2

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Hack my Cookie Recipe

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 24, 2010 at 4:49 AM

Every year, I make mince cookies for Christmas. Everyone loves them, especially my family and coworkers. I want to keep the tradition this year. I was tempted to just make the suckers as usual, but over the last 12 months, many of my coworkers have either gone more lowcarb/paleo or have been diagnosed as diabetic and so really should be going lowcarb. And my mother is now paleo. So what I would like to try to do is hack the cookie recipe into something more lowcarb/paleo friendly. Any advice? I am short on brain power when it comes to baking so I just don't know how to make conversions. I suspect I could use splenda instead of sugar but I am not sure if the amounts would be the same and splenda seems to work better in some situations than in others. And I am rather clueless about what to do about the flour.

I couldn't find any lowcarb mince cookie recipies on the net either. Anyone have any advice? I'd prefer not to end up making 5 or 6 diff batches of these things, only to have all of them taste bad anyway. Here is the regular ingredient listing for these cookies. 1 cup shortening, 1.5 cups sugar, 3 eggs, 3 cups unsifted flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 9 ounce package mincemeat. The mince meat already has brown sugar and raisins, but the mince is essential to the overall flavor. So I am thinking what I would like to substitute out would be the flour and sugar. I am willing to go less paleo if it's still lowcarb and at least not super unhealthy. I only make these things once per year. I would like everyone to be able to enjoy them even if they are not on a diet, but still have them such that they are not super unhealthy, especially for the diabetics.

E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

(1303)

on November 25, 2010
at 05:10 AM

Eva- good luck, and if you get it figured out I'd love to see the finished recipe. :-) Karen- Your recipe really does look good! If I can ever get my hands on suet (harder than you'd think in farm country) and sultanas, I want to try it!

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on November 25, 2010
at 04:29 AM

I suspect that the barter system is *very* paleo, Eva! :-)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 25, 2010
at 03:43 AM

Could be still the same thing. I am talking mince as in mince meat. Most people now leave off the 'meat' as it sounds kinda icky to many. The main ingredients in order are raisins, brown sugar, dried apples, dextrose, water, salt, beef.. Yes there is beef in there, but it doesn't taste like beef really, more like spices and sugar. I am sure the beef adds some nice fatty umame flavor though. It's kind of a neat old school creation from way back before refrigeration. The condensed original dry form comes in a small box and is shelf stable for eons.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on November 25, 2010
at 12:21 AM

My first thought though was mince beef cookies... as the question was here :) I stand corrected on the cookies.

F5cce39a983b6074040592c00ec444d0

(270)

on November 24, 2010
at 06:12 PM

That's my recipe! So cool to see people sharing it :-) The mincemeat is very simple and it's not for a huge amount so you don't have to worry about using it all up.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Actually, mince cookies are a cookie and mince pies are a pie (at least in the US that is). The pies tend to have a much more intense mince meat flavor to them and I have met many who don't like the pies. But all of those people who didn't like the pies still liked my mince cookies. ;-) I think it's cuz in the cookies, the mince is better balanced with the rest of the batter and so does not overwhelm as much.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:17 PM

Wow, so many great ideas, I am not sure where to start! My mother recently purchased a hoard of natural lard so that would be easy to obtain. She would give me some in exchange for some finished cookies!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:16 PM

Something to consider down the line. First, I will try if I can do something about the sugar and flour though, and still make it taste good. If so, then long term, making my own mince would improve the healthfulness of it, and maybe I will have the cookies more than once per year!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:14 PM

Some say mixing stevia and splenda can help, but also makes it more sweet than either one by itself.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:12 PM

And browning is least impt. I might add that I can usually find almost any ingredient in my area (San Diego) because there are several large health foods stores nearby and more in surrounding cities and I have a month to look for them! I think I have seen Truvia in one of the regular markets, not sure if it was just in packets or in bulk though, but I have not looked hard for it yet. Likely I could find whey protein at one of the weight lifting/vitamin stores. My main goal, tastes good but less carby. Texture is less impt.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:05 PM

