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Spiced-Up Cookie Exchange

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Spice up your next cookie exchange by changing it up and incorporating some unique ingredients into your holiday favorites. Cookies can be enhanced by adding various combinations of spices, citrus fruit zests, dried fruits and nut butters. Adding the freshest ingredients in unique combinations promotes high flavor without adding calories. Nuts add flavor while providing a healthy fat source. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unique combinations or spices, ingredients and colors. In fact, according to Betty Crocker’s top cookie trends, adding fun colors to traditional cookie recipes for the dough or the filling is one way to make food fun.

Great ways to add some spice to your cookies include adding:

  • Fresh grated ginger to molasses cookies
  • Cardamom and allspice to coconut macaroons
  • Cinnamon to chocolate crinkles
  • Lemon zest and almond extract to sugar cookies
  • Fresh rosemary to biscotti
  • Pumpkin pie spice to meringues
  • Almond, cashew or sesame butter in exchange for peanut butter

Holiday cookies that contain less fat can still taste great. Cookies that are typically less calorie-dense without modification include meringues, molasses cookies, ginger snaps, biscotti and oatmeal cookies. Lower-fat cookies may also include some primary substitutions such as egg whites (2 egg whites = 1 egg) for structure, fruit purees (in place of oil) for flavor and tenderness, and fat-free yogurt (in place of sour cream) for moistness.

Cookies that include the usual dose of fat and sugar can still be part of a sensible, balanced diet. A serving of one or two cookies, in combination with other foods from the My Plate recommendations, can easily meet the Dietary Guidelines.

Jeweled Cookie Sandwiches
Prep: 35 minutes | Chill: 2 hours

All you need:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup dairy sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling options: About ½ cup jam, preserves or marmalade and/or melted white, milk or semisweet chocolate

All you do:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mace. Beat until combined, scraping bowl. Beat in egg yolk, sour cream and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill or 2 hours or until easy to handle.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of dough at a time to ¼-inch to 1/8-inch thickness. Cover and chill the remaining half of dough. Using a 1- to 2-inch cookie cutter, cut into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the second half of dough.
  3. Bake 1-inch cookies 5 to 6 minutes or 2-inch cookies 7 to 8 minutes, or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Cool cookies on wire rack.
  4. Frost the bottoms of half of the cooled cookies with ¼ teaspoon (for 1-inch cookies) or ¾ teaspoon (for 2-inch cookies) of desired filling. Place another cookie on top.

Makes about 40 (1-inch) or 20 (2-inch) cookies.

Nutrition Facts per cookie: 72 calories, 3 g total fat (2 g saturated), 12 mg chol., 54 mg sodium, 11 g carb., 0 g. fiber 1 g. protein

Source: Hy-Vee Occasions, November – December 2005

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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