Happy Valentine’s Day! Before Eric left for work today (I was sleeping in an hour since a broken down car left us out much later than I wanted to be last night), he snuggled up next to me in bed and whispered, “Will you be my Valentine Diana Johnson?” I felt a big, goofy, half asleep grin spreading across my face as I nodded happily. We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day with the traditional cards or flowers (because we typically only like tradition when it suits our purposes), but we do enjoy celebrating our love for each other. Eric loves cookies, so I decided my gift to him this Valentines Day would be to perfect a whole wheat sugar cookie made with organic sucanat. I also decided to put together a cute little Valentine outfit to wear for him.
Okay, maybe not the outfit my husband might have pictured, but it is cute!!!
Alright, back to the cookies.
I’ve been on a mission to cut refined flours out of our diets. As deliciously addicting as bread, desserts and pasta made from all purpose flour can be, and yes they are literally addicting, they’re just plain bad for you.
Wheat has several layers. There’s the outer shell, or the bran, which contains fiber and B vitamins. Then there’s the germ which contains phytochemicals and more B vitamins. In the center is the endosperm (for some strange reason I get transported back to 5th grade with a fit of giggles every time I say endosperm) which contains protein and carbohydrates.
When you eat products made from white flour (other names include all-purpose, enriched, bleached, unbleached, semolina or durum flour) the carbs are immediately converted to sugar. Your body goes “WHEEEEEEEEEE, SUGARRRRRRRR!” and immediately wants more. This is the addicting part.
You may actually be full after one small bowl of spaghetti or that piece of French bread with your soup, but you don’t notice because your body is telling you, “More, more, MORE!”
That’s not the only danger of these refined wheat products. The spike in blood sugar you get when you eat them is damaging to your arteries, in fact it leads to the bad artery clogging cholesterol. That’s right, I’m talking about the scary road to stroke, heart disease and diabetes. Yikes! Whole wheat flour on the other hand takes more time to digest and stays in your body longer. You feel full more quickly and stay that way with no nasty blood sugar spikes.
Last year was a difficult one. I had seven friends or friends’ husbands die of heart attacks or strokes. PLEASE, don’t think I’m blaming that on their diet, I’m not. But the pain of those losses hit me hard and made me absolutely fired up to do everything I could to protect the health of my husband.
Eric has a sweet tooth. I won’t try and control him or deprive him of sweet treats, but I will try to make sweet treats that he can eat more than one of without causing me unnecessary worry.
Now that I’ve perfected it, I’ll be using this sugar cookie recipe a lot. Not only is the flour whole wheat, but the white sugar is replaced with organic sucanat (also processed much more slowly by your body than its refined counterpart).
The cookies do taste healthier, but they still taste good. So good in fact, that after each of us had one with dinner last night, the dog apparently climbed onto the table and ate over a dozen of them off of the plate! Bad Dog! Good cookies.
I’m not completely anti white flour or white sugar. You’ll notice that the cookies are dusted with powdered sugar because it’s just so darn pretty! But moderation is important, and whenever I can substitute something healthier in our diet, I will. It’s not easy. I’ve had a lot of whole wheat recipe failures (bread, pie, cookies and more). If I cried every time I made a hunk of hard unchewable whole wheat bread, I could fill a bathtub with tears! But I think the numerous failures are worth it when I finally get a healthy recipe that makes us all happy.
Okay I’m stepping off of my whole wheat soapbox now because I want to hear from you! Have you thought about the differences in whole grains and processed grains? What does your family eat? If you’ve tried switching to whole grains, has it been difficult?
- 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sucanat
- 2 eggs
- 1 TBS pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 1/2 - 4 cups soft white whole wheat flour (plus additional for dusting)
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sucanat. Stir in eggs and vanilla.
- Whisk salt and 3 1/2 cups of flour together then stir a little at a time into wet ingredients. Add flour as needed until the dough is just slightly tacky to the touch.
- Divide dough in half and roll it out on a lightly floured surface (you can flour the rolling pin and/or the top of the dough as well) to 1/4 inch thick.
- Use a medium heart cookie cutter to cut out cookies and a smaller one to make cut outs on half of the cookies. Place on a baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
- Continue rolling out dough (including the scraps from your cut out cookies) and cutting and baking cookies.
- Spread bottom of a whole cookie with strawberry jam and sandwich a cut out cookie on top.
- (Optional: sprinkle sandwich cookies with powdered sugar)
Approximate cost/serving: If you want to do your own baking (pizza dough, bread, desserts, etc) I highly recommend grinding your own flour. I save a TON of money by buying wheat in bulk from Azure Standard. I get 25 lbs of organic soft white wheat for just $10.50. Buying whole wheat flour in the store is typically $1 or more a pound. Sucanat costs anywhere from $4-8 a pound in a grocery store, but I get it for just $3 a pound or less by ordering it from Azure Standard. I used Costco’s organic strawberry jam for the filling, really great deal! This recipe cost me about $3.30 to make. It makes 24-30 sandwich cookies depending on the size you make. I say one sandwich cookie is a serving because it’s really two cookies in one. That’s 11-14 cents a cookie.
Vegetarian: No meat of course but there is butter and eggs.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 95mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g
Nutrition information is an estimate only.