Save your diet with cookies made nutritious with sunflower seeds and fruit


Cookies and snacks are usually the first foods people give up when they are watching their weight. Unfortunately, they also are the first foods people begin to crave.

There is nothing wrong with treating yourself occasionally to wholesome, nutritious snacks. In fact, eating a few well-timed cookies when you are hungry may be the crucial difference between maintaining a sensible, heart-healthy eating plan and bingeing on high-calorie, high-fat junk food.

Sunflower fruit pinwheels are an excellent low-fat choice for anyone in the mood for a tasty snack. Unlike most cookies, sunflower fruit pinwheels are low in saturated fat because they are made with egg whites and liquid oil instead of whole eggs and solid butter, margarine or shortening.

These appetizing fruit rolls get an extra boost of fiber and flavor from raw sunflower seeds and old-fashioned oats. The filling is sugarless jam.

Bake an entire batch of sunflower fruit pinwheels and nibble on them from the cookie jar or keep the unbaked cookie dough in the freezer to slice when the mood for a snack strikes.

Sunflower fruit pinwheels

Makes 48 cookies

1 cup sugar

2 ounces canola or vegetable oil

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon skim milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon allspice or cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces sugarless fruit spread,

such as strawberry, raspberry, apricot or blackberry

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, egg whites and milk. Beat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture looks milky. Stir in the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and allspice or cinnamon. Dough should be soft and sticky.

Coat a large rectangle of wax paper or parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with sunflower seeds.

Wet hands thoroughly and press dough over paper to form a rectangle, about 9-by-13 inches. Spread evenly with sugarless fruit spread. Using the paper as a guide, roll the dough jellyroll fashion around the fruit filling. Secure the ends of the paper and freeze several hours, seam-side down, until the cookie roll is firm enough to slice.

Slice the roll crosswise into 1/4 -inch pieces. Place the cookies on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or coated lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Allow about 2 inches between cookies.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the crust is brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Test kitchen notes: To make the cookies as bars instead of pinwheels, coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Using wet hands, press the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Spread with fruit and top with sunflower seeds. Bake 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing into bars.

Nutrition information per serving: calories, 76; fat, 2.3 grams; carbohydrate, 12.4 grams; cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 23 milligrams.

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