Trail Mix Bars

Another healthy recipe coming your way. I am the queen of the Luna Bar, Kind Bar, and all those other pricey nutty protein bars, but I knew that I could bake something just as delicious. These Trail Mix Bars are filled with the good stuff: walnuts, flax and sunflower seeds, oats, dried fruit, agave nectar, and for the sweet tooth–dark chocolate. Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, and whole grains; this snack is something you can feel good about eating and are super tasty too! WW guys and gals, this Skinny Style recipe is coming in at only 3 points plus a bar….Woo Hoo!!!!

Trail Mix Bars

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quick cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup(s) whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup Grape Nuts/Kashi Cereal 7 In The Morning Cereal
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup Egg Beaters Egg Substitute
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, ground flaxseeds, Cereal, and ginger. Add Eggbeaters,, applesauce, agave nectar, brown sugar, and oil; mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan using a back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool completely on a wire rack. Use edges of foil to lift cooked granola from pan, and cut into bars.

Source: Adapted recipe from Fitness Magazine, March 2011

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Chocolate Mousse from Tofu (YES TOFU)!

So, I realize I have been neglecting my baking blog—boo me. But in my defense, I have been making some lifestyle changes with my food. About a month or so ago, I watched The Oprah Winfrey Show and her Vegan Challenge with her staff. Needless to say, it really changed my perspectives on things. I’ve never been a big fan of meat in general, so this wouldn’t be the biggest leap for me. My family still tells the story of when I was 5, and took my last bite of a hamburger at a restaurant in Delaware and still had it in my mouth in New York. Ick! And although, I’ve had a long love affair with cheese, I’ve decided to cut back on dairy to about 80 percent. I have to say a month later –I feel TERRIFIC. So here is one of my first Vegan recipes and it was soooo yummy. And for you WW pals, it’s 6 point on the new points plus plan.

Chocolate Tofu Mousse

Yields: about 5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz silken tofu
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or carob chips
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
  • 1/2  cup  Silk Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Take tofu out of package  and place between layers of paper towels and then place a plate on top with cans to weight it down and squeeze out any excess liquid. Let rest for about 5 minutes

In food processor puree silken tofu until smooth.

Microwave chocolate chips in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted. Turn off heat, whisk in cocoa powder and agave nectar (you can use honey or Splenda if you are looking for less calories). Stir until well combined. The mixture will be stiff and a bit sticky.

In a food processor, add melted chocolate, vanilla, and almond milk to pureed tofu until smooth and combined. For extra silkiness, place mixture through a sieve into a medium bowl, pressing with a spoon or spatula. This will eliminate any lumps.

Scoop mixture into five serving dishes (each serving is about 3- 3 1/2 oz), and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Garnish desserts with grated chocolate, chocolate chips, fresh mint, or raspberries, if desired.

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Sugar Cookies, that will make your heart melt.

Love is in the air, February 14th is just around the corner with pink and red hearts popping up everywhere. This Hallmark Holiday is not just for the elite club of coupledom anymore, but Valentine’s Day is being looked as a ‘Single Awareness Day’- yea for that! So this Single Lady, will be happy to be baking for those she loves.  And I love these sugar cookies. They are always fun to make, especially with a group of gal pals and a bottle of Rosa Regale.  Plus, with a heart cookie, breaking it is half the fun ;)

Best Sugar Cookies!

Yields:  about 5 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond or lemon extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla and almond/lemon extract. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, add to dough until well combined. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into heart shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for about 8 minutes, or until cookie is slightly golden. Cool completely.

Royal Icing

Yield:  about 3 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (can use lemon/almond as well)
  • Food Coloring to achieve desired shade

Directions:

Place powdered sugar, water, powdered meringue, and extract in mixing bowl. Beat with mixer on high speed 5 to 7 minutes until a stiff peak is achieved and the icing is fluffy and shiny.

For each color of icing, place 1/2 cup icing in bowl. Stir in 3 to 4 drops food coloring until evenly distributed and icing is smooth. Add additional drops of color until icing is of desired color. (Keep remaining icing covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying, do not refrigerate as mixture will become hard.

To ice cookies, place cooling rack on foil-lined baking sheet. Spoon icing onto cookies using a teaspoon. Cookies can also be iced using a new small paintbrush. Place iced cookies on cooling rack to dry. Do not write “Love” or any other word onto the cookie until first color is completely dry.

Use contrasting icing colors to decorate iced cookies, if desired. Place small amount of contrasting icing in small ziploc plastic bag or place in a pastry bag (using a small writing tip). Snip off tiny piece of the corner of the plastic bag. Create design by squeezing contrasting icing onto cookies. Allow iced cookies to dry thoroughly before stacking.

Source: Notes from Cookies, Tarts, and Petit Fours, Valencia

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Spicy Red Pepper Corn Muffins

Chili is always a staple for Superbowl Sunday and my quick spicy muffins go the distance. This is what I would like to call a “Cheaters” recipe, as I throw the rulebook out the window and use a mix (and there’s no shame in that). Adding red pepper jelly to this mix will give a good kick to the ordinary corn muffin, while the yogurt/sour cream provides a nice moist texture. Simple to make, tasty to eat…that’s a Touchdown for me.

