Gluten-Free Pomegranate Apple Protein Muffins

20171128_144623Mornings are not my friend. In fact, I don’t think there has ever been a day in my life where I have been a morning person. Since I am most definitely a night owl, it only makes sense that I do not want to spend time in the kitchen making breakfast.

20171128_144819To avoid skipping breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, I whip up these amazing muffins on meal prep day. Then I have a quick and easy on-the-go treat that contains all the vital nutrients the body needs. On days that I do not have to be somewhere in the A.M., I will make a larger breakfast and enjoy these muffins as a post-workout snack.

20171128_144837I know it is easy for the brain to be fooled by the word “muffin” that these little gems are not healthy, but do not compare processed, overly sweet bakery muffins to these. Each of these muffins only contains 149 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Oat flour stands in for traditional wheat flour, making each muffin gluten-free and lower carb. There is no refined sugar added for sweetness, only raw, organic honey, which keeps the sugar content very low (only 10 grams). They are even vegetarian friendly! I like to make a large batch and store in the freezer, that way they do not spoil and you can pull one out as needed and warm it up quickly in the microwave. Quick, easy, satisfying, and made with flavors of the season. Enjoy!

 

Gluten-Free Pomegranate Apple Protein Muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Oat Flour
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts; raw & unsalted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • 5 tbsp. Raw Unfiltered Honey
  • ¼ cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple; peeled, cored, & diced
  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate Seeds

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the walnuts and whisk again. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the milk, honey and yogurt. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in apple and pomegranate seeds. Do not overmix. The mixture will be lumpy.
  3. Fill each muffin cup liner three-quarters of the way full with batter. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Let cool in tin for 10 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: HEATHER BAINBRIDGE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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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

Skinny Cherry-Walnut Streusel Cake

1Clean eating has been a strict motto of mine over the past year. It was a harsh transition at first but extremely satisfying when you can know exactly what is in your food. I have switched to buying all organic and extremely limiting my processed food intake. This lifestyle change has not only made me feel better about myself but has also made me feel like I am doing the best I can to keep my family healthy. With the many changes I have undertaken over the past year, perhaps the most daunting was becoming an independent Beachbody coach. At first I signed on only to get a discount on my monthly Shakeology, but I have recently really enjoyed helping others learn how to lead a healthier lifestyle. After speaking with several individuals who asked me about my recent successes, the one area they have difficulty with is giving up their dessert. These individuals want to lead a healthier lifestyle but they also want a treat now and then, especially for their children. They asked me for advice on healthier alternatives to popular box mixes or supermarket sweets. At first I did not have an answer for them. I have been a pastry chef for the website Honeybees Patisserie for over five years, however the job description never required me to acknowledge the healthiness of the products.

With little knowledge of healthier desserts, I elected to do heavy research and today I present you with a skinnier cake option. I use the term “skinny” because it is certainly not healthy to eat this product all of the time as you would a healthy meal. A skinny dessert is simply a healthier indulgence and should be strictly an occasional indulgence. This cherry-walnut streusel cake is designed to include healthier, organic ingredients and to keep you satisfied longer. I originally made this recipe after purchasing a fresh bunch of sweet Bing cherries from my local farmer’s market. It is best to make this cake when cherries are in season between May and July but if you want to prepare it outside of the cherry season you may use frozen cherries instead of fresh. If you do elect to use frozen cherries, be sure that you thaw them and drain any juice before measuring. I recommend selecting Bing or Rainier cherries as their flavor will concentrate while baking and help keep this hearty, coffee style cake moist.

2By now you are probably wondering how this cake is lighter than any other recipe out there. Two elements of this streusel cake differ greatly from its traditional counterpart….the lack of butter and the blend of flours. Streusels are traditionally made with a good amount of butter. The missing butter in the streusel is replaced with olive oil and a small amount of reduced-fat buttermilk, allowing more butter to remain in the cake without significantly adding calories or fat. Aside from the reduced amount of butter, half of the traditional all-purpose flour is replaced with whole-wheat pastry flour. Whole-wheat pastry flour is more nutrient dense than all-purpose flour and specifically contains more protein than cake flour. By replacing half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat pastry flour, the cake has added nutrients to keep you fuller longer (preventing the risk of overindulging) without becoming too dense as would be the case if you used only whole-wheat flour.

3This cake is a great option for treating you and your family to dessert without completely abandoning a healthy lifestyle. It can also be a great addition at breakfast when served with coffee or tea. One cake will yield 10 servings. Each serving should be cut into a small wedge. Total preparation time for this cake is approximately 1 ½ hours. If you are following Weight Watchers, one wedge is 5 points or 7 Points Plus.

Skinny Cherry-Walnut Streusel Cake

Streusel Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 6 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tbsp. Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 3 tbsp. Walnuts; chopped
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Reduced-Fat Buttermilk

Cake Ingredients:

  • 4.5 ounces All-Purpose Flour (approximately 1 cup)
  • 4.5 ounces Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour (approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ tsp. Almond Extract
  • ½ cup Reduced-Fat Buttermilk
  • 10 oz. Fresh Sweet Cherries; pitted & chopped (approximately 2 cups)

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare streusel by combining sugar, flour, oats, walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Add the oil and buttermilk and stir to combine. Set the streusel aside.
  2. Prepare the cake by whisking both flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the sugar and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat again until combined. Mix in the almond extract until just combined. Add a portion of the flour mixture and beat until combined. Add half of the buttermilk and mix again. Add another portion of the flour mixture beating until combined followed by the rest of the buttermilk. Add the remaining portion of the flour and beat until well combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently stir in the cherries by hand.
  3. Spoon the batter evenly into a 9 inch springform pan coated with nonstick baking spray. Sprinkle batter evenly with the streusel. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from the pan and continue to cool on the wire rack or serve warm.

Nutritional Information

(One wedge)

cherrystreuselcake

Weight Watchers: 5 Points or 7 Points Plus

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: IVY MANNING
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2015

Spumoni Cookies

DSC_0323Like many, I feel completely exhausted after the holidays. I love the winter holiday season but it truly does know how to wipe a person out. I feel like ever since Halloween in October it has been non-stop craziness preparing for whatever festivity comes next. If the typical holidays are not enough, the addition of my daughter now fills January with two more celebrations I never had to plan for before. January 17th is my daughter’s name day and January 24th is her birthday. For those that do not know, a name day is a Greek tradition of celebrating the name of the Christian saint you are named after on that saint’s feast day. So now that all of those celebrations have since passed, I finally feel some ease until Easter but it has left me extremely fatigued. It is so bad I hardly feel like doing anything each day, but of course we all know that is not possible with a 2 year old and 100 pounds of med school homework.

DSC_0318Since my energy has been sapped as of late it has really took its toll on my baking hobby. When I do manage to summon enough energy to cook outside of making breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my family it needs to be something that isn’t too strenuous. I always used to be against taking baking shortcuts but now that I am a mom and full-time student, any shortcut I can find that still tastes good is acceptable. I even recall as a teen trashing my grandfather’s shortcut cookie recipe that he made with a boxed cake mix. After they were made he had me try one. They were of course delicious and it was then he told me something that has stuck to this day. He said, “As long as you know you can make it from scratch and have it taste good, it doesn’t hurt to take a shortcut every once and awhile.” This has been my motto as of late. I know I can make great cookies from scratch and have done so since I was old enough to see over the kitchen counter, so it doesn’t hurt to take a shortcut when I need one. This recipe is one of those shortcuts.

DSC_0322The reason this recipe is considered a short cut is because it uses store bought sugar cookie dough. If you are completely against the idea of anything store bought, you can make your own batch of sugar cookie dough as I have also done when I have more time and energy, just be sure your sugar cookie recipe produces about 2 pounds of dough. I prefer to take the shortcut method with these cookies though because they are rather involved compared to others already and making your own sugar cookie dough will make the process that much longer. I know anyone with a busy lifestyle will surely appreciate this shortcut method that not only takes less time but is also a special, elegant looking cookie.

DSC_0315What makes these cookies so impressive are the three different layers of color and flavor. This is the spumoni influence on the cookie. Spumoni originates in Italy and is traditionally found as ice cream. Spumoni is relative to Neapolitan, with three flavors, traditionally being chocolate, pistachio, and cherry. I do not care for pistachios so I altered the traditional make-up and used walnuts instead. You can certainly swap out an equal amount of pistachios for the walnuts in this recipe. Even though Spumoni has pretty much disappeared in Italy, it is still much loved in the U.S. with good reason. Give them a try and have a taste of forgotten Italy.

Note: These cookies use three separate doughs merged into one to make the tri-colored appearance. I roll the dough into ropes, place them alongside each other, and roll flat with a rolling pin to merge the dough. You can also roll out each dough ball into equal length and thickness then stack the dough on top of each other and slice with a sharp knife to get a similar effect. Whichever method you choose, be sure to chill the dough slightly to make it easier to get uniform cookies. This recipe produces approximately 3 dozen cookies.

 

Spumoni Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 (16 oz.) tubes Refrigerated Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 12 Maraschino Cherries; drained, stemmed, & chopped fine
  • ¼ cup Walnuts; toasted & chopped fine
  • ¼ cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips; melted & slightly cooled
  • Red & Green Food Coloring

 Formula:

