Sunday, March 18

Review #1-Chocolate Chip Cookies, Macaroons and Mashed Potatoes

Today I felt like being very adventurous.  I decided to try three Weight Watchers recipes: Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes.  I decided on these three recipes because hubby and I were in need of some home-baked goodness (okay, me more than him) and we were having turkey for dinner, and what goes better with turkey than mashed potatoes?  So, I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, after we transplanted the plants that we picked up yesterday.  How did the recipes measure up?  Read on!

Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons 
(For recipe, click here)
I must preface this with the fact that I don't like coconut.  Not a bit.  I've tried it several times, and just can't really handle the texture--you chew and chew, and it never changes!  So really, I just made these for my husband who does like coconut.

The recipe itself is very simple, and very similar to other macaroon recipes.  I whipped it up in a matter of minutes, and following the recipe instructions, tried to form the mixture into balls.  I tried and tried, but this is not a batter that lends itself to formation of any sort of shape--ball, triangle, octagon, etc.  I did the best I could and got 30 macaroons on the cookie sheet (the recipe yields 32).  Next time, I'll just spoon them onto the cookie sheet.
I popped them in the oven and baked for 18 minutes.  While baking, the macaroon juice seemed to seep out and form a puddle underneath, but other than that they baked fine.
While they baked, I began to melt my chocolate and start on the dough for the chocolate chip cookies.  Once baked, the macaroons sat on a cooling rack for around 30 minutes, and by then the chocolate was melted.
I tried to peel the macaroons off of the parchment paper, but they stuck, leaving half of the macaroon behind, so I opted to more or less drizzle the chocolate onto the macaroons.
After that, I popped them into the freezer for around 20 minutes to solidify and let the chocolate set up.  The result was a nice, cool coconut treat that is low in fat and calories, with a pleasant burst of chocolate.  I did taste them, but my opinion didn't matter.  Hubby really liked them, and said that they tasted very similar to regular macaroons.  He was very pleased with the result, and is looking forward to spending points on consuming these.  I am keeping these in the fridge due to the warm temps outside and in the house right now.  Overall, I would recommend this recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(For the recipe, click here)

I loooove chocolate chip cookies.  They are my favorite.  So if there is a whiff of a recipe that is lower fat and lower calories, I'm there and trying it!  Hubby and I were pleasantly surprised by this recipe.  It is a simple cookie recipe, pretty basic.  I mixed the dough quickly, and it formed a soft dough, which I thought would spread considerably in the oven while baking.

Happily, they did not, and they baked up to a puffy, cakey consistency, which I like.  The dough was mild in flavor--not completely lacking flavor, but overwhelmingly chocolate and not very buttery or sweet.  The recommended size is half of a rounded teaspoon, with a yield of 48 cookies, at 2 cookies per point.  So I decided to condense the cookies down and make 12 cookies, two points per cookie, and they turned out to be a regular sized cookie when made that way.

They smelled great, and looked like a regular chocolate chip cookie when I took them out of the oven.  After letting them cool briefly, hubby and I had to try them and see how they held up, and we both thought they were pretty good for a low-fat, low-cal cookie recipe.  Overall, I would recommend trying this recipe.

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
(For the recipe, click here)

These seemed easy enough when I glanced over the recipe.  Basically, boil five red potatoes, mash 'em up, and add a few ingredients and mash 'em up more.

In the end, it was easy, but not great, unless you like mashed potatoes of the spackle consistency.  I had no buttermilk or chives on hand, so I made buttermilk using the milk I had on hand and lemon juice (typically, add 1 tbsp lemon juice to 1 C milk to make buttermilk).  Instead of chives, I used dried oregano.  I mashed the whole potatoes, added the buttermilk, parmesan, and seasonings, and voila!  Very dry potatoes.

I added a little more milk, along with two tbsp margarine, and it helped with the consistency some, but I still think it needed more to create a creamy mashed potato.  I didn't want to add too much, though, because then it affects point values, and the potatoes are six points just by following their recipe exactly.  So, overall, neither of us was very impressed with the potatoes.  Now, if you aren't following Weight Watchers, then you can doctor these bad boys up and make them great with butter and such.  Going by just the recipe, I'd only give them maybe two stars out of five.  I wouldn't recommend it as it is, but doctored, they would be better, which is why I'm sharing the recipe anyway.  How will you know if you never try it?

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