Thursday, September 25, 2014

Soft Almond Poppyseed Cookies

Last week I whipped up a batch of birthday cookies for Sister #2 of Sisters Do Food and Fitness. The Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies I made from a recipe by Sally's Baking Addiction were truly AMAZING... Amy and I loved everything about them! They were probably the softest, chewiest, sugary-ist, buttery-ist cookies I've ever eaten. With that being said, I set out on a mission to make the original (butter and sugar-loaded) recipe "healthier"...


To lessen the fat and calorie content of these cookies, I replaced 1/2 the amount of butter the original recipe called for with unsweetened applesauce. To cut down on the sugar, I reduced the amount of white sugar from 3/4 cup down to 1/2 cup. I also decided the sugary sprinkles could be replaced with poppyseeds... and then by swapping the vanilla extract out for almond extract, I could create a whole new flavor profile! 


These Soft Almond Poppyseed Cookies turned out absolutely delicious! Even though they are lower in butter and sugar than the original recipe, they are still pillow-y soft, moist and chewy. My cookies are just a little less rich and sweet... but that's a good thing, right? Now you can feel less guilty enjoying one (or three) of these cookies! 


True confessions: I may have eaten 3+ cookies in one sitting. Oooops! What can I say? They are really yummy...

Soft Almond Poppyseed Cookies
based on a recipe from sallysbakingaddiction.com
makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (cannot be omitted)
1 tablespoon poppyseeds, plus more for sprinkle on top before baking

Directions:
In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed. Get it nice and smooth, then add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in applesauce, egg and almond extract. Scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 different parts. The dough is quite thick and you may have to stir the rest by hand. Once combined, fold in 1 tablespoon poppyseeds. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Scoop sections of dough (about 1 Tablespoons of dough each) and roll into balls. Make sure the balls are taller, rather than wide. Place balls on baking sheet, then add a few more poppyseeds on top of each ball dough.


Bake chilled cookie dough for 8 minutes, no more. The cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for 1 minute and move to wire rack to cool completely.


I might add a little orange or lemon rind next time just to give the cookies a bit more "POP"!

Note: These cookies become more moist the longer you let them sit. Right out of the oven they will have a different texture; they are much more puffed up and dry!


These Soft Almond Poppyseed Cookies are like little pillows of delicious-ness. And I just love that they have half the butter as a normal cookie recipe, yet they are just as soft and chewy. Unsweetened applesauce really does make a great healthy substitute! Good to know...

Enjoy!

- Janel

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