I received free samples of California Dried Plums mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by California Dried Plum Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
Almond Orange Plum Pinwheel Cookies are easy to make, chewy, buttery, and packed with flavor even though they have half the amount of fat and sugar in them.
When I had the opportunity to work with California Dried Plums the creative wheels in my brain started cranking out so many ideas. To prevent my blog from turning into an unannounced Plum Week I narrowed it down to just a few that I know you will absolutely love.
Each of the recipes will feature and highlight these lovely jammy, purple, gem-like fruit that you see pictured above. Dried plums are so versatile because they can be used in savory and sweet variations without overpowering any of the other flavors.
Did I mention that California Dried Plums are a healthy baker’s dream? Use this simple conversion to cut the butter and oil in your recipes in HALF:
1/2 cup oil = 1/2 cup oil + 1/4 cup dried plum puree
1 stick butter = 1/2 stick butter + 1/2 cup dried plum puree
The best part of using this substitution besides decreasing the fat content? You can also reduce the sugar amount in your recipes by half. For those of you who count calories and fat the difference is roughly 200 calories and 40 grams of fat. YES, PLEASE!
California Dried Plums are plump, slightly sweet, and hearty so you only need one serving to satisfy sweet cravings and hold you over until your next meal. Let’s take a look at the stats:
In one serving:
3 grams of fiber (healthy gut)
293 mg potassium (happy heart)
16 mg magnesium (needed for calcium and potassium transport and happy heart)
more Vitamin K than any other fresh or dried fruit (strong bones)
no added sugar (low glycemic index – maintains proper blood sugar levels)
Whoa. Sign me up!
Need more evidence that dried plums are incredible for your health?
Dried plum consumption may decrease the risk of osteoporosis and possibly reverse bone loss.
In one study, postmenopausal women were separated into two groups. One group would consume 100 grams of dried plums per day and the other 100 grams of dried apple. At the end of the study it was revealed that the group consuming dried plums had a significant increase in bone mineral density.[read more here]
Dried plums keep you full longer which promotes weight management.
In a study conducted in 2010, 19 fasting adult women were advised to consume only dried plums, cookies, white bread, and water on differing days. All foods advised were similar in nutritional content and the women were requested to rate their hunger levels during this process. Dried plums provided the highest rating of satiety without drastically altering glucose levels. [read more here]
Dried plum promote a healthy gut by assisting in the regulation of bowel activity
A study conducted in 2011 provided the participants with either dried plums or psyllium husk for an 8 week period to test the efficiency of each substances on frequency and consistency of bowel movements. The participants involved were all being treated for chronic constipation. The results indicated that dried plums increased the frequency of bowel movements compared to psyllium husk. [read more here]
Not to mention dried plums taste MUCH better than psyllium husk. Psyllium husk has the worst texture!
The list goes on and on of the benefits of dried plums. Long gone are the days of chugging your grandma’s prune juice to reap the benefits. California dried plums taste like candy and even though they are dried they are incredibly moist and chewy!
Onto the cookies! I was immediately intrigued by the idea of replacing half the amount of butter and sugar with plum puree so I set out to test it in a recipe for Almond Orange Pinwheel Cookies.
Instead I used only 1/4 cup of coconut oil (or 4 tablespoons) and 1/4 cup sugar and beat them together with the plum puree, vanilla extract, and a coconut milk + cornstarch mixture. The cornstarch helps soften the dough and provides structure.
After this was beaten together I added the flour, baking powder, and salt mixture in a half at a time.
The mixture resembles crumbs at first but packs together into a solid dough nicely.
I then rolled out the dough on a large baking sheet between two pieces of plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will assist you in rolling this dough into a log without transferring a lot of heat from your hands causing the dough to stick.
Painting the dough with 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture will help the filling stick together and will also moisten the dough while it bakes. I then sprinkled the dough with the 3 tbls of sugar I set aside. This is optional and for a slightly less sweet cookie leaving out the 3 tbls is a great option.
A mixture of dried prunes, slivered almonds, and orange zest is spread evenly all of the dough, leaving about an inch of a border around the edge of the dough. I slightly pressed the filling into the dough as well to prevent any fall out while rolling or cutting.
I slowly rolled this dough into a tight log being sure to stretch the thick middle section to the thinner outer portions of the log.
I then wrapped in up in all of the plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. If you don’t want to wait overnight you must allow it to chill for at least 4-6 hours. This allows the dough and filling to set up so that they can be easily sliced without falling apart.
Take my word for it, the colder the dough the better. Slicing is SO easy when the dough is super cold. This log made about 30 2-inch cookies and the smell was incredible!
After fully cooled I was afraid that the plums would not provide enough moisture and the dough would be crumbly and dry. I was WRONG, wow, I was so wrong. These cookies are more moist than a traditional shortbread and although the taste of plums is not obvious they provide the perfect balance of sweetness to the cookie.
These cookies are not super sweet and I LOVE that. The filling options are endless so feel free to play around with different nuts and zest. Almond extract would also be incredible in this or shredded coconut in the filling.
Either way I am so incredibly excited with how these tasty little morsels turned out. The easy plum puree conversions for substituting butter/oil and sugar lived up to my expectations and I found that the cookies were even better the next day.
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do! You can’t beat healthier alternatives for cookies that are packed with some pretty impressive nutrition stats all thanks to California Dried Plums.
To obtain additional information regarding Dried Plums and their benefits or other delicious dried plum recipes, head over and follow California Dried Plums: