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Holiday Health Alert – Cut Out Sugar – Cut in Cookies
Cutting out Christmas Sugar Cookies because your child has allergies to sugar and wheat? No way! This article aims to convince you that it is 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 the holiday fog. They are sugar intake and crashing, tantrums and tummy aches just to name a few. If you’re totally wondering how to make healthy cookies that have an all-natural and organic sugar-free frosting, read on and get ready to roll out the dough.
Cut into sweets without the bad side effects. This 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 means making a mess in the kitchen with the kids: white candy masks everyone from head to toe, even the dog and kitten. Nothing lights up a child’s face like making Christmas cookies, not even the Christmas tree.
I love the sugar cookie because it is creatively kid friendly. The dough is durable, can be rolled over and over, and the character cutouts make a story for everyone to imagine. As a child, all I could do was happily envision eating the angel, Santa Claus, and Rudolph the reindeer. About five times each. This holiday joy was inevitably distracted by fear. I would soon feel the sugar rush through my little fat body. I was always 45 pounds overweight. My joints would hurt and my digestion would be messed up all night and into the next day. The memory of feeling the warmth of my mother’s kitchen, the freedom of expression through cookies, and the ultimate disappointment of poor health just didn’t mix. This was not a recipe for success. Sugar Cookies used to mean joy and pain. At least they did for me, and so I did something about it. I just wanted joy.
I picked up a sugar cookie recipe from my Aunt Diane, a Sicilian to boot, an expert on pasta from pizza to cannolis, and when she belts out the Hail Mary, it makes me cry. Any woman who sings while she bakes, you know it will develop a delicious dough. So taking my aunt’s family recipe, I used my transcription method to convert the white processed sugar and flour to alternative sugar free/gluten free ingredients and created a Cut Out Sugar Cookie to share with everyone.
I use alternative ingredients to white wheat flour like Bob Redmill’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour which combines garbanzo bean, fava bean, tapioca and potato starch for the right cake texture. I use white rice flour for white cookie color and to flour the dough and cookies. Xanthan gum is a necessary ingredient for gluten-free baking and is added to hold the gluten-free flour together. Only a small amount is needed of this plant-based gum.
For the 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 inulin from chicory. Both ingredients have no glycemic or very low glycemic index and very easy digestion. Neither promotes tooth decay.
Swerve is the cheapest healthy baking sugar substitute that looks and acts the most like sugar in baking. Swerve replaces the volume and firmness and adds extremely low calorie sweetness in a recipe. Only using erythritol products without the added oligofructose like ZSweet and Zero brands of erythritol are not as good for baking because the taste is not as sweet, but straight erythritol works great as a table sugar for sprinkling on cereal and yogurt. They can both be found at Whole Foods and health food stores on the internet.
Also in the recipe, my aunt Diane uses sour cream, which gives the dough extra extra moisture and elasticity, which gives a great taste and a dough that can be rolled out many times. The easy factor is very important when it comes to making this cookie recipe with kids.
To replace the dairy, soy yogurt can be used but it can change the color of the dough to a darker color. The original appearance of the dough should be a white background and the color of the glaze could be pink or green for a holiday theme. Another way to switch out the sour cream is to use Total Greek 2% yogurt. This is a healthy version while still using dairy.
Knowing the substitutions, it’s time for the tricks to make the recipe.
“Carefully roll out the gluten free/sugar free dough with a white rice floured rolling pin between two sheets of wax paper. Make sure both sides of the dough are lightly floured with the white rice flour as well. White rice flour is mine. flour of choice for rolling out gluten free dough because it’s grainy and doesn’t stick.Also, flour your cookies in the white rice flour.Draw a thin metal spatula into the white rice flour to lift the cut out cookies and gently slide onto your baking sheet,” are words you’d hear me say in a cooking class or in my Sweet Truth Cooking TV Show on Veria. A hands-on interactive class is the best way for eager students of the gluten-free/sugar-free alternative baking technique to experience a tangible difference in this healthy dough compared to the old-fashioned white wheat flour. To grasp gluten-free, you have to see and feel how the new dough behaves: how it takes longer to mix, looks more crumbly, sticks to your hands, takes more effort to separate, breaks apart easily and finally. bakes and browns faster than traditional sugar/wheat dough.
Sound difficult? believe me It’s worth the little extra effort and elbow grease to make this dough work like magic and create a healthy cookie that everyone will love. The best part is that you’ll feel good about feeding it to the masses. Practice makes perfect when handling the dough. Use your senses to know when to stop rolling the dough. Also a kitchen timer is the a key 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 version of a beloved Sugar Cookie, alternative style. As interval training, these methods go a long way: sugar-free/gluten-free baking allows you to have your cookies and eat them too! There are no extra calories, bloating, weight gain, or bulking because there is no sugar or white processed flour. Sugar cookies are not just for holidays as popular culture would have it. Check out Starbucks, Gelson’s, or your local bakery. They all sell fancy, colorful, child-like wanna-be and want-to-bite sugar cookies all year round and for every change of season. It’s not just the winter holidays that sugar cookies invade our veins and spike our glucose levels. But who really wants to give up cookies? And icing. Um, no!
For the ice cream, again Swerve found at pcflabs.com is the sugar of choice and makes the best tasting. You can also use natural fruits and vegetables for food coloring for your glaze by adding beet juice for pink or red and with kale or spinach juice for green. Use unsweetened coconut and Goji berries for added charm and creativity!
This Cut Out Sugar Cookie recipe tastes and looks like the real thing. Now when I make these cookies, the child in everyone comes to the table and can get up from their chairs feeling clear, alert, creative and healthy. They are at peace with themselves and their stomachs. Have fun!
cut out a sugar cookie
frosted cookie made with agave – sugar free, wheat free and gluten free
PASTA 1 cup vegetable shortening 1/2 cup Swerve sugar alternative 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup light agave 2 drops Liquid Stevia Vanilla Cream 3 cups gluten-free flour 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
ICE CREAM 1 cup Swerve sugar alternative, powdered 2 teaspoons unsweetened almond milk 1 drop Liquid Stevia Vanilla Cream 2 teaspoons light agave 2 teaspoons beet juice (optional)
For cookies: With paddle attachment in a stand mixer, cream shortening and Swerve. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, sour cream, agave and Liquid Stevia and mix.
In a separate bowl, sift together gluten-free flour, white rice flour, potato flour, Stevia Powder, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum.
With paddle attachment in stand mixer, add pre-sifted dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix. Scrape down sides of bowl. If necessary, add some flour to the hands first and then shape the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight for best results to firm up the dough.
Between two floured sheets of wax paper, roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Peel off the top layer of wax paper from dough. Cut out cookies with floured cookie cutters and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. This dough is very durable and can be rolled many times.
Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Depending on how thick or thin you roll the dough will depend on how long you bake the cookies. Watch cookies carefully. The cookies should not brown or even be golden, but will appear white when done. Cookies are done when spring back to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
For frosting: To make powdered Swerve, place Swerve in a high powered blender and blend on high for about five seconds and measure out 1 cup. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix well Swerve, milk or water, Liquid Stevia, agave, and fruit or vegetable powders for coloring. Beat ice cream for 2-3 minutes until glossy. Frost cookies with ice cream when cool.
Yield: Five dozen cookies.
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