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Holiday Health Alert – Cut Out Sugar – Cut in Cookies
Cut out Christmas sugar cookies because your child has sugar and wheat allergies? No way! This article aims to convince you that it’s easy to make the infamous sugar cookie healthy without using processed sugar and flour. You may know these two white wonders as the evil twins most likely responsible for the symptoms I call holiday haze. These include excessive sugar consumption, irritability and stomach aches, to name a few. If you’re curious about how to make healthy cookies with all-natural, organic sugar-free frosting, read on and get ready to roll out the dough.
Cut into candies without the bad sides. That in itself is a miracle. First, I would like to tell you about the origins of this heaven-sent cookie and why I want to share this treat with you and your family.
Christmas is all about messing up the kitchen with the kids: the white confection hides everyone from head to toe, even the dog and kitty. Nothing lights up a child’s face like baking Christmas cookies, not even the Christmas tree.
I love the sugar cookie because it’s kid-friendly in a creative way. The dough is durable, can be rolled over and over again, and the character cutouts create a story to imagine. As a child, all I could do was happily anticipate eating the angel, Santa, and Rudolph the reindeer. About five times each. This holiday joy was inevitably distracted by fear. I would soon feel the sugar rushing through my obese little body. I was still 45 pounds overweight. My joints ached and my digestion was upset all night and the next day. The memory of feeling the warmth of my mother’s cooking, the freedom of self-expression with cookie cutters, and the ultimate disappointment of ill health just didn’t mix. It was not the recipe for success. Sugar cookies once meant joy and pain. At least they did for me, so I did something about it. I just wanted joy.
I took a recipe for sugar cookies from my aunt Diane, Sicilian by decent, expert in dough ranging from pizza to cannolis, and when she sings the Ave Maria, it makes me cry. Any woman who sings while she cooks is going to lay down some tasty dough. So, taking my aunt’s family recipe, I used my transcription method to convert processed white sugar and flour into alternative sugar-free/gluten-free ingredients and created a cut-out sugar cookie to share with all the world.
I use alternative ingredients to white wheat flour, like an all-purpose gluten-free flour from Bob Redmill’s that combines chickpeas, beans, tapioca, and potato starch for the right cookie texture. I use white rice flour for a white cookie color and to flour the dough and cookie cutters. Xanthan gum is a necessary ingredient for gluten-free baking and is added to hold gluten-free flour together. Just a small amount is needed of this herbal gum.
For sugar, I substitute agave, stevia, and a combination of oligofructose and erythritol in a product called Swerve which can be found at pcflabs.com, some Whole Foods, and health food stores. Organic erythritol is a fermented polyol or sugar alcohol with no digestive side effects. Swerve also adds oligofructose which is chicory inulin. Both ingredients have no or very low glycemic index and are very easy to digest. Neither promotes tooth decay.
Swerve is the most affordable healthy baking sugar substitute that looks and acts the most like sugar in baking. Swerve replaces bulk and firmness while adding super low calorie sweetness to a recipe. Just using erythritol products with no added oligofructose like erythritol brands ZSweet and Zero aren’t as good for baking because the taste isn’t as sweet, but pure erythritol works great good as table sugars to sprinkle on cereals and yogurts. They can both be found at Whole Foods and in health food stores on the Internet.
Also in the recipe, my aunt Diane uses sour cream which gives the dough extra moisture and elasticity which makes for a great taste and a dough that can be rolled out many times. The easy roll factor is very important when it comes to making this cookie recipe with kids.
To replace the dairy, a soy yogurt can be used but it may change the color of the batter to a darker color. The original look of the batter should be a background of white and the color of the frosting could be a pink or green for a holiday theme. Another way to substitute sour cream is to use 2% Total Greek yogurt. This is a healthy version while using dairy products.
Knowing the substitutes, it’s time for the tricks to make recipe.
