This year, discover how easy it is to eat healthfully, yet luxuriously, during the holidays with soyfoods. Soy is a plant protein that provides all the essential amino acids, with a protein quality that is comparable to animal protein. Soyfoods such as soy flour and soymilk also have the advantage of being low in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol.
Soymilk makes it simple to create warm, welcoming beverages during the holidays, with regular, vanilla or chocolate soymilk. One cup of soymilk is a nutrition powerhouse, providing approximately 8 grams of plant protein. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, soy beverages like soymilk — fortified with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D— are included as part of the dairy group because they are similar to milk in nutrient composition and use.
Baking with soy flour adds plant protein to your favorite holiday cookie recipes. Soy flour, made from defatted and lightly toasted soy flakes, contains an average of 50 percent protein. By contrast, high protein wheat flour contains 15 percent protein. Because soy flour does not contain gluten, which is necessary for dough elasticity, it should be combined with wheat flour for baking cookies. (For gluten-free baking tips, visit The Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.)
You can replace up to 40 percent of the wheat flour in a recipe with soy flour. Proportions will vary, depending on the desired texture of the finished product. For example, recipes might call for equal amounts of soy flour and wheat flour, ¼ cup or ½ cup soy flour to 1 cup of wheat flour, or ½ cup soy flour to 1½ cups wheat flour. The Soyfoods Council offers the following two cookie recipe ideas, paired with holiday-worthy drinks to complement them.
Toffee Bars: You might have to hide these bar cookies from your family until it’s time to serve them. They are made with protein-rich soy flour, and layered with rich flavors and textures. Toffee bars are made by spreading toffee over cookie dough that is baked and then topped with melted milk chocolate and a sprinkling of chopped soy nuts. To make the dough, combine ½ cup soy flour with 1½ cups wheat flour. Serve toffee bars with kid-friendly soymilk hot chocolate.
Luxurious Soymilk Hot Chocolate: Make this rich but simple hot chocolate in a small pan on the stovetop, or in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt a 1.5 oz. milk chocolate or dark chocolate candy bar in enough vanilla soymilk to fill a mug.
Busy day alternative: On truly busy days, especially snowy ones where children are playing outside, make a quick but festive warm chocolate drink by heating chocolate soymilk in the microwave. Serve warmed chocolate soymilk in a mug garnished with a candy cane.
Holiday Apricot Oatmeal Cookies: These cookies are ideal for seasonal celebrations. They’re a break from the usual cookie tray selections, too. Filled with dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, coconut, slivered almonds, oatmeal and Textured Soy Protein (TSP), apricot oatmeal cookies are like the pastry version of an energy bar. The recipe calls for a mixture of ½ cup of soy flour and 1 cup of wheat flour. Pair these cookies with soymilk-rich eggnog.
Soymilk Eggnog: This no-cook and no-egg spin on the classic holiday drink is made in a blender. Combine extra-firm silken tofu, soymilk, honey, water and vanilla extract with ice cubes. Flavor this rich beverage with rum, brandy, or apple juice with rum flavoring added. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and you’re ready to celebrate.
Busy day alternative: Keep ready-made soy eggnog on hand to serve to last-minute guests. It is available in cartons, sold in the dairy section of your supermarket.
Find recipes for these easy cookies and drinks on The Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com. You’ll also find more tips for cooking with soy flour, recipes for holiday entertaining, and information about the health benefits of eating soyfoods.
About the Soyfoods Council:
The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods. Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.
About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries. In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat. In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup soy flour
1-4.4 oz. ounce bar milk chocolate, melted
¾ cup chopped soy nuts or chopped pecans
Yield: approximately 2 ½ dozen
Apricot Oatmeal Soy Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
½ cup soy flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups oatmeal
1 ½ cups Texturized Soy Protein
1 cup chopped dried apricots
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup coconut, optional
¾ slivered almonds, toasted or chopped macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.
Add next 7 ingredients and mix until just blended.
Stir in remaining ingredients until blended.
Drop by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 14-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cool cookies on wire racks.
Yield: approx 4 ½ dozen cookies