Monday, February 13, 2012

Reduced Sugar Strawberry Sugar Cookies with Strawberry Coconut Butter Frosting

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and if you are anything like me, that means you are wanting some of those bleached white, soft sugar cookies with the pink frosting and confetti sprinkles. You know the ones. Yes, they are delicious, but let me suggest that you may show more love for yourself and your family by serving up some of these strawberry-preserve sweetened delights. You won't even miss that wad of colorful vegetable shortening you had been craving.

This coconut butter frosting is awesome.  It is not the vibrant pink that you get with artificial food coloring, but certainly pink enough.  I decided last minute today to invite some friends over for a cookie decorating party at our house, but I didn't have any powdered sugar on hand to make icing. So I decided to see if I could grind shredded coconut into coconut butter in my food processor and use that as the frosting base. I am so thrilled that it worked, as store-bought coconut butter is so expensive. The kids had fun making shapes and being liberal with the sprinkles. As always, more dough gets eaten than actual baked cookie, but that is the joy of a cookie-making party. Happy Valentine's everyone!

For the Strawberry Sugar Cookies:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1/2 cup canola or coconut oil (I used 1/4 cup of each. Use some coconut oil for the best flavor.)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp. non-dairy milk 

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flours, evaporated cane juice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and stir until well combined.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the preserves, oil, and vanilla.  Mix until you form a firm but pliable dough that holds together. If it looks a little dry, add 1-2 Tablespoons of non-dairy milk, until it holds together well like play-dough.
4. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to about 1/8-1/4in. thickness. The thinner the dough, the crispier the cookies will be. I like my cookies soft, so we kept them on the thick side. Cut out your shapes as desired and place them on the prepared baking pans. Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes, until just slightly brown on the bottom. Let cool before frosting and decorating.

For the Strawberry Coconut Butter Frosting:
2 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp. xantham or guar gum
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk

1. In a food processor, grind the coconut until it turns into a thick, smooth paste. This took 7 or 8 minutes for me. Scrape down the sides as necessary during this process.
2. Once you have your coconut butter made, add all of the remaining ingredients, minus the non-dairy milk and process until well-incorporated. It will be a thick ball. Add the non-dairy milk one tablespoon at a time, until you have a spreadable consistency.

My Valentines--Oh how I love them!

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