Yesterday I went in search of a sugar cookie recipe that I could tweak a little to reduce the fat and calories. I found one geared toward diabetics that had a huge list of ingredients including brown sugar and corn syrup, far too fussy for my mood. Then, I came across Alton Brown's Sugar Cookies on foodnetwork.com and felt sure that his straight forward and moderately scientific approach would yield just the cookie I was in the mood for. It seemed a little heavy on the flour and oddly did not include vanilla, or any other flavoring, but I went ahead and followed the recipe.
I, as always, changed a few things. The cup of sugar became a half cup of sugar and a half cup of sugar blend (xylitol, maltodextrin, and sucralose), I substituted Smart Balance for the unsalted butter, and I added vanilla bean seeds.
The dough cracked and crumbled while I was trying to work it and then stuck to my rolling pin as I attempted to get it to a consistent 1/4 thickness. It cut and transfered to the cookie sheets decently and baked quickly without losing to much of the shape.
The resulting cookies were cute but tasted more like a dry shortbread than the slightly sweetened cookies I imagined. I did have fun squirting on the icing from little store bought tubes. The icing sweetened them up enough to be okay but not great.
I think it is time for me to hang up my baker's hat for awhile and get back to cooking. Reinventing baked goods seems more scientific than I can manage at the moment. The realization brings me back to high school chemistry. I had a terrible time with the math and without my lab partner I am pretty sure I wouldn't have passed the class. Not surprising, Venessa, my former lab partner is now a stellar pastry chef and here I am, still trying to figure it all out!