Tag Archives: Cookies

Snickerdoodles (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten/Cane Sugar/Egg/Dairy Free)

Greetings and Happy Daylight Savings Time for those of you who are participating. Even though winter continues to hang around, there are some small signs of spring. This week, we started hearing birds singing outside of our window early in the morning. And yesterday while the sun was out, the strength of the rays warmed my cheeks.

Today is going to be a baking day for me. SensitiveHusband and I were out and about for much of yesterday, so we are keeping things close to home today. The oven has already helped me to bake a batch of cookies. I think some more baked goods are in store for us today…especially since our heater is being a bit temperamental and having the oven on really heats the place up!

Speaking of cookies, I would like to share with you a recipe for Snickerdoodles that my sister-in-law found. We made them together, altering the recipe slightly, and combined our baking time with a cinnamon taste test. Cinnamon has been in the news lately because studies have shown that there can be health benefits but perhaps the reverse is true if too much is consumed over a long period of time. Feel free to read more about the health discussion here. How do each of the cinnamons taste? We decided to try a side-by-side comparison.

cinnamonThe spice called ‘China Cinnamon’ (often called ‘cassia’) was the same as the offering at a typical grocery store. The medium brown color and texture were pleasing, and the taste was like a ground-up cinnamon stick. Our sample of the ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’ provided a new flavor for us, one with hints of the typical cinnamon flavor but also with a smell and taste of citrus.

We baked half of the batch of snickerdoodles with the China Cinnamon, and the other half using the Ceylon variety. Both were delicious although we thought the Ceylon provided an extra bright and perky taste that was really pleasant.

Checking the costs online, the Ceylon cinnamon was slightly more than the regular variety, anywhere from $0.60 to $1.25 more per bottle.

snickerdoodlesIngredients: Cookies
2 cups almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup melted coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Ingredients: Cinnamon coating
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or maple sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line and grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients; mix together well. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, maple syrup, vanilla and lemon juice. Add the wet ingredients to the almond flour mixture and mix until combined. Let rest for a few minutes – it will thicken up a bit.

Combine the sugar (optional) and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

Scoop out the dough with a tablespoon, then gently form into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon mixture. Place the balls of cookie dough on the baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.

Gently flatten flatten each cookie using your hands or a jar. Dip the bottom of the jar in some of the sugar and spice mixture to help keep the cookie from sticking to the jar.

Bake for 8-9 minutes. Leave cookies on the cookie sheet while cooling. They may seem under-baked at first, but they will firm up to the right texture as they cool.

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.

Cheer Up with Maple Syrup – and a Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Hi everyone! I hope that you are enjoying (or at least tolerating) the snowy and cold winter weather. Sensitive Husband and I have been busy stimulating the economy by purchasing real estate and a number of various services that go along with it. I must say, based on our recent house-buying experience, that the housing market is beginning to pick up, although slowly. The number of buyers is increasing, although some service providers are still clambering for work. For example, mortgage brokers, real estate appraisers, painters, and repairmen are more than happy to hear about a new house sale, and are available to help at a moment’s notice, which is not the case when the housing market is strong. Needless to say, most of my free time lately has been focused on choosing paint colors instead of trying new recipes. However, spring is almost here, and I am looking forward to more cooking and baking in a new kitchen!

If you have been down in the dumps because of the cold winter, cheer up because spring is a mere three weeks away. Late winter is also a wonderful time of year because the maple sugaring season is typically in February and March. Once the temperature reaches above freezing, pressure develops in the tree and causes the sap to flow out of the taps created by the sugar makers. Then with colder temperatures below freezing, suction inside the tree pulls in water to make more sap. When the fluctuations in temperature lessen, the sap stops flowing. This period of sap flow usually falls within early March to mid April. This year the maple sugaring season will be on the later side because the temperatures have been so cold.

According to the University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science, sap is boiled to evaporate water and to concentrate sugar. The quality of syrup is affected by the particular season, time of season the sap is collected, and how it is processed. The top quality syrups contain about 66% sugar.

Since we received a sampler of maple syrups as a gift, Sensitive Husband and I decided to conduct a taste test of all of the grades since we did not know much about the differences among them. The Grade B maple syrup was the darkest in color and had a rich, smoky taste. The Grade A Medium Amber variety was also quite good, and had slightly smoky and slightly buttery flavors. Grade A Dark Amber was also delicious, with buttery and maple flavors. And the Fancy grade was excellent with even stronger butter and maple flavors. Our taste experiment yielded positive results, in that we enjoyed all of the options! I think Grade B would be best for baking, and the Grades A and Fancy would be good for both baking and pouring over breakfast treats. The trick is to make sure that the maple syrup you purchase is pure, with no added sugars or preservatives, to get the best taste.

So now that we finally familiarized ourselves with various grades of maple syrup, the labels of the grades are about to change. The Grade B label will be eliminated, and the grades will explain more about the taste. Maple syrup producers will be required to use them starting in 2015, although consumers will probably start seeing them this year:

Golden Maple Syrup with a Delicate Taste: light to more pronounced golden colour and a delicate or mild taste

Amber Maple Syrup with a Rich Taste: light amber colour and a rich or full-bodied taste

Dark Maple Syrup with Robust Taste: dark color and a robust or strong taste

Very Dark Maple Syrup with a Strong Taste: very strong taste, generally recommended for cooking

According to the International Maple Syrup Institute, 2013 produced a bumper crop of maple syrup in most areas with the production of lighter syrups being most common. Total production of maple syrup for 2013 in Canada and the U.S. combined was estimated at 170 million pounds, with about 120 million pounds being produced in Quebec.

Skillet Chocolate Chip CookieMaple syrup is a fabulous natural sweetener, and can be substituted for cane sugar in most recipes as a 1:1 swap. I substituted maple syrup for the sugar in this recipe for a skillet chocolate chip cookie in the October 2013 Everyday Food magazine. This cookie is delicious and can be made in just a few minutes. I hope that you enjoy finding many ways to use this delicious natural sweetener.

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or maple sugar)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter, maple syrup, and sugar with a spoon. Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flours, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chips. Transfer to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; smooth top.

Bake until cookie is golden brown and just set in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.

Freshly Squeezed Orange Oatmeal Cookies

2013-01 orangesGreetings from sunny Florida! That’s what the box on the gift of oranges read. This gift has been excellent and came at the perfect time – while SensitiveHusband and I wait for the next snowstorm, we have been able to enjoy really fresh, juicy, delicious navel oranges!

According to the Florida Department of Citrus, the Florida varieties that are currently in season include Temple Oranges, Honey Tangerines, Red Grapefruit, Pink Grapefruit, White Seedless Grapefruit, and Juice Oranges. Since the rainfall in Florida has been lighter than usual this year, the crop is estimated to be 142 million boxes, which is almost 5 million boxes fewer than the 2011-2012 season. According to Florida Citrus Mutual, the Florida citrus industry creates a $9 billion annual economic impact, employs almost 76,000 people, and covers about 550,000 acres.

2013-01 orange juicerLast weekend I decided to get a little creative by figuring out how to bake with an orange. I took inspiration from a recipe for Orange Oatmeal Cookies and made a number of ingredient swaps and substitutions to remove the butter, cane sugar, cream of tartar (since I didn’t have any on hand), and reduce the gluten (although these could be made gluten free if you prefer by swapping the whole wheat flour out and replacing with brown rice or millet flour). I also enjoyed using my great-grand-aunt’s green juicer, shown above. I pictured her laughing and smiling while I juiced the orange and made the cookie dough. The result was a hearty and perky cookie that is delicious at any time of the day…even as a mid-morning snack! Whether you are enjoying a day at the beach or watching the snow fall (I am in the latter camp today), these cookies use ingredients that are easily obtained year-round.

