December 23, 2008

Healthy(ish) Christmas Cookies: Part 3

'Twas two nights before Christmas and I just finished assembling my final recipe redo of the year. I'll be bringing all of my Christmas cookies down to the fam on Thursday so we'll see how everyone appreciates (?) these new takes on my grandma's classic cookies.

So finally we come to the simple butter cookie. My grandma would use her cookie gun to create shapes, then match them together as sandwiches filled with jelly. Then the sandwiches were dipped into chocolate and sprinkles and were just delicious and super professional looking. At least I always thought so!

My recipe conversion went like this:

1. Replace. White flour got the boot in favor of whole wheat pastry and spelt flour. Goodbye margarine and white sugar, hello organic butter, maple syrup and Sucanat. And instead of the notion that if you are 'just baking with it' to get the cheapest ingredients, I got quality plum fruit spread sweetened only with fruit juice.

2. Eliminate. Since there's plenty of sugar in the recipe I simply ditched the chocolate and sprinkles. If I were catering more towards kids I would have kept it, but for me this time of year, cookies tend to be breakfast so I went chocolate-free.

3. Add value. In perhaps my trickiest move yet, I mixed ground flax seed into the plum spread. You can't even tell it's there but your colon can. I mean, in a good way.

Perhaps a bit plain, these are still stunning because of my grandmother's hardworking cookie gun I'm lucky enough to have snagged.

Butter Cookie Sandwiches
1 lb. butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup Sucanat (a non-refined cane sugar)
2 organic/free range eggs
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp. aluminum free baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 cups naturally sweetened fruit spread of your choice
5 Tbl. ground flax seed

Cream butter with sugar in a large bowl. Add maple syrup, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add all dry ingredients and blend. Use cookie gun to create shapes on cookie sheets. You may need to bake in two batches as this recipe made enough to fill two sheets twice. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. They are thin and can burn easily to keep a close eye on 'em! Let cool on baking racks. In a bowl, mix fruit spread with flax seed. When cool, assemble into sandwiches with a small amount of fruit between the butter cookies.

Happy, healthy holidays to everyone!


Amber said...

My kids will certainly love those cookies…. I will try their recipe for them.

Jenn said...

These look delicious. I have a similar cookie press from my grandma. :)

Amy Flanagan said...

Let us know how the review goes. I would have left the chocolate off for the kids, too. It's been my observation that kids like things plainer. Though kids do like sprinkles...

Adam said...

Michelle, all three of these cookie make-overs look great. Have you seen the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook? Another blogger who is cooiking through the Gourmet Cookbook raved about it not too long ago. You might want to check it out, although it looks like you're doing just fine on your own.

Happy holidays to you and Max.

Michelle said...

Jenn–oh cool! my mom could never get the hang of using that cookie gun but I think it's pretty easy.

amy–really, kids aren't into chocolate? my lack of children-related knowledge astounds me sometimes. max buys all the christmas presents for my little cousins.

adam–hey, thanks for the links! make sure to let me know when your little Christmas miracle arrives :-)

Sophie said...

Adding the flax to the jam filling is an ingenious way to give the cookies a healthy makeover :). That cookie guy looks like so much fun! I'd like to share your recipe with our readers, please let me know if you're interested!

Sophie, Key Ingredient Chief Blogger

Hayley said...

Thanks for visiting my site, yours is sooo great! I love trying to health up recipes my family loves, and these sound super tasty. Oh and that alarm clock of yours must be heaven...I'll have to pick myself up one.

Raspberry Runner said...

i bet the maple syrup gave them a nice flavor! and nice move on the flax in the plum spread...very creative