Monthly Archives: February 2015

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.

Filled with Glee over Chickpea Flatbreads

FlatbreadGood day, everyone! I hope that this blog post finds you well. I have been busy baking, cooking, and enjoying dinner parties – and as a result I have been remiss in blogging about these experiences. However I have some time between cleaning up after last night’s fun party, and eating some warm, cheesy dip during the ‘Big Game’ to describe the flatbreads I made. Since I have sensitivities to yeast and cane sugar, and a number of my friends need to be gluten or dairy free, finding adequate snacks for all of us can be a challenge.

One morning while reading the newspaper I spotted a photo of a bread that looked delicious. And the caption caught my eye because it talked about using ‘garbanzo bean flour.’ (Yes, chickpeas and garbanzo beans are two names for the same food.) In fact, according to FoodReference.com, garbanzo beans/chickpeas are the most widely consumed legume in the world. A member of the Pea (Fabaceae) family, garbanzo/chickpeas are also called ceci (Italy), Egyptian pea, gram, Kichererbse (Germany), and revithia (Greece). Garbanzo is the name used in Spanish speaking countries.  The English name chickpea comes from the French chiche. These lovely legumes are rich in protein, phosphorus, calcium and iron.

And I made a snack that was gluten, yeast, dairy, and cane sugar free! Happy snack time! This recipe makes one 10-inch flatbread or two 8-inch rounds. Feel free to add other herbs or seasonings such as garlic or garlic powder.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup cool water
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Preparation:

Combine the chickpea flour, water, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, the salt and the rosemary, if using, stirring until smooth. Cover and let the mixture rest for at least 2 hours, or refrigerate it overnight.

When the batter is ready, position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element. Place a medium cast-iron skillet or two 8-inch round cake pans on the rack; preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Remove the hot skillet or pans from the oven. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat.

Return the skillet or pans to the oven for a few minutes to heat up, then pull them out just long enough to pour in the batter, spreading it in the skillet or dividing it between the pans and spreading it in an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes; the flatbread will look set and will pull away from the pan’s edges a bit.

Turn on the broiler (leaving the flatbread in the oven); broil the flatbread for 3 or 4 minutes, until slightly charred.

Immediately sprinkle with pepper to taste. Carefully dislodge, letting the flatbread slide onto a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve.