Day 125: Pistachios on the porch, then Chocolate Chip Cookies

No, I didn’t bother to make dinner tonight. We had party pickings at a 2nd birthday soiree this afternoon, and when we stopped to buy produce this morning W begged for a bag of pistachios, which he devoured faster than I could shell them for him on the porch this evening, jamming as many as he could into his cheeks like a chipmunk. (This kid is weird about the things he loves. Fortunately, pistachios contain almost 10 g protein and 4 g fiber per 1/2 cup, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, folate, and plenty of healthy monounsaturated fat. And technically, they are green.)

We nibbled on some apples and dried apricots, and later on I needed a hit of warm chocolate chip cookies. I needed them bad. Real bad.

Because – get this – I was too lazy to walk upstairs to get a copy of One Smart Cookie, and hadn’t made them in awhile, I resorted to the recipe on the back of the Chipits bag. But here’s a secret I’d like to share: you can use half the fat that the recipe calls for, and not change anything else, and they will be just fine. It took me years of experimenting to discover that when you cut back on the fat in your baking, you don’t necessarily need to replace it with anything. Most cookie recipes have far more fat (and sugar) than they really need. (This isn’t a hard and fast rule though, sometimes a recipe needs more tweaking.) They also taste about the same made with half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour.

If you’re baking with Splenda, please note that their brown sugar blend contains exactly the same amount of carbohydrate and more calories than regular brown sugar. (The rationale is that it’s sweeter than brown sugar, so you can use less of it. Or you could use less brown sugar, which doesn’t cost $10 per bag.)

Now, baking chocolate chip cookies when there are only 1 1/2 people in the house isn’t  a great idea. Fortunately, my friend S bought me this spanking new convection toaster oven for Christmas, which has been jostling for counter space with the microwave and KitchenAid mixer ever since.

It is brilliant in that it allows me to bake only 4 perfect chocolate chip cookies at a time, and freeze the rest of the dough for another day. Because it’s so small it uses very little energy, you don’t even need to preheat it, and it’s perfect for things like tuna melts that just aren’t the same done in the microwave. It’s like the ultimate grown-up Easy Bake Oven.


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2 comments on “Day 125: Pistachios on the porch, then Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Ellie @ Kitchen Wench
    May 5, 2008 at 5:41 am

    I am *so* jealous! I was ogling one of those little bench-top convection ovens the other day, but the sad fact is that with all the other appliances, I don’t have the bench space for it 🙁

  2. nikkapotamus
    May 5, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Oooooh! I do that all the time! It’s my favorite way of having a cookie when I REALLY need one and not scarfing a dozen because they are all right there and already cooked.

    Thanks for the tips on the fat and sugar. I’ve been slowly reducing the sugar in most recipes by a tablespoon or two, but it’s good to know I can do more.

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