Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lighten Up - Chocolate Cherry Heart Smart Cookies

Our next installment in the "Lighten Up" series is a sweet treat - Chocolate Cherry Cookies.  These cookies are made with dried cherries and bittersweet chocolate, and packed full of whole grain oats.  They tastes amazing AND they are good for you! Bittersweet chocolate is actually quite good for you because it contains antioxidants that lower blood pressure and help protect your heart. Cherries help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer and protect against age-related diseases. They are also known to relieve joint pain and pain from rheumatoid arthritis. So you can eat these cookies and feel great about all the benefits of the bittersweet chocolate and dried cherries.  A friend from college turned me on to these cookies and they are my new favorite.
Chocolate Cherry Heart Smart Cookies
recipe from Cooking Light

Ingredients:
1 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)
1 1/2 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/3 cup)
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 scant cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
While butter is melting, measure your chocolate and cherries and set aside.
Remove from heat; add brown sugar, stirring until smooth.
Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
Add vanilla, and egg; beat until combined.
Add cherries and mix till combined.
Fold in chocolate.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Store in an airtight container.  These chewy cookies are seriously bursting with flavor.
Enjoy!

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