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July 25, 2011

Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream

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That's right... a healthy chocolate ice cream!

And it was an accident too... I was originally trying to make truffles, but the chocolate mixture never firmed up properly. At least I got something else out of the attempt :) Truffles are naturally made with only 2 ingredients: chocolate and heavy cream.  Since there is no place for heavy cream in my diet, I made a healthy alternative using soymilk and protein powder, which creates a thick texture similar to cream.

This is the unsweetened soymilk and blender cup I use:

This is the protein powder I use (I got it from Whole Foods):

Here are the nutrition facts:

Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream:  [low sugar, high fiber/protein, GF, vegan]
(makes 2 servings)
   3/4 cup Unsweetened Soymilk
   60g (2 scoops) Vanilla Protein Powder (vegans, you can try using vegan protein powder, like Sun Warrior)
   6oz 90% Cacao Chocolate
   63g (3 tbs) Honey or Agave
   5-15 drops Stevia Extract (or to taste)

Directions:
1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval
2. Put the soymilk and protein powder into a shaker cup and shake until the protein powder is absorbed (it should be creamy)
3. When the chocolate is melted, add 2 spoonfuls of the soymilk mixture into the chocolate bowl and stir
4. Pour more of the soymilk mixture (about half of the mixture) into the chocolate mixture and stir again
5. Add the rest of the soymilk mixture and the honey to the chocolate mixture
6. Put the bowl in the fridge for half an hour, then put it in the freezer until it is all frozen
7. Bring the bowl out of the freezer 10 minutes before eating to soften, enjoy!

Notes:
1) Do not microwave the protein powder and soymilk together, it bakes into a gross cake patty (ew)
2) The ice cream melts pretty quickly, so scoop it into a cold bowl to slow the melting process... or just eat it like there's no tomorrow  :)


Yummy
Chocolatey
Creamy
Tasty

So share this with someone you love, or treat yourself to both servings :)
I did... hehe

July 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies & Peanut Butter Frosting

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OH NO!  I just went through 3 peanut butter jars!  Don't worry though... it was for a good cause ;)


Soft, peanutty, chewy oatmeal cookies!

     As I was looking for a healthy oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, I was totally disheartened... it's impossible to find a healthy recipe that looks, feels and tastes exactly like the original oatmeal raisin cookie--all of the "healthier" recipes I found used lots of sugar, too much coconut oil or earth balance, or they were super thin, dry or crumbly. As a gateway to finding the perfect oatmeal raisin cookie recipe, I decided to make Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies. I had never made cookies from scratch before because of their typical ingredients:  butter, sugar, and AP flour...  suuuper healthy...  not.  Anyways, my first crack at my own cookie recipe went surprisingly well! The flavor was great, just the texture was off.

1st Version:
     This cookie tasted really good! It was nice, sweet and great out of the oven. It was a little cakey so I needed to adjust the moisture level and the baking powder and soda levels. Unfortunately, the cookies turned tough and saltier the next day (which I blame on the peanut butter I used, made with roasted peanuts, sugar, salt and oil), so next time I will use my preferred, peanuts-only PB. The oats weren't noticeable in the cookie either, so I need to decrease the flour and increase the oats!

^^ a biiig whoopie pie!
     Onto the next batch!

2nd Version:
     I googled the reasons why cookies become cakey but was yet again discouraged... most of the solutions to cakey cookies involve adding more sugar or more butter, which I refuse to do. One reason why cookies become cakey is because there is too much liquid. In my first batch I used applesauce in place of oil/butter and an egg replacer with 3 tbs of water. Water creates steam in the oven, therefore, letting the cookies rise and become airy. So I cooked the applesauce with some oats over a stove until the water evaporated and I was left with a thick, chunky mixture. I put 1 tbs of egg replacer into the batch and omitted the water to prevent the steaming. I also decreased the baking powder from 1/2 tsp to 1/4 tsp and salt from 1 tsp to 1/2 tsp to reduce cakiness and reduce saltiness. When I was mixing the ingredients together, it was a very thick batter, most of which was crumbly, so I added 1/4 cup of evaporated milk to help (I totally forgot about what too much liquid does to cookies!). I tried forming little patties but the batter was too moist, so I attempted at making blondies.


     Unfortunately, the cookies were a little cakey but the blondies were amazing! They were like muffinish pizzookies, but that is a recipe for a whole separate post (still needs some texture work).  Here is a pic for waiting-torture purposes:


3rd Version:
     Yummy! These were exactly what I wanted:  sweet, soft and chewy cookies. They were extremely peanutty, and I could feel good about eating it because of its superb ingredients  ;)


Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies:  [high fiber, high protein]
(makes ~15 cookies, but really just depends on how much cookie dough you eat...)
Dry:
   90g (3/4 cup) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
   48g (1/2 cup) Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
   48g (1/4 cup) Sucanat
   40g (1/2 cup) Whey Protein Concentrate
   1/2 tsp Baking Soda
   1/2 tsp Salt
   1/4 tsp Cinnamon
   1/4 tsp Baking Powder
Wet I:
   123g (1/2 cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
   48g (1/2 cup) Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Wet II:
   256g (1 cup) Natural Peanut Butter (no salt/sugar/oil added)
   126g (6 tbs) Honey
   7g (1 tbs) Egg Replacer (with no water!)
   2 tbs Evaporated Fat Free Milk
   2 tsp Hazelnut Extract
   1 tsp Vanilla Extract
   1 tsp Stevia Extract

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Put the Wet I ingredients into a pot and "render" over medium heat, stirring occasionally (should be ready in ~15 minutes). It should turn from this to this:
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
4. In a medium bowl, stir together the Wet II ingredients.  Stir in the cooked applesauce/oat mixture.  Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir together.
5. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment and roll the dough into 1" balls.  Flatten with your fingers and smooth the cracks that may form the side. Bake for ~10 minutes, or until the the edges are golden brown.


Depending on your taste, you can add any solid ingredients you want to the batter. Here are my favorites:
     As a treat, add chocolate chips.
     As a breakfast, add crumbled walnuts or chopped peanuts.
     As an energy snack, add some raisins or dried cranberries.


Peanut Butter Frosting:
(makes 1/3 cup)
   32g (2 tbs) Natural Peanut Butter
   42g (2 tbs) Honey
   1-2 tbs Dried Nonfat Milk

Directions:
1. In a small bowl add peanut butter and honey and stir
2. Add 1 tablespoon of dried milk and stir again. Add 1 more tablespoon if you want a thick frosting (if you add too much powder, just add more honey until you reach the texture you want)

^^ a healthy cookie in each hand, that is ;)

     Did I mention that the dough for these cookies is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!?! And, it's totally safe to eat since it's eggless! It's similar to those Peanut Butter Protein Balls, but taken to a whole new level. And, it doesn't taste healthy at all (take it from me. I used to eat the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough right out of the tub... the 36 oz tub... from Costco. Yeah, that cookie dough.)  I won't bore you by talking about how unhealthy and dangerous that cookie dough is, but trust me, it is. Make this dough and bake it, don't bake it, your decision!

I love cookies.  Oh, and I love cookie dough too.  :)

Spinach Mango Lassi

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     Just a few nights ago, my family and I went to an Indian restaurant--I probably haven't gone to one in over a year because Indian cuisine barely exists where I went to school--and it brought back so many memories! I used to look forward to going to Indian restaurants because of their popular, sweet and creamy Mango Lassi drink.


I was thinking about the drink yesterday and decided to make my own version...  a Spinach Mango Lassi!


Spinach Mango Lassi:  [fat free, vegan*]
(serves two)
    2 large Mangos
    1 cup Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt*
    1 cup Baby Spinach
    5-7 Ice Cubes
    Optional:
        1-2 tbs Honey*
        pinch of Cardamom

Directions:
1. Put all ingredients into a blender (in the order of the recipe, so chops mangos first etc...) and liquify until spinach is broken up as pictured above (add honey and stevia to taste)

*vegans, use soy/coconut/almond yogurt and agave nectar instead of honey

 

     This is a super thick smoothie, I ate part of it with a spoon! But, if you are the type of person who likes more liquidy drinks, feel free to add 100% mango nectar (no added sugar) or even applesauce. To lower the glycemic index, try adding coconut milk   :)

July 14, 2011

Pistachio Snacking Cake & Citrus Glaze

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Many of you probably know how challenging it is to get kids to eat their veggies, right?  Well, with some adults, it can be just as difficult.  Someone very close to me--aka, my dad!--has despised veggies for the majority of his life (he even refuses to drink my green monsters because of their green color)

Old habits die hard right?  Well, I sure got him with this Pistachio "Hidden Veggie" Snacking Cake!


July 11, 2011

Citrus Pound Cake & Date Sugar Icing

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A healthy Pound Cake?!?

Yes!
A healthy icing?

Yes!!!

