Browsing Tag

sweets

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Healthier Peanut Butter Pie (175 calories per slice!)

March 30, 2014

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie | Espresso and Cream 1

How was your weekend, friends? Joe and I soaked up every ounce of the beautiful weather we had this weekend, and for the first time it felt like Spring really is on its way! We also finally got around to buying bikes! It’s been a long time coming, since my last bike was something purchased in middle school. Since Minneapolis has so many beautiful bike trails, we knew we were missing out.

Moving right along…Let’s talk about pie, shall we?

At our house, healthier desserts will always have a place at the table. I have found over the years that the less sugar I eat, the less I’m able to tolerate super sweet things. That’s not to say that my sweet tooth has disappeared completely. In reality, I find that I need to have a little something sweet every night.

One of my favorite desserts is peanut butter pie. It’s also a dessert that I don’t indulge in frequently because it’s usually quite unhealthy and loaded with fat and sugar. This weekend when the craving for peanut butter pie hit me hard I decided to come up with a healthier version that I could enjoy more often.

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie 2 | Espresso and CreamOne of my favorite tricks for making healthy creamy pies is to use silken firm tofu for the base of the pie. Make sure that the tofu you buy is silken firm and not another type of tofu or you won’t be able to blend the tofu as smooth as it needs to be for this recipe. If you’re freaked out about using tofu in your pie, don’t be! I promise you can’t even taste the tofu, and it’s a great alternative to cream cheese or whipping cream.

Each slice of this pie clocks in at around 175 calories per slice, meaning you can have a piece every night of the week without feeling guilty in the least bit. An added bonus of the tofu? It means that each slice of this pie has 8 grams of protein!

One final note: The vanilla pudding and pie filling is really important for this recipe. It thickens the filling slightly and really gives the filling lots of great vanilla flavor. Although I’ve only tried this recipe with vanilla, I’m guessing that chocolate, white chocolate, cheesecake or banana flavors would all be really delicious!

Healthy Peanut Butter Pie 3 | Espresso and Cream

Healthier Peanut Butter Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This peanut butter pie is a healthier version of one of my favorite desserts. A slice of this pie comes in at around 175 calories per slice, and thanks to a secret ingredient (tofu!) each slice contains 8 grams of protein, too.
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 2 (12 oz) containers silken firm tofu (make sure it is silken tofu for a creamy consistency)
  • ⅔ cup creamy or chunky natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix (just the dry mix)
  • 3 packets stevia or other sweetener of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl combine crust ingredients until well combined. Press mixture into an 8- or 9-inch round pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine all the filling ingredients. Blend 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until smooth or nearly smooth. If you used chunky peanut butter, like I did, the mixture will not be completely smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Cut into 10 slices to serve.

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Raw Sugar Cookie Dough in a Jar

February 6, 2014

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By the time Friday rolls around, Joe and I are both in the mood for a low key night, which means a workout together at the gym, eating Chipotle and watching something on TV. Maybe not the most exciting routine around, but I love it so much. Last week when were were watching Shark Tank on ABC, one of our favorite shows, I was drawn to a particular business idea that was being pitched to the sharks on the show. The company, Cookie Dough Cafe, was talking about their line of edible raw cookie dough in a jar. Um, yum!

Although I loved the business idea, one thing that struck me as strange was the fact that they went on and on about the fact that this product was safe because it didn’t contain eggs, meaning no risk of salmonella. However, they didn’t say a thing about the flour that was being used in the cookie dough. What a lot of people don’t know is that eggs aren’t the only source of contamination and that raw flour can also pose a risk of E. coli. I’m assuming that the ladies who own The Cookie Dough Cafe have this figured out and are just not mentioning it, but I thought that I would talk about it briefly. Better safe than sorry, right?

Well, friends, be prepared to have your world rocked by this recipe. If it’s not one of the best recipes to date on E&C, I don’t know what is. To make this Raw Sugar Cookie Dough in a Jar, you start by toasting your flour on a baking sheet in the oven. Doing so makes it safe to use your flour in any manner of raw forms, including this recipe. It takes about 10 minutes and doesn’t impact the taste but will give you peace of mind when serving this treat to your friends, kiddos and when you eat it yourself.