The recipe now, done with butter, yeilds a very light but not chewy cookie, kinda stiff but light and airy-only chewy at the mince bits (mostly sandy). I usually like more soft and chewy but the texture of the original mince recipe also pleases me cuz it's not hard and dense like many crunchy cookies are. My goal is to make it less carby and better for diabetics so I did not explore the natural sugars that, IMO, are very metabolically similar to regular sugar. Flavor is the most impt to me. Does not need to be really sweet-original recipe is very moderate sweet. Texture is less impt.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on November 24, 2010
at 03:39 PM

I second Scott's comment regarding Stevia ratios being more difficult. I recently made my own chocolate (delicious), but Im still working on desired level of Stevia. When I used the same amount as I would have sugar, the entire batch was overwhelmed by the taste, and aftertaste, of the Stevia. Still tweaking it after a few tries.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on November 24, 2010
at 03:22 PM

I did not know what mince cookies were untill I looked them up and realised they are mince pies, as they are called in the Britain :)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 06:12 AM

I have always used butter for shortening anyway. I never actually realized there was an 'official' shortening. I was always told it meant to use something like butter, crisco, or whatever fat. SInce I like the taste of butter more, it was a no brainer! You think the stevia will work? I guess the cookies could be less sweet than normal and still taste good.

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5 Answers

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5
D738a5b2a67f3c36518a2ac9f32d27af

on November 24, 2010
at 06:33 AM

I think almond flour would be a more compatible flavor with mincemeat than coconut.

Also as a former professional baker and hacker of standard recipes to more "natural" versions, I would try Sucanat instead of sugar. But since even "natural" sugar isn't paleo- or diabetic-friendly, you might try the Splenda--the baking version measures like sugar. I've also been using erythritol, which I've heard works OK in baking though it is less sweet. It's hard to find--if you don't mind giving money to Cargill, Truvia is an erythritol/stevia blend. It's OK. (As a sugar addict, I'd rather use some low-carb sweeteners than end up bingeing on sugar. Though frankly they all taste like %$#@ to me.)

Maple syrup might work flavorwise, except the recipe has no liquid to reduce, unless you tweak the amount of eggs. It was suggested to up the eggs for binding, but cookies don't necessarily need a lot of gluten for binding (you usually want a tender texture--shortbread is often made with a great deal of rice flour, which is gluten free).

Is this a chewy or a more "sandy" cookie? Agree with subbing butter for the shortening. Finally, since going paleo, I like things less sweet than I used to, so you might be able to get away with less sugar or sweetener. On the other hand, sugar affects the texture and the browning... I guess it depends on what's most important to you to retain--flavor, texture, browness, sweetness. Argh. I guess that's why most folks here would say "paleo baking" is a contradiction in terms.

If you're an 80/20 kind of person, I'd change the flour and not change the sweetener too much--it is a cookie after all! Does that help or make you more confused?

For more help, low-carb blogger Dana Carpender recently did a series on decarbing recipes. Here's the one on baking: http://holdthetoast.com/content/de-carbing-strategy-2-part-3-part-4 And one on sweeteners: http://holdthetoast.com/content/de-carbing-strategy-2-part-1 Some of her recipes use whey protein as a flour substitute in combo with nut flour--this works pretty well too and is worth trying if you keep it around. (I can get it in bulk at the health food store.)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:05 PM

The recipe now, done with butter, yeilds a very light but not chewy cookie, kinda stiff but light and airy-only chewy at the mince bits (mostly sandy). I usually like more soft and chewy but the texture of the original mince recipe also pleases me cuz it's not hard and dense like many crunchy cookies are. My goal is to make it less carby and better for diabetics so I did not explore the natural sugars that, IMO, are very metabolically similar to regular sugar. Flavor is the most impt to me. Does not need to be really sweet-original recipe is very moderate sweet. Texture is less impt.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:12 PM

And browning is least impt. I might add that I can usually find almost any ingredient in my area (San Diego) because there are several large health foods stores nearby and more in surrounding cities and I have a month to look for them! I think I have seen Truvia in one of the regular markets, not sure if it was just in packets or in bulk though, but I have not looked hard for it yet. Likely I could find whey protein at one of the weight lifting/vitamin stores. My main goal, tastes good but less carby. Texture is less impt.

