When you think of the terms skinny and cookie, you don’t typically associate them together. For those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, however, it is imperative to find recipes that do just that. In a constant battle to avoid unhealthy foods yet allow the occasional sweet treat, sometimes we have to get creative. These cookies are a product of that creativity.
Inspired by a classic, the old-fashioned peanut butter cookie, these treats replace peanuts with a Hawaiian favorite, macadamias. To make these cookies not only unique but also healthy, I began by completely eliminating butter from the recipe. That’s right, no butter, no oil. The base of the dough is actually created by pureeing the macadamias into a nut butter, similar to the role peanut butter plays in a peanut butter cookie. The natural oil from the macadamias is enough to hold the dough together and keep it moist, allowing butter to be left out of the equation entirely. So don’t be fooled into thinking I forgot to add it to the ingredient list just because the title has the word “butter” in it (and yes…this conversation has happened before).
Although removing butter from the recipe will drastically cut the calorie and fat content of the cookies, it doesn’t necessarily make them healthy. To boost the nutrition content of the cookies, I elected to swap out all-purpose flour and replace it with white whole-wheat flour. Lastly, I added some dried cranberries to provide a boost of antioxidant power and chewy texture. The bits of cranberries not only provide a nutritional boost to each cookie, but a tartness that really complements the sweet and subtle flavor of the macadamias. These cookies are thick, satisfying, taste fantastic, and they’re far more nutritionally balanced than a traditional cookie (74 calories, 2 g. fat, 1 g. protein, 1 g. fiber per serving). If you love peanut butter cookies and want to taste a more exotic take on the original, give these delightful little bundles a try!
*NOTE: This recipe should yield approximately 30 cookies. Each serving consists of 1 cookie.
Skinny Cranberry Macadamia Butter Cookies
- 2/3 cup Macadamia Nuts
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 large Egg
- 1 ¼ cups White Whole-Wheat Flour
- ½ tsp. Baking Soda
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
- ½ cup Dried Cranberries
- 1 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place macadamias in a food processor and pulse until smooth, approximately 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. DO NOT move on to step three until the texture is smooth like creamy peanut butter, otherwise the dough will be dry and crumbly.
- Combine macadamia butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl). Beat with a stand (or hand) mixer on medium speed until combined. Add vanilla and egg and beat well.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until combined. Stir in cranberries. Chill dough for 10 minutes.
- Divide chilled dough into 30 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball. Place remaining tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. Lightly roll the top of each cookie ball in the sugar and place, sugar side up, on the prepared baking sheet, leaving an inch between each cookie. Gently press down on the top of each dough ball to flatten.
- Bake cookies, 1 sheet pan at a time, for 9 minutes or until golden. Remove cookies from pan and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining cookies & enjoy.
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018
If you have been a regular follower of this website you probably already noticed some changes to my content as of late. Since the inception of this blog, I have made some rather drastic lifestyle changes, which has undoubtably impacted my ability to bring a continuous influx of content. Previously I would make all kinds of desserts because my family would eat them and nothing would ever go to waste. Over the past year and a half, I have been focused on eating healthier, exercising, and avoiding all the sweets I used to indulge in. Although I still prepare sweets for special occasions, I have found it difficult to prepare desserts that I know will go to waste. I am trying to find outlets to take the items I would prepare so I can continue bringing familiar content and making sure nothing goes to waste, but in the meantime I will be focusing on content that is still sweet but may be a bit healthier than your liking.
With that said, I recently developed this plant-based protein bite to satisfy my sweet tooth and fuel my active lifestyle. As many of you well know, I have Crohn’s, which is a digestive disease. Although I tested negative for lactose intolerance, I have noticed that I feel better when I avoid using too many dairy products. For athletes, fitness enthusiasts, or anyone like myself that has digestive issues and food sensitivities, you will come to love the power of plant-based protein. Researchers have found that plant-based protein appears to be a more tolerable source of protein, and causes fewer incidences of negative effects on the gut. In a study that followed athletes that do not tolerate dairy very well, plant-based protein caused less bloating and gastrointestinal problems than whey protein.
