Pastries in Paradise

Posts tagged ‘food’

Spicy Oatmeal Cookies

4Often there are days where a craving for something sweet sneaks up seemingly out of nowhere. The itch strikes most frequently on rainy days and at night. The itch also tends to strike at inconvenient moments when one does not feel like running to the store or cleaning up piles of dirty dishes. Sadly, many tasty and skinnier dessert recipes do not cater to the inconvenient moments in which the itch for sweets tends to strike. EXCEPT for this recipe! I simply adore this recipe because every ingredient is likely to already be in your pantry, it is a skinny option, and dirty dishes are kept to a minimum.

1Outside of the convenience factor, these cookies are too die for regarding taste and texture. Although some may be alarmed by their seemingly thin appearance compared to other cookies, this characteristic is what makes them crisp, delicious, and light. The aroma of cinnamon and other warm spices will fill your kitchen and provide a hint of warmth for these cold winter days. Not to mention, cinnamon has so many health benefits. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory properties, reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces insulin resistance (cause of type 2 Diabetes), reduces blood sugar, helps fight bacterial and fungal infections, as well as possible protective effects against cancer.

2It is important to note that not all cinnamon is created equal and although all cinnamon will provide health benefits, the Ceylon variety of cinnamon is the best option. Cassia cinnamon is cheaper and is what you often find in supermarkets across the country, but it does have a higher amount of coumarin. Coumarin can be dangerous in large quantities. Regardless of the variety, cinnamon is not only healthy but it is tasty.

3Although sweets are not considered healthy, you can make healthier choices when you do decide to cheat. These cookies are a great example of cheating with a bit less guilt. This recipe will yield approximately 2 dozen cookies and each serving size is one cookie.

Spicy Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon (preferably Ceylon)
  • ½ tsp. Ground Allspice
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Old-Fashioned Oats

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine sugar, butter, and vanilla in another large bowl. With a stand or hand mixer set to medium speed, beat mixture until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture and oats until just combined.
  4. Drop by tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies for approximately 12 minutes (or until crisp), rotating pans halfway through baking time. Cool on pan for 3 to 5 minutes (or until firm). Remove cookies from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cookie)

NutritionLabel

Weight Watchers: 3 Smart Points, 2 Points Plus, or 1 Traditional Point

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Iced Gingerbread Cookies

2For many, Gingerbread is a holiday tradition. Some families prefer to make cookies in their favorite shapes while others tackle on the construction of a gingerbread house. Although gingerbread is traditionally consumed in and around the holidays and then forgotten for another year, it is also great to enjoy all winter long. You can easily extend these holiday favorites all winter by simply changing the cutter used. I opted for a star, but some other fun cutters for winter include mittens, snowflakes, and even squirrels.

3As great as finding fun winter cutters can be sometimes one is simply too exhausted to meddle with cut out cookies at all. If that is the case with any of you, this recipe is the answer to your prayers as it also makes perfect slice-and-bake cookies (no rolling, cutting, or mess required). If you are going to forgo the cutters, simply shape the dough into two (8 inch) round logs. Chill the logs for 2 hours and then make slices ¼ in. thick. Proceed with the recipe as normal after that.

4Another great feature of these cookies is how far in advance you can prepare them. I recommend preparing no more than 5 days ahead and storing them in an airtight container until ready to decorate. Cookies may be decorated only 1 day ahead of serving. Unfortunately, the downfall of these cookies comes after they are decorated, as the icing is fragile and can easily be damaged during storage and transport. Place a piece of wax paper between each layer and place new layers gently upon previous layers in order to reduce the odds of damage.

1This recipe will make approximately 4 dozen cookies and each serving allows 2 cookies to be consumed (making you feel more indulgent when you really are not). I truly enjoyed sharing this recipe with you and hope you can try it sometime this winter for your own family and friends. If not this winter, I hope you will return next year in order to prepare for your own holiday celebrations. Kids and adults alike will surely enjoy them!

Skinny Iced Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. All-Purpose Flour (approximately 2 ¼ cups)
  • 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ½ cup Butter; softened
  • 3 tbsp. Molasses
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted
  • 1 tbsp. Milk (1%)

Procedure:

  1. Whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine brown sugar, butter, and molasses. Beat the mixture on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes. Add the egg and continue to beat mixture until combined. Adjust the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture, beating until well combined. Divide the dough equally into two portions. Gently press each dough half into a circle on a sheet of plastic wrap (dough will be sticky). Wrap dough tightly and chill for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll one dough portion to ¼ in. thickness. Use your preferred cutter to form cookies. Place cut out cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet 1 inch apart from each other. Repeat process with both dough portions, re-rolling and cutting as necessary, until you have approximately 48 cookies. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Remove cookies from oven and let stand for a minute or two. Remove cookies from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Once cookies have cooled completely, prepare the icing. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe icing on cookies as desired.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(2 Cookies)

NutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 2 Smart Points, 2 Points Plus, or 1 Traditional Point

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MARCIA WHYTE SMART
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

1Hello friends! I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving this past week enjoyed their holiday with friends, family, and lots of good food. I know our family had a delicious feast and this cheesecake was just one component. I was meaning to share this with you all sooner, however life, as usual, got in the way. I know that Thanksgiving has already passed, which happens to be the time most families enjoy pumpkin flavored desserts, but this was just too good not to share.

I have loved pumpkin pie since I was a kid. It was the only pie I would crave besides the Chocolate Ambrosia our family would order at holidays from Bishop’s (a local restaurant that has since closed). I think the fact that my mom couldn’t eat it, therefore it was never in the house, made me crave it that much more. As much as I love pumpkin pie, sometimes you just want to try something new without sacrificing the same flavors you know you love. This cheesecake is the perfect solution to that problem. I get the same pumpkin pie flavor I know and love, but with a new texture that excites the palate and broadens once restricted horizons.

2I am not ashamed to admit that I am not the biggest fan of preparing cheesecakes. I despise having to use hot water baths as I always manage to burn myself and the fact that the cooked cheesecake then has to chill before I can dig in makes the extra effort seem not worth it. My intrigue of trying a pumpkin cheesecake pushed me past my comfort zone and I have to say I was quite surprised with its success. Not only did I not burn myself but it was a lot easier to prepare than expected. The final product came out rich, creamy, and full of pumpkin essence. In the past I have managed to turn what should have been perfect cheesecake into dry, flavorless blocks of blah that only the trash can would enjoy consuming. Also I know my recipe is a success if the hubby approves since he is not big on sweets at all.

Let me not forget to mention that this recipe is a skinnier version than most. A traditional pumpkin cheesecake will run you as much as 700 calories and over 30 grams of fat for a SINGLE wedge. Sure this is not my lightest “skinny” recipe but it sure as heck is a lot lighter than most without compromising flavor. One wedge of this cheesecake comes in at only 262 calories and 7.8 grams of fat. That makes for a big difference to those watching waistlines. If you desire to save even more calories and fat, skip out on the dollop of whipped topping, as the cheesecake is still delicious on its own.

3Although the typical pumpkin consuming holiday has since passed, I know many also offer pumpkin pie at Christmas as well. If you are one of the many that do I highly recommend trying this recipe. If you don’t, make it a point to make this as a special treat for your household to try rather than waiting until next year. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Skinny Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 1 Reduced-Fat Graham Cracker Pie Crust (Keebler Ready Crust)
  • 8 0z. Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (1/3 less fat); softened
  • ½ cup Sugar (preferably natural cane but you may sub granulated)
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed (preferably organic)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Unsweetened Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice

Whipped Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream; kept cold
  • 2 tsp. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Preparation:

  1. For the cheesecake: Preheat oven to 350°. Bake graham cracker crust according to package directions or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer set to medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugars together until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree and eggs, beating until the mixture is combined (scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed). Add the bourbon, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cooled graham cracker crust.
  3. Place the cheesecake pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with approximately 1 inch of hot water. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until the center barely jiggles when you tap the side of the pan. Remove from the oven and roasting pan. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours but preferably overnight (gives flavors time to develop).
  4. While the cheesecake chills in the refrigerator, prepare the whipped topping. In a small bowl, add the heavy cream and powdered sugar. Beat by hand or with a hand mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Cover and chill until ready to serve with cheesecake.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cheesecake Wedge & 1 tablespoon Whipped Cream)

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

Weight Watchers: 5 Points or 6 Points Plus

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: BILL JAMISON & CHERYL JAMISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Skinny Cranberry Cupcakes

2Fall is traditionally marked with recipes that incorporate the seasons abundant squash and apple harvests. There is, however, another harvest that takes place this time of year that often gets overlooked by the masses…the cranberry. In fact, unlike apple and squash harvests, the cranberry has a very short harvesting season, which happens to fall conveniently right around the holidays. A fantastic way to incorporate the season’s underdog without doing too much damage to a healthy lifestyle is through a cupcake. A cupcake is small enough to keep fat, calories, and sugar in check and simple enough to allow the cranberries to star in their own show.

1Do not let their appearance fool you, as these skinny cupcakes are bursting with flavor. Every bite is laced with cranberries that provide a tangy burst of flavor and present touches of crimson, setting the tone of the season for any holiday table. Taking a hint from traditional upside-down cakes, I added a layer of butterscotch to the bottom of these cupcakes to tone down the cranberries. The great thing about them though is there is no need to flip the cupcakes after they are finished baking. Having the crispy butterscotch layer on the bottom adds a unique texture, as if there is a crust for the moist cake layer above it. With each bite the tartness of the cranberries hits the palette, followed by the crisp butterscotch layer. The butterscotch layer quickly candies the tart flavor to keep it from becoming overwhelming.

5I love these cupcakes for how quick, easy, and presentable they are to both the eyes and taste buds. This recipe will produce 12 cupcakes, however you can easily double the recipe to make more. As always, keep in mind that a skinny recipe is not necessarily a “good for you” recipe, but it is lighter than its counterparts. A traditional cranberry cupcake will typically have over 400 calories, almost 20 grams of fat, 400 mg of sodium, and over 30 grams of sugar. This recipe cuts calories and fat in half and sodium is over 3 times less. They are still high in sugars because after all they are a sweet, but I always make sure to use organic, natural sugars that are not refined (such as Wholesome’s Brand) to make a healthier product. If you are following Weight Watchers, one cupcake is equal to 6 Points or 7 Points Plus.

4Skinny Cranberry Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  •  Cooking Spray
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed (preferably Organic)
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 6 oz. Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (thawed if frozen)
  • 6.75 oz. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (approximately 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar (preferably natural cane but you can sub granulated)
  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 Large Eggs; yolks & whites separated
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup 1% Low-Fat Milk

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 12-cup Muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar and 2 tbsp. butter. Cook mixture until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves (approximately 2 minutes), stirring occasionally. Distribute the sugar mixture equally among the muffin tin’s 12 cups. Coat the bottom of each cup evenly. Arrange cranberries evenly over the sugar mixture (approximately 5 cranberries for each muffin cup).
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk until uniformly mixed. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and softened butter. Beat with the mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (approximately 3 minutes). Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, alternating with the milk (be sure to begin and end with the flour mixture).
  4. Clean the bowl and beaters of the stand mixer, making sure it is free of any food particles and completely dry. Beat the egg whites with the mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the resulting meringue (egg whites) into the prepared batter. Distribute the batter evenly amongst the 12 cups, spreading evenly over the cranberries. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack  for 15 minutes. Loosen the cupcakes from the sides of the pan with a narrow knife and remove. Serve immediately or move to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cupcake)

cranberrycupcakelabel

Weight Watchers: 6 Points or 7 Points Plus

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Skinny Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cake

pumpkin3Happy Halloween everyone! As today comes and goes Thanksgiving will approach soon thereafter, with pumpkin being the favorite flavor to represent the season. Pumpkin pie may be the go to classic but pumpkin cake is a close runner up. What is not to love about a moist, fluffy cake flavored with delicious pumpkin and warm, comforting spices??? I certainly can’t think of anything! Then you add the rich layer of cream cheese frosting that not only creates an adored classic combination but it also locks in the cake’s moisture for days. At this point it shouldn’t take much convincing to get any pumpkin lover to give this recipe a go.

pumpkincake1However, if flavor and texture are not enough to convince you to try this cake the ease itself should persuade you. A sheet cake is the easiest type of cake to make and it can feed a lot of people (both essential perks for the holiday baker). Simply prepare the batter, spread into the pan, and bake. Once the cake cools you spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top and cut into squares to serve. There is no trimming or chilling layers or preparing huge batches of frosting, making this cake the perfect addition to the holiday table or as a quick treat to whip up for a work, school, or church function.