Spicy Red Pepper Corn Muffins (Cheaters Style)

Yields: 6 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Corn Muffin Mix (such as Jiffy)
  • 1/3 cup Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Red Pepper Jelly Spread (such as Harry and David’s)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Grease muffin pans, or use paper baking cups

Mix all ingredients together. Batter will be slightly lumpy. If you let the muffins batter rest for few minutes before filling the pan, you will notice a better rise.

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Coconut Cream Brownies

Game on! Superbowl Sunday has become one of the biggest food days of the year and my favorite Superbowl Sweet is the crowd pleasing brownie. This recipe takes the cream cheese brownie to the tropics with its coconut flavor. And although, I love making baked goods from scratch, you could really cheat with this one by using a brownie mix. Guaranteed these  goodies with be gone by half time.

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Mixture Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp coconut rum
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 8×8-inch baking pan.

Combine sugar, butter and in mixer until well incorporated. Add in eggs, one at a time until combined add vanilla extract. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl; fold in wet mixture.

Mix softened cream cheese and sugar together until combined. Add coconut, rum, and egg, until thoroughly mixed.

Pour brownie mixture into prepared pan and even out mixture. Place cream cheese mixture on top by dollops and evenly spread mixture out creating a slightly swirled effect with chocolate brownie batter.

Bake for 35 minutes  inside comes out slightly gooey and almost cookoed. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar using a small sifter. Cut into 16 bars.

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Parisian Macaroons

Wow, it’s been awhile since I posted anything- shame on me. But now that my baking is back in full swing, I thought we would start with a classic. This was one of the first recipes I learned in Pastry Techniques, as it is a perfectly piped circular cookie. The macaroon is light and airy, yet crunchy and chewy. It is best recognized for its smooth, domed top, ruffled edges (or also known as the “foot”). And for all those watching your girlish figure, the cookies alone do not have any added fat-whoo whoo!

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 6 7/8 oz            Egg Whites
  • 2 ½ oz              Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp         Egg White Powder
  • 8 1/8 oz            Almond Flour
  • 13 ¾ oz            Powdered Sugar
  • Food Color, as desired

Directions:

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together

Whip the egg whites, sugar, and egg white powder to stiff peaks. In last stage of whipping turn the mixing speed down for stiff peaks.

Fold the almond sugar mixture into the meringue, color as desired, and pipe 1 ½ inch circles (about the size of a quarter) onto silpat-lined perforated sheet pans. Color should be a bright a bright pastel, but not neon.

Let a skin form by leaving at room temperature for 45 minutes- 1 hour. and bake at 310 degrees in a convention oven with the vent open for 9 to 11 minutes. Macaroons should have a crisp shell and chewy interior (a crispy foot, with a domed air pocket).

Chefs Note: Leave a bit of the powdered sugar out of the sifted almond mixture & add to the egg white (between soft & med and peak).Mix in before adding almond mixture for greater stability.

French Butter Cream (use to fill macaroons)

Ingredients:

  • 7 ¾ oz              Sugar
  • 2 1/8 oz            Water
  • 4 5/8 oz            Egg Yolks
  • 1lb,1 3/8 oz            Butter

Directions:

In saucepan, heat the sugar and water as for a pate a bombe

In a mixing bowl with the whip attachment, mix the egg yolks to lighten the texture.

When the sugar reaches the soft ball stage 244 degrees, slowly pour the sugar into the whipping egg yolks and whip until cool. Add the softened butter, and mix enough to ensure good emulsion of the buttercream.

Assemble two cookies between a small amount of butter cream. You do not want to overload the cream or it will explode and squeeze out when bitten into.

Source: Notes from Pastry Techniques, Valencia

 

 

 

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Pita Bread

I’m striving to make this year the healthiest and happiest version of myself. So, I’ve been packing lunches for work, that I really look forward to (and of course the brown bag lunch is usually tastier than most cafeterias). These pita breads will pair well with some hummus or with make a tasty sandwich-plus they are low in fat. Yippee! Pita bread is a great recipe for the beginner bread maker, as it is a fairly simple recipe to make.

Pita Bread

Yields: 6 Pita Breads

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp         dry active yeast
  • 1 cup         lukewarm water
  • 1/2 Tbsp  sugar
  • 2 cups       white bread flour
  • 1 tsp          salt
  • 2 tsp          extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Place yeast in 1/4 cup of the lukewarm water. Add sugar and let stand for 10 minutes or until doubled and bubbly. Sift the flour and salt together into a small bowl. Form a well in the center; pour in yeast mixture with remaining lukewarm water and olive oil. Begin to mix with hand or a wooden spoon (add a bit more flour only as needed).

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 to 15 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky.

Place in a large clean bowl that has been lightly greased, and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise, in a warm place, for a bout 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down the dough, on a lightly floured surface; divide it into 6 equal pieces and shape into balls. Cover with oiled plastic wrap; let rest for 5 minutes.

Roll out each ball of dough in turn to an oval about Winch thick and 6” long. Place on a floured dish towel and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place 3 baking sheets in the oven to heat at the same time.Place two pita breads on each baking sheet and bake for 4-6 minutes or until puffed up; they do not need to brown. If preferred, cook the pita bread in batches. It is important that the oven has reached the recommended temperature before the pita breads are baked. This ensures that they will puff up.

Transfer the pitas to a wire rack to cook until warm, the cover with a dish towel to keep them soft.

Source: Notes from Specialty Breads, Valencia

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