Healthy Holiday Cookies

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 1/2 cups traditional whole wheat flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, or vegetable oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (about 1 pound) shredded or chopped zucchini (2 small zucchinis)

1 cup chocolate chips

Glaze (optional)

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup chocolate chips

2 teaspoons corn syrup

     Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and the pan or pans of your choice. To make the cake: Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together the sugars and butter (or oil) in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add half the dry ingredients, stirring until evenly moistened. Stir in the zucchini, then the remaining flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

     Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. If you have used a tube pan, lightly loosen the cake around the edges and center tube by pulling it gently away from the pan with your fingers or a running a thin, flexible spatula down the sides, then put the rack on top of the pan and flip everything over. Remove the pan and cool the cake completely. If you've used a 9 x 13-inch pan, you can either serve it from the pan or invert the cake onto a serving platter and drizzle with chocolate glaze, if desired.

     To make the glaze (if using): Heat the heavy cream to a simmer, and pour over the chocolate chips in a bowl. Stir in the corn syrup, and keep stirring until there are no more lumps and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake, if desired. Variation: Instead of a chocolate glaze, sprinkle confectioners' sugar over the cooled cake.

     Excerpted from "King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains" by King Arthur Flour (Countryman Press; 2006; 544 pages; $35)

 

Lemon-Zucchini Drops

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups unpeeled grated zucchini

3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons grated lemon rind (zest)

1 1/2 cups raisins

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Glaze

2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

3 to 4 tablespoons light or heavy cream

 

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. To make the dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in the zucchini. Beat the flour, lemon zest, raisins, and walnuts into the creamed mixture. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Note: Because the moisture content varies considerably in zucchini, we suggest you bake one test cookie, adding more flour to the batter if the cookie spreads more than you'd like it to. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they spring back when touched lightly in the center. Remove the cookies from the oven. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. To make the glaze: Place the sugar in a small mixing bowl, and stir in the lemon juice, then add the cream, a little at a time, to achieve the consistency you like. Use more liquid for a thin, clear glaze, less for a thicker, whiter-looking glaze. Spread the cookies with the glaze and let them set for an hour or so before wrapping.

     Excerpted from "King Arthur Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookies Cookbook by King Arthur Flour (Countryman Press; 2004; 536 pages; $29.95)