  1. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, approximately 1 hour. Place both tubes of cookie dough into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add ¾ cup of flour and mix on low until combined. Separate dough into three equal portions and place one portion back into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the remaining ¼ cup of flour to the dough portion in the mixer bowl. Mix until just incorporated. Add 5 drops of red food coloring and chopped cherries to the dough. Mix until well combined. Shape the dough into a ball and set aside.
  2. Wipe out the same mixing bowl and place back on the stand mixer. Add the second portion of dough to the mixer bowl. Add 5 drops of green food coloring and the chopped walnuts. Mix until well combined. Shape dough into a ball and set aside.
  3. Wipe out the same mixing bowl one last time and place back on the stand mixer. Add the final portion of dough to the mixer bowl. Add the melted chocolate to the dough and mix until well combined. Shape dough into ball. Wrap all three dough portions in plastic wrap and refrigerate until slightly firm, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Divide each chilled dough portion in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into a 12 inch rope. Place 1 rope of each color side by side on the floured surface and gently press together. Refrigerate ropes until slightly firm, approximately 10 minutes. Remove chilled ropes from refrigerator and on a floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten the cookies and merge the dough ropes together. Once rolled, use a knife to cut 1 inch wide cookies. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Repeat until all dough is used and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Bake chilled cookies until set but not browned, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Be sure to rotate baking sheets halfway through cooking time for even baking. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for approximately 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored for approximately 1 week.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: DONNA BARDOCZ
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2015

Creamy Walnut Fudge

Ahhh candy making… the most delightful idea to the home baker because we all know how yummy candy is and how great it would be to make it whenever you crave it and make it exactly how you want it without having to conform to the candy aisle options at the local supermarket. Sadly, candy making adventures for most end up a sticky scorched mess rather than that dreamy homemade snickers bar or in this case… fudge. Of course there are always some tricks of the trade out there which can make things a heck of a lot easier.

 The most obvious but often overlooked is the simple task of stirring the fudge constantly to prevent scorching. I know how easy it is to give in to that female desire to multitask but it never ends well. You stir the pot and walk away for what seems like two seconds only to return to a scorched sticky mess glued to the bottom of the pan and smoking up the kitchen. No matter how tempted…DON’T let the fudge leave your sight while it is over the heat. Second trick is in the filling. Many recipes will call for heavy cream but the problem with heavy cream is its susceptibility to heat. In the matter of seconds, if the cream becomes too hot, it will separate and then there is no going back and waste is never delightful in this day and age. The trick is to use evaporated milk, which is more stable over heat and it especially caters to the home baker who isn’t exactly sure of the warning signs when cream is too hot, well until it is too late and already separated… we all know how it goes. It has happened to us all, professional or hobby enthusiast.

The final problematic aspect to fudge is achieving the fluffy, light texture. For most, fudge either finishes too loosely or is to dry and flaky…never just right. The secret, believe it or not, is Marshmallow Fluff. Marshmallow Fluff is cheap, provides the necessary light and fluffy texture without having to beat the fudge into submission and cause a sore arm for the rest of the day. Another added perk of the fluffy white stuff is its prevention of the sugar crystallizing, which if allowed to happen, would turn that dreamy smooth texture into a gritty mess reminiscent of a day at the beach. Grit is never good even at the beach, and especially not in your fudge! To ensure that all of this cautiousness results perfect fudge far better than store-bought… I suggest you invest in an instant read candy thermometer. Much of the problems involving fudge and its wide range of bad results really begins with the question of when to remove the confection from the heat. Many home bakers judge by eye because they either don’t own a thermometer or  the formula is vague and never mentions a proper temperature. With any candy making venture, I always prefer to leave ego aside and grab that trusty thermometer for good measure. The candy thermometer is like another pair of eyes. When you’re not sure the thermometer is there to monitor the situation and give you the go ahead for the proper time to remove the fudge from heat. If undercooked, the fudge will never solidify. If overcooked, the fudge will turn crumbly. There is a very small window between the two extremes and the happy number to look for is 234°-235°. When the mixture hits that number, pull it off the heat as fast as you can then let it cool slightly before adding the chocolate. If you don’t wait to add the chocolate until it has at least cooled to about 200°, you run the risk of separating the chocolate.  Despite all of fudge’s possible complications, nothing is sweeter than producing your own favorite flavored fudge. Although the following formula adds walnuts, don’t limit yourself to the possible flavorings you could add. You could try other nuts, such as pecans if you don’t prefer walnuts or maybe you’re a oreo fanatic. Fudge doesn’t discriminate…so play with your favorite flavors and enjoy!!!

Creamy Walnut Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 (12 oz.) can Evaporated Milk
  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Walnuts, toasted & coarsely chopped
  • 1 (8 oz.) jar Marshmallow Fluff
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 12 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 8 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped

Formula:

  1.  Line a 13×9 in. pan with aluminum foil. Bring the sugar, milk, and butter to a boil in a large pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is light tan in color and registers 234°-235° on an instant read thermometer.
  2. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the walnuts, Marshmallow Fluff, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Allow the mixture to cool to 200°.
  3. Once slightly cooled, mix in the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates until smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, at least 4 hours.
  4. Once set, remove the fudge from the pan and cut into uniforms squares or desired shapes. Fudge can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one month.

Special Thanks to: Marshmallow Fluff ® & Diane Unger-Mahoney

(Mentions of Marshmallow Fluff® are ©2011 Durkee-Mower Inc.)

All remaining content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012