Saturday, February 11, 2012

A journey with cookies

I love chocolate chip cookies. Since our first allergic was diagnosed, I rarely indulge in making them. It means making two batches, one from what was a short list of  3A approved cookies, and the chocolate chip cookies. So time consuming! To simplify things, I've been testing ways to make our favorite cookie recipes safe for all of us to enjoy. 

The main obstacle ~ butter/shortening. Folks use applesauce for healthier cookies, and oil can substitute butter. I figured those would be the best solution. But each came with their own issues.  

Too much oil make the cookies greasy. Too much apple sauce make the cookies poofy.  I want to stay true to the original cookie, if possible. 

With some testing, I found the right ratio of oil & applesauce to avoid the greasy problem. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, I will use 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup apple sauce. 

However, the cookies were still a little too poofy and cakey. Then I thought: What if I drain it? You know, eliminate as much extra moisture as possible.

First, I dumped a bunch of apple sauce in a tea towel and squeezed the juice out. Then used the remaining sauce. It worked!!! But, I felt like I was losing too much of the apple solids in the squeezing process. 

Now, I use a fine mesh strainer to drain the apple sauce. You can also use a tea towel lined colander over a large bowl. I let it drain while I gather all the ingredients and combine the flour mixture. 

That was my "aha moment" in baking cookies for my kids with allergies! 

P.S. Jake pointed out that we have palm kernel shortening.  Uh . . . that works too :) 
I used this technique in these recipes:

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