Saturday, November 17, 2012

Virginia in November...and Cookies

People said I would love Fall here, and they were right. Every time the children saw a leaf float down in October they would shout, "the leaves are falling, the leaves are falling! That means Christmas is coming! And snow!" Yet the leaves didn't really seem to be turning colors until after "Superstorm Sandy" (Which didn't affect us that much, by the way. Just a lot of rain). Then all of a sudden it was cold, and the trees got out their colorful coats!  We have been collecting and pressing the things like crazy. Sparrow got a leaf press from our friend Judy a few months back, and that is a COOL thing to have right now! The other day I found myself wildly shaking this poor little tree at the park, because seriously, it had the most vibrant, perfect leaves I've ever seen. It was just a spindly little thing with not very many leaves, but the leaves it did have, it did right! Afterward I felt a little bad because I stripped it of its glory. But we made a fine leaf garland and some Thanksgiving cards out of them, sooo.... it's ok, right? We went to the park again today and it took a lot of self-control for me not to shake that thing down again--it had MORE perfect leaves on it! But I swore I had done enough damage. I am learning to respect the environment and not be so greedy... sigh.

We spent the afternoon making fall and winter-themed ginger cookies--from a low sugar recipe I made up. Here it is, for all of you fans of baking. They were a big hit. Sparrow told me they are her favorite thing to eat ever--even better than chocolate chip cookies, and that's saying something!

Low-Sugar Ginger Cookies

Group 1:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour (or use 2 c. whole wheat or whatever flour you want, really!)
1 1/2 c. oat flour (I made my own by griding oats in the blender)
1 teaspoon BS (guess that BS word!)*
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Group 2:
1 cup butter, room temp
1/4 c. BS (guess that BS word!)**
1/4 c. (scant) stevia (use 2 Tablespoons if unsure)
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 large egg

Combine all ingredients in group 1.
Beat butter and BS together til light and fluffy. Add stevia. Beat. Add molasses. Beat. Add maple syrup. Beat. Add egg. Beat. Check flavor. =) Mix in group 1 to make a stiff dough. Refrigerate in plastic or an airtight container for 3 hours or up to 2 days.
When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out your dough, cut out shapes, and bake 12-14 minutes (or to the tune your oven demands).

You could ice this or drizzle melted chocolate on top. I am thinking maple icing with that fake maple extract in it (gasp!). But honestly, really really seriously, these cookies so delicious just plain. Thanks to all that butter. I didn't ice ours because the children are technically on a no-sugar fast right now. And no one who ate these at our house said they could tell there was stevia in them. I personally did notice the stevia aftertaste, but it doesn't really bother me. (I buy my stevia from Trader Joe's. Maybe there is a brand you know of that has no aftertaste. Use whatever floats your boat. I'd love to try these with xylitol next time.)

*Baking Soda
**Brown Sugar

=) Enjoy your guilt-free ginger cookies. And remember that butter is good for you. Yes it is.

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