Throughout my life, baking and health were never synonymous terms, in fact they were generally polar opposites. My father was the avid baker in our home, folding in mounds of butter, sugar and other rich ingredients to form beautiful, tempting treats! The scent of fresh baked cookies still transports me directly back to childhood when I waited eagerly for them to cool on the baker racks just long enough for us to dive in and savor the first warm bites.
Now that I’m older, nothing has changed. I still love licking the batter spoons and enjoying the first warm bite of sweetie cookie delight just as much. What has changed is my ability to recover from cookie-calorie and sugar overload.
During the holidays, I still make plenty of sweets for my family to enjoy, but have found healthier ways to enjoy some of my favorite cookies by swapping in better ingredients and finding new recipes to enjoy. When Carrington Farms and T-Fall extended an invitation to me to participate in The Healthy Baking Challenge for National Nutrition Month, it presented the opportunity to take one of my cherished recipes for toasted coconut cookies and buff it up to superfood cookie status, allowing me to enjoy the treat with less guilt and bonus health benefits.
The one thing I worried about (as I know many of you do, too, when altering a cherished recipe to create a healthier version) is sacrificing taste in the process. If I’m giving the boot to butter, reducing the sugar and swapping in whole wheat flour, is my favorite cookie recipe really going to taste remotely the same? Well, the honest answer is “no.” It doesn’t taste the same of my time-honored recipe, but happily, it tastes A-MAZING! Maybe even better than the original! The cookies are soft, flavorful and quite delicious. I’m thrilled with the results and hope you will be, too. My oldest son (who is rather fussy about his treats) has been begging for more, so I know I have a win there, also, and a great dessert or snack I can feel better about giving him.
What makes my original cookie recipe a superfood cookie recipe now?
- I swapped in whole wheat flour for the original white flour the recipe called for. This simple switch ups the fiber and nutrient benefits dramatically.
- Eliminated butter and added coconut oil. Coconut oil is a popular superfood chock full of healthy benefits. Studies have shown it’s a natural energy booster and appetite suppressor that also helps lower cholesterol. I used Carrington Farms Unflavored Liquid Coconut Cooking Oil, an all-natural, gluten-free, hexane-free, and non-GMO liquid coconut oil that remains liquid in form. Carrington’s Liquid Coconut Cooking Oil has a higher heat point than traditional olive oils and is a perfect addition for your baking dishes.
- Reduced the sugar. The original recipe called for one and one-half cups of sugar. Yikes! I substituted with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and the cookies still have a nice light sweetness.
- Toasted the coconut. I swapped in unsweetened shredded coconut for the sweetened shredded coconut my recipe called for. The toasting process naturally brings out the coconut sweetness, so there’s no need to buy pre-sweetened.
- Added in flax and chia seeds. Both of these powerhouse superfoods deliver oodles of nutrients, fiber and other health benefits while adding very few calories to your recipe. I used Carrington Farms Flax Chia Seeds which combines the best health benefits of both Flax and Chia seeds, the Carrington Farms Flax Chia Blend is an excellent source of energy and nutrients for lasting heart health and boosted metabolism.
The end result is a cookie that’s packed full of nutrition and delicious flavor that can be enjoyed with far less guilt! Just as I did as a child, I had to sample them fresh from the oven as soon as they cooled enough to touch and I assure you, they are crazy-good served warm, so be sure to indulge with a taste after baking!
Toasted Coconut Superfood Cookies
(scroll down for printable version of recipe)
1 1/4 cups all whole wheat flour
1 1/8 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup Carrington Farms Coconut Cooking Oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup Carrington Farms Organic Flax Chia Blend
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread coconut flakes evenly across the cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside to cool.
KITCHEN NOTE: For baking, I used the T-fal AirBake Natural Sheet Set I received for the challenge. This go-to cookie sheet set provides an overall enhanced baking performance with its insulated aluminum sheets and MicroDome technology. This means better browning, no burning, and decreased bake times. Overall, I’m very impressed with the performance. My cookies were cooked evenly and baked exactly as I would expect them to, with no issues. The sheets certainly made toasting the coconut and baking my cookies a breeze!
In a medium mixing bowl, add flour, flax seeds, baking soda, baking powder and brown sugar. Stir until ingredients are fully mixed. Gently break up any brown sugar lumps in mix, stir again to incorporate.
Reserve 1/8 cup of toasted shredded coconut. Add remaining coconut to flour mixture. Stir to incorporate.
Add egg, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Stir until fully mixed. Knead dough until it begins to stick together and form a ball shape.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (I simply reuse the parchment paper from the toasted coconut.)
Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough. Shape into a ball and then gently flatten. Place cookie shapes on cookie sheet, leaving a 1-inch space between.
Sprinkle some of the reserved toasted coconut over each cookie. Gently press flakes into the top of the cookie dough.
Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and crisp along the edges. Remove from oven, cool on baking rack for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Carrington Farms also offers the Carrington Farms Coconut Oil Cooking Spray, a convenient, easy-to-use, nonstick zero calorie spray. This all-natural coconut spray easily coats baking pans and keeps food from sticking to cookware, making cleanup effortless. As I used T-fal AirBake Natural cookie sheets and parchment paper for baking my cookies, I wasn’t in need of a spray, but when I am, this is the one I’ll be using!
For more information on Carrington Farms products, visit http://carringtonfarms.com/
For more information on T-fal products, visit http://www.t-falusa.com/
Do you have a favorite recipe you’ve recently updated to a healthier version? What are your favorite superfoods to swap or add in?