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January's Cookie of the Month- late and lacking momentum :-(

Link to December's cookie and story behind the Cookie of the Month: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35497...

Well, I'm losing momentum already! Maybe I just need to skip trying to come up with more seasonally appropriate options and move on to the Chowhound recommendations, which I was saving for more appropriate months. I started this month out by trying this recipe for Gingerbread Bars from Cooking Light: http://food.cookinglight.com/cooking/... They were excellent the first day, but were way too dry the next day, and I have to mail these out, so I just couldn't feel good about sending these to my husband's grandma.

So, I moved onto this recipe for Hermits from Eating Well: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/her... I thought these were never going to get done!! I think they ended up taking twice as long, and I pulled them out, let them cool, and then tried to cut them and they were way underdone. So, I stuck them in for a bit longer, and they finally were done in the middle, but of course dry around the edges. I was able to salvage the middles to send out and they had good flavor, but I have a lingering suspicion that they, too, were dry the next day. I just have this feeling that while I'm sure she still enjoys getting them that she's thinking to herself, "Katie has really lost her baking touch- none of these are as good as last time!" I think it's just hard to make moist low-fat, low-sugar baked goods that are as good the next day (or the day after), and maybe I don't have the time or energy to really experiment like I should. I just really want to throw in the towel and make some high fat, high sugar, gooey chocolate cookies!! Please give me some encouragement, Hounds- I need it!

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  1. No! Don't give up Katie! We know you can do it. I really recommend the One Smart Cookie book from Julie, available on Amazon (all the fav. cookie recipes, in lower fat versions):
    I think you can get great taste with lower fat&sugar.

    3 Replies
    1. re: morebubbles

      Thanks morebubbles... I think I've gotten pretty tasty results with lower fat and sugar, but not moist results, at least not moist enough to mail out. Is there anything specific I should be looking for when I look at a recipe to determine whether it will be moist or not?

      1. re: Katie Nell

        Oh, I see. I always think crunchy when I think of cookies. So you're looking for a bar or a brownie type thing, right? Or a soft cookie? I'll do some research at home tonight (go into my low fat cookbooks for something...)

        1. re: morebubbles

          Well, I guess crunchy isn't necessarily bad, but the bar recipes I linked to above were dry the next day, and they're so obviously supposed to be moist. She does have a tough time chewing crunchy things, so I think she naturally prefers soft and chewy over crunchy- at least she raves more about those ones.

      1. what are you looking for in a recipe to keep it healthier? can you take a regular good recipe & substitute ingredients (like Splenda for sugar)? I've never tried though so not sure if it even works. Seems like most of my moist cookie recipes use 1 cup sugar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pamd

          If you look at my post that I linked to explaining the whole story, I'm just looking for cookies (they can be bars too) that are lower in sugar, lower in fat, and high on good stuff- like dried fruit, not necessarily no sugar, no fat, but just a little bit better for you.

        2. Don't give up! How about something with mashed bananas or applesauce as a key ingredient. I've definitely had applesauce cookies that were moist - sorry I don't have a recipe. Also, I'm thinking you could do a standard banana bread and cut into bars. In the bb, you could probably substitute things like egg beaters for eggs, margarine for butter and so on.

          A friend I have made oatmeal cookies with raisins using margarine and 1/2 stone ground wheat flour and half reg flour. My 1 yo son LOVES oatmeal cookies and couldn't tell the difference.

          PS What a sweetheart you are to think about your hubby's grandma. Don't give up. And...once in a while, I'm sure she'd love the high fat stuff too!

          1. I definately second the oatmeal cookie idea. I find that oatmeal cookies stay moister longer. We have an old family recipe from my grammy that will stay moist and chewy for over a week.

            1. I've made the pumpkin oatmeal cookies from the postpunkkitchen (www.theppk.com) and they're good. Not as good as full fat, full sugar but still good and a hit with others. I'd find the recipe but I can't get to it for odd some reason.

              1. Keep going! I'Tis a noble granddaughterly thing you do.

                I highly recommend the Alaska Molasses Cookies from Cooking Light's web site.


                This recipe makes a tasty basic cookie that lasts almost forever. The applesauce keeps them moist and yummy. In fact, I'm just finishing off the last 3 cookies from a batch I made a few weeks ago. I kept them in a ziptop bag with the air kinda sucked out - if anything, they got better with age.