Carefully roll out the gluten-free/sugar-free dough with a rolling pin floured with white rice between two sheets of waxed paper. Make sure both sides of the dough are also lightly floured with the white rice flour. white rice is my Flour of choice for rolling out gluten-free dough as it is grainy and does not stick. Also flour your cookie cutters in white rice flour. Dip a thin metal spatula in the white rice flour to lift the cut cookies and gently slide onto your baking sheet,” are words you would hear me say in a cooking class or on my TV show Sweet Truth Cooking on Veria. A hands-on interactive course is the best way for eager learners to the gluten-free/sugar-free alternative baking technique to experience a tactile difference in this healthy dough compared to old-fashioned white wheat flour dough. gluten free, you have to see and feel how the new dough behaves: how it takes longer to mix, looks more crumbly, sticks to the hands, takes more effort to unroll, breaks down easily and finally cooks and browns faster than traditional sugar/wheat dough.
Sound difficult? Trust me. It’s worth the little extra effort and elbow grease to make this dough work like magic and create a healthy cookie everyone will love. The best part is that you’ll feel good giving it to the masses. Practice makes perfect when handling dough. Use your senses to know when to stop rolling the dough. Additionally, a kitchen timer is the Key-lock safety device for perfectly baked gluten-free cookies.
The techniques mentioned above are just a few of the fun new tricks of the trade to pick up when it comes to the art and science of creating your beloved, alternate-style version of Sugar Cookie. Like fractionated, these methods go a long way: sugar-free/gluten-free cooking allows you to have your cookies and eat them too! There are no extra calories, bloating, weight gain or binge eating because there is no sugar or processed white flour. Sugar cookies aren’t just for the holidays as popular culture would have it. Look at Starbucks, Gelson’s or your local bakery. They all sell whimsical, colorful, kid-like wannabes and want to bite sugar cookies all year round and with every change of season. It’s not just during the winter holidays that sugar cookies invade our veins and spike our glucose levels. Yet, who really wants to give up cookies? And the icing. Um no!
For icing, again Swerve found on pcflabs.com is the sugar of choice and gives the best taste. You can also use natural fruits and vegetables as food coloring for your frosting by adding beet juice for pink or red and extracting kale or spinach juice for green. Use unsweetened coconut and goji berries for extra flair and creativity!
This cut out sugar cookie recipe tastes and looks like the real thing. Now when I bake these cookies, the child in everyone comes to the table and can get up from their chair feeling bright, vibrant, creative and healthy. They are at peace with themselves and their stomachs. Enjoy!
cut a sugar cookie
an agave-based frosted cookie cutter – sugar-free, wheat-free and gluten-free
DOUGH 1 cup vegetable shortening 1/2 cup Swerve sugar alternative 2 eggs 1 tbsp vanilla 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup light agave 2 droppers Liquid Stevia Vanilla Creme 3 cups free flour gluten 1 cup white rice flour 1 cup potato flour 4 packets or 2 teaspoons Stevia Plus powder 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
FROSTING 1 cup Swerve Sugar Alternative, powdered 2 tsp unsweetened almond milk 1 dropper Stevia Vanilla Creamer 2 tsp light agave 2 tsp juice beets (optional)
For cookies: with paddle attachment in stand mixer, cream shortening and Swerve. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, sour cream, agave and liquid stevia and mix.
In another bowl, sift together the gluten-free flour, white rice flour, potato flour, stevia powder, baking powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum.
With the paddle attachment in the stand mixer, add the pre-sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. Scrape the sides of the bowl. If necessary, first add a little flour in the hands, then form a ball of dough. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight for best results in firming dough.
Between two sheets of floured wax paper, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Peel off the top layer of waxed paper from the dough. Cut out cookies with floured cookie cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. This paste is very resistant and can be spread several times.
Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Depending on the thickness or fineness of the rolling, the dough will depend on the baking time of the cookies. Look closely at cookies. The cookies should not brown or even be golden, but will appear white when baked. Cookies are done when they spring back to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
For Frosting: To make powdered Swerve, place Swerve in a high-powder blender and blend on high speed for about five seconds, then measure 1 cup. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together the Swerve, milk or water, liquid Stevia, agave, and fruit or vegetable powder for coloring. Beat frosting for 2-3 minutes until glossy. Frost the cookies with frosting when cooled.
Yield: Five dozen cookies.
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