If at first you don’t succeed, try again. And maybe one more time. Or two. Or maybe three. This year, it took me three recipes to settle on this Whole Wheat Fig and Walnut Cookie to share in this year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
I initially wanted to make a cookie featuring purple sweet potatoes. Not only are they beautiful, but sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene and vitamins A and C. They fit in my happy zone of good for you and good to eat in a cookie form. And because it’s a sweet potato, it would be easy to find recipes to adapt, since regular, orange sweet potato cookie recipes are abundant.
The first recipe I tested was good, but not quite good enough to send out to others. Not enough pizzazz. N was certainly pleased with that decision. I tried a different recipe (several times) only to find out something special about purple sweet potatoes. The hard way. Because how else are you really going to learn it?
Turns out, purple sweet potatoes get their rich coloring from anthocyanins, plant pigments that give plants or roots a purple, blue, or red color. Anthocyanins can change color with certain acids and bases. If you add lemon juice (an acid) to purple sweet potato juice or puree, it will become red. If you add baking soda or powder (bases), your sweet potato juice/puree/baked goods will turn a blue-ish green! The color change doesn’t change the flavor of the purple sweet potato, but people do eat with their eyes, and foresty green cookies seemed a bit out of most eyes’ comfort zones.
Purple sweet potato cookies were out. The deadline to send off cookies was fast approaching and I had no seasonal cookie to send. What to try next? Should I just throw in the towel or just make something easy not seasonal?
I’m not saying making these cookies is on the same level as discovering pediatric cancer treatments, but the persistence threads itself through both processes. The drive to keep going, to have a positive result (or cookie) to show and share with others, no matter what science has in store for us. And sometimes it means moving from one idea to another.
I shifted from vegetable to fruit, from purple sweet potato to fresh fig, and threw in some walnuts for fun. This experiment worked, and worked well. The more work, noodling, and observing we do can bring us to answers, and maybe one day, a cure.
If you’d like to donate to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, you can here.
This recipe is perfect for a cookie swap, large gathering, or to give to friends. It also can be halved for smaller occasions.
Check out my contribution to last year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap recipe here.