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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lemon-poppy cookies say spring

 •  Daily bread


By Elaine Magee

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A great complement to tea, these lemon-poppy seed cookies boast less sugar and fat, and more fiber. Whole-wheat flour substitutes for some white flour, and margarine for butter.

Elaine Magee

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Q. Dear Recipe Doctor, do you have a favorite spring cookie recipe you wouldn't mind sharing? I've tried several of your cookie recipes in the past and they have all been wonderful. Would love a spring cookie for the collection.

A. Instead of "got milk?" it's more like "got tea?" to go with these lemon-poppy seed cookies. I love everything about these cookies the look, texture and taste. The original recipe called for 2 sticks of butter, I switched to a less-fat margarine with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon and good flavor. I cut the sugar by 33 percent, eliminated the salt, and substituted whole wheat flour for half of the four. To punch up the flavor, I added 1/4 teaspoon of pure lemon oil, which I happened to have in the spice cabinet.
With these changes the calories and fat decrease by almost a third and saturated fat and cholesterol are cut by 70 percent while the fiber increases from .1 to .5 gram.
If your poppy seeds smell like they have been in your cupboard for years, they probably have been; another sign of aging is color; fresh seeds are a purplish mauve, older seeds go brownish. If in doubt, buy a new container. The lemon oil is available in culinary specialty stores.
Original recipe contains 90 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 17 mg cholesterol and .1 grams of fiber per cookie.

LEMON-POPPY SEED COOKIES

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup less-fat margarine (no more than 8 grams of fat per tablespoon)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 large egg, higher omega-3 if available
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A teaspoon pure lemon oil (optional)
Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In medium bowl, whisk flours, poppy seeds and baking powder; set aside. Using a large mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat margarine, granulated sugar and brown sugar at medium speed, scraping sides of bowl with spatula after 10 seconds, until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Pour the egg, lemon zest, vanilla and lemon oil to the margarine mixture and beat at medium speed until combined (about 30 seconds). Pour in the dry ingredients and beat at lowest speed until just combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed to incorporate all of the flour mixture.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop up a level tablespoon of the cookie dough then use your clean finger or a small spoon to scrape the dough from the tablespoon measure and onto the prepared cookie sheet, placing cookies 2 inches apart (they will flatten out nicely as they bake).
Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges (about 15 minutes), switching cookies sheets from top shelf to bottom shelf after 7 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.
Per serving: 70 calories, 1 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g fat, .8 g saturated fat, 1.2 g mono-unsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, .5 g fiber, 39 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 40 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids = .1 gram, Omega-6 fatty acids = .8 gram. Weight Watchers points = 1

Elaine Magee is a registered dietician. Find out more at www.recipedoctor.com.