Baking Up Crunchy Raisin Cookies

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 26, 2006
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Dr. Ellen Michols was born on a small farm in North Dakota. She always felt that she wanted to help people, so after graduating college she went to medical school, where she specialized in family medicine, as she loves the variety of challenges it offers. Today Michols works as a family practitioner at the Straub Satellite Clinic in Kaneohe.

This column is dedicated to Dr. Michols.

Try these tasty cookies with an ice cold glass of skim milk for a great snack!

In 1876 William Thompson, a Scottish immigrant living in the northern Sacramento Valley, introduced the Lady deCoverly seedless grape. These grapes, which would become known as Thompson seedless grapes, were thin-skinned, seedless, sweet and very tasty.

Today, 95 percent of the raisins produced in California are made from Thompson seedless grapes grown in the San Joaquin Valley. The area now supplies raisins for nearly half the world, making it the largest producer anywhere.

Raisins are usually sold in sealed packages, so make sure to check the expiration date carefully to ensure freshness. Raisins should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.

Raisins, like all dried fruit, are a quick energy source, as the drying process concentrates the nutrients. They are an excellent source of potassium and a good source of iron, magnesium and copper. Raisins also contain calcium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin C. Golden raisins are treated with sulfites to keep them from getting dark. One pound of raisins equal 4 1/2 pounds of fresh grapes. A quarter cup of raisins is equal to one serving of fruit.


* 2 cups raisin granola (low-fat granola of choice), break up large pieces
* 1/4 cup raisins
* 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour mixed with 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 cup Smart Balance margarine (no trans fat)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 4 egg whites, slightly beaten
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together granola, raisins, flour mixture, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well-incorporated. Cream margarine with sugar; add egg whites and mix. Add vanilla extract and combine. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until combined well.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto sprayed cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes four dozen cookies. Approximate Nutrition Information Per Cookie:

Calories: 120 Fat: 2.5 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 60 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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