Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cut Back the Calories

The urge to bake hit me last weekend. I picked up a cookbook where I had some recipes bookmarked. I actually chose one that didn't sparkle my interest the first time I saw it. It's funny how my taste and interest change overtime. It happens to so many things. Sometimes I put away a pair of earrings I no longer like, few months later I find it and all of a sudden I like them again. Same thing happens with recipes. When I browse my cookbooks I put a sticky to mark the recipes I want to make. If I go back to the same book months later chances are I will unmark some and mark others I wasn't interested in the first time around. The recipe was an Upside Down Pineapple Cupcake made with ginger, whole wheat flour, fat free sour cream and brown sugar. Both recipes are very health conscious, cutting down and replacing ingredients without compromising the flavor and texture.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcake (light and low-fat)

2 Tbs. light butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 maraschino cherries
8 oz. crushed pineapple (canned)
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2/3 cup 2-percent buttermilk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Mix butter and sugar, then place a dab into each cup of a six-cup muffin pan. Place a cherry in the center, then add crushed pineapple around that. Fresh pineapple won't work well for this recipe.

In a medium-size bowl, mix dry ingredients - flour, sugar, powder, salt and ginger. Make a well in the middle once it's thoroughly mixed, then pour in the buttermilk, applesauce, egg whites and vanilla extract.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry until thoroughly moist and mixed through. Fill each of the six muffin cups, then bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then invert on a rack and serve.

Strawberry Swirl Loaf (light and low-fat)

1/3 cup strawberry jam *
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
Cooking spray

* Don't use sugar-free jam for this recipe. You will have the best results with natural jams with no sugar added. I particularly like the brand 365 Organic (made by Whole Foods).

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine jam and walnuts in a small bowl.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine sugar, butter, lemon rind, 1 teaspoon vanilla, egg, and egg white in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add flour mixture and sour cream alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spread half the batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Spoon jam mixture over top, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Spread remaining batter over raspberry mixture.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.


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