Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Super Chia (cookies, cookies, cookies)

I kept half my promises--a Wednesday deadline was tough this week with a sleepless 1 year old.
We'll get there won't we Wes...

And my formatting is a MESS--sometimes you just have to move forward with the imperfections.

I recently read a personal opinion article posted by a friend on facebook. In the article the gentleman was stating his disappointment with the new "Superfood" Sesame Street characters. Apparently the characters come in the form of a big hunk of cheese, a stalk of broccoli, a whole wheat hamburger bun, and a banana. I'll let you take a gander at the article for yourself--HERE. Much of his anger with the new characters is because they are sponsored by Merck, the drug company. Drug company calls cheese and a bun superfood-- makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

Sad to say but unfortunately a whole wheat bun is not a superfood, nor is a hunk of cheese, broccoli is, and a banana, though a healthy food, is not. My understanding is a superfood is any food that is naturally high in antioxidants, though these days "superfood" is becoming a catch word like "whole grains" (hence the hamburger bun), "organic", "all natural", or "gluten free" (just because something is gluten free does not mean it is healthy). Also there are more and more potent superfoods becoming available.

Personally I don't put a lot of stock in the new trend of superfoods, they aren't accessible enough in my opinion. I think true superfoods are great, help boost our immune systems, help to make up for where our diets lack, but you can find the same nutrition in fresh fruits and vegetables---you just gotta eat em! The problem I have with the more rare, nutritionally dense food, is the cost, accessibility, and the fact that they come from so far away. Although, these new berries and seeds (ie: goji berries, acai berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, maca, etc.) are tempting to give a try on occasion when you have the extra grocery cash.

Most recently I bought some Chia seeds, I had tried them once before and knew there had to be more uses for them than drinking them down with water (though a quick and easy way to get down with the nutrients) or spreading them on a clay animal figurine to watch it sprout. Chia seeds are high in protein, soluble fiber, and phytochemicals, essential minerals-phosphorus, manganese, and calcium, and trace levels of potassium and sodium. They are a pretty special seed if you can find some uses for them.

Well, how about some chia chocolate chip cookies?

Chia seed cookies- taste just the same with 1/2 the fat and twice the fiber, pretty cool.

First you have to make the chia gel (stay with me here folks)

Chia gel is super easy to make, and it’s the key to the healthy kick these cookies pack. Due to its unique gelling property, it replaces half of the butter in this recipe, without changing the flavor. Chia seeds have no flavor of their own when you make the gel with filtered water. You won’t even know they’re in the cookies.

1 tbsp dry chia seeds
9 tbsp filtered water

In a seal-able container, simply scoop in the chia seeds and add the 9 tbsp filtered water. Stir with a fork to prevent clumping, and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes. The seeds will each have formed a thick gel around them. This gel can now be used to replace up to half the butter or oil in almost any baked recipe.

Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dry Ingredients
2 cups flour
½ heaping tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients
8 tbsp butter (works best if melted first)
4 tbsp chia gel
¼ cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk on

-pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and grease your cookie sheets
-mix the melted butter, and both sugars until well blended
-add vanilla, apple sauce, egg, and egg yolk
-stir again until thoroughly combined.
-last add in your chia gel and stir again
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl except for chocolate chips
combine wet and dry ingredients, mix well
add in chocolate chips and mix

I had promised another cookie recipe here as well this week. The Juice and Java famous, make them in a jar and share with your family, unbelievably tasty, Christmas Gift Cookies!

I nabbbed this picture off of google images since I haven't made my jars yet. You can decorate them however you'd like, some people even put little weird hats on the lids. I like this twine and card, nice and simple.

The Juice and Java famous, make them in a jar and share with your family, unbelievably tasty, Christmas Gift Cookies

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • (I use evaporated cane juice found at any health food store)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Layer in a 1 quart jar however you think looks pretties (I use wide mouth mason jars so that the brown sugar and rest of the ingredients come out easily). Press each layer in place before adding next layer. Include a card with the rest of the recipe and instructions:

Preheat oven to 350*
Grease cookie sheets
In a medium bowl mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Stir in entire contents of jar
Place walnut size pieces on cookie sheet
Bake 11-13 minutes

Making many of these jars up at once is great for hostess gifts or stocking stuffers. A very inexpensive, yet nice treat, for a gift.

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