Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cookies

I apologize for having gone MIA, or AWOL, or whatever we call such things in blog-land. The 2009 half of the 2009-2010 school year finished up with quite the finale on Tuesday. You're going to have to wait for the low down (or is it down low? my goodness I am out of the trendy phrases loop!), because I have quite the God story to tell on Christmas Day! For now, though, I'd like to share some Christmas cookies with you.

Yes, you read that right -- Christmas cookies! If you're been reading this blog long, you know that I rarely make cookies. I never eat cookies, certainly. Why? Because I don't see the point, nutritionally speaking. At least, that's what I tell myself. If I am honest, however, the real reason is based in my eating disordered thinking. I don't eat cookies because they will make me fat, because I don't trust my self-control, because I have determined them to be a don't-ever-go-there food. And I don't really make cookies because I am afraid I will devour the entire batch the moment they finish baking.

Still, I'm not too silly for worrying about this things, in my opinion, because in the past I have lost control. There have been times where I ate cookie upon cookie, only to feel sick and awful afterward. But it all comes back to the disordered eating. I ate to avoid dealing with uncomfortable emotions, sometimes. At other times I binged because I had starved and exercised myself to the point where my body screamed out for food, any food, and when I gave an inch with a bite of a cookie, it took a mile. After a cookie (or whatever other food I might have abused, like peanut butter or muffins) binge, I of course beat myself up and restricted and over-exercised even more to make up the difference.

So making cookies is an ordeal for me. Baking in general tends to be, but cookies are the worst. In the past year or two, the only times I have made cookies have been for the Best Husband Ever, for his birthday or our anniversary, or for Baking GALS. I just about never make them to simply enjoy. Until today.

I've been thinking that Kitchen Courage has been rather devoid of food-related posts of late. I wanted to give you all a new recipe, but I didn't know what. Then I realized -- I have never baked Christmas cookies! Well, that's not strictly true. I made Christmas treats and cookies in 2007, but they were sold to raise money for my missions trip to Malaysia the following year.

All that to say -- I wanted to make my first real batch of Christmas cookies! So after a little Googling and poking through my cookbooks, I settled upon a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe from Church Suppers. I planned to follow the recipe straight-up, butter and all, to make what the Best Husband Ever and I [sort of] jokingly call unhealthy cookies. But of course I couldn't resist tweaking the recipe just a little. Still, I did not omit all of the fat and sugar, which I did for that missions trip bake sale two years ago.

Most importantly, though, I did not binge on the results! Did I eat some cookie dough? Heck, yeah! Did I nibble on the finished products? You bet! Are there plenty of cookies left for the hubby? A resounding, victorious yes! I'd say today's early morning cookie adventure was a time of food success and eating disorder healing, wouldn't you?

Here's my version of the recipe I started with. Be sure so smoosh the cookie dough balls down before putting the trays into the oven, because the un-smooshed version was a little too cake-like. Still, I didn't burn them, which is a huge step forward in my baking prowess.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 T oat bran
1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup Smart Balance (or butter), microwaved for 10 seconds
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup NuNaturals Baking Blend (or white sugar)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup liquid egg replacer (or 1 egg)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
skim milk as needed

Preheat the oven to 375*F. Combine all of the ingredients except the milk in a large bowl. Beat until they are thoroughly mixed. If the dough is dry and powdery, splash a little milk into the bowl and continue.

Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets. Plop tablespoonfuls of dough onto the sheets, leaving about 1 inch in between each. Press the tops gently with a wet fork or spoon to flatten them.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. (Side note: I chronically burn cookies. I forget that they keep baking even after you remove them from the oven. So even though they might not look done, I would not bake these for any longer than 14 minutes. If you're unsure, check the bottoms -- mine always blacken before the tops look as done as I expect.)

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving, if you can.

Makes 18-20 cookies.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have bread dough rising that needs to be attended. Can you guess what I'll be blogging about this weekend?

Want more of me? At the risk of sound narcissistic, I'd love for you to check other places I'm popping up on the web:
Happy Christmas Eve! How will you be celebrating Christmas this year?

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"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King