Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crunchy and Chewy Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I stumbled across the full-sugar version of this recipe a while before the holidays when I was drooling over cookies recipes in anticipation of my own seasonal baking. I fell in love with the idea and flavor profile behind the original recipe which came from Oatmeal CookieBlog, and decided it could easily be modified to make it a bit healthier for me and my friends and family. Everyone loved them, so I made multiple batches and sent some home with my roommate for her family and brought bags of them to Temple University for co-workers and people I enjoy on a daily basis. The conclusion was that these are great cookies and no one guessed they were Splenda-fied!

holiday baking (7)

1 stick butter
1/2 cup Splenda Brown sugar Blend for Baking
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
1 cup finely ground graham crackers
1 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
turbinado sugar for rolling (optional)

Start by preheating your oven to 350ยบ.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for Baking. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla extract and orange zest. (If you don't have a fresh orange laying around, you can use a splash of Orange Juice or forgoe it altogether, though the hint of orange is a nice compliment to the cranberries, it's not necessary.) Mix the liquid ingredients into the butter/Splenda mix and stir well.

In another large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients, except the turnbinado sugar, and use a wire whisk to combine them. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until well combined. The dough will be a little sticky.

Use a cookie scoop of a couple of spoons to form the dough into evenly sized balls. At this point the cookies are ready to bake, or to make them extra-special, give them a quick roll in turbinado sugar and then place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for at least 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The turbinado sugar gives the cookies an extra crunch on the outside that mimics the crunch of the almonds on the chewy interior. I highly recommend rolling the cookies in sugar before baking if you can allow the extra calories and carbs in your diet. Without the sugar, the cookies are still delicious and chewy, but lack the textural contrast that makes these cookies so glorious.

Makes 48 Cookies

Each cookie contains 4 grams of fat, 93 calories, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. If you choose to skip the roll in turbinado sugar you can reduce the calories per cookie to 83 and the carbohydrates to 10.

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