Tag Archives: Baking

Whoopie Pies for the One I Love

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Mix ‘n Match Cake (Healthy AND Low-Calorie)

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Adventures in Molecular Gastronomy: Vegan, Low-Calorie Sponge Cake

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Healthy, “Any Way You Like” Cookies (Microwave-Friendly)

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For Those Who Stare at Fudge Brownies

Fudgy Brownies

Time seems to slur together, day and night becoming the same. I suppose this is the price we pay for electric lighting. I wake up half asleep and lay in bed fully awake, always trapped in a world where there are ladders without sides. It’s as if everything is occurring in this dream world and I can no longer distinguish what is real and what is in my mind. Is my face really that bloated or was that in another world?

A world full of ladders without sides.

I used a circular bowl so I had to "make" a brownie shape

Decadent 5-minute 75-calorie Brownie (Microwave)
makes 2 brownies (3″ X 3″)

  • 1/4 c. mashed Fiber One Original Bran (mash it till it has the consistency of flour)
  • 1 T. cocoa powder OR chocolate coffee
  • 1/2 t. baking POWDER OR 1/4 t. baking POWDER + 1/8 t. baking soda
  • 2T. sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1/8 t. guar gum OR 1/4 c. natural applesauce
  • a little extract (almond, raspberry, coconut, hazelnut, strawberry, mint or good old vanilla)
  • 1 T. light butter, melted (I used Bestlife Buttery Baking Sticks which are made out of oils, not dairy) OR 1 T. peanut butter for a peanut butter chocolate brownie

→Mix the butter, applesauce and extract in a small-medium microwave-bowl.

In a different bowl, whisk the fiber one, cocoa, baking powder (and soda) and sugar substitute. Add this mixture to the ingredients in the first step.

Add a little water and spread it around with a spoon to make the top even. You want it to be the consistency of drop cookie batter. (SEE NOTE)

Cover with plastic wrap (My tree-hugger instincts won’t let me buy plastic wrap so I use old cut up cereal bags and popcorn wrappers. I don’t really know why I’m mentioning this peculiarity, but, well, there it is). If you do use the plastic, make sure to allow a way for it to vent (a slit, a hole, a few holes….whatever).

Microwave for 2-3 minutes, turning halfway through. I find varies depending on how much water I add.

After about 2.5 minutes (when the brownie is still a little soft on top), remove the plastic wrap and cook for about another 30 seconds. You don’t have to do this, but I find it gives it a little extra chewiness and makes it an “eat out of hand” brownie instead of a “eat with a spoon” one.

After this, it will still look a little undercooked. That’s ok. DO NOT MICROWAVE IT ANYMORE OR YOU WILL HAVE A ROCK BROWNIE. Take the brownie out of the microwave and let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute. This will help dry out the top a bit and firm it up.

Feel free to stare. You know who you are. Oh, and, by the way, this just happens to be vegan too.

*NOTES: If you choose to use the guar gum, you’ll need to add about 3 T. of water and use only baking powder. The guar gum version has fewer calories and cooks a little quicker so you’ll need to watch it more carefully.

If you choose to use the applesauce, you’ll need to add a little less water (about 1-2T.) and use the baking powder/soda mix. To keep the butter from clumping up again, make sure the applesauce is room temperature before adding it.

I would recommend the applesauce version only because it is easier to get it right. The guar gum version tends to dry out around the edges very easily and become hard if left out for even five minutes. I’ve gotten it right a few times, where it stayed moist and tasted great, but those were pure chance. If you really want to mix it up, do half of each, using 1/4 t. plus a pinch baking powder and a pinch or two of baking soda.

Also, I am still learning more about guar gum, so I don’t have a lot of information. For the wikipedia article, click here. Hopefully I’ll be able to add a page on it under the “unique ingredients” in the near future.

Curried Lentil Loaf with Chatpata Butternut Sabzi

It’s been so long since I’ve written. I wish I could say it’s because I haven’t felt much like cooking; because I haven’t been able to find the words; because I’m lost in other (more fascinating) endeavors. If only that were the case.

If only…

I actually made this loaf awhile ago but its posting has been overcome by the myriad of cookie recipes I am so in love with. In some sense, I am glad I waited for this particular recipe takes the contradictions I hate about myself and makes it delicious. The comforting heaviness of the lentils, the plain-ness of the tomatoes, and the sweetness of the squash are all perfectly complimented by the bite of chat masala, the fire of garam masala and the wit of meyer lemon.

If only such qualities were appreciated in a person as well as in a food.

Indian-Spiced Lentil Loaf
makes 1 loaf

  • 3/4 c. mashed Fiber One Original Bran (mash it till it has the consistency of breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 c. toasted wheat germ (or bran, if you prefer)
  • 2 c. cooked lentils
  • 1/4 c. egg or egg substitute
  • 1-15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 2 T. light butter, melted
  • spoonful of minced (or chopped) garlic
  • handful of frozen chopped onion (or fresh, doesn’t matter)
  • a few pinches of the following: turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, cinnamon
  • a small pinch or two garam masala
  • salt and pepper to taste

→Preheat the oven to 350*F. Grease a standard loaf pan.

Mash the lentils with a spoon. You can puree them if you want but I decided to leave some chunks. Mix in the fiber one, wheat germ and egg. Add the tomatoes. (See note for a vegan option)

Saute the onion and garlic in some cooking spray until they are fragrant and onion is lightly browned. Add to the lentil mix.