Pumpkincake2If having said all of that still wasn’t enough convincing, how about the fact that this cake is a much lighter version of all its competitors. Traditional pumpkin cakes with cream cheese frosting run well over 350 calories per slice and triple the amount of fat content found in this recipe. The cake is easily made lighter by swapping traditional all-purpose flour with whole-wheat while organic light brown sugar stands in for the typical refined version. The cream cheese frosting is lightened up with the use of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, minimal butter, and organic powdered sugar that again stands in for the refined alternative. This cake is a much lighter and welcoming change from the traditional pumpkin pie and will yield approximately 24 servings (1 square). If you are following Weight Watchers, one square of cake is equal to 3 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. Whole-Wheat Flour (approximately 2¼ cups)
  • 2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Organic Brown Sugar (such as Wholesome’s); packed
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Pumpkin Puree
  • Nonstick Cooking Spray (Olive Oil)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. 1/3 less fat Cream Cheese (Neufchatel); softened
  • 2 cups Organic Powdered Sugar (such as Wholesome’s); sifted

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. To prepare the cake, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pie spice, and salt in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until just incorporated.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl) combine the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until incorporated. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Gently fold in the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan, making sure to smooth out well as it will not smooth itself while baking. Bake the cake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack.
  5. While the cake cools, prepare the frosting by combining the butter, vanilla, and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or medium bowl). Beat the mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until mixture is smooth and well combined. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Square)

PumpkinCakeCreamCheeseFrostingWeight Watchers: 3 Points or 5 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: TRISHA KRUSE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Skinny Almond Apple Streusel Muffins

4If you were to poll a large group of people as to what their favorite fall flavor is you would likely receive one of two answers…pumpkin or apple. Apples not only have a sense of warmth and comfort that equates to fall but they are also in abundance this time of year. Personally, I love both flavors and if polled I would not be able to choose a favorite. Although I could never choose one over the other I will admit that I have been indulging my love of pumpkin more as of late. Almost every day I have been enjoying a pumpkin spice latte with breakfast so when I saw apples on sale at the market it was time to take a pumpkin break. Typically when I think of apples I lean towards my go-to pie and cobbler recipes but this time I sought something different. Being as busy as I am, muffins are a quick and simple way to snack on the go. Keeping that in mind I decided to develop a skinnier version of a typical apple muffin.

1Just as I had imagined, these muffins are to die for. Biting into one is like eating a coffee cake hinted with nutty almond and laced with surprise chunks of sweet apple. Although I have named these muffins they are technically cupcakes. The process in which the batter is prepared is the creaming method used for cakes (butter/sugar creamed, eggs/extracts added, followed by the dry and wet ingredients being added alternately, beginning and finishing with the dry ingredients) versus the traditional muffin method. Even though by definition these are cupcakes, the texture is somewhere between a cake and a muffin. They are not quite as light and airy as a cake but they are certainly no where near as dense as a muffin. Outside of texture they assimilate more with muffins than cupcakes. I ultimately deemed them muffins because they are riddled with fruit, have a streusel topping, and lack a thick coating of sweet frosting (outside of the thin drizzle of glaze) like that of muffins.

2After preparing these muffins I think the only thing I would change about them is the yield size. I would certainly double the recipe next time so that I have 24 instead of only 12 because they disappeared way to fast for all the labor involved. The actual preparation of the batter, streusel, and glaze is not all that laborious but the tall stack of dirty bowls and utensils the recipe leaves behind sure is. Despite the fact that these muffins are designed to be a skinnier option compared to other muffin recipes, you will likely be tempted to eat more than one, which kind of defeats the purpose. If you want to shave a few more calories you could certainly leave off the glaze and the muffins would still taste fine. I don’t recommend it since there is very little glaze that is actually drizzled on each muffin serving to make that much of a reduction but the difference in taste is noticeable. Just a tiny bit of glaze manages to round out all the flavors perfectly.

3Like many of my recent posts, these muffins can be enjoyed as a dessert or at breakfast with coffee or tea. This recipe will produce 12 servings with one muffin being equal to one serving. If you are following Weight Watchers, one muffin is 6 Points or 7 Points Plus.

