9/30/16

Healthier Halloween Cookies! Cut out sugar cookies without the sugar!



I posted this last year but hey, Halloween is coming up in just a few weeks so I'm bringing it back!  It only has 1/4 cup of wheat flour in it and the rest is low-carb friendly almond flour and coconut flour.  I cut mine into ghosts - but any shape will work!

Cut Out Cookies - sugar free and lower carb

1 1/2 c almond flour
1/4 c coconut flour
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/4 t almond extract
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 c Ideal sweetener
5-10 drops liquid sweetener to your level of taste
scant 1/2 c butter with 1 T shortening to make up for the 'scant'

Cream the sweetener, butter and shortening.  In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients well.  Add the egg and extracts to the sweetener/butter mixture.  Add the dry mix and blend until it comes together as a dough.  If it's really sticky, add more of your favorite gluten free flour or a little more whole wheat flour until the stickiness is lessened a bit so you can form a ball and wrap in plastic wrap to chill.  Chill about 30 minutes, remove half the dough.  Return the second half back to the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350.  Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of parchment.  Cut out your shapes and transfer them to a baking sheet. I use a Wilton icing spatula to transfer mine.  Use either ungreased or parchment lined pans.  (I did both and my cookies did not stick even on the unlined).

Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 3-4 minutes and then place directly into the oven.  Bake for about 9-10 minutes or until you can see the edges just starting to brown.  I find almond meal based cookies to be a little more tender and delicate than wheat cookies and have learned to bake almond flour based cookies a little longer than I have to for all purpose flour based.  I just keep an eye on them and set the time for "one more minute" if I didn't see the edges had any color to them yet.

Remove from the pan and place on wire racks to cool completely.  If your cookies are baked long enough this isn't a problem - they are nice and sturdy but still tender with a perfect 'bite' to them like any good sugar cookie.

Frost with your favorite frosting.

I used a favorite "cake" frosting I whipped up but you can use any you like.

Sugar Free Butter Cream Vanilla Frosting

2/3+ c granular Xylitol  (I use Ideal - see below this post for ordering information)
2 T water
2 large egg whites (separate and use the yolks in another recipe)
1 stick real butter
1 T vanilla extract
 *If you taste test it and find your personal tastes would like it sweeter, use 5-8 drops liquid sweetener

In a saucepan, place the water and Xylitol. Heat over medium high until it comes to 240 degrees.  With normal sugar this would be soft ball stage but because Xylitol and Splenda do not thicken, you cannot test this by traditional soft ball stage.

As you are heating the sugar substitute and water, mix the egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  With the mixer running, pour the hot Xylitol mixture down the side of the bowl in a thin stream, mixing into the egg whites.  Beat approximately 5-7 minutes on high until the egg whites resemble a thick and glossy meringue.

Start to add the butter in chunks, about a tablespoon at a time.  Keep the mixer running and whip the mixture about 5-7 minutes more.  If the mixture breaks up when you first add the butter and it looks like cottage cheese, no worries.  Just keep whipping until it's smooth again.  Once the frosting is smooth, add your vanilla and whip again for a few minutes.  If it's a really warm or humid day it might get too warm to work with.  Just refrigerate it for about 7 minutes, whip again.  The cooler temperatures will cause it to harden up again.




 
Photos from the cookie making process

I added a bit of whole wheat flour as we have no allergies or food restrictions in our house




I like to use a long, thin frosting spatula to transfer the cookies to the baking sheet




Ready for our decorations!








You might also be interested in these related products through Amazon if you can't buy them locally:
Blanched Almond Meal Flour, 5 lbs.
Ideal No Calorie Sweetener 10.6 Ounce Baking Bag (Pack of 2)
Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Flour (Gluten Free), 16 Ounce Canister
Ideal No Calorie Sweetener 10.6 Ounce Baking Bag



Wilton Angled Icing Spatula, 13-Inch, Black

         





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Reviews for The Cuisinart 14 Cup Food Processor - And a Price Drop!? ( DFP-14BCNY )


A couple months ago I wanted to shred a block of cheddar cheese in my food processor and it would not get the job done.  Granted, I have a very chea... uh affordable Hamilton Beach processor, but still, it's always been a great little machine for me and has power.  For whatever reason, it decided the task of shredding some cheese was too much work and I had to admit that my food processor might not be able to keep up with my penchant for cooking and baking.  That is when I set off to do my own research as to what food processor I should invest in to replace it.

I researched online websites and reviews for a couple days and then visited a couple retail stores in my local city.  The one I decided on was going to be the Cuisinart 14 cup processor.

I actually had a 20% off coupon for a local well known store so I decided that although this processor retailed for $199 (which is FAR out of my single income household budget) with my 20% coupon, and cutting back in a couple other places I could justify the purchase.  I cook and bake so much that a good processor is like gold to me.

And they did not stock them in the store!  Ha ha.

