I’ve been at the same job for almost four years. One of the perks of working in my office is that there are break rooms filled with snacks. The thing that I have been watching over the years is what gets eaten first. With each Peapod delivery – 100% of the time – the fresh fruit goes first and the pop tarts go last.
I’ve developed this hypothesis, given the option people will naturally gravitate toward healthy food choices. I accidentally ran an experiment over the Christmas weekend with some cookies.
For Christmas Eve I made these ‘Moon Cookies.’ I got the recipe from my mom, she’s been making these since we were kids. They’re my brother’s favorite so I try to make a batch for either Christmas or New Year’s Day. I brought these with me to my aunt’s house and at dessert time almost everyone ate one, a couple of people declined and my brother ate two.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter
5 TBS sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a mixing bowl sift flour and salt.
In a separate bowl cream butter until light and fluffy. Then work in sugar and vanilla and mix well.
Work in flour until combined then add chopped nuts. Roll the dough into small logs and shape into crescents about 2” each and place onto a baking pan.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cookies start to brown. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack for cooling. Arrange on a platter and dust with powdered sugar.
For Christmas Day I baked ‘Citrus-Kissed Honey Buttons.’ A recipe I found in the December issue of Eating Well Magazine, page 82. The recipe is from Teresa Ralston who was a finalist in their cookie contest. Take note that they’re lower in calories and fat and smaller than the ‘Moon Cookies.’ When I brought them over to my mom’s house she tried one right away and then had my aunt and brother try them before dinner. For my mom, that’s unheard of. There were close to forty cookies and not a single one was left over after dessert time.
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 TBS unsalted, softened butter
1 large egg
1 TBS honey
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp lemon extract
Whisk flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a small bowl.
Beat sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until lightly fluffy. Add egg, honey, lemon zest, orange zest and lemon extract and beat until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating on low-speed just until combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line 2 large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
Roll the dough into 36 balls (about 2 level tsps each) with your hands. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake, one batch at a time, until puffed and beginning to crack, 6-8 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for two minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Maybe it’s time run some real experiments… stay tuned.