January 31, 2011

Weekend Baking - Made Healthier

I love sweets. Cookies, cakes, pastries, you name it, I love it. I’d take sweet over salty any day. Seriously, a bag of potato chips could spend weeks in my cupboard before I’d be tempted enough to dig in. Chocolate or cookies barely survive the week. I swear they call to me from the kitchen. So, with my goal to eat healthily most of the time (and appreciating my own lack of willpower), I try to limit temptation by keeping only dark chocolate that I can enjoy in moderation in my house.

However, I also love to bake. And sometimes the desire to bake something, anything, is stronger than my desire to avoid temptation. On a snowy Saturday, that was the case. After sussing out the ingredients on hand, I settled on making peanut butter oatmeal cookies using this recipe from marthastewart.com as a base. As usual, I did alter a few ingredients to make the cookies a little healthier and allow me to enjoy them somewhat guilt-lessly (I’m telling ya, willpower and me, we’re not friends).

I started with these ingredients:

I won`t bore you with the full recipe here, as you can get that from Martha Stewart`s website. I will, however, share my alterations. First of all, I cut the whole recipe in half ... 6 dozen cookies is way too many to have in my house. Way. Too. Many. I used quick oats instead of old-fashioned, as that`s what I had on hand. And while you do see the white sugar bag in the pic. I didn`t use it. I substituted in Splenda instead. I substituted applesauce for half the butter (next time, I think I`d try using all applesauce). I also didn`t have peanuts or chocolate chips, so I used raisins and coconut as add-ins instead. I actually think these are tastier, healthier additions and make these cookies totally viable as a breakfast choice. (what can I say, willpower+me=bad breakfast decisions!). Moving on:

Dry ingredients, less sugars, mixed together.

Sugars, butters and other wet ingredients creamed together.

Dry and wet ingredients get together, with raisins and coconut, to hang out.

Cookies ready to feel the heat. 
I didn`t have the ice cream scoop the recipe calls for to measure out the dough, so I just used a table spoon. Worked just fine. Also note that I first sprayed the cookie sheet with cooking spray and then opted to use parchment paper instead. Parchment paper is the bomb. I just forgot I had some. Blaming the baby brain.

The recipe calls for 13-15 minutes in the oven. In my pre-heated oven, 13 minutes was perfect. Any longer and I fear I`d have black-bottomed bitties instead of tasty goodness.

Tasty goodness, cooling off.
I skipped the step of allowing the cookies to cool on the sheet for five minutes before moving to wire racks. I needed to get more cookies on the sheets and into the oven. Patience and I also have our differences.

I ended up with 27 cookies and I`d say you could get 28-30 if you don`t eat the dough in between batches (I have a serious problem with willpower). I`d also guess if you made the full recipe you`d probably end up with 5 dozen cookies instead of 6 dozen, unless you made them super-small. And who wants a super small cookie?

mmmm, enjoy.
After my alterations an adjustments, my cookies work out to be about 92 calories and 3.8 grams of fat a piece (calculated using Calorie Count Recipe Analysis), as compared to about 148 calories and 9.1 grams of fat using the original recipe and assuming 5 dozen cookies (of course if you made the super-small size cookies, the cals and fat would be less than that).

The verdict: Very tasty and somewhat healthy. A success indeed. Now if you`ll excuse me, there`s a plate of peanut butter oatmeal cookies calling my name in harmony from the kitchen.

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