Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Healthier cookies? Find a Balance.

Many recipes come our way that help feed the sweet tooth, without increasing the waistline. We usually don't recommend brand-specific recipes, but some things require special ingredients.

Festive Cranberry Nut Bars

First Layer
3 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick Regular with Omega-3
2 eggs, beaten (or egg substitute)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Second Layer
1 cup water1 cup granulated sugar
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
Third Layer
1/2 cup Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick Unsalted with Omega-3
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts)

First Layer: Stir together dry ingredients. With pastry blender, cut in Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick until pieces are size of peas. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Press dough onto bottom and sides of ungreased 10 ½ x 15 ½-inch jelly roll pan.

Second Layer: Bring water and sugar to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Mixture will thicken as it cools.
Spread over first layer. Bake 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool.
Third Layer: Melt Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick and cool. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk to make it spreadable. Spread on cooled cookie layers and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cut into squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.Makes 40 squaresServes 40; 1 cookie per serving

Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
1/4 cup Smart Balance Omega™ Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick, softened
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup pourable sugar substitute
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine the Smart Balance Omega™ Peanut Butter, Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick, brown sugar and sugar substitute in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on high setting, beat until well blended and creamy.
3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and the salt. Reduce to low speed, add the oats and cherries, and beat until just blended. (Note: The batter will be very stiff.)
4. Using a measuring teaspoon, spoon rounded teaspoons of the batter onto cookie sheets coated with Smart Balance® Cooking Spray and bake 3 minutes. Do not cook longer. They will be slightly puffed and a very light golden color on the bottom. (Note: They will not appear to be done at this point, but will continue to bake while cooling).
5. Remove from oven, and immediately place on cooling racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter. Alternate cookie sheets while baking, using a cooled sheet for even baking.
Makes 40 cookies total
Nutty Fruit Crisp
5 cups sliced apples, peaches, pears, or apricots
3 tablespoons sugar, Splenda® Blend, or pourable Splenda® sweetener
½ cup uncooked oats
1/3 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick, softened at room temperature for 15 minutes
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

1. Place sliced fruit in a 8” X 8” X 2” baking dish that has been coated with Smart Balance® Cooking Spray. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of sugar.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, cornstarch, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
3. Cut in Smart Balance® Butter Blend until mixture resembles course crumbs.
4. Stir in chopped nuts and sprinkle evenly over fruit.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
6. Serve warm. Delicious with frozen yogurt, ice milk, or reduced fat whipped topping.
Serves 8