So I returned home, decided I would order it online through their website so I could still use the discount coupon, and all would be well.  Except something came up and I no longer had $150 to spend so I put it off.

And that was now months ago.  I never was able to get a new food processor and although my little guy is still hanging in there, I have been shredding cheese by hand on a little $3 manual metal grater.

But this morning I was looking through some of my draft files and saw I had originally put some of my research into a draft post for the Cuisinart - I was going to post it after I purchased it and let people know what I thought.  Since I never was able to buy one, the post got lost in the 'draft files' and never saw the light of day.

But guess what happened this morning?  I was going through the drafts, saw it, clicked on the product link I had to Amazon, and this morning I see the price for the silver colored version is down to $145.00!  Granted - Amazon prices change constantly - and can even change in the time you take between viewing it and putting it in your basket.  But for right now, this very morning, it's $145 - down from $199 AND offering free shipping.

I honestly don't have $145 right now or I would have clicked to add it to my cart; but I DID add it to my wish list and I decided to let my readers know the price dropped.  Here is my original 'draft file' of the product from a couple months ago when I was doing research for my own personal decision making.








Source of review:  www.cooksillustrated.com/equipment_reviews/1649-food-processors

Food Processors
Published January 2016

Cuisinart Custom 14 Food Processor
Update: February 2016

Our winning food processor by Cuisinart has a new model number, DFP-14BCNY, and a newly redesigned S-shaped chopping blade. As we noted earlier, we found that the older blade sometimes cracked under heavy usage. (In the new blade, the metal arms are built into the plastic housing; the older blade was fastened on with metal bolts, where cracking began if the blade was under stress.) We have tried the new blade and still highly recommend this food processor. The manufacturer's list price has also increased to $199.


How We Tested

Here in the test kitchen, we demand a food processor that can handle lots of chopping, slicing, and shredding while delivering professional quality results, and we think home cooks deserve the same. It had better be able to not only puree a dip and whip up creamy mayonnaise but also cut fat into a pie crust in seconds, grind beef into hamburger, and knead heavy pizza dough. And of course we want our food processor to be simple to use and quick to clean, or why would we ever bother hauling it out?


____________________________________



Here is another review I found and saved while I was researching machines.




With a powerful, quiet motor; responsive pulsing action; sharp blades; and a simple, pared-down-to-basics design, our old favorite aced every test, surprising us time and again by outshining pricier, more feature-filled competitors. It was one of the few models that didn’t leak at its maximum stated liquid capacity. It’s also easy to clean and store, because it comes with just a chopping blade and two disks for shredding and slicing. Additional blade options are available à la carte.

NOTE: We recently noticed that after 18 months of heavy use in the test kitchen and constant exposure to our powerful commercial dishwasher, most of the S-shaped chopping blades from our winning Cuisinart Custom 14 food processors either showed hairline cracks or had small pieces of metal broken off. Cuisinart has created a new S-blade for this model, and all new machines are now equipped with the new blade. If you own the older S-blade, we recommend checking it every time you use it; this would also be a good practice with the chopping blade of any food processor. Check back for the most up-to-date information on this model; if you need to replace your chopping blade, please contact Cuisinart directly at customerservice@cuisinart.com (1-800-726-0190).

Suggested retail:  $199.99





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9/29/16

Cold Vegetable Ranch Salad - "Summer Salad"




This is a recipe that isn't really a recipe because you have so many options to use what you have on hand.  Aren't those kinds awesome?  Basically it's going to turn out no matter what and you can't beat that for a last second side dish! 

This recipe makes me smile because it's been in my recipe album since... forever.  Soon after our oldest daughter was born, we were expecting some old friends to visit from out of state.  I gathered a couple recipes to make while they were visiting and this was one of them.  My oldest daughter is in her 20's now...  and still, this recipe has a place in my first first recipe album.

This makes a really large salad so I usually half it and it's still enough to feed a family of 5.  Leave out what you don't have or don't like, substitute if you wish but it works best if you at least have the cauliflower, broccoli, peas, peppers and bacon and even better if you can add at least 3-5 more veggies.

Summer Salad

1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 10 oz. pkg frozen peas
1 c celery, chopped
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (or yellow or orange)
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
1 pk. dry Hidden Valley Ranch mix
1 c mayonnaise
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced or chopped
cheddar cheese cubes
bacon bits or crumbled cooked bacon

Combine the dressing mix with the mayonnaise.  Add this to a large bowl of your mixed vegetables and mix well.  Add the eggs, cheese and bacon.  Cover and chill 4 hours before serving.  Even better the longer it chills and sets.




Peas are so pretty!  And taste so good with the ranch dressing mix!


Mixing in the dressing/mayo with the chopped veggies
 





Products related to this post available through Amazon;

Large Clear Glass Wavy Serving/Mixing Bowl, 63.5 oz
Hallmark Home Clever Kitchen Everyday Collection, Medium Stoneware Serving/Mixing Bowl

 


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