Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nonfat Gingersnaps, or, A Guilt-Free Snack for a Guilty Girl

Sweet spicy goodness...
Okay, so I'm not that guilty, but I feel like I am. I eat too many cookies. I love the taste, the texture, and the portability of cookies. There is nothing wrong with this, per se, but every now and then I feel like I'm eating a few more cookies than usual and my pants seem slightly tighter...

And that's when I feel the need to be a little bit healthier. I will eat more salads, more fruit, not drink wine or beer for a little while. And I look for something healthier to bake. This time, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I had seen this recipe in my Ready for Dessert cookbook that I had received for Christmas- a recipe for a nonfat cookie. There is no butter in this cookie! Note that no butter means that the raw dough does not taste so great...

But the end result was delicious. Very satisfying. I can tell there's no butter in it, but come on, I little miss sensitive over here. I'm one of those people with a genetic predisposition to hating cilantro. But the lack of butter in these cookies is minor, especially given the big spicy flavor. Oh yeah, these cookies pack a punch. With the cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, black pepper (yeah!), and crystallized ginger, these cookies have a very warm, spicy taste that linger in the a good way!

Nonfat Gingersnaps
from Ready for Dessert

315 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp plus a big pinch ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
215 g dark brown sugar
75 g unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup mild molasses
2 lrg egg whites, at room temp
50 g chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, the ginger, cloves, and pepper.

In a large bowl, beat together the brown sugar, applesauce and molasses with a hand mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the egg whites and beat 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until completely incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for 1 minute more. Stir in the candied ginger. Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm, at least 1 hour.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and big pinch of cinnamon.

Using a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop, drop the heaping tablespoons of dough (about the size of an unshelled walnut) a few at a time into the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Use your hands to form the dough into balls and coat them heavily with the cinnamon sugar. They'll be sticky, which is normal, and don't worry if they're not perfectly round. Place the balls at least 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until the cookies feel just barely set in the centers, about 13 minutes. If they puff up a lot during baking, flatten the tops very gently with a spatula, just enough so they're no longer rounded.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.

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