2013-01 orange oatmeal cookiesFreshly-Squeezed Orange Oatmeal Cookie Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg white, beaten until foamy
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large naval orange, zested and juiced
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together canola oil and maple syrup in a large bowl. Stir egg white and applesauce into mixture. Stir in orange juice with pulp and orange zest.

Mix flours, oats, (optional) walnuts, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl; fold into the large bowl of wet ingredients until evenly incorporated.

Drop by heaping tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake in preheated oven until bottom of cookies are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Naturally Sweetened Nut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies are tasty, especially ones that combine a satisfying crunch with chewiness. You may ask, “how can that be done?” Well, my friends, you can have a chewy cookie with a satisfying crunch if you add toasted oats and nuts to a cookie batter. I was inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe for Nutty Butter Cookies. I decided to reduce the amount of butter used, so I substituted with some unsweetened applesauce. I also substituted the refined sugar with a combination of maple syrup and honey. For my nut butter, I selected peanut, although I think almond butter would work really well too. Fortunately this recipe does not call for much nut butter, since the prices of nut butters have increased substantially during the first half of this year. I hope that you enjoy this recipe! And if you have not yet done so, please visit my home page to vote for your favorite dessert flavor. Are you a chocoholic? Or do you prefer plain vanilla? Perhaps a refreshing mint or zesty lemon? Just click the button for your choice and click “vote” – and then you will see the results so far. Thanks for participating! Enjoy your day, and your cookies.

Ingredients
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Coarse salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup nut butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions
Melt 1/2 stick butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring, until toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Spread oat mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet; let cool.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt. Beat together remaining 1/2 stick butter, applesauce, maple syrup and honey with a mixer on medium-high speed until fully combined. Add egg and beat until combined. Add nut butter, and beat on medium speed until well combined.

Add oat mixture and chopped nuts, and beat on low speed until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined.

Place cookies, about a teaspoonful each, 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Food Trip Friday, Cybele Pascal Allergen-Free Cooking and Sweet as Sugar Cookies.

Continuing the Celebration with Chocolate Chip Cookie 2.0

This week I have been celebrating my blog’s one year anniversary. It has been fun to think about all of the new foods I have tried and shared, and my favorite recipes that I have revised. One year ago I posted my first recipe for chocolate chip cookies. It was a wonderful recipe that substituted the refined sugars with natural sweeteners. Since then I have made that recipe dozens of times because I like to have a steady supply of dessert in the house. There is something quite nice about kicking back at the end of the day with a homemade cookie.

At first I was only concerned with getting the refined sugars out of the cookies. Over the past year I have tinkered with the ingredients – how could I add nutrients? Reduce saturated fats? Reduce gluten? Make them fluffier? Well, I think I have managed to update last year’s version – I removed one stick of butter and added applesauce, used some oat flour to reduce the overall gluten amount, let the butter soften naturally for a lighter texture, used my own homemade vanilla extract for added flavor, and added some more chocolate chips (I really tested the last point thoroughly). I hope you enjoy this recipe. Have a nice day!

Mix Dry and Set Aside: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup oat flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt

Mix Until Creamy: 1 stick softened butter, 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 cup agave nectar, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add to Creamy Mixture: 2 eggs

Then Add to Creamy Mixture: the dry mix (noted above)

Then Stir In: 1 bag grain-sweetened chocolate chips plus a “few extra” (I like Sunspire brand)

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-11 minutes.

Enjoy!

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Food Trip Friday.

Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Glaze – for Halloween or a Snowy Evening

As I write this post, I am humming the tune of “Sleigh Ride” and watching the snow fall. And no, I am not at the North Pole! It has been a crazy October 29 here in the Northeast – the day started with the trees on full autumnal color display and is ending with a winter wonderland. What a wacky day! I have to keep reminding myself that Halloween is only two days away.

