Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Few tricks turn pumpkin cookies into healthier treat

Recipe Rehab

We have a wonderful treat for all the ghosts and goblins. Cindy Bahri of Mason sent her recipe for spicy Pumpkin Cookies, which are soft, moist and frosted with a rich, cream cheese frosting. They're delicious, and couldn't be easier to make. Each cookie contains 6 fat grams.

For this recipe, we:

•  Reduced the amount of oil from 1 to 1/3 cup. To compensate, we added 2/3 cup baby food pears.

•  Reduced the amount of chopped nuts from 1 cup to 3/4 cup.

•  Reduced the amount of nutmeg from 1 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon and the amount of cinnamon from 1 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon. Because fat tends to blend and mellow flavors in baked items, spice flavorings can sometimes become too pungent. By reducing the amount of spices, we were able to more closely mimic the taste of the original.

•  Used light cream cheese and increased the amount from 3 tablespoons to 4 tablespoons.

•  Reduced the amount of regular margarine from 6 tablespoons to 2.

We brought these cookies to work and let folks sample them. Most testers couldn't tell a significant difference, and the majority actually favored our rehabbed version. Reduced to 2 grams of fat per cookie, this is not a trick but a tasty treat!

Tip of the week: Two 3 1/2 -ounce containers of baby food pears equal 2/3 cup.

Pumpkin Cookies

1/3 cup oil

2/3 cups strained baby food pears

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups canned pumpkin

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup chopped nuts

4 ounces light cream cheese

2 tablespoons margarine

3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon skim milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheet with vegetable oil spray. In large mixing bowl, mix oil, pears, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla. Add flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and chopped nuts. Stir until well-blended. Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Let cookies cool completely. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, margarine, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and milk. Spread frosting on each cookie. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

Before and after

Based on 1 serving ( 1/72 of recipe)

Pumpkin Cookies Adapted
Fat6 g2 g
Carbohydrate20 g19 g
Sodium123 mg111mg
Fiber1 g1 g
Cholesterol1 mg1 mg
Calories from fat

Karen Weber, Pat Streicher and Ellen Illig are registered dieticians at Jewish Hospital's Cholesterol Center. To have your recipes rehabbed, send them to: Recipe Rehab, Jewish Hospital Cholesterol Center, 3200 Burnet Ave., Cincinnati 45229.

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