Monday, December 14, 2009

Heart Healthy Holiday Cookies

It's the time of year to share both baking ideas and baked goods with others. Here are some ways you can save on calories and fat while still maintaining the taste of your goods:

Prepare your cookie dough batter. Make some substitutions. For instance, for oatmeal cookies you can save on saturated fats by substituting "heart healthy" margarine for butter. To increase the nutritional value, use unbleached instead of bleached flour. Add extra cinnamon in place of some brown sugar.

Prepare your cookie sheets. Use parchment paper instead of lightly greasing your cookie sheet. This will save calories while also reducing your fat content. It does not affect the taste, either.

Shape your dough. Shape the dough into canes, bells and stockings. This is done by moistening your hands with water, picking up some dough, and placing it onto the cookie sheet. Now, shape into your preferred item.

Bake. Bake the holiday-themed cookies per your recipe instructions.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

How To Use Hazelnuts

During the holiday season, in particular, there are a variety of nuts available on the marketplace. Someone recently asked me what to do with hazelnuts. First, in order to eat them, the hazelnuts must be shelled. Don't laugh, I had some students not know this. Here are some suggestions, an excerpt from one of my popular articles:

Add to cookie batter. Use hazelnuts instead of walnuts in a variety of cookies. The hazelnuts will be chewier and less porous than the walnuts. Hazelnuts are good in the following cookies: chocolate chip, peanut butter, shortbread and Russian tea cakes. They can also be added to sugar or butter cookies for a delightful surprise. Use a half hazelnut as decoration in a thumbprint cookie.

Use as a snack. If you are not in the mood for baking, simply chop up some shelled hazelnuts and munch on them as a snack. According to the American Heart Association, hazelnuts are considered heart-healthy foods since they contain a variety of antioxidants and unsaturated fats known as Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also protein-rich food sources. Eat them in moderation, however, since they are calorie and fat-laden.