Cookies! My first real experimental success

So, my new thing lately has been experimenting with recipes and switching things up a little bit so that I make something a little different, a little new, and edible given my own dietary constraints. But this time, I went farther than that. I took a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe, and using that as a base, changed things up to make an entirely new cookie with very different flavors and a lot less fat.

It's gone through many different iterations - taste comparisons, texture flops and successes, and many different sets of taste buds. (Chris was here a couple weekends ago and got subjected to 3 different versions of this experiment - I don't think he minded, though.)

Originally, I thought it'd be interesting to add a little pear puree to the recipe I'd found online - but that ended up making the cookie dough too runny because I didn't have the right balance of wet to dry ingredients. So, in the next batch, I decided to cut out the oil and replace it all with pear puree. [The original recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of oil for about 20-25 cookies - ack!] That batch was too thick, so they came out of the oven a little too hard, since they cooked faster. Okay. So the next batch I made, I figured I'd add a little more water...and added too much! So I cut that with a little extra flour to compensate, but by that point I'd stirred the batter way too much and so this batch came out of the oven way too doughy and cakey. Not my favorite cookie texture (though they're eggless and milkless, so it doesn't particularly matter if they're fully baked).

My next idea was to go half-and-half with oil and pear puree, cutting the fat in half instead of out altogether. Those turned out fantastically. I brought those to a dance - and they disappeared very quickly. (Chris liked those the best also, out of the last 3 iterations.)

Okay, cool. A success. But I really wanted to cut out all of the oil! So, last night, I made two batches, so I could compare head to head: 1 with the half-oil-half-pear-puree, and one with no oil. And I was mostly pleased with the results. The half-and-half one turned out beautifully again. The all pear puree ones are still a little to chewy/cakey for my liking, but still are delicious. I'll be working on ways to get the non-oil ones to a better consistency in future trials.

But for now, I'll leave you with the recipe and a few pictures for good measure. Enjoy!

Pear Cranberry Cookies

Really important: all ingredients must be at room temperature!

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup turbinado (raw sugar - the smaller granules if you can find them)
1/4 cup pear puree (Asian pears are the best, but I think a mix of Asian and Bosc might be kinda tasty)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (if you want to work with the fat-free kind, cut this out and use 1/2 cup pear puree instead)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup water

*Note: refer to an earlier post on fruit puree for a good tutorial video on how to make it

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Place cookie tins atop the oven while you preheat to warm the sheets up before you use them.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon together. Add cranberries and mix until cranberries are completely coated. Make a well in the center.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine sugar, pear puree, and oil. Mix well. Add vanilla, then water. Mix well.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredient well. Mix well, but don't overwork it. Spoon smalls chunks of cookie dough onto prewarmed, ungreased cookie sheets. [I like mine small - you get more out of them, and they really don't spread out much while baking, so you're essentially deciding on the size when you spoon the dough onto the cookie sheets.] By my sizing, I generally get 25-30 cookies in a batch.
5. Bake 5 min. Rotate top cookie sheet 180 deg, and put on bottom shelf. Rotate bottom cookie sheet 180 deg, and put on top shelf. Bake another 4 min.
6. After this, check them. If they're a little softer than you want them, then they're done (they'll harden a little as they cool). If they're still too gooey, stick them back in the oven at 2-min intervals until they're fully baked to your liking.

[Note: You will notice there are no eggs in this recipe. Meaning you can chow down on this cookie dough as much as you like and the only thing you're in danger of is a tummy-ache from too much sugar (well, that and a huge sugar rush). Score!]

Nutrition Facts

I've put the 1/4 cup oil version first, then the non-fat version in parentheses afterward.
(for a 25-cookie recipe, this the breakdown for one cookie)

Calories: 97.3 (79.1)
Total Fat: 2.4 g (.2 g)
Saturated Fat: 1.6 g (0 g)
Polyunsaturated Fat: .1 g (.1 g)
Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g (0 g)
Cholesterol: 0 mg (0 mg)
Sodium: 89 mg (89.1 mg)
Potassium: 42.3 mg (44.1 mg)
Total Carbohydrate: 18.5 g (18.7 g)
Dietary Fiber: .6 g (.6 g)
Sugars: 2.4 g (2.6 g)
Protein: 1 g (1.1 g)

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