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Tips on Cooking, Baking With Heart-Healthy Spreads

You may already know that heart-healthy margarine spreads are great for topping foods to give them a tasty, buttery flavor. But did you know that they are good for cooking and baking, too? To check if a spread is heart-healthy, look for a cholesterol-free soft tub spread that is made from 50 percent to 60 percent vegetable oils, has 2 grams or less of saturated fat and contains no trans fat per serving. Dana Jacobi, author of the "12 Best Foods Cookbook," offers these tips for cooking and baking with margarine spreads: * To measure soft tub spread correctly, make sure to level the cup or spoon. * When sautéing, use medium heat to maintain the flavor and to avoid burning the spread. * For baking, chill the spread in the freezer before measuring it if the recipe calls for creaming it with sugar. * When melting a spread for baking, remember that it melts quickly.

In the microwave, 3 tablespoons of tub spread melts in 15 seconds, versus 30 seconds for butter. Now that you know which spreads to choose and how to cook with them, try it for yourself. The following recipe uses a heart-healthy spread and produces perfect results. DANA JACOBI'S OATMEAL-RAISIN COOKIES (Makes 36 cookies) 1/3 cup chilled Promise Buttery Spread 1 cup sugar 1 large egg, at room temperature 1 tablespoon mild molasses 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups rolled oats 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup raisins 3/4 cup sliced almonds Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Use an electric mixer on medium speed to cream Promise Buttery Spread with sugar until it is pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg, molasses, vanilla and salt. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon until almost blended. Add raisins and almonds, mixing gently until ingredients are combined. Drop the dough 1 tablespoon at a time onto the baking sheet, spacing them 3 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Cool for 1 minute on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. - NU.


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