Saturday, December 6, 2008

Surprise ingredient

Whole food tastes better than processed food. Period. End stop.

I'm not talking about the store, Whole Foods, or organic foods, or any particularly fancy. I just mean that food made from fresh ingredients processed to the minimal amount tastes better than foods that have been processed. This can be as simple as fresh vegetables vs. canned vegetables, whole wheat flour vs. enriched white flour, or raw honey vs. sugar. The list can go on and on, as processed foods have taken over every aspect of our diets, in obvious and not so obvious ways.

On particularly ornery ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup. We've all heard about it, and, based on the desperation of this ad, I think more and more people are realizing that it is problematic that this ingredient is included in so many of our foods. Yes, it comes from corn, which is natural, but it is so extensively processed that it hardly resembles corn anymore. I don't buy the ad, but, then again, I rarely buy juice, even 100% juice, much less that red liquid in the ad.

It's hard to escape HFCS. It's in our cereal, our breads, everything. Just about the only thing you can do it make things from scratch. This is not always possible, and I do buy processed foods, but those are becoming fewer and fewer.

Which leads me to this:

Lentil cookies


I like to bake. But I like to bake unconventional recipes, or create my own unconventional recipes, that often incorporate whole grain flours, honey (or other natural sweeteners) as opposed to sugar, and the like. We eat sweets, but I want them to include the healthiest ingredients possible, while still satisfying that sweet tooth. I think they taste better, although the real taste test occurs if my sweet husband eats them.

I found the recipe for these quite some time ago while I was searching for something else. They come from the chef Alton Brown, who has a show on the Food Network called Good Eats. We don't watch cable very often (we don't even have cable right now) because we don't watch tv very often, but his show is quite interesting because he spends a lot of time discussing how ingredients interact with each other to create the foods that we eat.

Anyways, this recipe caught my eye because of one particular, quite unusual, ingredient. I saved it for a long time, and, for some reason (probably my little princess's incessant request for 'treats' that developed after Halloween) I decided to make them yesterday. The princess couldn't have been more pleased, as she loves cookies. Fortunately, she loves any kind of cookies, so I'm usually able to pass off unusual, but tasty, concoctions with much success with her.

We made our cookies yesterday morning. My wonderful husband came home from work early, and I offered him a cookie, which he gladly ate. He took a bite, nodded, and asked what spices I had included in it. Then he said that it was really good, and ate it all. Success!

I did relent and shared our secret ingredient with him later that evening. He responded incredulously, saying he knew there was something special in them, but didn't know what it was.

Here is the recipe. The only thing I omitted was the coconut, since I don't regularly keep that around the house. I'm going to play around with them some more, substituting honey for the sugar, and I want to see how they taste without the oats.

It's an unconventional cookie recipe, but it's quite tasty. Really.

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