Sunday, December 6, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day 1 - Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

welcome to day one of the 12 days of christmas cookies. between now and christmas day, i will share with you my successes and failures of attempting to clean up some christmas cookie recipes. i am taking some of my favorites and trying to make them a little healthier. i expect some will taste great and i also fully expect some will be not as good. however, i am going to try to see what i can tweak. i'll let you know which recipes are worth changing and which ones are worth the extra sugar and or calories to keep the same.

one caveat - i will not substitute margarine for butter. first of all, i don't think margarine is healthier than butter. butter is made from all natural ingredients whereas i cannot even pronounce some ingredients in read more about my thoughts on butter and butter substitutes, click here.  i also think butter bakes much better than butter substitute. i am not attempting to make recipes vegan either so the butter stays!

mainly, i will be trying white granulated sugar substitutes as well as white flour substitutes. these cookies will not be classified as "clean eats" but hopefully they will be a little bit healthier for you. at christmastime, we always tend to indulge a little bit. and i fully believe in doing so. just make sure to indulge in moderation. save your calories, sugar, and "cheats" for the items you truly love. if your favorite cookies are sugar cookies, then go ahead and eat the real thing. make them with white flour and sugar and enjoy every bite. but bypass the fried appetizers or the italian wedding cookies or toffee that you don't love as much. little choices really add up.

most importantly - enjoy this time of year with your family and friends - and

on the second day of christmas my oven produced thumbprint cookies! i looked to the joy of baking to find a traditional thumbprint recipe. here is the traditional thumbprint cookie recipe. since i significantly changed the recipe i will post it below.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
(makes 2 dozen cookies)

1/4 c butter
1/2 c agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c pecans
1/4 c old fashioned oats
1/8 tsp salt
raspberry or strawberry jam (or any other desired flavor) - i used smucker's low sugar red raspberry

preheat oven to 350 degrees.

melt butter and whisk agave and vanilla into butter until smooth and dissolved.

pulse oats in food processor until finely ground (almost flour-like). add pecans and grind finely. add salt and butter mixture. pulse until dough forms (approximately 30 seconds).

refrigerate for 15 minutes. scoop out teaspoon size scoops and roll into balls. space 1-2" apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. touch thumb into flour and press thumb into middle of balls forming a small well in the center of cookie.

scoop 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons of jam into well.

bake for 12-14 minutes until just starting to brown. remove from oven and let cool.

i have noticed when i use agave nectar while baking, the cookies have a more cake-like consistency. these did not have the crumbly, intense-butter taste that the traditional cookies have but they turned out okay. i don't love them but they are almost completely free of sugar and do not have any white flour in them. if you are looking for an intense buttery cookie, this isn't for you but if you like a slightly nutty, slightly sweet cookie with a fruit center, give it a try!

GCFE rating: 6.5 out of 10

hopefully the reviews will be better as christmas gets closer. stay tuned!

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