Monday, January 17, 2011

Almost Mom’s Peanut Butter Cookies

I must admit that even though I try to live from the garden all year long, there are times when I cook something that continues absolutely nothing that I’ve grown myself. That’s what happened yesterday. The cold, gray day prompted me to long for a house filled with the sweet aroma of baking cookies. My mom is the cookies queen so, for me, making cookies is like taking a step back into the kitchen of my childhood.

I usually don’t waste calories on any dessert that lacks chocolate so when I came upon Mom’s recipe for peanut butter cookies, I decided to slightly alter it to add chocolate and make it a tiny bit healthier. You can do that with so many dessert recipes by altering the kind and amounts of flour, sugar and fat you use.

For the peanut butter cookies, I first substituted a combination of butter and coconut oil. Several years ago I heard a doctor praise the benefits of coconut oil; it is reportedly a healthier saturated fat made of medium-chain triglycerides that convert to energy rather than fat. Nonetheless, I’m not total sold on it so if you have another fat substitute that you like, try it. The coconut oil did work well in these cookies.

Next is the sugar. I used one-third of what the original recipe calls for. Sugar can almost always be cut by at least half in a recipe. Try it and see what you think. You can also experiment with sugar substitutes, like honey, organic maple syrup and agave nectar.

For the flour, I again used the one-third approach. No I didn’t only use one-third the amount of flour but I substituted one-third of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. Again, there’s no discernible difference but you get more fiber.

Finally, I added dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants that fight cancer, so why not indulge once in awhile!

Find your favorite cookie recipe and experiment with adjusting it to a healthier alternative. And if you want to try Almost Mom’s Peanut Butter Cookies, here’s the recipe.

Cream ½ cup butter, ½ cup coconut oil, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir in 1 cup peanut butter. Mix together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2 tsp. soda and a dash of salt. Stir into creamed mixture. Add 1 cup dark chocolate chips. Form small balls and put on cookie sheet. Press with fork on top to make a crisscross. Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Enjoy with a glass of milk!

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