Skinny Almond Apple Streusel Muffins

Batter Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 oz. Neufchatel Cheese (1/3-less-fat cream cheese); softened
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • ½ tsp. Almond Extract
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ cup 2% Reduced-fat Milk
  • 1 Large Gala Apple; finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached
  • Cooking Spray

Streusel Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour; unbleached
  • 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; chilled
  • 2 tbsp. Sliced Almonds

Glaze Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Confectioners’ Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
  • 2 tsp. 2% Reduced-Fat Milk
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine 6.75 ounces flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir with a whisk until just incorporated. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) combine the granulated sugar, cream cheese, and ¼ cup butter. Beat the mixture on high-speed until well blended. Add the almond extract, vanilla, and egg and beat with the mixer on medium speed until just combined.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt and ¼ cup milk together until incorporated. In another small bowl, toss the apple with 1 tbsp. flour until apple pieces are evenly covered. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour mixture and yogurt mixture by alternating until combined. Begin by adding 1/3 of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Add half of the yogurt mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat the process of adding the flour mixture and then the remaining yogurt mixture, being sure to end with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Gently fold the apples into the batter. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.
  4. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp. flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender (or fork or 2 knives), cut in the 2 tbsp. of chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the almonds. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter in the muffin tin. Bake the muffins for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the tallest muffin comes out almost clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack. After 15 minutes remove the muffins from the tin to cool completely.
  5. While the muffins are cooling prepare the glaze. In a small bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and almond extract. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over each cooled muffin and serve.

Nutritional Information

(1 Muffin)

AlmondAppleMuffinsNutritionLabel

Weight Watchers: 6 Points or 7 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: LORRAINE STEVENSKI
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Skinny Banana Nut Bread

4There is something about September that makes me crave Banana Bread. For me, I see it as a great transition from the light, berry desserts of summer to the heartier apple and pumpkin desserts of fall. The weather is just starting to show signs of changing here in Florida. The days are becoming shorter and the high temperatures are struggling to reach 90° anymore. These slight environmental changes are what trigger my changing taste buds each year.

In order to continue to enjoy banana bread like I have in the past, I needed to create a healthier alternative that would fit into my changing lifestyle. Banana bread may seem like a healthy dessert but it is often loaded with unnecessary sugar and can have upwards of 10 grams of fat per slice and over half being from saturated fat, which is no bueno!!! So with all of these bad numbers can banana bread actually become healthier? The answer is yes.

1There are many ways to shave calories and fat off of banana bread while adding in essential nutrients that make you feel a lot less guilty for indulging your cravings. Some swap wheat flour for coconut flour. Others add applesauce in place of butter or oil. I do not like these alternatives because I feel like the bread ends up tasting too much like coconut or apple when I want it to taste only of banana. In order to shave the bad and replace it with some good, I first cut out the eggs. Eggs are good but as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Since I still want my eggs at breakfast I cut them out of the bread. Next, I replaced butter with olive oil, which also replaced a significant amount of saturated fat with healthier poly & monounsaturated fats. Another swap was allowing plain Greek yogurt to stand in for the typical sour cream called for in most conventional recipes. The addition of Greek yogurt not only helps shave down the bad qualities in traditional banana bread but it also adds beneficial protein, probiotics, vitamin B12, potassium, and calcium. Also by adding the yogurt I was able to cut down on the amount of olive oil needed. In order to cut down on the amount of white flour without changing the texture too much, I replaced half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. If those changes weren’t enough I decided to sneak in some flaxseed to add heart healthy omega 3s and use only very ripe bananas to cut back on added sugar. Don’t be tempted to use those barely ripe bananas you just bought at the store no matter how much you may want to try this recipe. If the bananas are not overly ripe the bread will not taste as sweet and you will likely be disappointed. The reason this step is so important is because as the banana ripens, the natural sugars concentrate and the flavor matures. Many overlook this step and it is the most crucial. If you have to skip this step for whatever reason, you may have to bump up the sugar to 1 ½ cups to keep it as sweet, but keep in mind if you do the nutritional values will change.

3Although there have been many alterations to this recipe to make it more nutritious it still produces a tasty loaf. I enjoy a slice as a late night snack but it would also be great with coffee or tea at breakfast. The following recipe will produce 2 loaves of bread and approximately 24 servings. A serving size is one slice that weighs approximately 2 oz. Total preparation time for this recipe is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you are following Weight Watchers, one slice is 4 Points or 5 Points Plus.

Skinny Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients:

  • 6.8 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 7.2 oz. (1 ½ cups) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • ½ cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Very Ripe Bananas; mashed (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup Walnuts; chopped
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Formula:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Prepare two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans by coating all sides with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flours, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until mixed. In a medium bowl, combine banana, walnuts, sugar, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around perimeter of bread to loosen from sides. Remove loafs from pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information

(One 2 oz. Slice)

banananutbread

Weight Watchers: 4 Points or 5 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: EILEEN SOLBERG
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

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