Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lemon Bars, Dark Cocoa Cookies, and Cranberry Almond Macaroons

A trio of cookies for a departing coworker! I baked last night like it was my job.It was actually really fun, starting off with this big mess of bowls and spoons and ingredients covering every surface, then one by one completing a task and cleaning that part up, and in the end I had clean counters and neat rows of baked cookies. Of course I forgot to take picures, so instead my pics are of the remnants. The lemon bars were the biggest hit!

Each of the are made with a healthy component, like whole wheat flour or trail mix or yoghurt, but lets face it, cookies are meant to be savoured and enjoyed and to me that means real sugar and butter.I only made substitutions where I figured I could get away with it and not sacrifice taste, and they all worked out very well. And the last ones are gluten-free, to boot.

The first is a recipe I got from another blogger, Apples to Zuchinni, that came from a Cooking Light recipe.

Dark Cocoa Fudge Cookies
adapted from Cooking Light

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 Tbsp butter
7 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 cup raw (Demerara) sugar
1/3 cup fat free plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla

1.combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside
2.cream butter and sugars with the yogurt and vanilla
3.add dry ingredients until moistened
4.drop by level tablespoons full onto parchment paper
5.bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until nearly set in the centers on the sheet for 2-3 minutes
7.transfer to wire cooling racks

Makes 18 cookies
Each cookie: 97 calories, 4g fat, 1.5g protein, 17g carbs, 1g fibre, 70g sodium.

These lemon bars were a huge hit. The recipe came from an online friend whose delectable description of them made me demand the recipe. They are super-tangy and sweet and delicious, and my addition of whole wheat flour gives them a bit of texture and nutty flavour. Watch out, these are pucker-licious!

Lemon Bars

1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup butter
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp ww flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup lemon juice – about 3 lemons

Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare crust: beat flour, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Press dough into 9in x 9in pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Prick crust with a fork and bake for 25 minutes.
Just before crust is done baking, prepare the filling: Beat ingredients for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. (Don’t make this ahead of time).
Pour filling onto hot crust, and bake 25 minutes more. Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 20 bars.
For each bar: 119 calories, 5g fat, 2g protein, 17g carbs, 1g fibre, 70mg sodium.

And last but certainly not least, my personal favourite, coconutty yumminess in the form of macaroons. The recipe is from my mom, who has been making them as a Christmas treat for years. I left off the red and green glace cherry decorations and used craisins and cranberry-almond trail mix as the fruit and nut component, but you can use any dried fruit and nuts/seeds in this. Dates and walnuts, sour cherries and almonds, apricots and pecans, figs and cashews, the possibilities are endless. And a few mini-chocolate chips thrown in wouldn't hurt anyone's feelings either.

Cranberry Almond Macaroons

1 cup fancy shredded coconut
1 cup finely shredded coconut
1/2 can sweetened condensed skim milk*
1 egg white, beaten until frothy
3/4 cups cranberry-almond trail mix, finely chopped
1/2 cup craisins, chopped
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp almond extract

Add all ingredients to a large bowl a stir thoroughly.
Dollop teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bunch together with finger so the drop is solid.
Preheat oven to 300F.
Bake at 300F till lightly golden- about 25 min. They burn easily, so watch them during the last 10 minutes. Turn oven off and leave in oven for another 30 minutes. This prevents them from going soggy.

*If you realize at the last moment you don’t have any condensed milk, a perfect substitution is 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp dry skim milk, 6 Tbsp sugar, and 2 Tbsp hot water. Combine all and whisk or blend in blender until well combined (I had to give it a shot in the microwave to dissolve all the milk and sugar). Chill for 30 minutes to set.

Makes 25 cookies.

Per cookie: 106 calories, 4g fat, 2g protein, 16g carbs, 1g fibre, 40mg sodium


  1. Oh my gosh, those all look so good! You are a cookie goddess!

  2. You were a busy gal making all those. And they all sound/look delicious!

  3. Heather (cellophane_star)October 15, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    No lemon zest in the bars?

  4. No lemon zest....there is so much lemon juice that they are plenty lemony and tart, so I am not sure I'd add it, though three unzested lemons does seem like a waste! Maybe ok to add just a little ;). When I make these again I will investigate making preserved lemon peel.