2
1568416ef28477d1fa29046218d83ddd

(6235)

on November 24, 2010
at 02:51 PM

I would probably just go with the sugar from the mincemeat if you are going to use the packaged stuff.

I like Xylitol if I am going to use something other then sugar, the replacement is pretty 1 to 1 (it might be slightly sweeter) and it can be used for baking. It also doesn't have an aftertaste for me which is a huge problem with other substitutes. (I also have the cilantro=soap problem).

I use pecan meal instead of almond because it is available and fresh here, but that or walnuts would play nicely off the fruit flavors.

I would probably use lard instead of butter in this recipe to get fluffier cookies. Lard is a more direct sub for vegetable shorting because of the similar melting points, because vegetable shorting was designed to be a healthy (and cheaper) replacement for lard.

If you have time look at Alton Brown's "Three Chips for Sister Sarah" in one episode he hacks the same cookie recipe several ways and shows and explains the differences.

5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on November 25, 2010
at 04:29 AM

I suspect that the barter system is *very* paleo, Eva! :-)

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:17 PM

Wow, so many great ideas, I am not sure where to start! My mother recently purchased a hoard of natural lard so that would be easy to obtain. She would give me some in exchange for some finished cookies!

2
E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

on November 24, 2010
at 08:40 AM

I just saw this recipe for Paleo mini mince pies on the Paleo hashtag on Twitter: http://crossfittameside.com/2010/11/23/paleo-recipe-mince-pies/ I know that it's for pie and not cookies, but at the least you can make the mince from scratch instead of buying it pre-sweetened. Searches on variations of "chewy paleo cookies" or similar should give you ideas on the dough.

E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

(1303)

on November 25, 2010
at 05:10 AM

Eva- good luck, and if you get it figured out I'd love to see the finished recipe. :-) Karen- Your recipe really does look good! If I can ever get my hands on suet (harder than you'd think in farm country) and sultanas, I want to try it!

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:16 PM

Something to consider down the line. First, I will try if I can do something about the sugar and flour though, and still make it taste good. If so, then long term, making my own mince would improve the healthfulness of it, and maybe I will have the cookies more than once per year!

F5cce39a983b6074040592c00ec444d0

(270)

on November 24, 2010
at 06:12 PM

That's my recipe! So cool to see people sharing it :-) The mincemeat is very simple and it's not for a huge amount so you don't have to worry about using it all up.

2
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on November 24, 2010
at 06:34 AM

Splenda, the packaged product, has the advantage of being a 1:1 substitute for sugar. Personally, I think it's less bad than the other sugar substitutes.

If you want to use stevia you have to do a more complicated conversion.

From LoveToKnow.com:

Stevia

The leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant are the source of the sweetner called Stevia. The plant is most commonly found in two forms: fiber powder and liquid. The sugar to Stevia ratio is one-quarter teaspoon, or two to three drops of liquid, for every teaspoon of sugar being replaced. In high quantities, Stevia can have a bitter aftertaste.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 04:14 PM

Some say mixing stevia and splenda can help, but also makes it more sweet than either one by itself.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on November 24, 2010
at 03:39 PM

I second Scott's comment regarding Stevia ratios being more difficult. I recently made my own chocolate (delicious), but Im still working on desired level of Stevia. When I used the same amount as I would have sugar, the entire batch was overwhelmed by the taste, and aftertaste, of the Stevia. Still tweaking it after a few tries.

2
84f2ebde3766d05896406e1b0ad5b079

on November 24, 2010
at 05:41 AM

Coconut flour is one hack with which I have had reasonable success-beware that it sucks up liquid like the dickens and lacks gluten for binding, so up your egg ratio and use about .25 as much coconut flour as you would regular: eg .25 c coconut flour for 1 c flour. Swap butter or coconut oil for the shortening and stevia for the sweetener in the batter.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 24, 2010
at 06:12 AM

I have always used butter for shortening anyway. I never actually realized there was an 'official' shortening. I was always told it meant to use something like butter, crisco, or whatever fat. SInce I like the taste of butter more, it was a no brainer! You think the stevia will work? I guess the cookies could be less sweet than normal and still taste good.

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