                However, they're not particularly low in sugar (I even added more by sprinkling the tops with sugar crystals, which makes them look very pretty), but they have a minimum of butter and cholesterol, and the whole wheat flour and applesauce make them somewhat healthy.

                Tip: The dough is really sticky when you shape it into balls - the next time, I'm going to wear unpowdered latex gloves, per Alton Brown's suggestion for making truffles.


                1 Reply
                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  don't despair, you WILL find an amazing recipe, and you will inspire this mother of one and a half to bake healthy alternatives instead of lobbing any organic boxed treat at them.

                2. If you have time, be creative! The addition of nuts (especially ground nuts), honey, molasses and brown sugar will increase the keeping qualities of many baked goods. I'd try substituting.

                  1. Hi Katie, by way of encouragement, here are some lower fat recipes. Haven't made any of these-they look good though. My own rule of thumb is nothing more than 1/4 c of butter in a recipe, (maybe up to 1/3 cup). Hope you find some good things to make through your research!
                    First 4 recipes, adapted from cookbooks by Anne Lindsay-
                    1/3 c softened butter, 2/3 c brown sugar
                    1 lightly beaten egg, 1/3 cup corn syrup
                    1 t grated orange rind, 1 t. pure vanilla
                    2 T orange juice
                    1 ¾ c all-purpose flour
                    ½ t each baking powder and baking soda
                    ½ t each ground cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg
                    ½ c each dried blueberries, cranberries, cherries and raisins
                    In large bowl with electr. mixer, cream butter with brown sugar until mixed Beat in egg, corn syrup, orange rind, vanilla and orange juice.
                    In sep. bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder, spices and mix well. Stir in dried fruit. Add to creamed mixture, mixing well.
                    Drop by spoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets 2“ apart. Bake in 350F oven for 8-10 mins. or until golden. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.
                    Makes 30 cookies. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

                    Date and Walnut Squares
                    1 egg, 2 egg whites
                    1 c sugar
                    3 T melted butter
                    1 ¼ finely chopped dates, packed
                    ¼ c chopped walnuts
                    1/3 c flour
                    1 t baking powder
                    In bowl and using electr. mixer, beat egg, egg whites and sugar for 5 mins. or until light in color. Beat in butter., dates and walnuts. Stir in flour and baking powder until well combined.
                    Pour into lightly greased 8” square baking dish. Bake at 350F for 35 mins. or until set. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.
                    Makes 20 squares

                    Cranberry Pecan Squares
                    ¾ c dried cranberries
                    ¼ c cold butter
                    ¾ c sugar
                    2 T plain yogurt (1%)
                    2 eggs
                    pinch of salt
                    ½ coarsely chopped pecans
                    1. In saucepan, combine cranberries with enough water to cover. Cover and bring to boil, remove from heat & let stand for 1 min. Drain and let cool. Set aside.
                    In bowl, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in ¼ c of the sugar and the yogurt, mixing well. Press evenly into lightly greased or sprayed 8” square pan. Bake in 305F oven for 15 mins.
                    Meanwhile, in bow, beat eggs with remaining ½ c sugar and salt until light, stir in cranberries. Pour over base. Sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake in 350F oven for 30 mins. or until set and golden. Let cool slightly in pan, cut into squares. Makes 18 squares.
                    Store in airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

                    Double-Chocolate Cookies
                    1 T each instant coffee granules and pure vanilla
                    1 egg
                    2 egg whites
                    ¾ c each sugar and brown sugar
                    ¼ butter, melted
                    3 T golden corn syrup
                    2 c flour
                    ½ unsweetened cocoa powder ,sifted
                    1 T baking powder
                    ¼ t salt
                    1 c chocolate chips
                    1. Dissolve coffee granules in vanilla, set aside.
                    2. In large bowl, using electr. mixer, beat egg, egg whites and reg and brown sugars until light and foamy, beat in butter, corn syrup and coffee mixture.
                    3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, gradually beat into egg mix, ½ c at a time, until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips (mix will be thick).
                    4. Drop by tablespoons about 2” apart, on non-stick or sprayed baking sheets. Flatten tops with back of spoon. Bake in 350F oven for 8-10 ins. or until firm. Let stand on sheets on racks for 2 mins. transfer to racks to let cool completely. Makes 60 cookies.
                    Make ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 5 mins. or freeze for up to 3 weeks.
                    Variations: 1) Sub. ¾ t mint extract for coffee granules, add to batter with vanilla
                    2) chocolate orange cookies–Sub. grated orange rind from 1 orange for coffee granules, add to batter with vanilla.

