Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chia Seed Egg Substitute Goes Rogue

Chia seeds
This morning when my husband got home from his third shift job he asked if I could make some oatmeal raisin cookies while he slept. I never need a second request. NEVER. I rarely ever even need a first request. I just bake because I love baking and my sweet tooth takes up 3/4's of my body. I also love trying new things, especially when they're leaning in the healthy direction. I've been reading for months that chia seeds make an excellent egg replacement and add a lot of health benefits to any dish, so I dove in with both feet. I have to try everything at least once (See chick pea brownies for more on that) and I wanted to see if this really worked.
   From all the reading around I found the general consensus was that 1 egg is equal to the formula:

  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons water
Let that mixture soak for 15 minutes. You can use a coffee or spice grinder to make the seeds a fine powder, too, and that mixture only needs to soak for 5 minutes, plus there's no texture of seeds left. I chose to leave them whole because the baby was napping when I was making cookies so I didn't want the extra noise, plus they would be unnoticeable in the cookies. 
   So I got the seeds soaking and started making my Oatmeal Raisin Cookies:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs(or the equivalent chia egg substitute) 
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milk(we use either almond or coconut)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1-1/2 cups raisins
Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the butter. Add both sugars and cream again. Add the chia seed mixture, vanilla, and milk, and again mix until smoothly combined. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing until just combined. Add oats and raisins, and again mix until just combined. Scoop out golf ball-size spoonfuls and place 2-3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for  about12 minutes. (You can also flatten each cookie slightly for a smoother, more uniform shape and size, but you'll need to cook for 2-3 minutes longer.) Place on a cooling rack for several minutes. This recipe makes about 3 dozen medium to large cookies.
   So the whole point of the chia seeds was to be healthy. I know. But like I previously said, I have a RIDICULOUS sweet tooth. It just so happened that after lunch I had to take the kids to Kroger for some groceries, and I was forced to walk through the baked goods department I ordinarily really try to avoid. That's when I spotted my inspiration for what these cookies turned into, and quasi-healthy treats went out the window. Enter cream cheese frosting:
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp softened butter
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Then whip it until combined. Perfect. Creamy, but not too cream-cheesy. Like a cross between butter cream and cheese cake. Nom-nom. Set it aside until the cookies are cooled. (The slightly-flattened cookies above are perfect for this application. *wink, wink* ). 
When your cookies are adequately cooled, put your frosting in a zippered bag and snip off the corner(or just use a fancy piping bag, of which I have two, but they're a pain to wash so this small bit of frosting wasn't worth that hassle. ). Then pipe a big, thick, round, delicious-looking swirl of it on the bottom side of some cookies. Then top them with another cookie. Then stand back and look at this delicious mess and realize every bit of omega-3's, protein, and fiber from the chia seeds and oats were demolished in this concoction, as was your goal to "be good this week" that you made three days ago. So you ignore your inner "be good" remind and eat one. 
   On the bright side. you probably only need one. The richness is delectable, and the raisins, oats, and chia make you feel a little bit better about eating it. Just keep telling yourself that. Oh, and the chia seeds? I didn't even notice them. Safe to say this egg substitute is a winner in baked goods even without the frosting.

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