Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Do you get the feeling- as I sometimes do- that people have lost the joy of eating?
I might sound a little off, because of the growing number of television food shows, the proliferation of food know-how and recipes on the web, and the number of cookbooks released each day. Then there are those news reports about the obesity epidemic that's all around us in the developed world.
But hear me out.
When I talk about losing the joy of eating, I don't necessarily mean people aren't eating. Sure, there are still a good number of people out there who enjoy cooking and eating great food. But let's admit it: a majority among us are either scarfing unhealthy food at fast-food joints- a surefire way to gain unwanted pounds- or are depriving themselves of real food as they follow some weird diet or another.
Now I am as guilty as the next girl of worrying about my weight, but I have never believed- and never will- in depriving myself. In fact, I find that when I do, I only end up feeling miserable and then bingeing on food that's not good for me. So I long ago came up with a formula that works for me and that's been touted by every nutritionist out there: moderation.
I am no saint and, of course, I stray as often as possible. But one way I've discovered to have my cookie and eat it too is to cook my favorite foods with healthier ingredients.
When I bake cookies, like with all other foods I cook or bake, I use whole-wheat pastry flour instead of white all-purpose. I use turbinado instead of refined sugar. And I use canola oil or low-calorie vegan "butter" instead of regular butter which, as you know, is clogged with unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol. Since I don't use eggs in my kitchen, I don't have to worry about the sat fats in egg yolks.
I also like adding veggies or fruits to baked goods whenever I can, or nuts.
The cookie recipe I'm sharing today is one of my favorites, not just because this is a cookie that's absolutely delicious with a shortbread-y texture that's to die for, but it also doesn't make me feel horrible a minute after I've eaten it.
The star of this cookie is the mighty walnut. Walnuts are one of the healthiest and most delicious nuts you can eat, and although they do contain fats, they are the good-for-you kind. How much more can you ask of a nut?
I want to apologize for my spotty blogging in recent days. I've been a bit overwhelmed at work and home with other matters, and my cooking- and therefore blogging- have taken a backseat. But I promise I'm on the way back, and will soon be around both visiting your wonderful blogs and writing more on mine.
2 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tbsp zero-trans-fat vegetable shortening
4 tbsp canola (or other vegetable) oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, powdered fine in a food processor or spice grinder
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the shortening, canola oil and sugar together until light and white and fluffy
Add the baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and blend well until mixture is smooth.
Add flour, cinnamon powder and powdered walnuts and mix.
Roll into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter, and place on a greased cookie sheet, one inch apart. Press down to form discs.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20-22 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking. Remove when the cookies are lightly browned at the bottom.
Place the baking sheet on a rack and let the cookies cool completely before removing them gently with a ladle. Cool thoroughly on a rack.