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This recipe makes a small batch of cookie dough, about a cup. It’s just enough to keep in the fridge when the craving strikes but not too much that you’ll make yourself sick eating a huge batch at one time. I would suggest, for the sake of your stomach and your waistline, to stick to a spoonful of this magical mixture, then return it to the fridge for safe keeping. For someone who always has to end the night on something sweet, this has proven to be the perfect solution!

Edible Raw Sugar Cookie Dough
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
What most people don't know is that uncooked flour can be a source of E.coli. To make this cookie dough safe to eat raw, toasting the flour is key.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon high-quality vanilla
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 300°F. Place flour on ungreased cookie sheet. Toast flour in oven for 10 minutes, stirring twice during baking.
  2. Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar 2 to 3 minutes or until well combined and fluffy. Beat in the milk, vanilla and salt until well combined.
  3. Cool flour 10 minutes after toasting. Add to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Spoon into a jar with lid. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

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Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies

January 24, 2014

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Now that January is almost over I’m allowed to start posting cookie recipes again, right? Right. After all, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means all resolutions to eat less sweets will pretty much be thrown out the window in favor of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

I never get sick of the process of baking cookies. Something about creaming the butter together with sugar, listening to the hum of the electric mixer, seeing the dough come together, it’s all incredibly relaxing. Despite the fact that I cook and bake and create recipes for a living, I still find that my greatest source of relaxation is having time to work in the kitchen without being rushed. Taking my time, sipping coffee as I work, listening to music drifting through the house. It’s not always that way, with the rushed dinner making on weeknights and frantic effort to get a million things done in a very short amount of time, which makes the relaxed moments just that much sweeter.

The only thing better than a slow and lazy day of baking is a hot bath. I’m convinced that a hot bath cures almost anything. But that really has nothing to do with cookies, so….

These cookies! They’re absolutely amazing. They’re based on my mom’s favorite cookie recipe from Ina Garten, but instead of adding semi-sweet chocolate and raisins and pecans, I added dark chocolate morsels and dried cranberries. They’re sweet and salty and tangy all in a single bite. Crisp around the edges and chewy in the center, as all good cookies should be, in my opinion.

If you’re looking for a cookie that’s fancy and impressive enough to serve as dessert at a dinner party, this would be the cookie. They’re large, bakery-style cookies and go perfectly with a cup of decaf espresso. Something about serving cookies for dessert just puts everyone at ease, doesn’t it? So go, bake some cookies this weekend, have a friend over for coffee and eat cookies while catching up on life.

Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 3/4 cup dark chocolate morsels
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. 

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Beat in the oatmeal, followed by the chocolate morsels and dried cranberries.

Use a small ice cream scoop or two large spoons to scoop mounds of dough onto baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake 14 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing (plus a chocolate version!)

December 11, 2013

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Happy Cookie Day! Once again I took part in the Food Blogger Cookie Swap with a bunch of other amazing bloggers. The funds raised from the cookie swap goes toward kids cancer research. Cookies and a great cause? I’m in! If you want to participate in next year’s swap, you can sign up for updates here.

I’ve actually been really behind on baking cookies and desserts this year. Christmas just came up way too fast this year! We’re having a Christmas open house on Sunday night, so I’ll be getting my holiday baking on very soon. These sugar cookies were the first bit of holiday baking I did all season. Although I typically hate decorating Christmas sugar cookies, I had so much fun making these fun sugar cookies, inspired by Bon Appetit magazine. They’re ultra simple, buttery and delicious – pretty much the prefect classic cookie.

If you’re afraid of decorating cookies, don’t be! The secret is having the right type of icing. Although royal icing isn’t the tastiest type of icing, it produces the most beautiful results. Just place the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip and get creative! As you can see, below, I made a bunch of different looking cookies.

Sugar_Cookies_3
In case you’re looking for some great cookie recipes, I also received a bunch of awesome goodies from these ladies:

Joanne from Joanne Eats Well with Others
Devangi from Pistachio Doughnuts
Erika of The Pancake Princess

Thanks so much, ladies, for sending me such great cookies! They were enjoyed by all at my house.

Christmas_White_Cookies_1
Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit December 2013

Ingredients
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract
1 recipe Royal Icing (below)

Directions
Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, combine salt, baking powder and flour until well combined.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and well combined. The mixture doesn’t need to be fluffy. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and hazelnut or almond extract. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until just combined. Form dough into two discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Let dough sit at room temperature until softened slightly, about 10 minutes. Place on lightly floured surface and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes (I stuck with circles and stars for simplicity) and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are just lightly golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing/Decorating
Recipe from Bon Appetit (method adapted slightly)

Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar and 2 large egg whites until white, thickened and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add water by the tablespoonful until icing no longer holds a peak. Place some of the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a very small round tip. Outline the cookies with the icing.