                    adapted from Australian Women’s Weekly: cookbook titled simplylitefood
                    Maple Pecan Cinnamon Cookies
                    60 grams butter, 1/3 c maple syrup
                    1/3 cup golden syrup, 1 t baking soda
                    1 T boiling water, 2 1/3 c rolled oats
                    1 ½ c plain flour, pinch of salt
                    2/3 c brown sugar, 1 t ground cinnamon
                    30 pecan halves
                    2 T maple syrup, extra

                    Melt butter, maple & golden syrup in small pan. Combine soda with water in small bowl. Stir into marg. mix until well combined.
                    Combine oats, flour, salt, sugar & cinnamon in large bowl, stir in butter. mix. Refrigerate, covered, 20 mins. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls, Place on lightly greased trays 1“ apart. Place a pecan half on top of each ball, flatten slightly. Bake in moderate oven (180C) 20 mins or until lightly browned. Cool. Brush hot cookies with extra maple syrup.
                    Makes 30.

                    Adapted from book: Superfoods for Women

                    Marbled Pumpkin Bars
                    ½ c light cream cheese, sifted
                    2 T sugar, 2 eggs beaten or ½ c prepared egg sub.
                    ¾ c canned pure pumpkin puree, ¾ c brown sugar
                    2 T molasses, ½ t each ground ginger and cinnamon
                    ¼ t each ground cloves, allspice and salt
                    1/3 c veg. oil, 1 c flour, 1 t baking powder
                    ½ c chopped walnuts

                    9x12” baking pan. 350F oven. In food processor: cream cheese, white sugar and 1 egg.
                    Reserve mix in separate small bowl.
                    In processor bowl, blend pumpkin, brown sugar, molasses, spices, salt. Blend in remaining egg & the oil. Add flour & baking powder to the bowl. Process until just blended. By hand fold in walnuts into batter and spoon into prepared pan. Spoon cream cheese over the top. Use a paring knife to make marbelized effect. Don’t over-mix. May be cut into 12 squares after baking/cooling.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: morebubbles

                      Thank you morebubbles! I must be feeling extra, extra sappy today, because your kindness brought a tear to my eyes! I think this whole cookie thing was stressing me out more than I thought! They all sound excellent! Judging by the amount of date cookie recipes my great grandma had in her recipe collection, I'm thinking the date and walnut bars might go over well! The cranberry pecan bars might be a nice change for February- you know, something red. I think I might try some this weekend. Thanks again for everything!

                    2. You're MOST welcome, Katie! Don't worry-if you make nice old-fashioned stuff (updated a bit for health reasons) it'll be great, I think. You're doing something with love and that's what shines through and is appreciated! Here are 2 more recipes, that's it for now. (I researched this morning!)
                      Low-Sugar Shortbread- Makes 8 pieces
                      1/3 c butter
                      3 T sugar
                      ¾ c all-purpose flour
                      ½ c rice flour
                      1 T sugar, to decorate
                      1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
                      2. Lightly grease 8” round pan & line with parchment paper.
                      3. Cream butter until light & fluffy, beat in sugar
                      4. Add sifted flour & rice flour, a bit at a time and mix lightly after each time. Shape dough into a circle to fit the prepared pan.
                      5. Crimp edges with the handle of a fork, cut into 8 wedges & bake until golden 35-40 mins.
                      6. Remove the lining paper, dust with sugar and cool on a wire rack.

                      Applesauce Spice Cookies
                      This is a soft cookie. For variety, add chopped dried fruit of your choice.
                      1/3 c softened butter
                      ½ c sugar
                      1 ½ c applesauce
                      1 t vanilla
                      1 egg
                      2 c whole wheat flour
                      1 t each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
                      ½ t ground cloves
                      1 t baking powder
                      ½ t baking soda
                      Sugar Topping: 1 T sugar and ¼ t cinnamon
                      Using electr. mixer, cream butter & sugar until smooth, add applesauce, vanilla & egg, beat well. Add flour and spices and baking powder/soda, mix well.
                      Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet sprayed with veg coating. Bake in 350F oven 15-20 mins. until evenly browed.
                      Sugar topping: combine sugar with cinnamon, sprinkle over hot cookies. Let cool on rack.
                      Makes 36 medium cookies.
                      You may want to look at canadianliving.com for some recipes as well, here's one:
                      Bodybuilder Cookies (secret ingredient: cheddar! Won first prize in a cookie contest apparently):