Feeling Nutty? Try These Cookies

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - August 20, 2008
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“Food, glorious food!” That’s one of the most recognizable lines from the ever-popular Broadway musical Oliver, which Army Community Theatre opens Sept. 4 to kick off its 66th season. The play is at Richardson Theatre, Fort Shafter, where the production runs through Sept. 20. The show, directed by Stephanie Conching, will appeal to aficionados of all ages with its timeless story set in Victorian England.

These cookies are wonderful with a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon - very British!

Walnuts have been cultivated for thousands of years and were introduced into Europe by the Romans. Walnuts are an excellent source of copper and magnesium, and a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid and thiamine. They contain fiber, phosphorus, niacin, iron, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. It was once thought that walnuts could ward off headaches, because the shape of the walnut closely resembles the shape of the human brain. The leaves of the walnut tree contain an antibiotic substance.


Pecans are packed with nutrition including vitamin A, vita-min E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. It only takes about an ounce (or about eight pecans) to get these nutritional and antioxidant benefits. When buying pecans, look for plump pecans that are uniform in color and size. Stored in airtight containers, shelled pecans can be kept in the refrigerator for about nine months and for up to two years in the freezer. Sealed plastic bags are best for storing pecans in the freezer.

After removal from cold storage, pecans will stay good for an additional two months. In-shell pecans can be stored in a cool, dry place for about six months.

Buying hint: Ask the produce manager at the supermarket for ripe bananas that are marked down in price. These are excellent for baking, and can be frozen in plastic bags for smoothies.

SOMETIMES YOU FEEL LIKE A NUT COOKIES

* 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2/3 cup Smart Balance no trans fat margarine
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 2 medium-size ripe bananas, mashed well
* 4 large egg whites, slightly beaten
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Sift flour with baking powder. In separate large bowl, cream margarine with sugar; add banana and egg whites and beat until well-combined. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture until all ingredients are wet. Stir in walnuts and pecans. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on cookie sheets, then remove to wire rack to cool.

Makes four dozen cookies. Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 100
Fat: 3 grams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Sodium: 50 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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