“Hey, Mom, your new batch of cookies is really pretty, but you know, of course, that I won’t eat any,” wrote my daughter in an e-mail response to my latest food photo, a few days ago. My daughter is vegan so anything made with eggs is out of the question. I wrote back saying that I would try the recipe without eggs as I have learned to do with so many of the cakes that I bake. To that she added, “And make them without sugar, too.” Here is where my jaw dropped. The mail ended with, “I know you can do it Mom.”
With that vote of confidence and the challenge that always pushes me forward, I set about dissecting a very nice spice cookie recipe. Eventually, I would treat the original ingredients to only a very few minor substitutions. My goal was to preserve the consistency of egg mixed with sugar while providing a source of sweetness without using the purified white stuff that my daughter was so set against.
The dough rolled out well and cut nicely, too, making use of all three sizes of my scalloped cookie cutters. The cookies maintained their shape during baking and only spread the tiniest bit which is just what I wanted. After cooling they were firm to the touch and basically had the same taste as the original recipe. What they do lack, is the crispiness that I like in a cookie. But then, these weren’t made for me.
I packed up all that would fit into the container that I had on hand, wrapped the container in lavender and pink checkered paper and added a note, “Handmade for you with love”.
Six cookies were left abandoned on the white plate that was on my counter. I ate a small one as is and was quite pleased with the result. But since I have no problem eating eggs or white sugar, I quickly reached for some leftover royal icing that was hiding on the lower shelf of my fridge, the remnant of a not very successful project from last week. Within minutes the remaining five cookies were gloriously flooded with a thin layer of ivory … and two hours later there was only one left to be savored with the next morning’s coffee.
Let there be no doubt, these cookies have plenty of taste with the orange zest, cardamom, date spread, banana and just the bit of salt. What they do not have is added white sugar … and eggs. These are not cookies that are meant for the diabetic or for the calorie counter. They are meant for people who want to avoid eating eggs, but who would still like to enjoy a cookie … and for those who prefer not to have added white sugar in their diet. Both the date spread and the banana provide sweetness.
- 115 grams softened margarine
- 55 grams ripe banana (about half a banana)
- 170 grams date spread
- 35 grams honey (about 1/8 cup)
- zest of half an orange
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 288 grams all purpose flour (about 2 cups)
- 1. Mix the softened margarine with the mashed ripe banana and the date spread on medium speed until combined.
- 2. Add the honey, orange zest, vanilla, cardamom, salt and baking powder.
- 3. Mix well on medium speed until combined.
- 4. Add the flour and mix only until all the flour is absorbed.
- 5. Spread the mixture one inch thick on plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- 6. Sprinkle flour to prevent sticking and roll out until 1/4 inch thick.
- 7. It is also possible to roll out between 2 layers of plastic wrap.
- 8. Refrigerate again for half an hour.
- 9. Remove from the fridge and cut out with your favorite cookie cutter.
- 10. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking tray in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- 11. Bake in the center rack of a preheated oven (180 C) for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
- 12. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tray.
- 13. This recipe yields 12-18 cookies depending on the size of the cutter.