Monday, August 22, 2005

Splenda Cookies to the Rescue!

We met up with our realtor on Sunday afternoon for a rundown of the current market and a driving tour of possible areas. THREE HOURS LATER, we were very tired. It looks like we will be able to purchase a home, but we're definitely on the low end of the property ladder. It feels ridiculous to think of it that way because of the sum of money we'll be dropping and because people struggle more mightily than we everyday to make ends meet while keeping roofs over their heads. I know, I know, it's all relative to your experience and your culture, but it still strikes me as odd, and often sad. The hunt is postponed until early October when looking will begin in earnest. Then we'll assess the market, our finances, and our willingness to endure shag carpet and go from there. Of course getting the "you'll have to wait at least a month to get started" line made me EVER so happy. When K and I got home we hit up the freezer where I stored my batch of chocolate-chip cookies and sat down to veg and munch and stew over the news. The chocolate definitely helped. Here's the recipe:

1/2-Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup Splenda sugar substitute
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract (Splenda has less flavor, so you need more vanilla)
2 eggs

2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts (if you must)

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Splenda doesn't brown the tops like sugar would, so if you like a golden-brown color, give them a thin coat of non-stick cook spray to aid in the browning process. Also, they won't spread while baking, so mash them down a bit before putting them in the oven.

BAKE in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 6 to 8 minutes (they cook faster). Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

As you can see, the properties of sugar and Splenda are very different. The above recipe is, for the most part, copied straight from the Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Morsels package. I found a very helpful page with tips on baking with Splenda and I distilled most of the tips I used into the recipe above. How did they turn out? Well Splenda makes the dough more fluffy and cake-like than sugar (whic is why you have to keep the brown sugar at least), so they look and feel a little different (no luck for crunchy-cookie fans, I'm afraid), but they still taste really good. I wish there were some way to get the fat content down, but what with "trans-fats" being equated to lighting yourself on fire in health magazines, shortening is out. Thoughts, anyone?

One more caveat: Splenda doesn't have the preservative properties that sugar has. The webpage said to freeze everything you couldn't eat in 24 hours. Now if we want a fix, we have to thaw them and we only get a few at a time in the packets I made. Fabulous! FYI, I got my Splenda from BJ's Warehouse Club. It was like $11 for the equivalent of 10lbs of sugar. So, yeah, not that cheap, but not too pricey considering I use it to sweeten my obligatory hot morning beverage and the occasional batch of these. I think I have more fun experimenting with a new cooking element than anything else. Whatever it takes to fill up the next month before house-hunting becomes my full-time obsession!


Mair said...

Trans-fats really are the worst thing you could possibly put in your body (I mean, small doses of heroin may be better for you! jk.) My dear dear K.K. Teh (I miss my acupuncturist) educated me many a times on the evils of trans-fats. My advise, stick with what nature gave us - just do it in moderation. Butter is fine, as long as you aren't eating a stick everyday and as long as you are working out and keeping your heart healthy.

p.s. will call soon. have some ideas for get together times.

Cap'n Ganch said...

Who knows? Maybe in a month the real estate bubble will finally burst (if it hasn't already; I don't watch the news anymore) and you'll be able to afford your dream home for mere pennies!