I don't think there is one baker out there who answered those two questions like I just did.  I mean, a healthy poundcake?!? I think this is a day that history books need to include!

If you have ever read my Banana Bread post or the About Me page, then you know about my childhood addiction to sugary, buttery, baked goodness.  But now that I have perfected my own 100% healthy banana bread recipe, I no longer crave the perfectly laid out slices at the Starbucks checkout line.  Instead, my cravings have led me to another one of their no-good confections: the Iced Lemon Pound Cake.  I searched FoodGawker, TasteSpotting, I searched Google, I searched everything for a healthy Pound Cake recipe, but failed to find one.

From my previous recipe, the Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake, I had used some tofu and had a bit leftover.  Since I needed four trials to perfect that recipe, I had a chance to make another recipe with tofu in it.  And holy cow, I never realized how fussy tofu is!  You need to submerge it in a bowl of water, refrigerate it, and change its water every day.  Oh, and then use within seven days... how needy!  Anyways, I read that tofu can be used as an egg replacer as it is dense and provides moisture.  This is great for pound cakes because a basic pound cake uses many eggs and a lot of butter...  I found pound cake recipes that use 4 sticks of butter, 2-3/4 cup of sugar and 8 egg yolks...  Uhh, no thanks?  I'll make my own!

Trial #1:
     The first trial was surprisingly a successful one! The only problem were the flavors--I used 1 tablespoon of lemon zest which turned a little bitter after baking... I will use pure extracts in the next trial. This cake was beyond moist, it was wonderful and dense, and the butter extract really came through. Because of the moisture level, I thought that I was able to lower the amount of coconut oil and use applesauce instead. The only wrong thing about this cake was that it didn't look like pound cake. It was flat and more cupcake-like rather than pound-cake-like.
^^ Naked
^^ Dressed
Ain't it purdy?

One thing I wish I could share with you, is this icing.  It was fantastic.  Unfortunately, the sugar I used was to never be found again!  I could have sworn I bought it from Whole Foods, but I couldn't find it anywhere after that.  Not Mrs. Greens, not Nature Works, and not even two other locations of Whole Foods.  I used 1/2 cup of powdered coconut sugar with one tablespoon of water.  I bought coconut sugar because it is low glycemic (like honey, agave and maple syrup), it is high in B vitamins, Vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.  So if all that could come from a sugar, yes, I am making an icing with it!  But, like I said, I never saw it again... :(

Trial #2:
Just like my Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake, I thought I could use arrowroot starch in this as well to firm up the structure and make it more "pound-cake-like." I used 3 tablespoons because that was how much I used in the Dark Chocolate Coconut Cake and it turned out well! Next time, I would test using 1/4 cup though...

Trial #3:

This cake is very moist and dense, and you won't miss that buttery taste of regular pound cake because of the butter extract! The stevia will satisfy your sweet tooth, and the citrus gives the cake some tang. One big plus about this cake: it is low fat! The coconut oil is the only source of fat in this recipe, so bake this and eat up.

Citrus Pound Cake:  [low fat/sugar, high fiber/protein]
(makes one large loaf or 2 mini loaves)

   Dry:
       240g (2 cups) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
        20g (1/4 cup) Whey Protein Concentrate
        48g (1/4 cup) Sucanat (or dry sweetener of choice)
        32g (1/4 cup) Arrowroot Starch (or cornstarch)
        1+1/2 tsp Baking Powder
        1/2 tsp Baking Soda
        1/4 tsp Sea Salt

   Wet:
        182g (2/5 package) Lite Silken Tofu, drained
        123g (1/2 cup) Unsweetened Applesauce
        113g (1/2 cup) Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt
        42g (2 tbs) Honey
        28g (2 tbs) Coconut Oil
        2 tsp Stevia Extract
        2 tsp Vanilla Extract
        1+1/2 tsp Lemon Flavor
        1+1/4 tsp Butter Extract
        1/2 tsp Orange Flavor

Date Sugar Icing:
   192g (1 cup) Powdered Date Sugar
   3/4 cup + 1 tbs Water
   1/4 cup + 2 tbs Honey

Directions (for the cake):
1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
2.  Put the wet ingredients into a blender and puree, set aside
3.  In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients
4.  Pour the blender mixture onto the dry ingredients (every last drop!) and fold until everything is incorporated. Batter will be thick (I tend to overmix, and it still turned out fine)
5.  Spray a loaf pan with PAM, and scoop the batter in. Flatten the top with a spoon or spatula and put into the oven.  Bake for about an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean and surface springs back when touched.
6.  Top with icing. Slice into 8 slices when completely cooled! Otherwise it will not slice neatly.

