And so here for Day 365 (!), by good luck vs good management, is a carrot cookie that expresses my convictions about food and nutrition and balance and pleasure.
The inspiring recipe was SO! unnecessarily indulgent. It was hellbent on turning a 'healthful sounding' carrot cookie into a double order of fries with an apple pie on the side.
The big issue was two cookies (the double order of fries) sandwiching a cream cheese frosting (that'd be the apple pie).
- The sandwich cookie (the one iced Too Much in the photo) racks up 329 calories and, in the Weight Watchers world, 8 whole points -- EIGHT! Have another, why don't you?
- After my adjustments, a single satisfying cookie has only 114 calories and 2 Weight Watchers points -- and that's still a lot
SO ... DAY 365 ... You'd think the words would be pouring forth ... but they're not. It's been quite a year, one I'll look back on with considerable pride, remembering how much I learned, realizing how many new vegetables and combinations I tried just because it was fun, all the people who've welcomed me into their kitchens. What's next? I'm not sure. I've been vascillating back and forth for a few weeks now. End on a high (as well as sweet?!) note? Continue as is but posting less frequently? Less likely, launch another venture? For now, I'm going to take a few days off to see how "life without blogging" feels.
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
1/3 cup pecans (vs 1 cup walnuts)
1 cup grated carrots (from 2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar (vs 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup brown sugar (vs 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon vanilla (vs 1/2 teaspoon)
1/3 cup currants (vs 1/2 cup bigger raisins)
1 cup flour (vs 1 1/8 cup flour)
2 teaspoons Penzeys baking spice or cinnamon (vs 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (my addition)
1/4 teaspoon ginger (my addition)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese aka Neufchatel (vs 8 ounces cream cheese)
1 tablespoon honey (vs 1/4 cup honey)
Preheat oven to 375.
Place pecans in a single layer oven dish, put in oven immediately, before oven is preheated. Remove when aromatic and toasted (about the time they're needed for the cookies, as it turns out), then chop finely.
Grate the carrot and let drain over a colander.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars til smooth. Add the egg and vanilla, beat for about 2 minutes. Gently add in nuts, carrots and currants.
(What follows is an unorthodox but effective technique. It substitutes for separately mixing the flour, spices, baking soda and salt.) Measure the flour, spices, baking soda and salt onto the top of the wet mixture but don't incorporate. With a spoon, gently and lightly stir together the dry ingredients on top of the wet mixture, still not incorporating. Now turn the mixer back on and mix the wet and dry ingredients until combined.
Using two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, transfer scoops of dough (it'll be wet) onto a cookie sheet (use parchment if you don't have good cookie sheets) leaving space between the cookies for spreading. Bake for about 12 minutes. Let cool and drizzle with icing.
ICING Mix the icing ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon. Transfer to the corner of a small ziplock bag. Spin the corner and drizzle the cookies with icing. (It's a soft icing so if you're going to transport, you might want to do this after arrival.)
AS SPECIFIED BY THE RECIPE, per cookie: 329 Cal (51% from Fat, 7% from Protein, 42% from Carb); 6 g Protein; 19 g Tot Fat; 9 g Sat Fat; 36 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb34; 42 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 209 mg Sodium; 57 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 8 points -- EIGHT POINTS!!
AFTER "ALANNA-SIZING" per cookie: 114 Cal (49% from Fat, 6% from Protein, 45% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 6 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 13 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb 12; 15 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 103 mg Sodium; 24 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 1/2 points
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Adapted from Gourmet, April 2004