Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cracker Jack Cookies

I love Cracker Jack, a mixture of popcorn, peanuts with a molasses caramel coating - yum! I remember when a box only cost 10¢. It was always a childhood favorite and I would spend my own money for this special treat. This incredibly delicious cookie mimics those flavors beautifully and will make you think you're a kid at the ball game again! Just like the song says, "...Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack. I don't care if I never get back." With only 4.1 net carbs per cookie, you'll be in sitting in heaven and rooting for more than the home team when you taste these!

Cracker Jack Cookies
(Makes 32 cookies)

1¼ cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup Splenda, granular (not baking blend)
6 tablespoons butter, softened
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 egg
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup chopped peanuts
32 peanut halves for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and Splenda together with a handheld or standing mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add the molasses, peanut butter and beat until mixture is creamy and light. Add egg and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes until well incorporated and slightly thickened.

4. All at once, add the dry ingredients and, with a wooden spoon, stir until flour mixture is well incorporated and a soft dough forms. Fold in chopped peanuts.

5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (or level small cookie scoop) about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Top each cookie with ½ peanut and press down slightly. Bake until set and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 8-10 minutes. The color of the cookies will not change much, so watch carefully and do not overbake. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutritional Information per cookie: 74 calories, 4.8 g carbohydrates, 5.7 g total fat, 1.7 g saturated fat, 0.7 g fiber, 2 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this compare to a traditional molasses cookie with no nuts? My recipe is much lower in calories and carbohydrates, lower in saturated fats and higher in protein. Although my recipe is a bit higher in total fat, it is rich in monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats) from the almond flour, which is good source of Vitamin E and known to be excellent for your heart and overall health. For comparison, the average nutritional information for the same size cookie made from a traditional recipe is 144 calories, 24 g carbohydrates, 4.8 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0.6 g fiber, 1.5 g protein.

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