Directions (for the icing):
1.  Measure out the date sugar and put it into a blender, blend/puree/liquify (whatever setting is fastest and strongest) for 30 seconds to a minute.  Shake the container to release any chunks that may not have been blended, and blend again for another 30 seconds or so.  By now, you shouldn't be able to see through the container, sugar should be floating around.
2.  Keep shaking the container, blend, shake, blend.  If it looks ready, it probably won't be... so keep blending!  You don't want a gritty icing (take it from me)
3.  When the sugar is finely ground like regular powdered sugar be, pour it into a medium bowl and stir in the water and honey.  When there is not enough liquid, it will look like a stiff, jam-like spread (which isn't a bad thing, I guess!).  Pour/spread over the cake.


This icing (seen in the Trial #1 pictures) was actually the first icing I had ever made! I had originally used powdered coconut sugar, but never saw it in stores again. I was tempted to buy a premade Pillsbury frosting (even though it is loaded with sugar), but I was saddened to see "partially hydrogenated oils" on the top of the ingredient list... an ingredient that I will never put into my body (read bottom of the linked page).

not buying it = good choice

So, I decided to just powder some sugar myself. Coconut sugar has a strong, distinct flavor, and sucanat didn't taste very good on the cake.  So, I used date sugar! It comes pretty finely ground, but not powdered like regular powdered sugar.  The extra work of powdering your own sugar is so worth the health benefits!  I like how this icing uses fruit sugar rather than processed stuff that a machine dumped out. Date sugar is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, while providing a great, unique flavor! Although the color needs some getting used to, I think you will enjoy it  :)  If you don't like it, I guess you can always use regular powdered sugar.  If you like white icings, try this recipe!

I am so happy to see that unhealthy foods actually can have a healthy alternative.  Make this recipe. You won't regret it!

July 8, 2011

Chocolate Avocado Cake & Chocolate Frosting

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Who else doesn't like butter? (please, raise your hand!)

Unfortunately, with baking, the ingredient is seen so often--from cookies to cakes, and truffles to frostings. So, what can be used as a healthy substitute for butter?

Avocados!

They are moist, "buttery," and best of all, healthy! Avocados help lower your cholesterol, protect against cancer, and are full of vitamins and beneficial fat.  These fruits sound a lot better than butter, right?

     *nods head*

During my weekly (okay... dailyFoodGawker-forage for tasty recipes, I landed upon some sugary, chocolatey goodness...

     Chocolate Avocado Cakes!

Most of the recipes I found had 2 cups of sugar (and c'mon, is that really necessary? no) and only half an avocado. If the name of the recipe is "Chocolate Avocado Cake," then avocados should be the main ingredient. So, I decided to make my own recipe using a lot less sugar and a lot more avocado.  So the journey begins...



July 1, 2011

Peanutty Banana Oat Muffins

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So today I'm posting a recipe for healthy Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins! Basically, it's a combination of the best food-pairings ever.  Kind of like peanut butter on toast, bananas with peanut butter, and oatmeal topped with PB and banana coins.  Yum, right?  As per usual, this recipe required many trials to reach perfection. At least every attempt was a tasty one!

Attempt #1:
     This was a sweet, moist banana bread.  I used 3/4 cup of sugar, and although it was perfectly sweet it could be reduced and replaced with some stevia extract.  I used 1/4 cup of peanut butter and 3 medium bananas, but the bananas overpowered the PB flavor.  I used 1/4 cup of oil so it was nice and moist, but it could probably be reduced in the next batch since I was increasing the PB amount.

Attempt #2:
     I used 1/2 cup sugar in this batch, but it could be reduced even more.  I increased the peanut butter to 6 tbs, but the flavor faded after a few bites and it just turned into regular old banana muffins.  I lowered the oil to 2 tbs and it was still moist!  Since I was going to add more peanut butter, I omitted the oil.

Attempt #3:
     Sadly, these muffins were a little dry without the oil... next time I'll add 2 flax eggs to make it more moist and less crumbly. I think it could have been a little sweeter too, so I'll add more stevia.  Delicious though!

Attempt #4:
     These muffins were nice and sweet, moist and tasty, and best of all, healthy!  The peanut flavor shined, the bananas added sweetness and the flax gave the muffins a nutty background flavor.  I love the crunch of the peanuts and how the bananas both softened and balanced the peanut flavor.

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