In addition to the digestive benefits of plant-based protein, it also offers variability to your nutritional regimen. This is especially important if you are a big meat-eater like myself! So if you ever become serious about considering the use of plant-based proteins, just be sure to always first analyze any product for its amino acid profile. This profile will ensure it is a complete protein!
Of course you can always make your own plant-based protein products. A great place to start would be these moist and delicious protein bites. They will satisfy your hunger, sweet tooth, energy, and nutritional needs. The balance of high-quality proteins, carbs, and fats, as well as blood sugar balancing ingredients make these bites so healthy. I love to have them as a quick breakfast or a post workout snack. Although I prefer to make them into bites, they can also be cut into small bars or fun shapes like triangles. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month or in the freezer for up to three months.
No-Bake Banana Cranberry Protein Bites
- 2 Bananas; mashed
- ½ cup Creamy Natural Peanut Butter
- ½ cup Raw Coconut Nectar
- 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 ½ cups Oat Flour
- 1 cup Old-Fashioned Oats; whole
- 1 cup Buckwheat Flour
- ½ cup Kasha
- ¾ cup Dried Cranberries
- ½ cup Shredded Coconut
- 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
- 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
- In a food processor, place the bananas, peanut butter, coconut nectar, and vanilla. Pulse until mixture is well-combined and creamy.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the oat flour, oats, buckwheat flour, Kasha, dried cranberries, coconut, chia seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together until just combined.
- Pour the mixture from the food processor into the large bowl. Use a rubber spatula or your hands to mix ingredients until they are combined together thoroughly.
- Line a 9-x-9 inch pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over two of the sides so that the bars can easily be lifted from the pan once set. Using your hands, press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. You can use a rubber spatula to smooth out the surface.
- Place the pan in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. This will allow the bars to firm up and hold their shape when cut. Once chilled, you can cut into squares, bars, triangles, or bites/nuggets.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: GINA HUDSON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2018
Cheesecake is a delightful dessert rich in flavor and smooth on the palate. As much as I enjoy a slice of cheesecake I absolutely despise making it on my own. Cheesecake is up there on my list with Creme Brulee & Souffles when it comes to a severe inclination to avoid said recipes. It is not that I can’t make them it is just more tedious and I don’t enjoy making them like I do cakes and cookies. Baking is an outlet for me to reduce stress. Cheesecakes tend to create stress by wondering if the darn thing is going to crack despite doing everything correctly. There is only so many times you can get scalded by the hot water bath before you throw even cooking out the window. However, after taking a look at what I have prepared lately I was starting to see too much repetition. I decided I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and give myself a challenge like I had when in culinary school. The first item that came to my mind was the dreaded cheesecake.
My favorite flavor of cheesecake is cherry and I have made it a thousand times. My love of cherry cheesecake in particular stems from my childhood when I would make the No-Bake Jello brand Cherry Cheesecake box mix. Although it was a heck of a lot easier cheesecake to make, it wasn’t necessarily a real cheesecake (probably why I enjoyed baking it growing up). Besides the taste the cherries lend cheesecake, I also love the appearance. The red is a great contrast to the light cheesecake base and makes for a stunning dessert every time. I wanted to replicate this stunning look but with something other than cherries. That is where cranberries come into play.
I had some leftover cranberries frozen at their peak and needed to use them up so it seemed like a perfect fit. I made this for Valentine’s Day but it can be made for many other events such as anniversaries, Christmas, Independence Day, or even Go Red for Women parties which bring awareness to heart health. Although this is a skinnier recipe than traditional cheesecakes, I highly doubt the American Heart Association would define it as a heart healthy recipe. On average, cheesecakes similar to this one run about 575 calories and 22 grams of saturated fat while this cheesecake is 321 calories and 6 grams saturated fat (saving over 250 calories and 15 grams saturated fat per slice).
