Tuesday, November 11, 2008

South Beach Diet Chocolate Cookie

Recently my roommate and I decided to start the South Beach diet. Looking to lose the "freshmen 15," I figured I would inevitably try a fad diet at some point in my life, why not try it now. South Beach consists of three phases. The first, lasting two weeks, is the strictest and is similar to the more extreme Atkins diet. For two weeks dieters can eat no bread, pasta, rice, fruit, alcohol, or anything containing sugar. This two weeks is supposed to rework the body's blood-sugar chemistry to end sugar cravings. After this two weeks is up the dieter enters the more leniant phase two. Fruits are now allowed in small quantities, as are whole grains and red wine. The dieter stays in phase two until their hit their target weight, upon which they enter phase three. Phase three has very few limitations and is more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle than losing weight.
As an avid baker, phase one has prompted some serious issues for me. It isn't easy to bake and not taste the final product. After some serious research I have found a few recipes suitable for phase one; most use a sugar substitute like Splenda and use egg over flour. Here is a recipe for a chocolate cookie that phase one dieters can eat. I haven't been able to try it yet as dorm living doesn't provide the best atmosphere for baking, but hope to experiment with it on my next trip home. And if it doesn't turn out so delicious, at least it is guilt-free. Enjoy!

30 pecan halves, chopped fine
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons sugar substitute
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Makes 6 servings.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here's another variation of the standard oatmeal cookie, courtesy of christmascookies.com. This version uses pumpkin, just in time for Thanksgiving. I haven't tried this recipe yet but am looking forward to using it to add yet another dessert to my family's Thanksgiving table, as if pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies weren't already enough. I think this cookie could be good with chopped walnuts in it, or pecans. Both go well with pumpkin. Enjoy!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats, uncooked
1 teaspoon baking Soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease baking sheets. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside. Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate pieces. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup of dough onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until firm and lightly browned.

Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

So, I stole this recipe from the top of the Quaker Oats Oatmeal container, but I think they are the most delicious oatmeal raisin cookies I have ever had. They have the perfect balance between the sweetness of the sugars and raisins and the earthy-ness of the cinnamon and oats. I once had to use brown sugar that had gotten clumpy and hard, which for many recipes would not be usable, but for this one actually made the cookie taste even better. The clumps of brown sugar melted while the cookies baked so occasionally you'd get an especially sweet bite. Very delicious. I think this is my all-time favorite cookie recipe, and friends agree. Normally when I bake cookies for friends these are what they ask for. As this recipe makes four dozen cookies I would recommend cutting it, unless you have a party to go to or a lot of people to make gifts for. Enjoy!

1/2 lb(2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Makes about 4 dozen

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pecan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies have always been a very big hit. Originally a vegan recipe, I modified by substituting margerine with butter and vegan chips with regular chocolate chips. The recipe can be made either way. I have also tried adding more oatmeal which provides a drier cookie. In the original recipe the cookies don't have much of an oatmeal flavor, so if this is what you are looking for definitly add the extra oats. The recipe can be fooled around with in many ways, the cookies are just as delicious with the addition or substitution of raisins, dried cranberries, or other nuts. I love to add extra chocolate chips. Enjoy!

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup pecans (or nuts of choice)
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:Preheat oven to 365. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until nice and creamy. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oatmeal in a separate bowl. Slowly add to butter mixture. If mixture is too dry, add some milk. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips. Spoon onto lightly oiled cookie sheets, keeping each cookie about 3 apart. Bake for 7-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack or counter top.
Serves: 3 dozen Preparation time: 20 minutes