Friday, September 2, 2011

Mayonnaise Cookies

It may be prissy and stuck up, but I am not ashamed to say - in fact, I am proud to say - that I was revolted when I read this article about how to add extra mayonnaise to your diet. It seems like every day in the news is another statistic about Americans' poor eating habits, and the obesity epidemic, and tips and tricks for how to incorporate more fresh produce into our diets while cutting fat. So what on earth is my high-brow, educated, thoughtful newssource doing publishing food articles about recipes with a secret ingredient of egg yolks and canola oil!?! I was surprised, disappointed, and frankly, a bit disgusted, especially by the pretzels-mixed-with-butter-topped-with-whipped-cream-and-mayonnaise-and-layered-with-jello.

But, like all good journalism, it did make me think. And the more I thought, the more I realized that greater than 50% of my blog would likely fall into somebody's category of "revolting" - at the very least from a nutritional standpoint. Save perhaps for the rare oatmeal date bar, my recipes aren't doing anyone any favors in the fat-and-empty-calorie department. After still more thought, I decided that in some instances, mayonnaise isn't really that far of a reach for a lot of baked goods, being mostly eggs and oil (though the vinegar and paprika in the mayonnaise I had was questionable for most cookies...)

So, I went back to the recipe (but just the one for cookies) and gave it another read. Actually, replacing eggs and butter/oil in a recipe with mayonnaise sort of made sense. Except for going extra salt and processed in a time when I'm trying to be more socially conscious in my shopping, it was otherwise a pretty equal substitution. So, since I had mayonnaise getting close to its expiry in the fridge, I decided to give these snickerdoodles a try. On principle, I have a hard time recommending this recipe, but truth be told, Will and I both enjoyed eating them quite a bit.

The dough ends up being soft enough to mix by hand which is an extra plus for whipping up a super-quick recipe, along with no waiting for butter to soften. They had a crispy edge but a soft center, which is one of the ways I like snickerdoodles. And I also really liked the addition of cloves; they added a touch extra spiciness and depth (something that I will definitely replicate in my standard snickerdoodle recipe as well). Finally, they seemed to stay pretty fresh for a couple days, while my old recipe goes stale within 24 hours, so you can see how the beauty of pasturized shelf-stable factory foods can pay off.

Snickerdoodlesby Doreen McCallister

1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cinnamon sugar, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vanilla extract, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and baking soda. Shape into balls and roll into cinnamon sugar.

Place 12 on a greased baking sheet, spaced evenly. They will spread out. Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before placing on a wire rack.

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