January 28th, 2014

Cookie Trials

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Yes, I realize that it has scarcely been a month since the holidays, ever a cookie fest. No matter. It is always a good time for cookies, especially ones that have noble aspects about them without sacrificing great taste.

Noble aspects, you ask? Indeed!

One recipe boasts reduced fat and sugar and the other is gluten free.

Ahhh.

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You see, I have become involved in Cookie Trials!

Today’s foray into Cookie Trials brings us Easiest Peanut Butter (remarkable, with only 4 ingredients!) and Cranberry-Orange-Oatmeal (orange zest, sour cream and egg white distinguish this batch). As the batches of both came together quickly, with minimal effort, I thought I would share them with you. Two more cookie recipes for your culinary stockpile…

We’ll start with our 4-ingredient wonder, with a confession.

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I love peanut butter, but I’ve never been crazy about peanut butter cookies. The ones I had have been either too dry and crumbly. Or too sweet. And not “pea-nutty” enough.

So, I was intrigued by the idea of a peanut butter cookie made without flour. Maybe flour has been the culprit in forming my distaste. Peanut butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla—that’s all that goes into this recipe. I could imagine the peanut taste really coming through. But, how would it bake up? Would it have a good cookie texture?

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The verdict: These are very good peanut butter cookies. They are crisp and a little chewy and have a rich, roasted peanut flavor.

They baked up nicely, thickly. I could have made them smaller. I used an extra-crunchy peanut butter, which fills the dough with plenty of peanut bits. A creamy peanut butter would result in a lighter batter that might spread out a bit more as it bakes.

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It should go without saying, but a peanut butter cookie is only as good as the peanut butter going into it. Be sure to use your favorite.

Next up is a “lightened” Cranberry-Orange-Oatmeal cookie, its recipe taken from Cooking Light’s Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars.

The ingredient list looks long, but likely you’ve got most of the items already in your pantry. I had to run out for some sour cream.

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I was excited to try this recipe; the classic oatmeal cookie ranks high in my world. So a variation on the theme is generally welcome.

The lightly beaten egg white helps bind the batter, making it a softer cookie: more airy and delicate, like a macaroon.

Orange zest and juice, paired with the sour cream, really bring this cookie to life.

The recipe calls for quick oats, (which I had) but I think you could use the regular “old fashioned” rolled oats, and actually have better results–the oats being more defining, in both taste and texture.

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Verdict: overall, a delicious cookie. I like that these can be made easily into a small size–another lighter aspect of the cookie.

Small but good bites are satisfying, especially in these starker, post-holiday times.

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GLUTEN FREE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES from Southern Living
1 cup peanut butter (your choice of creamy or crunchy)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place all four ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Beat until the mixture is well-combined. Form into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, one inch apart. Flatten the tops gently with the tines of a fork.

Bake on the center rack in a 325 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 5–7 minutes before removing the cookies from the baking sheet.

Makes 20-24 cookies

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CRANBERRY-ORANGE OATMEAL COOKIES adapted from Cooking Light
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup oats
1 1/3 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, dried cranberries, both sugars, orange zest, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
Beat in the sour cream, melted butter, orange juice, vanilla, and egg white.

Scoop small rounds of dough, placing them onto the parchment lined baking sheet, each an inch apart.

Bake on the center rack for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

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Posted in Desserts, Gluten Free, Recipes | 15 Comments »