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And That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles…

The difficulties of ingredient substitution

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

Over the last few months, you’ve probably noticed that I have tried my hand at a few diabetes “friendlier” dishes. I figure testing them is not only a good opportunity to try out some healthy recipes, but also an excellent way to learn a little more about the diabetes community and the challenges you might face in food preparation. What have I learned to date? It’s not always easy! Some recipes are simple, like the 4th of July Strawberry Swirl Pie, while I have found others get significantly more difficult when traditional ingredient substitutions are at play. So, today, I thought it might be fun to share one of my personal recipe misfortunes, or what I now like to refer to as “the cookie failure.”

A few weeks ago, I celebrated Blue Fridays by passing along a “Blue Fridays-themed” cupcake recipe. What you don’t know is that there was a round-one of a blue dessert recipe that was not nearly as successful. Originally, I decided to make sugar cookies that were to be shaped and colored in “blue loops” to represent the World Diabetes Day logo. Great idea, right? Boy, was I wrong!

My mistake was assuming that a healthier version of a sugar cookie recipe was going to behave like any other sugar cookie I had made before, easily customized with shapes and colors. Although I suspect there are plenty of healthy recipes that might allow for this sort of customization, the one I chose clearly did not. The flaw appeared to be in the substitutions made. Ingredients like cake flour, Splenda and egg substitute do not behave the same as their traditional counterparts, especially when mixed together, which is one reason why also adding food coloring did not go as planned. I must have added half a bottle of blue liquid food coloring and half a tube of gel during the mixing stage before I said to myself, “These cookies look green.” Even adding more color during the kneading stage didn’t help – they were still green (trust me, I made the dough twice).

Fresh from the oven, Laura's "green" cookies
Fresh from the oven, Laura’s “green” cookies

After getting over the dough’s unfortunate color, I forged onward in rolling it out to create the desired loops. Perhaps my dough wasn’t cold enough, or maybe my patience was a little beaten down at this point, but this dough did not want to be a perfect “O,” so I gave in once again and settled on a plain circle. Into the oven my green cookies went and 10 minutes later I was greeted with these.

Laura Kolodjeski's first stab at blue baking
Laura Kolodjeski’s first try at blue baking

It may be a little hard to tell in this picture, but my cookies had become light blue biscuits. Maybe I added too much flour when trying to knead the blue food coloring into the dough? Who knows! Regardless, I was left with a dish that both resembled and tasted like “sweet pita bread,” not the scrumptious “blue loop” cookie I was hoping for.

So, as you now know, I took another route with the “Blue Fridays” cupcake recipe. In the end, it may have been more appropriate anyway given all the cupcake-chatter I hear within the DOC! I will say though that I have a new found respect for those who have mastered the art of ingredient-swapping cooking – especially baking. I’m going to keep at it, as I enjoy trying out new dishes; but, I would appreciate any tips or tricks you can offer for cooking healthier dishes in the future. Share them in the comments below, and fast!

Bon appétit,

Laura K.

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