Lowfat Ginger Happy Face Cookies
Makes about 22 large cookies
This is a great kitchen project for kids, as they can whimsically decorate the cookies with currants and raisins. The spicy flavor is akin to gingerbread, but the dough doesn’t have to be chilled and rolled out, making these easy to bake up on a rainy afternoon. Because of their reduced fat nature, the can dry out if overbaked, so bake only until the edges are lightly browned.
Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray, for the baking sheets
1/2 cup liquid fruit juice concentrate or Fruit Juice Reduction
1/2 cup Prune Butter
4 tablespoons (l/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup maple sugar ( substitute 1 cup packed brown sugar if necessary)
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dried currants and raisins, for decoration
Position racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 2 baking sheets with vegetable oil spray, or line with parchment paper or a silpat.
In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the fruit juice concentrate, Prune Butter, butter, and vanilla until combined. Beat in the maple sugar or brown sugar.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt to combine. Add to the creamed mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to form a stiff dough.
Using moistened hands, form the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (about 2 level tablespoons of dough each). Place the balls about 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a flat, wide glass dipped in cold water, press the balls to form cookies about 3 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Press the currants into the cookies to form smiling faces with eyes, nose, and a mouth.
Bake just until the cookies spring back when pressed in the center, about 15 minutes. Halfway through baking, switch the position of the baking sheets from top to bottom. Cool on wire cake racks.