Friday, January 20, 2012

Cheater, Cheater, Cookie Eater

These cookies aren’t dessert, I swear.

Every January, Amanda and I do a cleanse, of sorts. Last year we gave up meat and booze for the month. This year, we decided to give up dessert. Actually, it started out as no sugar, but my friends all said I was pretty boring this time last year, so I didn’t want to exclude alcohol. So, it became less about sugar, more about sugary-dessert-food. Cookies, cakes, pastries, candies, ice cream, brownies—off limits.

Friends, this is hard for me. Really hard. I’m a cookie-a-day kinda gal. I’m a firm believer in dessert after dinner. Or before dinner. Or—who am I kidding—instead of dinner. But, ya know what? It wasn’t too bad! The first two weeks were a breeze. I stopped craving sugar, started eating an apple-a-day, and even resisted sweet treats at the office. No biggie.

But then, something happened. Snow. I’ve been snowed in all week (for all you people calling us wimps, these picture were from the beginning of the snow-storm...duh). And you know what I want to do on a cold, snowy day? Bake. It’s an animalistic instinct, people. Snow makes bears hibernate, and it makes humans bake, it’s just nature’s way. 

As quickly as the snow started falling, my resolve started crumbling. I found myself staring at dessert blogs, then at the snow, then at the oven, then back at the desserts…a vicious cycle. Just as the urge became almost unbearable, I stumbled upon Heidi’s sugarless, butter-free peanut butter cookies.

I called Amanda to see if this was cheating. She said it was. To be fair, we agreed that pure maple syrup and peanut butter were both ok. Technically, these cookies were within cleanse regulation. But, they did contain a cup of syrup, which I guess tips the scales (and my scale) in the other direction. Desperate to have cookies (I think I was literally salivating and clawing at the peanut butter jar at this point), I cut the recipe in half, and then substituted half the remaining syrup with Mel’s home-canned applesauce. A quarter cup of syrup divided amongst 16 cookies is fine, it’s fine I tell you!

At first they didn’t taste like peanut butter cookies. So I tried another one, and another. And ya know what? After 3 cookies, there it was! Peanut butter cookies! These are SO not dessert.

Absolutely Not Dessert Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 cups whole wheat flour
½  teaspoon baking soda
Pinch sea salt
½ cup chunky peanut butter
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup apple sauce (or more)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: shredded coconut, sliced almonds, chocolate chips (I mean, if you’re eating that sorta thing)

Preheat oven to 350. Place racks in the top third.
In a small mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, apple sauce, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the dry mix over the wet mix and stir until combined. It should be a crumbly still, but if it seems too dry, add more applesauce. Taste, and add more salt, syrup, vanilla, applesauce—as needed. Since there aren’t eggs, you can taste a few more times, if you’d like. Hell, you can just eat it as is, if that suits your fancy. Stir in optional add-ins.
Roll into small balls (should make about 16 cookies), and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Press down to flatten each one. Bake for 10 ish minutes, sprinkle with more sea salt, cool on a drying rack, and eat—guilt free.

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