Thursday, December 16, 2010

Healthy Cookies for Healthier Baking!

healthy-cookies
Christmas can often be synonymous with sugar. Loads and loads of sugar. And, while I am not one to say that there isn’t a time and place for sweets and cookies and all things sugary and glittery, I do feel that we often turn to those simply because we don’t know the alternatives can be so good. This Christmas season, in the midst of the wine and cheese plates and sugar-laden cakes and cookies, I encourage you to try some healthier variations to share with your friends and families. Not only will they be a refreshing break from the sugar-highs and sugar-crashes you’re used to experiencing, I think you’ll find many healthier ideas incredibly delicious and inspirational in making you want to repeat them, not just because they’re “healthy” but because they taste so good!

Some tips to consider for Healthier Baking include:

* Use oatmeal whenever possible. It adds filling fiber and takes the place of regular white flour (empty calories).
* Substitute applesauce for butter. You can read up on the best ways to do this, but I’ve had great luck with it and actually prefer many of my recipes this way. * Try to include recipes with nuts. Protein and fiber boosts are great ways to curb extensive holiday eating.
* Toast your spices. You’ll need less of the sugar and fat when your spices have a fuller flavor from the toasting process.
* Use fruits to sweeten whenever possible. Bananas are practically dessert themselves, see where you can add them. Make your own fruit sweeteners.
* Use Yogurt! I adore yogurt, and the more recipes I can find to use it, the happier I am. It’s loaded with protein, its fat-free, and it gives an extremely moist texture to things like muffins and breads.

And now, here's a healthy cookie recipe that is perfect for adults. You'll love the flavors, and it goes well with your Christmas drinks or Hot chocolate, but the best part, you'll never know its Healthy! Just use your coffee makers with your favorite coffee flavor, and follow the recipe for a delicious treat.

Coffee Almond Gluten-Free Cookies

Recipe adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen

Ingredients
2 cups almonds or almond flour
1 Tb. freeze-dried regular or decaf organic coffee or use espresso powder
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 tsp. Himalayan or sea salt
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Process almonds, coffee, sugar, and salt in a high speed blender or food processor until fine. Transfer to a mixing bowl. If using almond flour, you can skip the blender/food processor and mix the ingredients right in your bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff.

Fold nut mixture into the egg whites. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix just until blended.

Spoon the batter onto your cookie sheets. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

You'll love this simple recipe, which is fancy enough for your Holiday baking, yet takes care of your waist size! Thanks Tara, for sharing such great tips with us. Tara Alley is a freelance writer from Big Sky, MT, a passionate baker and a lover of all things coffee-related. She is now working for Coffee Home Direct in Orange County, CA. You can reach her at: tara@coffeehomedirect.com

For more Christmas Baking, check out these Christmas Recipes at Fun and Food Cafe.

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