Sunday, September 23, 2012

Make Your Own Healthy Cookie Recipes Using Dates and Other Natural Sweeteners

Make Your Own Healthy Cookie Recipes Using Dates and Other Natural Sweeteners

Author: LWJF
You don't have to give up your favorite cookie recipes—just transform them into healthier versions using natural sweeteners. By following a few simple rules, you can make healthy cookie recipes in no time.  Remember, the cakier the texture, the more your wet and dry ingredients impact the texture.  (Things like oil, milk eggs count as wet ingredients while sugar, flour and cocoa are dry.) That means, go ahead and use an alternative sweetener in your favorite cookie recipe, but it may not work as well in angel food cake, which is cakey, fussy and might fall.  You have more flexibility replacing white sugar with brown rice syrup in a pudding or cookie than in a cake.
Since cookies are not cake like and instead are dense and can be either crunchy or gooey, go ahead and experiment.  So, consider not using white sugar or high fructose corn syrup anymore and instead try these better sweeteners.  Here are a few refined sugar and fat alternatives and how to incorporate them into your baking:
Dates - use dates to replace white or brown sugar. A sweet tree fruit, dates can be pitted, chopped and mashed to make date paste. Or, just use them finely chopped. Dates can also be blended in the blender with water, milk, oil or a combination of them to add as a sweetener.  You can also use date sugar; substitute equal amounts to replace granulated sugar.  Dates add a sweet and gooey richness.  Vegan appropriate.
Bananas - mash them up and substitute equal amounts for the butter or shortening in a recipe.  They add texture, sweetness and taste.  Vegan appropriate.
Applesauce - use as an alternative for butter or shortening, to create a healthy cookie recipe. Can generally replace up to ½ of the fat in most recipes. If using sweetened applesauce, reduce the amount of sugar you add to compensate. When possible, use unsweetened.  Also, when mixing the recipe add the applesauce with the liquid ingredients. You may need to decrease the baking time.  Just watch for the signs it is done.  Vegan appropriate.
Brown Rice Syrup - Since this is less sweet than regular white sugar, substitute 1 ¾ cup of brown rice syrup for each cup of sugar and reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup.  Vegan appropriate.
Evaporated Cane Juice - whole sugar containing all of the nutrients and trace minerals normally processed out of granulated white sugar. Use measure for measure.  Since it has a light brown color, cakes that were white or yellow may have a slight tan color but taste great.  Chocolate cakes do not show any color change. Vegan appropriate.
Maple Syrup or Raw Agave - replaces corn syrup measure for measure. Or, use ¾ cup maple syrup or agave plus ¼ teaspoon baking soda for each cup of granulated sugar. If using to replace granulated sugar, you will also need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons.  Vegan appropriate.
Molasses - if you like the distinctive flavor of molasses, you can substitute up to half of the white sugar with it. For each cup of sugar, use 1 1/3 cups molasses plus 1 teaspoon baking soda. You will also need to reduce the amount of liquid used in the recipe by ¼ cup and lower the oven temp by 25 degrees to prevent overbrowning.  Vegan appropriate.
Honey - replace white sugar with this healthier alternative. Use between ½ to ¾ of a cup of honey for each cup of sugar and reduce the amount of liquid in your healthy cookie recipe by about a ¼ cup. To prevent overbrowning, you will also need to reduce the oven temp by 25 degrees. Vegetarian appropriate.

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