In a never ending quest to match my love of high quality baked goods with my love/need for top notch nutrition, I’ve done a lot of research and trial and error to figure out ways to lessen the amount of sugar I mix into a batch of anything. The problem is often replicating the same weight or consistency as an original recipe calls for. For example: honey is a great natural sweetener, but when subbed one for one with normal sugar in a cookie, you can end up with a goopy mess. It still tastes good, but it won’t be the first item gone at the bake sale.
So when perusing the aisles of Whole Foods a couple months ago and upon seeing a bag of granulated maple sugar…I bought four bags. Initially I was only excited because maple is a more natural sweetener than cane sugar, but upon examining the nutrition information I discovered that per tablespoon, maple sugar has 1/3 the amount of sugar as granulated cane sugar. This not only makes me feel a little better about having one or four cookies, but also doesn’t leave me feeling incredibly lethargic after the one to four cookies. The added hint of maple makes this substitution a triple threat.
And literally, maybe a threat. Traveling to Rapid City recently with a bag of maple sugar to bring to my boyfriend’s house in hopes of immediately going to the kitchen to make him a batch of these maple sugar oatmeal raisin cookies, TSA confiscated my bag. Apparently the consistency combined with whatever is in the packaging sets off the same alarms as bomb making materials. I got whisked away to a private room for screening and questioning, and the agents seemed honestly a little deflated at the innocence of my alarm. I’m just trying to make my boyfriend healthier cookies. I ended up just tossing it, as any more inspection could have meant a missed flight. So, long story short, these cookies are delicious, but don’t travel with the ingredients in your carry on.
Healthy (ish) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, makes 12-16 cookies
1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces), room temperature
2/3 cup maple sugar
heaping 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour of choice (I did half whole wheat flour half normal flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups thick rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
- In a large bowl (I used a kitchen-aid), cream together butter, maple sugar, egg, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- In a different bowl combine all dry ingredients EXCEPT oats and raisins.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, and then fold in the oats and raisins. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours, and preferably overnight. Letting your cookies rest over night in the fridge (or even freezer) gives them a much chewier texture after baking. This has to do with the absorption of the wet ingredients into the dry, and the fact that the butter will still be cold when it hits the oven. This prevents the cookies from becoming thin!
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and using an ice cream scoop for size, dollop cookies two inches apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes. The edges should be firm, but the top still a little soft!
- Let cool on cookie sheet for five minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!