Thursday, May 22, 2008

Blogathlete

A friend of mine is a tri-athlete. When she did a half-triathlon last year in Hawaii I was so impressed by the training and dedication that she put in to compete solidly in each area. It takes entirely different skill sets to do each element of a triathlon.

In a way (a much less exhausting way), being a food blogger is kind of like that. To put together a good blog you have to have skills in cooking/baking, photography, food styling, and writing, and to put it all together, computer savvy. My least favorite of all of these areas is the computer part.

I love playing around in the kitchen. Baking is my favorite thing to do. I'm slowly learning about photography. Painfully slowly, my daughter might say. In the food styling department I confess that I'm a shameless plagiarist; I look at cookbooks and other people's blogs for ideas on how to make the food look appealing. Writing is a lot of fun for me, and is actually one of the reasons I started this blog. But computers, oh, I do not shine there.

You see, I am learning resistant. I do not like to learn anything I do not have to. And since I live with a wonderful guy who happens to be Mr. Tech Support, I don't have to know much at all about computers. So the part about blogging where I actually have to put up a post, put in links, and insert pictures can have me pulling out my hair. Which is not a good thing, as it's thin enough already.

As I was fussing and fighting with my last post, it occurred to me (not for the first time) that I'd be doomed without Mr. Tech Support, so I'd better treat him right and make sure he stays around. He's been battling Blogger's Bloat, and while he'd be the last person to ask that I stop making his favorite treats, I could do him a favor and make lighter treats from time to time.

These cookies have a moist, cakey texture that comes from applesauce. I tasted the applesauce when the cookies were plain, but once frosted, the flavor receded. I really liked the texture contrast between the firm glaze and the soft cookie. They work very well for a coffee break or at tea-time. Or after school. Or for dessert. And since only 17% of the calories come from fat, you can feel virtuous while you munch.


Black and White Cake Cookies
- adapted from All New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup applesauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites

Frosting:

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
3 Tbsp 2% milk, divided
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (Dutch processed will give a darker look)

1- Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2- Place a fine sieve over a small bowl and spoon the applesauce into it. Let is stand for 15 minutes to drain the liquid. Discard the liquid.

3- While the applesauce drains, lightly spoon flour into measuring cups, level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

4 - Combine drained applesauce, granulated sugar, and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg whites. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed until blended.

5- Drop dough by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Baket at 375 deg. F for 10 minutes or until set (not browned). Cool on pans 2 minutes or until firm. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

6- To prepare the frosting, combine 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp milk, and almond extract in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk until smooth. Working with one cookie at a time, hold cookie over bowl, and spread about 1 tsp white frosting over half of the cookie, scraping excess from the edges. Let stand for 10 minutes or until frosting is set.

7 - Combine 3/4 cup powdered sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Gradually add 2 Tbsp milk, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Working with one cookie at a time, hold cookie over bowl, and spread about 1 tsp chocolate frosting over other half of cookie scraping excess frosting from edges. Let stand 10 minutes or until frosting is set. Makes about 2 dozen.

Store in an airtight container and place waxed paper between layers. Or just eat them right away.

19 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

You know, I never thought of a blogger in the triathlete sense - very interesting perspective!!

I hope Mr. Tech Support loved those B&W cookies! :0)

Kevin said...

Those cookies look really good! I have been enjoying slowly learning more about photography while food blogging.

LyB said...

I'm sure Mr. Tech Support enjoys the perks of working with a blogathlete such as yourself! Those cookies sound delicious, I wish I'd had one today with my afternoon coffee! :)

さくら said...

Nice to meet you,
I'm from Japan.
It became reference very much!!
Thank you  (^o^)/

Indeed I am sorry,
Please link to this site.

Baking Soda said...

Nice thought! And stamina, let's not forget stamina!

sher said...

I love black and white cookies! Those look perfect!

Suzana said...

Great analogy! I'll be thinking of myself has a tri-athlete from now on! ;) I have to bake some cookies for my friend's kids - those look so nice and delicious.

Bellini Valli said...

I am always on a learning curve when I am blogging. I'll have a few of these cookies while I am working:D

Aimée said...

Good analogy, Lynn. Fortunately for me, I am married to Mr. computer geek!

Melinda said...

Dear Twin, My Mr. Tech Support can be very grumpy about putting on the pictures for me. He's happier if he gets to sample the goods before posting them up for me. (somehow that came out all wrong...but you being pure of spirit and all, will interpret it as it was intended!)

Your cookies look delicious. I think your photography skills are pretty darn good.

t said...

These look beautiful. I like the idea of using applesauce. I do not think your hubby has a bloat problem either.

RecipeGirl said...

These are so pretty and delicious looking. Can't believe they're lowfat! I'm the tech support in my family. So I pretty much drive myself crazy!

Peabody said...

I would soooo be doomed without my Mr. Tech support. I would so be at a loss without him. But luckily he will work for cookies. :)

Lisa said...

Wow these cookies look great and I like the fact that they are "light". I'm puttin' these on my to do list! Thanks!

Heather said...

ohhh i love black and white cookies. these are beautiful! i love the picture with them stacked in alternating colors :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You always say it so well Lynn!
We can all always use a little lighter on the cookies! These seem totally inviting. Could I have mine with ice tea please.

Emiline said...

Keep that boy around, for sure. :)

I've never made black and white cookies, but I know that I like them. I bought one when I visited NYC a few years ago. Mmm.
These look wonderful.

Deborah said...

I, too, am totally a plagiarist when trying to style for photos. I'm just horrible at it, but if a cookbook has a picture of what I made, I usually copy what they did!

These cookies sound great!

Cassandra said...

I like the blogathlete idea... I too am learning (VERY slowly) about food photography, and I find it fascinating.

The cookies look delicious, by the way...