Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day and Carson Cookies and Cookie Tips

Today I want thank my mother for all of the gifts she has given me and continues to give me every day of my life.  I can remember as a child a teacher asking me “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  My quick answer was “a mother”.  My mom gave me the greatest childhood and I wanted to grow up and do the same for my family.  Once I became a mother people would ask me “don’t you want to use your degree?” “Don’t you want more out of life?”  I thought to myself this is the most challenging and rewarding job I have ever had and I am living my dream!! 

More out of life?  What could be better than spending time with my family?  Don’t get me wrong there were days before I worked outside the home that I longed for my own identity.  Lucky my Mom also has taught me to be true to myself. She always did activities for herself, spent time with her friends, took classes and still managed to raise four happy children.  She would have never judged me if I decided to work when my son was young.  She would have encouraged me to turn my dreams into my reality; because she knew true happiness comes from within and if I am happy I will share that happiness with the people I love.    Always remember to share your gifts, your time and your dreams with the ones you love.  True happiness is infectious!  

Time is something I don’t have enough of and I can’t make more of it. Daily I have to tell myself there will always be more laundry, more dishes and more work but there will never be more time.  This helps me spend my time wisely with the people I love and reap the rewards of time well spent!   

Thank you Mom for the countless hours you have given me to make me the person I am today!  I love you and I am proud to say you are not only my mother but a great friend and someone who inspires me every day to be the best person I can be! 

Cooking together is a great way to share an activity with your family.  Today’s media and society tells us that we need to go somewhere or spend money to have a good time but that is simply not true.  When my family works in the yard together or makes a meal together we are making memories and strengthening our family bond.  Sure, when we make a meal we spend money but that is money we would have spent anyway. As a family we are making a conscious effort to enjoy the simple things and to live life on our own terms! 

The recipe below is great to make with the whole family and will give your family endless snacks.  It makes a huge batch so once the dough is made it can be divided up and everyone can add their own favorite garnish.  If someone doesn’t like chocolate chips (my nephew doesn’t; honestly this makes me question whether or not we are really related!) just omit the chocolate chips and add your own garnish; dried cranberries, raisins or butterscotch chips are just a few ideas.

I developed these cookie to get my son to eat a whole grain cookie instead of one made with white flour.  These cookies have 1/3 the amount of sugar a normal cookie and has protein from the peanut butter and the eggs.  It is healthier than most granola bars and contains no preservatives.  It can be made gluten free by using Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats.  I buy them at Kroger on the organic pantry section.

I love these cookies and find myself eating them sometimes after a workout when I don't have time to prepare breakfast.  I get the benefit of the protein from the eggs and peanut butter, whole grain from the oats, trace minerals from the palm sugar or sucanat and magnesium from the dark chocolate. 
Shredded apple, carrots, dried fruit, chopped nuts or coconut can be added to change the flavor and to boost the nutrition.

This recipe makes a huge batch so if your not sure if you will like them make a half batch the first time. 

Happy Mother's Day!
Chef Jackie

Carson Cookies-yield 7 dozen 
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 sticks butter, softened or 1 cup softened coconut oil
1-12 ounce package dark organic chocolate chips
3 cups brown sugar, palm sugar or sucanat
½ tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1 ½ pounds of peanut butter or almond butter (3 cups)
4 teaspoons baking soda
9 cups of organic oatmeal or gluten free oats
1 teaspoon salt or Celtic sea salt
  1. Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls then combine together by hand or with an electric mixer.
  2. Chill dough 4 hours or overnight and scoop dough to desired size.  Bake from cold dough on parchment lined cookie sheets.
  3. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes
  • These are a healthier alternative to chocolate chip cookies and store bought granola bars.
  • Dough balls and baked cookies may be frozen.
  • If you do not like the rough texture of oatmeal use ground oats instead of whole oats.
  • Peanut butter thickness varies so if your cookies spread to much; bake the dough from frozen dough balls.
  • If using cocnut oil bake from frozen.
Peanut Allergies-Sunflower butter can be substituted for the peanut butter. The cookies will look greenish after baking and will turn more green every day you store them.  When I make them that way I call them Monster Cookies.  Someone also suggested to me to replace the peanut butter with ricotta cheese.  They said it work when they made them but I haven't personally tried it.  Make them at your own risk.

Reducing sugar in cookies recipes-When I want to reduce the sugar in a cookie recipe I half the sugar then add 1/2 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup; this allows the cookie to still be soft after baking.  It doesn't always work but most times it does and nobody even knows there is less sugar in the cookie.

Using palm or coconut sugar will reduce the glycemic index to 35; table sugar is about 65.  What does this mean?  In a nut shell it is a lot healthier for you. 
Palm sugar is found in the supplement section of most health food stores.  It taste like brown sugar. It can also be bought online but I found it to be less expensive to buy in the store.

The lower glycemic index, the great taste and the fact that it is an exact substitute for regular sugar (1 cup palm sugar equals 1 cup regular sugar or brown sugar) has made this my favorite sugar to use.  I am going to try to make meringue and frosting with it.  I will let you know how it turns out!  The draw back to this sugar is it is expensive! It is worth it to me because we do not use very much sugar and it is a much healthier alternative.  It's even been featured on Dr. OZ

Using sucanat adds minerals to the cookie.  Sucanat can be found in the sugar section of health food stores and also goes by the name Rapadura. To learn more about sucanat click here.  It is more expensive than white or brown sugar but is less expensive than palm sugar.  It is a good choice for budget and health conscious bakers.

Cookie Tips
  • Sliced or refrigerator-Dough can be formed in a mold or rolled in to a log then refrigerated.  Cookies are sliced off of log after several hours of refrigeration then baked. 
  • Bar-This cookie is baked in a jellyroll pan (cookie sheet with sides) lined with parchment and cut into a finger, diamond or other shape after being cooled or slightly frozen.
  • Rolled Cut Outs-Dough is chilled then rolled to desired thickness and cut with cookie cutters.
  • Drop-Dough is dropped from a teaspoon, scooped or rolled into a 1 inch ball.
  • Pressed or Piped Cookies-Soft dough’s are extruded from a cookie press or piping bag.
  • Dough’s may be frozen in logs, balls or in containers until time to bake.  Frozen dough breaks less than baked cookies.
  • Baked Cookies should be frozen by cookies type in square or rectangular containers.  Wrap containers in plastic wrap then foil to maintain freshness.
Packaging for gifts
  • Smaller cookies reduce breakage.
  • Distribute heavier cookies on the bottom of container and more delicate cookies on the top.
  • Use muffin liners to separate varieties in tin or boxes. 
  • Muffin Liners cushion cookies and help prevent breakage. Cookies in muffin liners can be stacked 4 high.
  • When using paper or cardboard boxes make sure they are wax lined or grease proof.  
Baking Tips
  • Eggs and butter should be at room temperature unless otherwise noted.
  • Make dough’s on one day on bake on another day.
  • Always use parchment paper or sil-pat mats
  • Bake at 350 degrees unless otherwise noted.
  • Prepare a shopping list ahead of time and have all ingredients on hand on dough making day.
  • Double recipes so you will always have cookies on hand for a snack.