The Great Sugarless Sugar Cookie Experiment

On Sunday I embarked on an important journey; to perfect the sugarless sugar cookie. In addition to the cookie being sugarless, I also needed it to be wheat free since I’m wrapping up an elimination diet and wheat is the last item to be re-introduced.

I found a very helpful blog entitled My Years Without Sugar with a good recipe that encouraged my belief that this could work well with agave. I didn’t want to rely on xylitol for the recipe since it tends to be more grainy and I didn’t think the texture would work out as the only sweetener in the recipe. A recipe made exclusively with agave, or with part agave and part xylitol would be preferred.

In the past, the Betty Crocker sugar cookie recipe has been my go to. It includes almond extract and cream of tartar, egg and some baking soda, and since I’m fond of that cookie I wanted to do a few variations that had similar ingredient profiles, though I was also curious to try the very simple version that I linked to above.

After discovering that my good friends at Crêpes à GoGo actually use barley flour, not wheat, for their crêpes, I decided that I’d like to try to use barley as one of my ingredients.

I made a few variations of the cookie dough.

  1. Barley flour, kamut flour, butter, agave, almond extract.  
  2. Barley flour, kamut flour, butter, agave, almond extract, cream of tartar, egg, baking soda.
  3. Barley flour, amaranth flour, butter, agave, almond extract, cream of tartar, egg, baking soda.
  4. Barley flour, kamut flour, butter, coconut oil, agave, xylitol, almond extract, cream of tartar, egg, baking soda.
  5. Spelt flour, barley flour, kamut flour, butter, agave, xylitol, almond extract, cream of tartar, egg, baking soda.
  6. Amaranth flour, quinoa flour, butter, agave, almond extract, cream of tartar, egg, baking soda. GROSS!
  7. Amaranth flour, quinoa flour, butter, xylitol, agave, almond extract, cream of tartar, egg, baking soda. GROSS!

Ok, I didn’t even take a photo of the two gluten-free versions. I should have researched quinoa flour more before I set out on this because it’s DISGUSTING! Seriously! Stay away from quinoa flour. I’ve never tasted anything more putrid. I’m not a particularly picky eater, and I like the way that other healthful flours taste, and I like quinoa as a grain very much, but as a flour it’s completely repugnant. Yuck! I tossed those variations out to the squirrels.

So anyway, I had 5 versions to taste test on my husband. I made 2 cookies of each and tasted each first to make sure it was edible before having him do the final test. Here’s a photo of the 5 contenders:

5 sugar cookie variations

5 sugar cookie variations

The versions with the xylitol come out a bit speckled.

As it turns out, my husband picked variation #4 as the winner:

  • Barley flour, kamut flour, butter, coconut oil, agave, xylitol, almond extract, cream of tartar, egg, baking soda.

The runner up was #1, the simple version based off of the “My Years Without Sugar” recipe that was simply flour, butter, agave and a little almond extract or in her case vanilla extract.

Knowing that, I’d say that if you want a quick and easy version, go with the runner up since it was very good and very simple. However, since I’d put in all the experimental work and Geoff picked the more complicated #4 as the winner, I figured that would be my winner too. Here’s the recipe:

Sugarless Sugar Cookies Recipe
.25 cup xylitol
.25 cup agave
.75 cup butter, unsalted, softened
.25 cup extra virgin coconut oil (optional – you can just use more butter if you prefer but this gives a nice flavour)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1.33+ cups barley flour
1.33+ cups kamut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
corn starch for rolling (lots)

If your dough seems very moist, you can add more of either type of flour or add corn starch. Corn starch is the secret ingredient in many of my favourite shortbread cookies and I find it works really well in place of some of the flour.

1.Combine xylitol, agave, butter, coconut oil, vanilla, almond extract and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. For best results, refridgerate for at least 2 hours, better yet over night.
2.Heat oven to 350ºF. Line or lightly grease cookie sheet. (I use a silicone baking sheet which is fabulous!)
3.Divide dough in to quarters. Roll first quarter with lots of cornstarch until about a 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place on cookie sheet.
4.Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

But like I said! If this recipe seems way more complicated with too many ingredients that you don’t have on hand, try the recipe here from My Years Without Sugar. It’s the runner up and is very good too.

I’d still like to take a go at a gluten-free version of this, but I’ll never ever buy quinoa flour again. I think a combination of amaranth flour and coconut flour could work, or perhaps with a bit of rice flour though I find rice flour can be a bit gritty. Maybe I’ll try that next year.

So, where are the photos of the final product, you might ask? Well, the whole purpose of this experiment was not actually to enjoy a good sugar cookie. I find sugar cookies to be rather uninteresting unless they’re iced up to be fancy. I use the sugar cookie as the base for my favourite cookie of all; hamentashens! Stay tuned for my hamentashen recipe in my next post.


2 thoughts on “The Great Sugarless Sugar Cookie Experiment

  1. Pingback: Mandi’s Hippie Holiday Hamentashens! « Mandi's Alternative Baking Blog

  2. Xylitol is a very good alternative of sugar for diabetic people. It contains low-glycemic sweetener that offers sweet taste and does not have negative effects of sugar. It is a pure and naturally occurring white substance.

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