October 2 is National Kale Day, but you can celebrate any day with healthful kale cookies. Kale in cookies? You betcha. Modify your favorite cookie recipes to include this versatile vegetable. Adding kale to cookie dough provides a burst of nutrition and a surprisingly mild hint of flavor that even picky eaters enjoy. Because they tend to be naturally sweeter and more tender, use young kale leaves or leaves harvested after frost. You can add either washed and finely chopped fresh kale or dehydrated kale you crush into powder.
Crush dehydrated kale leaves until they are a fine powder. A full-size or mini food processor easily turns dehydrated leaves into powder. Process about 1/2 cup of kale powder.
Mix the kale powder with the flour and dry ingredients your rolled cookie recipe calls for, reducing the total flour by the amount of kale powder you add. One-half cup of kale is about the right amount so the dough retains the correct consistency; add a little more flour if the dough seems too moist. Follow your favorite rolled cookie recipe, adding the kale-flour mixture to the creamed, moist ingredients as if it were regular flour.
Chill and roll the cookie dough according to your recipe. Cut it into shapes with floured cookie cutters and sprinkle them with sugar. Alternatively, form balls and flatten them with the bottom of a sugared glass. Bake the cookies on a greased cookie sheet following the time and temperature in the recipe.
Wash and remove the stems from young, tender kale leaves. Spin the leaves dry in a salad spinner. Finely chop the leaves with a full-size or mini food processor in short pulses until the kale bits resemble small flakes. Avoid over-processing the kale into a paste.
Cream the butter and sugar, then add eggs and flavorings as called for in your favorite rolled cookie recipe. Incorporate the fresh kale flakes after combining the wet ingredients. Continue adding the dry ingredients as the recipe instructs, mixing thoroughly. Fresh kale bits do not replace flour; use them as an addition to the dough.
Spoon the cookie dough onto greased cookie sheets, pressing your thumb into the center of each dollop to make a thumbprint. Bake following the recipe guides. When the cookies are cool, fill the thumbprint hollow in each cookie with fruity jam. Tart berry jam complements the flavor of the kale.
- Spinning the water from the washed kale leaves helps avoid over-processing the leaves. If you don’t have a salad spinner, pat the leaves dry with paper towels or clean cotton dish towels.
- If you make kale snack chips by roasting leaves in the oven until they’re crispy, you can crumble any leftovers for use as dehydrated powder in cookies.
- If you don’t have a food processor, place dehydrated leaves in a plastic bag and crush them to powder with a rolling pin. Roll a pizza cutter or a multi-blade herb chopper over fresh kale leaves on a cutting board until they are reduced to small, uniform pieces.
- Experiment with adding prepared fresh or dehydrated kale to brownies, breads, pasta, meat loaf or other recipes. Dehydrated kale may absorb some of the moisture in recipes; fresh kale may add moisture.
Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.
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