Baking A Big Batch Of Cookies

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - November 29, 2006
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It seems like everyone’s heard of the Society of Seven, enjoyed their musical performances and laughed at their antics. The Tony Ruivivar-Bert Sagum group was founded 40 years ago and spent more than 30 years headlining at the Outrigger Main Showroom in Waikiki.

Now SOS is based at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, where they perform sold-out afternoon shows with Lani Misalucha, two-time winner of Philippines Entertainer of the Year. Las Vegas audiences have discovered they can count on SOS for a fabulous performance, and this week the Society of Seven will receive honors on the “Walk of Stars” on the Strip!

The ceremony will be attended by VIPs from both sides of the Pacific, including their original manager and producer, Fran Kirk of Outrigger Entertainment, and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who said, “I’ve been a big SOS fan for years, and I’m proud to be with the group when they receive this great honor from Las Vegas.”

Along with SOS-LV, the younger group mentored and created by the original Society of Seven, we add our congratulations and dedicate this recipe to the guys in Nevada: Tony, Bert, Hoku Low, Marc Escueta, Vince Mendoza, Roy Guerzo and Wayne Wakai - and Lani. We look forward to your return to Honolulu to perform special concerts again next year!

With the holidays approaching, what better way to show you care than giving friends and family baked goodies from your own favorite recipes? I like to make big batches of several different kinds of cookies and freeze them. To make cookie gift bags, just defrost and fill gift bags with cookies that taste just baked.

Here are a few tips:

* You will find cookie dough much easier to work with after it has been refrigerated for at least half an hour.

* Keep cookie cutters from sticking to the dough by misting them very lightly with cooking spray.

* If you’re cutting out delicate or large shapes, use a spatula to transfer them onto the cookie sheets.

Part of the fun of cookie baking is sharing with friends and relatives, so here are a few mailing hints:

* When making cut-out cookies for mailing, choose fairly sturdy shapes that won’t break easily.

* Pack decorated, dry cookies in a flat, sturdy container with a tight-fitting lid (disposable plastic containers are good).

* Put a selection of cookie shapes in a single layer, fitting them together as closely as possible. Place more cookies into the container, stacking same-shape cookies on top of each other. When the container is full, put wadded-up pieces of wax paper into any empty spaces, and then seal the lid. Wrap the container in bubble wrap, and then pack it into a box that is further padded with foam peanuts.

These are a variation of a sugar cookie my grandma used to make, updated with lower-fat ingredients. Sprinkle the tops with colored sugar for festive cookies, or add a variety of mixed toppings before baking. This recipe makes a big batch of six dozen cookies - plenty for gift giving!


* 4 cups unbleached flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/3 cups canola oil
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 4 egg whites
* 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.

In large bowl, mix together oil, sugar and egg whites, until frothy; add buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour mixture a little at a time to liquid mixture until well-combined. Pour batter by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets, leaving a lot of room in between, as the cookies will spread out and puff up. Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles. Bake for about 10 minutes until lightly browned and puffy.

Makes six dozen cookies.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Cookie:

Calories: 75 Fat: 2.7grams Sodium: 30 milligrams Cholesterol: 2 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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