Friday, January 21, 2011

Cheery Cherry Cookies

During the holidays we were delighted to indulge in gastronomic excess...all those rich foods and sweets were welcome treats for celebrations. Now they are all (hopefully) gone and many people are looking to keep the junk out of the house and find something to nosh on that is somewhat healthy.

I also had the added incentive that I wanted to make something for my Mom that she could enjoy with her morning coffee or afternoon tea which is high in protein and fiber and low in fat. The challenge in creating such a goodie is to also make sure that it tastes delicious, not just OK.

By starting with a recipe from the American Heart Association book Lo-fat and Luscious Desserts, I was able to make some substitutions to an already good recipe. Although I did use some barley flour because I had it on hand, you could just you that amount of whole wheat flour in place of the barley flour.

Something to note is that I used butter in place of 4 tablespoons of the tub margarine because I don't like all of the chemicals in the margarines. I used some applesauce instead of some of the fat called for. The mixture before you add the flours is pretty curdled looking...that's OK...once the flour gets added it all look just fine.

One of the nice thing about this recipe is that it uses lots of dried cherries and those cherries really add flavor and natural to the cookies. I added some slivered almonds for crunch but you could substitute chopped natural almonds or sliced almonds for a bit more fiber.

Don't overbake these or they can become too dry. Store them in an airtight container but keep them handy for a healthy snack. Bet they will be gone before you know it. Maybe that's not so healthy, but it's still gotta be better for us than holiday sweets.

Cherry Breakfast and Tea Cookies
a variation of a recipe in Low-fat and Luscious Desserts by the American Heart Assn.

2 1/4 cups dried cherries (or use dried cranberries or blueberries or a combination)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1/2 cup barley flour
3/4 cup uncooked wheat or oat bran
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons butter at room temperature
4 oz. applesauce (unsweetened if possible)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cups slivered almonds

Preheat 375 degrees F.

In a small, heavy saucepan, bring cherries and water to a boil over medium-high heat; boil for 4-6 minutes, or until cherries are plump, stirring occasionally. Drain cherries, reserving 5 tablespoons liquid; set both aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flours, nutmeg,and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream butter, then add applesauce. Add brown sugar and vanilla, bearing until light in color, about 1 minutes. Mixture may stay curdled.

Add egg whites and beat until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with a rubber scraper. Mixture may stay a bit curdled looking.

Add reserved cherry liquid and mix well.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture with mixture running.

Add rolled oats, wheat or oat bran, and plumped drained cherries, stirring just until incorporated. Using a small-portion scoop or tablespoon, drop cookie dough onto heavy ungreased baking sheets or regular baking sheets lined with cooking parchment, leaving about 1 inch between cookies.

Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer cookies from baking sheets to cooling racks and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.

3 comments:

Lisa said...

Yum, I love dried cherries. Your cookies sound both healthy and delicious. I'm starting a new linky on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link this up.

thedaintyapron said...

These cookies look delish! Thank you for commenting on my Cake Slice Bakers cake and wishing me a happy birthday.

Katie said...

They look delicious. I love their nobbly apperance and the fact they are so healthy. I bet the applesauce adds a great flavour too