2/28/12

Baking on Friday (Tuesday Edition): Apple-Cranberry Breakfast Cookies

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You might think after my recent dissertation about my special relationship with all things "hog" that I wouldn't be baking anything right now.  After all, I did just join Weight Watchers Online.  But that didn't stop me.  I took this recipe right off the Weight Watchers website.  I know!  Cookies!

I started this whole Weight Watchers thing as a complete Weight Watchers virgin.  I knew it had something to do with points because I'd seen the little notations on restaurant menus.  I'll confess here that I'm not a person who has struggled with my weight a lot in my life.  As a life-long exerciser, I've been able to eat pretty much what I want with a few periods of time when I grew (emphasis on the "grew") a little heavier than I wanted to be.  This is one of those times.  In any case, Weight Watchers has a good reputation, and my friend Sue has had success with it.  It seemed like a good idea to join for three months and give it a try.

So far, I'm pretty happy with the recipes I've been finding on the website.  The point system takes most of the brain-work out of it.  I'm not having to stop and look up calorie or carb counts every time I put something in my mouth (which is often, and with gusto!).  Also, I like the fact that I'm able to track my points on my iPhone and my iPad when I'm not near my computer.  I can do a search for a food and track the points in just a few seconds.  There are quite a few restaurants included in the database so that I can track a specific menu item.

Putting all of that aside, here is what I baked this morning.


And guess what?  I ate one already.  I know!  Shocking!  Each cookie adds three points to my daily total.  So go ahead.  I dare you to eat just one.  They are surprisingly yummy.  And quite healthy too, I might add.

Here's what I have to say about this before I give you the recipe:  First of all, the recipe called for "1/4 cup(s) margarine, no-salt soft variety".  Now, I haven't used margarine in years since the whole trans fat concern came to light.  I always use unsalted butter in my baking.  Nevertheless, wanting to stick with the Weight Watchers recipe, I took a look at the margarine available in my grocery store.  For one thing, I wasn't sure what "soft variety" referred to.  I assumed it meant the ones that come in a tub.  As I looked at the ingredients, I noted, not surprisingly, that they all contained trans fats.  That bothered me.  I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol (I just seem to be built that way), and so I worry about trans fats.

So then I started looking at the so-called margarine that promised not to contain trans fats.  All of those had some sort of coconut oil or palm kernel oil, which is not a healthy substitution for the dreaded trans fats.  Taking that all into consideration during the 15 or so minutes that I stood in the dairy section studying the margarine tubs, I decided to opt for good old unsalted butter.  There doesn't seem to be a healthy way to go, and so I chose for the one that at least came from Bossy the cow.  (Bossy wouldn't hurt me, now would she?)

And as I wrote that, I got all curious about why cows are referred to as "Bossy".  I don't know about you, but I've never been bossed by a cow (unless it refers to a certain English teacher I had in the 8th grade).  Here's what I learned on a blog post from the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America:
'Bossy is a general name for a cow, just as Dobbin refers to a horse and Tabby to a cat. The Latin word for ox or cow is bos, and it is probable that the first person to call a cow Bossy was equipped with both a knowledge of Latin and a sense of humor. Some authorities, however, suppose the term to be related in origin to the dialectic English word boss calf, a young calf. In the Teutonic languages there is a root word variously spelled bosboose and buss, which means barn, stall or crib. The thought is originally a boss calf was a calf kept in a barn or stall as distinguished from one grazing at large and that bossy as applied to a cow is derived from the same source.'

From "A Book About A Thousand Things" by George Stimpson.
Just leave it to me to supply you with a daily dose of useless information.  But I digress.  Hard to believe, I know.

To get back to the cookies, the recipe calls for "unsweetened applesauce".  I'm not ashamed to admit that if I can't have sugar in my applesauce, then I don't want to eat it.  And that means that when I purchase unsweetened applesauce for a recipe, the unused portion (generally 98% of the jar) sits in my refrigerator until I dare not take it out again for fear of being murdered by something that has sprouted inside.  Instead, I've taken to purchasing those little snack packs of unsweetened applesauce.  Each one contains a half a cup, and I can keep them in my pantry, unrefrigerated, until I need them. I was certain I had a stack of them  when I went to the grocery store yesterday.  Imagine my utter surprise and complete dismay when I couldn't find any this morning.

Have you ever noticed that when you can't find something you're sure you have, you keep looking for it in the same places over and over and over again.  It's as if you think that somehow in the past 14 seconds, it's magically been transported from the Land of Lost Items to the place where you left it last . . . at least where you thought you left it last.  I searched and searched and searched, but alas, it never materialized.  "Shoot," I said.  Actually, that's not what I said.  You would blush at the things I say that I never tell you here.  I'll just give you a hint about the word I actually used by saying that it's something your toddler would be sure to shout loudly and repeatedly--in church--after hearing you say it just one time.

After finally giving up and then searching one more time, I went to my favorite resource for what to use when you don't have what you need:
I think it's called a Bible because the actual Bible is what you should be reading after the words you said prior to consulting this resource.  The Food Substitutions Bible suggested substituting pureed pumpkin.  Sometimes I have pureed pumpkin or even pureed butternut squash in my freezer left over from the holidays.  Of course, I had none today.  So what to do, I asked myself after uttering a few more words that Yosemite Sam might have used.  And then I came up with this:


Cool!  I checked the label just to be sure and I nearly swooned when I saw that it has no added sugar!  So that's what I used.  I pureed the peaches in my mini-food processor.  It took about half the can to make the 1/2 cup needed for my recipe.

With those substitutions in mind, here's the recipe I came up with:

Apple-Cranberry Breakfast Cookies
adapted from Weight Watchers Online
Yield:  30 cookies

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup pureed canned peaches (packed in 100% juice with no added sugar)
1 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup uncooked quick oats
1/2 cup chopped dried apple
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add eggs one at a time and beat for 30 seconds; add pureed peaches and beat just to mix.

In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; add to mixer and beat to form batter.  Add oats, apples, cranberries, and walnuts; combine by hand.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.  Drop batter by heaping tablespoons 1 inch apart.  Bake until cookies are lightly browned and firm, about 13-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.  Move to wire rack and cool completely.  One cookie per serving.  3 Weight Watchers points.

Since I haven't tasted these made with applesauce, I can't tell you whether they tasted any different.  They were good, and they didn't taste like peaches.  Even if you're not dieting, they would make a tasty and relatively healthy snack any time of the day.

2 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Yummy sounding, how fun when you can enjoy a nice sweet thing!

Teresa in Music City said...

Barbara you are such a hoot!!! I so enjoyed this post and I laughed out loud at the idea of you running around your kitchen turning the air blue with your *language* - too funny! And I know exactly what you mean about looking in the same place over and over. It's like your mind can't get over the fact that it's supposed to be there!

Thanks for the recipe. I'm definitely going to have to try it.