In preparation for a Halloween potluck lunch on Monday, I baked some cookies today. I was inspired by a recipe for Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies, and was especially impressed when the degree of difficulty was noted as “easy.” I played around with the ingredients, adding some whole wheat flour and substituting the refined sugar with honey. The result was a light and fluffy cookie…that really needed a sweet glaze topping. So I got out my saucepan and melted a few ingredients…into a sweet, yummy concoction. I drizzled the glaze onto the cookies and that looked much better. However, I had to try another one with the glaze just to make sure that they were good enough to bring to the potluck. I think that my coworkers will enjoy them…if the plate of cookies lasts until Monday!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup honey
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup pure canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze (recipe follows)

Directions
PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

COMBINE flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger (or nutmeg) and salt in medium bowl. Beat honey and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets.

BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

FOR GLAZE:
COMBINE 1/2 cup maple sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small saucepan on low heat until smooth. Allow glaze to cool for a few minutes before drizzling on the cookies.

I am sharing this recipe with Joy of Desserts, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Lady Behind the Curtain, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, This Chick Cooks, Something Swanky, Food Trip Friday, Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Beauty and Bedlam and Everyday Sisters.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with a Modern Twist

Recently my aunt shared some family cookie recipes with me. They were all recipes of her grandmother and passed down to my grandmother, my aunt and now me. Last weekend as the temperatures cooled and the first feelings of autumn were in the air, I decided to try the recipe for Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies. However, I gave the cookies a modern twist: I substituted the refined sugar with honey, substituted the solid shortening with canola oil, and reduced the amount of water. While I made the cookies, I felt a connection with my family – I really enjoyed making the same cookie that my aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother made for themselves and their families over the years. The entire house smelled of cinnamon and raisins while the cookies baked. And the result was a light and chewy cookie that tasted delicious. I hope that you enjoy this old-fashioned recipe with a modern twist.

Modern Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies


Ingredients:

1 cup raisins
1 cup water
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour (a combination of all purpose and whole wheat works well)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions:

Simmer raisins and water in a saucepan over medium heat until raisins are plump, about 15 minutes. While the raisins are simmering, mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the raisins and a bit (about 1/4 cup) of the water from the saucepan into the bowl and mix together with all the ingredients. Spoon level tablespoonfuls of the batter onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 10 minutes.

I am sharing this recipe with Joy of Desserts, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, This Chick Cooks, Lady Behind the Curtain, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Food Trip Friday, Sweet as Sugar Cookies and Joy of Desserts – Vintage Recipes.

Quick! Make These Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies Before Prices Increase!

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the prices for peanuts and peanut butter are on the rise. The peanut supply is lower than normal due to two factors: (1) fewer peanuts were planted because farmers opted to grow more profitable cotton and corn, and (2) the prolonged high temperatures this summer adversely affected the peanut crop.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia produce the majority of the nation’s peanuts. According to the USDA, an extreme drought in Texas and Oklahoma has reduced the peanuts harvested.

J.M. Smuckers, which makes JIF, has announced that the price of its peanut butter will increase 30% starting in November. Other peanut companies are likely to follow suit.

So what should we do? I say let’s bake, bake, bake…and fast before the prices rise. There are lots of peanut butter foods from which to choose – I have already shared recipes for Peanut Butter Cups, Honey Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Brownies, and now I am happy to share a terrific recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies below. The recipe was inspired by Terry Walters’ Clean Food; I used whole wheat flour instead of teff and swapped grain-sweetened for semisweet chocolate chips. I plan on enjoying these delicious cookies often…and stocking up on peanut butter this month so I can keep baking them through the winter.

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chunky 100% organic peanut butter
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl and all wet ingredients in another. Pour wet ingredients over dry and blend until just combined – do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop batter by heaping teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Place in oven and bake 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place directly on wire rack to cool. Makes approximately 20 cookies.

I am sharing this recipe with Joy of Desserts, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Lady Behind the Curtain, This Chick Cooks, Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, Food Trip Friday and Sweet as Sugar Cookies.