Spring Recipe: Soft Sugar Cookies with Less Sugar
Lower sugar also means less calories per serving
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whole Earth Sweetener Co.. All opinions are 100% mine.
Spring and sprinkles make me happy. Bright colors, tulips and sunshine do too. As we turn the corner into this happy season, I felt inspired to bake a personal favorite… cookies. I’m talking about soft, dense, sweet sugar cookies, which are very common in the bakeries of our local grocery stores.
Sugar cookies typically have—as the name implies—quite a bit of sugar in them. Plus, we like to add lots of sprinkles and sometimes a buttercream frosting to our cookies, which adds even more sugar (but is an oh-so-good treat). Under these circumstances, cutting down sugar where I can is certainly appealing.
When regular sugar is swapped out for Whole Earth Sweetener‘s Baking Blend, the difference in taste is negligible and not noticeable especially if you’re one of the millions of people who love stevia. This Baking Blend is a raw sugar and organic stevia blend that bakes and browns like sugar, but with half the calories per serving.
This is the second recipe I’ve used this Baking Blend in (the first is Buddy Valastro’s chocolate chip cookie recipe). These recipes are great solutions for people who need or want lower calorie and/or lower sugar choices without sacrificing taste.
This soft sugar cookie recipe is modified from a recipe that I’ve used before. The ingredients and directions are pretty simple.
The 3/4 cup of Whole Earth Sweetener‘s Baking Blend is in place of 1 1/2 cups of regular sugar. When using Baking Blend, the swap conversion to keep in mind is 1 cup of sugar is substituted for 1/2 cup of Baking Blend to equal the same amount of sweetness, but with 50% fewer calories than traditional sugar per serving. Baking Blend is also Non-GMO Project Verified. Assembling this soft sugar cookie recipe is pretty easy.
Cream together butter, shortening and Baking Blend in a medium bowl. Add in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Then, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined.
I recently wrote an article for a local magazine that featured a popular San Diego cookie company. I asked the owner for advice that he would give home bakers like me. He said to always chill dough. Chilling dough allows gluten to rest and fat to solidify. Therefore, the flavor of your cookies is enhanced and they will actually spread less while baking. So, chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it into balls about the size of a ping pong ball or walnut—about 1/4 cups’ worth of dough, though you really could make these as big as you like. As you form the balls, you could add in a few sprinkles, if desired, for a little color or inside the cookie.
Then, take the balls and roll them in sprinkles. We used spring-colored sprinkles for some and nonpareils (small, round sprinkles) for others. The latter adds a bit of crunch, if you like a little texture in your soft sugar cookies. Then, use the bottom of a glass (or a mug if making big cookies) to flatten the cookies to about a half an inch thick. They will spread a little bit but not much. Ours baked in a dome shape when not flattened.
Bake for about 6-8 minutes (larger cookies will require a longer baking time) at 350 degrees. The key to keeping them soft is slightly under-baking them. I take them out when they just start to lose their shine, right as they just barely start to brown on the bottom. How perfect are these for spring entertaining?
If you’re in a decadent mood, go ahead and frost them.
In my opinion, the reason why this recipe works is because the trick to baking with stevia is to have plenty of counter-balancing flavor. Two tsp of vanilla helps (you could actually add even more vanilla if you like it) as do the sprinkles. Unless your diet requires it, I would not cut the sprinkles from this recipe as they provide texture and taste. If you do, substitute them with something else (coconut balances stevia extremely well) or perhaps frost the cookies.