Add in spices and mix well. At this point, mine looked something like this:

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, checking with a toothpick for doneness. This loaf comes out a little wet at first but, after a day in the fridge, it REALLY firms up to normal meatloaf consistency.

NOTE: For a vegan twist, leave out the butter (or swap it with any mild-flavored oil) and swap the eggs with 3T. lentils + 2t. baking powder + a little water.

Sweet, Sour and Spicy Butternut Squash Sabzi
makes as much as you want

  • Butternut squash (I used the bag I had left from the freezer clean-out)
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 bag frozen 3 pepper and onion blend
  • a teaspoonful of minced/chopped/mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoonful grated ginger
  • 1-3 packets sugar or sugar substitute
  • Juice of 1-1.5 meyer lemons
  • a few good pinches of the following: turmeric, garam masala
  • a small pinch or two of: cumin and cinnamon
  • 1-2 palmfuls (or large pinches) chat masala, which lends this sabzi its tangy punch
  • salt and pepper to taste

→Saute the frozen pepper and onion blend, garlic and ginger in some cooking spray. You can do it in the same pot you mixed the lentil loaf in.

Add butternut squash, tomato and spices. Stir well.

Cook until squash is soft, stirring continuously (or almost continuously). Mash the squash till it’s almost a paste.

Cover and leave on low-medium heat so the sabzi can absorb the spices. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. It should take about 10 minutes for the spices to meld together.

Serve with loaf.

If you’re careful, you can do the entire thing using only one pot. You’ll have to use a few bowls/other dishes to hold the lentil mix while you’re sauteing, etc but it’ll still only be one pot.

Clinging to 2010: Low Calorie Cookies #4

As it nears the end of January, I find myself still clinging to the bits of the previous year. Anyone who knows me or who’s read this blog for awhile knows I have trouble with change, trouble letting things go…I can cling to my shoes, so filled with holes they are more swiss cheese than anything else; I can keep my jacket, so devoid of stuffing it is no longer warm; but even I cannot stop the sun from setting or the passage of time it brings.

I’m sure some part of me believes, wholly and naively, that if I refuse to buy a new calendar, refuse to stop drinking pumpkin coffee or eating pumpkin cookies, time will have stopped and it will be November again. Maybe, if I try hard enough, time will even rewind and it will be last January or better, five Januarys ago.

What a curious thing it is that, on one hand, I always pray for time to go faster: I want it to be over with, I want to be different from what I am now, I want my life to change…but, on the other hand, I’m always willing it to go backward. I suppose there’s an absolute value sign around my desire.

I’m not even particularly fond of pumpkin: its dull orange color, its rotten egg smell, its bland taste that does anything but compliment its creamy texture. But still, despite my lack of love for this vegetable, I used it to make cookies. Such is the strength of my hold on the past.

In their defense, though, these cookies (which are yet ANOTHER version of the low-calorie cookies I did awhile back) could hold their own in both flavor and texture. The cardamom flavor is just strong enough to flatter the creaminess of the bland pumpkin. The orange yogurt dip adds a little punch to the depth of the cardamom, resulting in a dessert with an tangy introduction and a slowly fading comfort. All while maintaing a low-calorie level.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies
makes 10-12 cookies

  • 1/4 c. mashed Fiber One Original Bran (mash it till it has the consistency of flour)
  • 1/8 c. (2T.) wheat bran (or germ, if you prefer)
  • 1/4 t. baking SODA
  • 1/4 t. baking POWDER
  • a couple pinches cardamom
  • 1/4 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1/8 c. egg or egg substitute
  • 1/2 capful vanilla extract
  • 2 T. light butter, melted
  • 3 T. sugar substitute/sugar (the sugar doesn’t really play a part in the texture here so feel free to use sugar substitute packets)
  • 1 t. equivalent brown sugar (I used Splenda Brown Sugar blend for baking)

→Preheat the oven to 350*F.

In a bowl, mix the butter with the sugars. Add the pumpkin, vanilla and egg (the wet). Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

In another bowl, mix the fiber one, wheat bran/germ, cardamom, baking soda and baking powder (the dry).

Add the wet to the dry and mix well. My dough was VERY thick so I added a little water as well, which is why it made more cookies.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet sprayed well with nonstick spray and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Unlike the chocolate ones, you can watch these ones for doneness. When the edges are lightly browned, take them out.

These were delicious without the dip, but my first reaction was still hmmmm….missing something. I had read somewhere that pumpkin tastes good with orange so I grabbed the sugar-free orange marmalade out of the fridge and tried it with that. Unfortunately, the texture of the marmalade felt like slime on the cookie, completely negating the chewy goodness with a subtle crunch. Yogurt to the rescue!

Orange Yogurt Dip
makes a small bowl full

  • Yogurt (greek would be best due to its thickness)
  • (Sugar-free) orange marmalade
  • Sugar or sugar substitute, optional
  • Orange zest, for serving

→Mix the yogurt so it’s smooth. Stir in marmalade. Add sweetener if desired.

Dip cookies in yogurt dip while watching It’s a Wonderful Life and pretending tomorrow is Christmas all over again.

Low Calorie Cookies #4: Pumpkin Spice with Orange-Yogurt Dip

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Low Calorie Vegan Cookies: Chocolate Lemon

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10 minute pizza

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