and less all-purpose. And unlike my Chocolate Chip Cookies, on which my price index is based, this recipe only calls for one egg. Enjoy the chocolatey cookies with a glass of milk…while the price of a gallon is still inexpensive!

cost sensitive chocolatey cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup oil (I like grapeseed)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl (or using a stand mixer), mash together the butter and palm sugar/maple syrup with a fork until well combined. Add the oil and egg and beat until creamy. Mix in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips and the (optional) pecans and mix well. Using a tablespoon, scoop the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

Awesome Agave Chocolate Milk

Although I, SensitiveHusband, don’t have any food sensitivities, I’ve come to embrace the use of natural, low glycemic index sweeteners.  I haven’t cut all refined sugar from my diet, but I have greatly reduced it since SensitiveEconomist discovered her food sensitivities.  I didn’t realize how much refined cane sugar was affecting me–a sugar high with higher heart rate and shallower breathing, followed by a sugar low tiredness–until I cut back and shifted my intake to predominantly low glycemic sweeteners.

As a cyclist and runner, I find it important to have a drink that combines something sweet and some protein after a workout.  Research emerging from Indiana University and the University of Connecticut over the last few years indicates that chocolate milk has the optimal ratio of carbohydrates and protein to act as an excellent post-workout recovery drink.  In fact, chocolate milk is as good or better than many of the name brand sport drinks with which you may be familiar.  As a result of reading this research and my pleasant experience with low glycemic sweeteners, I decided to create a chocolate milk recipe that is free of cane sugar.  I started with a recipe for homemade chocolate milk, and I adapted it to replace the cane sugar with agave nectar.  Honey can be used in a pinch, but agave nectar really works best in this recipe for dissolving in the milk and yielding an almost marshmallowy flavor.  While I occasionally have peanut butter and a “no sugar added” fruit juice instead, this Agave Chocolate Milk has become my go-to post-workout drink.

Ingredients:
1 ounce water
1 level teaspoon cocoa powder
3 teaspoons agave nectar
9-10 ounces milk

Preparation:
Combine the first three ingredients in your glass and microwave for 30 seconds. 

When it comes out of the microwave, swirl the glass rapidly in your hand to insure the ingredients are fully mixed. 

At this point, you have a homemade chocolate syrup that can be used for other purposes in addition to chocolate milk (ice cream topping, dessert topping, etc.). 

Top off the syrup with milk, stir briskly, and enjoy a very tasty, low glycemic chocolate milk! 

The next time your children ask for chocolate milk, surprise them with this homemade recipe, and they might not be bouncing off the walls after drinking it!

For those who avoid cow’s milk, I would be curious to know if this recipe works well with goat’s milk, coconut, almond, rice, or soy milk.

This recipe is being shared with Joy of Desserts, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Food Trip Friday and Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

A Few Tips to Save as Food Costs Rise

A few weeks ago, I found some research about the price of peanut butter being on the rise. And now there are forecasts that other foods are going to see price increases in the near future. This article by the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) provides some helpful hints on saving some cash while still enjoying a few of our favorite staples.

Bacon: Since the price of feed has been on the rise, the hog industry has decreased its production. In order to save on this food item choose those on sale and freeze the extras. A good substitute for the pork product is turkey bacon.

Beef: Increasing demand from China, Korea and Mexico is putting a premium on the price of beef. When at the grocery store, look for products that have a reduced price for a quick sale – you will want to eat or freeze immediately, but you can save some cash that way. You can also purchase cheaper cuts of meat and tenderize with a marinade or cook in a slow cooker.

Cereal: A portion of corn production is being used for ethanol, and the wacky weather has affected oat, wheat and corn crops. In order to save, check out online coupon sources such as smartsource.com or coupons.com. The increased corn prices will also affect popcorn prices – so buy in bulk now and store for use over a period of time.

Milk: Milk exports are at an all-time high because there is a growing demand from Mexico, Philippines and Egypt. In order to find a deal, buy on sale and freeze – thawed milk is best used for cooking but can be used for drinking too.