Although I enjoyed this lightened up version of a traditional cheesecake I would make a few changes next time to appeal more to my own taste. I think I would prefer a regular graham cracker crust to the chocolate, despite my love of the stunning color contrasts the chocolate crust provides. If you follow the recipe as is you will witness how much a simple swirl of tart cranberries provides an elegant touch to rich filling encased in a chocolate graham crust. Enjoy!
Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
- 6 oz. Chocolate Graham Crackers
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 1 ½ cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (thaw if frozen)
- ½ cup Sugar
- ¼ cup Raspberry Liqueur (Chambord or Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka)
- 3 tbsp. Water
- 1 cup Sugar
- 12 oz.(2 ½ pkg.) Block Style 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese; softened
- 1 cup Plain Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
- 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 tsp. Salt
- 3 large Eggs
- 2 large Egg Whites
- Preheat oven to 375°. Wrap outside and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil (or place in a turkey size oven bag and seal at top). Grease pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place crackers in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Drizzle with oil and pulse until moistened. Press mixture into bottom and ½ inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Place cranberries, sugar, liqueur, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook 8 minutes or until cranberries have softened and mixture is syrupy. Cool for 20 minutes. Puree mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or pour contents into a food processor and pulse 1 minute.
- Combine 1 cup sugar and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with stand or hand mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Add the whole eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, beat the 2 egg whites at high-speed until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour filling over crust. Spoon cranberry mixture over filling & swirl together using the tip of a knife. Place springform pan into a metal baking pan larger than the springform pan. Add hot water to the pan to create a depth of about 2 inches. Bake for 55 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake barely jiggles when pan is touched.
- Turn off oven. Cool cheesecake in closed oven for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and run knife around the outside edge. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ANN TAYLOR PITTMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017
Fall 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.
Do 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.
I 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.
Skinny Cranberry Cupcakes
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 12-cup Muffin tin with cooking spray.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
Weight Watchers: 6 Points or 7 Points Plus
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015
Happy New Year everyone!!! Hope you all had a safe and fun time ringing in 2013. I myself had a rather mellow New Years, which to many would probably be considered boring but considering I am almost due to give birth any day now I certainly can’t be doing any drinking not to mention anything in the party nature. So instead I stuck to my foodie roots and baked the day away, then made some fish for dinner, and closed off the evening with fireworks and a stroll around my calm, slightly brisk Florida neighborhood with the boyfriend. Since many of you out there have already or are currently conjuring up New Year’s resolutions, today’s post is just in time for those deciding to give up guilty pleasures of the sweet variety in order to keep fitness and weight loss resolutions. Sure, it is already the new year but one last splurge won’t hurt right 😉
Now most of you may have a hangover or are extremely tired and lacking any sort of an extensive attention span like myself so I will make sure to keep the notes on this formula brief. To promote optimum texture in these bars, be sure to keep the butter cold by leaving it in the refrigerator until you are just ready to use it. This allows the butter to hold it’s shape while being cut into the flour by the food processor. By using a whipping food processor blade and the cold temperature, the butter is quickly chopped into small bits without overheating and melting, which would result in a less desirable texture for the finished bar crust. These bars can keep in an airtight container at room temperature for approximately three days.
Cranberry Coconut Bars
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar, packed
- 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into 5 pieces, kept chilled
- 1 Egg
- 2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
- ¾ tsp. Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp. Almond Extract
- ½ tsp. Salt
- ½ cup Walnuts, toasted & chopped
- 1 cup Dried Cranberries
- ¾ cup Shredded Coconut, sweetened
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Allow excess foil to hang over the edges for easy removal later. Grease foil with nonstick cooking spray. Process 1 cup flour and 2 tbsp. sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and pulse until only pea-size bits remain. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until crust is light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
- While crust cools, whisk the egg, syrup, extracts, salt, remaining flour, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Fold in the walnuts, cranberries, and coconut. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Bake until the topping is golden brown and begins to separate from the sides of the pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely. Once cool, use the foil overhang to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM MIKE HENDRICKS
ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013