Add an additional 2 to 4 tablespoons water to the remaining icing until it is slightly softer and runs a little more freely. Spoon a small amount of icing into the center of each lined cookie. Tilt the cookies around so icing in center completely fills the outlined cookie. Immediately cover with desired sprinkles. Allow cookies to set, about 30 minutes.

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 2.03.44 PM

Chocolate_Christmas_Cookies_1
Painted Chocolate Sugar Cookies
To make the chocolate sugar cookies, swap out 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour for 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Make as directed.

Painted Decorating Method
I was in love with the method in Bon Appetit when I first saw it on the cover. However, I made a few tweaks that gave me a little more success the second time I made them. To make the “paint” combine 1 teaspoon luster dust (I purchased mine at Michaels in the cake decorating section) with a couple drops of alcohol, such as vodka or amaretto. The original recipe called for using lemon extract, but I found that the flavor of the lemon extract was overpowering with the cookies. Use a small paint brush to paint desired decorations on cookies decorated with royal icing.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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Apple Streusel Pie

October 30, 2013


Apple_Streusel_Pie_3
First things first, a little bit of business to discuss. A number of you have requested that I make my recipes easily printable. Ask and you shall receive! Recipe will now be formatted so you can print recipes without having to print the entire web page. Enjoy!

If you look closely at the photos of this apple pie, you’ll notice that the edges are not crimped perfectly. There are spots where I had the right amount of dough and spots where I was a little short and didn’t have the amount needed to properly crimp the edge. The perfectionist in me absolutely hates that.

After making two pumpkin pies that tasted amazing but had crusts that were less than bakery perfect, I decided to really devote myself to making a pumpkin pie that looked pretty enough to be in a magazine. We had Joe’s co-workers and their wives over for dinner last Thursday and, selfishly, I wanted my pie to look perfect. In all my effort to make the perfect looking pie crust, I committed the cardinal sin of pie making: I totally over-worked the dough.

I’ve been known to be a harsh critic of my own cooking, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was the toughest most inedible pie crust I’ve ever baked. Joe noticed. I noticed. I’m pretty sure a couple others at the table noticed, too, considering plenty of crust went uneaten at the table that night. Looking back, it’s pretty funny. At the time, I was mortified.

Apple_Streusel_Pie_2

I really wanted to apologize right then and there to everyone at the table for my terrible pie crust. I make my living as a food editor, for goodness sake! I develop and test recipes every single day. This rookie mistake? Totally unacceptable. But instead I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything, letting the moment pass and dinner conversation carry on. Maybe our new friends did discuss my crappy pie crust in the car on the way home. But I have a feeling they probably didn’t give it much thought, and certainly less thought than I did.

My grandmother was one of the best pie bakers around. Every fall she would make dozens of apple pies with apples from her farm and store them in the freezer for her kids and grand kids to enjoy throughout the year. One hallmark of her pies was the fact that they weren’t the prettiest pies. In fact, you might say they were a little homely. But what my grandmother lacked in finesse she made up for in flavor and texture.

Thinking about her delicious pies, imperfections and all, gave me the motivation to get back in the kitchen after my crust failure and enjoy baking this Apple Streusel Pie without the need to make it look perfect. Sure, it’s a heck of a lot less pretty than my pumpkin pie at our dinner party, but I can assure you it tasted a whole lot better.

Apple_Streusel_Pie_1

Apple Streusel Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Pastry for Single Crust Pie (your favorite recipe)
  • 6 cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced aples
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Streusel Topping
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Unroll pastry crust into 9-inch pie plate. Flute edges, if desired.
  2. In large bowl, toss together the apples and melted butter. In small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add flour mixture to apples and toss until well combined. Transfer mixture to pastry-lined pie plate.
  3. In medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Toss until well combined. Add melted butter and work together with your hands until combined and only small clumps remain. Sprinkle on top of apples.
  4. Cover pie with aluminum foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake 40 to 50 minutes more or until crust is golden brown and apples and bubbly and baked through.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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