Dessert


One of my very favorite bloggers, steph chows, is hosting a cookie exchange. Steph’s baking is fantastically creative and if there’s any trick to removing butter and sugar without sacrificing taste, she’s using it. Almost 30 people decided to participate in Steph’s first cookie exchange and I received the daunting task of baking for Steph herself. Intimidating? Definetly.

I knew I wanted to continue down the path towards making the perfect healthy cookie and since I probably wasn’t going to blow Steph away on taste, she’d at least appreciate the attempt to try a few new replacement tricks. With toffee as the splurge ingredient, I attempted to create two versions of healthy cookies, both under 100 calories.

#1 Toffee Sugar Cookie

My curiosity was peaked by this recipe because it uses water. Cookies with water? There’s also no eggs and a minimal amount of water. I made one additional healthful tweak, and subbed half the flour for whole wheat.

#1 Toffee Sugar Cookies

Adapted from a Taste of Home, found on http://lobsterandfishsticks.com/

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (split in half btw all purpose and whole wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup crushed heath bar candy (2 bars)

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in the water, oil and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets; flatten with the bottom of a small glass. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks. Yield: 4 dozen. About 90 calories per cookie.

Taste Review – they grow hard quickly, but the texture is that of a cookie. I haven’t used butter in baking for so long I was actually caught of guard by the texture. I think the batter works, the whole wheat flour isn’t noticeable and adds some fiber. However, I think the batter would work better with a more flavorful cookie, more spice, cranberries, crystallized ginger; the toffee just doesn’t give it enough. Improvements to this recipe will continue…there’s hope.

#2 Toffee Oatmeal Cookies

Unlike baking with butter, I am no stranger to baking with oats and applesauce. Including prep and baking, these literally take 20 minutes and almost every ingredient adds a healthful benefit.

Adapted from Shortbread Bakery

  • 3/4 cup plain quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup crushed Heath bar (1 bar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar substitute of your choice (I used splenda b/c I know Steph likes, but I would have used brown sugar or agave if it was just for me)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Microwave Peanut Butter for 1 minute until smooth. Meanwhile, combine quick cooking rolled oats, wheat germ, egg whites, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips and applesauce in a large bowl. Mix then add in to the sauce pan with the Peanut butter. Drop onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until golden. Cool and ENJOY! Makes about 14 cookies, about 9o calories per cookie.

Taste Review if I had just left these in the oven for another 3 minutes they would have been better, a bit gooey they sadly ended up. Please forgive me Steph, I was running to a class at the gym and had to pull them out. BUT, I really like these cookies. The toffee adds such a sinful flavor and texture and everything else is healthy ingredient that gives lasting energy.

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What other baking tricks can I use to cut down on butter?

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Apple Phyllo TartApple Phyllo Tarts are my go-to dessert. They are incredibly easy to make (about 20 minutes), absolutely adorable and appreciated by your guest or hosts, and there’s no heavy fatty ingredients which means a guilt free dessert (35 calories per tart). But most importantly, they are delicious. The perfect bite: crunchiness from phyllo tart shell, natural juice of apples mixed with smokiness of nuts, tartness of cranberries, all brought together with cinnamon and honey. Mmmm…

For my apple phyllo tarts, I never stick to the same recipe. You can combine pretty much anything you have on hand in terms of nuts, dried fruit, spices, or sweetener. Apples are the star and you want them to be juicy. About.com has a good guide on which apples are good for baking, cooking, or just eating.  Here’s the basic recipe for apple fyllo tarts, but remember there’s tons of wiggle room.

Ingredients

  • 1 package pre-made fillo (phyllo) shells
  • 2 apples: I used 1 honeycrisp for the juicy sweetness and 1 green apple to balance sweet with tart
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey, plus extra for a dollop at the end

Directions

1. Finely chop apples. I washed really well and left skin on b/c I like how the different colors look in the finished tart.finely chopped apples

2. On medium-heat, add 1 tbsp of butter to pan.

3. Once butter dissolves add apples. Mix frequently, as the apples start releasing their own juices. You will not need to add more butter.

4. As apples begin to cook (about 5 minutes) add pecans and cranberries.

5. Depending on how you like consistency of your apples in baked goods (I like mine to still have firmness), right as they are getting the desired consistency, I add 1 tbsp of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (to taste), and drizzle honey. I immediately turn off the heat and just stir everything for a few minutes. Because there really isn’t butter and a lot of heat, the sugar would burn up really quick and we just want it to add flavor.

6. Let the pan sit for 10-15 minutes (if you don’t have time constraints) and soak up all flavors.

7. Fill up the phyllo tarts. If you are serving later, just pop constructed shell in the oven on 350 for 3-5 minutes.

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