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How to Bake Cookies on the Atkins Diet

Bobs Red Mill, The Atkins Diet

Cookies are made with white flour most of the time and the Atkins Diet does not permit the use of that particular ingredient. Cookies also require sugar, another no-no if you’re eating low carb. So what’s a person to do when the Cookie Monster strikes?

Let’s look at a basic cookie recipe. The ingredients list includes flour, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla. We’re good on the eggs, butter and vanilla part because those ingredients are low or no carbs. We can substitute Splenda for the sugar, keeping in mind that it doesn’t have exactly the same baking properties as real sugar. Our cookies may be a bit more crumbly and they probably won’t brown as nicely. And, just in case you live in a household where you need a long shelf life for your cookies, these won’t contain the preservative effects of real sugar. They’ll go stale and/or mold much quicker. In most cases, none of those negatives is a real problem in a cookie recipe.

Our true problem lies in the flour component. Plain white all-purpose flour contains about 92 grams carbohydrate and virtually no fiber. You can easily substitute whole wheat flour, which includes 12 grams of fiber which reduces the effective carb count to 80 grams per cup. Better, but definitely not low carb. Another option is to substitute a different type of flour entirely. If we study the package labels, we soon learn that most grains have a similar carb count to whole wheat flour. Obviously, we need something radically different if we want to make cookies on the Atkins diet.

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There is a product available on-line called Carbalose. It is essentially the protein portion of the wheat grain without the starch and thus very low in carbohydrate. And a sister product, called CarbQuick is a reasonable substitute for Bisquick. Both products say you can substitute them cup for cup for flour (or Bisquick, as the case may be). However, both products also state that you may have to modify the amount of liquid and leavening agents. A cup of Carbalose contains just 19 grams of carbohydrate, a true bargain.

My favorite substitute for flour in a cookie recipe suitable for the Atkins diet is almond or pecan “flour. This is made by grinding, blending or processing the nuts into a very fine meal. You can purchase the nut flours from a number of sources such as King Arthur Flours, through their catalog or on-line. Bob’s Red Mill also makes nut flours. Or, you can simply buy a big bag of nuts and make your own, using a food processor, a blender or even a coffee grinder. Just be careful not to process too much or you’ll end up with nut butter. Not necessarily a bad thing but not exactly right for making cookies either!

And now for a recipe using almond flour:

Almond Cookies

1-1/2 cup ground almonds (almond flour)

1 cup Splenda

½. Form dough into 1-inch smooth balls. Place on a cookie sheet; flatten with a fork and then bake at 350 F for 13 minutes or until browned underneath. Do not try to brown the tops. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet.

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Yield: 36 cookies, each with 40 calories, 2 grams protein and 2.3 grams carbs.

Easy variation: Thumbprint Cookies

Roll dough into smooth balls and place on cookie sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie. Bake as above. When cooled, fill the depression with a sugar-free jam of your choice.