Low-er Fat Mexican Wedding Cookies

Inspired by the Saveur Cookie Advent Calendar, a new tradition has begun out at our Happy Homestead:  25 days of Advent cookies!  Each night, during the Advent season, as we’ve been reading from the Bible, and adding ornaments to our Jesse Tree, we’ve been enjoying munching on fabulous cookies, whose recipes have been taken from around the world.  One of our favorites were these Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies.

Now, the actual recipe for day 8, on the Saveur calendar, was for Mordegskakor, a Swedish Shortbread Cookie.  However, once I saw that it required using sixteen tablespoons of butter, I knew I needed to look for an alternative.   Doing an internet search for “low-fat shortbread cookies”, I stumbled across a recipe for “Vegan Mexican Wedding Cookies“.  I was disappointed to see that the fat content was the same as that for the Swedish Shortbread Cookies, but I liked the idea of added nuts and the ease of not having to roll the dough out and use cookie cutters to create shapes (although that would have made for a prettier presentation).  Realizing that all shortbread cookies call for about the same amount of fat, I decided to cut the fat in half by substituting applesauce for part of the margarine.  The end result: They tasted heavenly.  I think I’ll be baking up lots of these to give away as Christmas presents for family and friends, and the best part is, by lowering the fat content, we can all eat a double portion — and not feel a bit guilty for doing it! (well, maybe a little guilty, but, hey!  it’s the season for eating richly, isn’t it?)

Here’s my recipe for Low-er Fat Mexican Wedding Cookies:

Ingredients:

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup Earth Balance, or other margarine, softened

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

Place walnuts in food processor. Process until walnuts are chopped into tiny pieces.  Beat margarine and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add applesauce, and beat until combined.  Gradually add 1 cup flour, vanilla, and salt. Beat at low speed until well blended. Stir in remaining 1 cup flour and chopped nuts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scoop out tablespoons-full of dough. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 11 minutes or until pale golden brown. Don’t over bake. Let cookies stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then place them in the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar and roll around until covered.  Finish cooling on baking rack, then enjoy.

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