Sunday, July 15, 2012

Secretly Healthy Cookies

I don't think there's much of an argument to the fact that everyone loves cookies. You meet your occasional cake-hater, a nonchocoholic here and an ice cream criticizer there. However, the one thing that all of those people will have in common is that they like cookies. I'm guessing that most of those people (myself included) could also stand to get a few more veggies and a few less calories into their diet. Impossible, you say? Just wait until you try these delicious treats! 

In this recipe, the apple and the carrot add the moisture and sweetness that would normally come from butter and sugar - cutting the added sugar in half and reducing the fat by one third! Heart-healthy olive oil is substituted for butter, and white flour for a more substantial whole grain flour. The dark chocolate chips sweeten the deal and deliver antioxidants. 

1 cup oats
1 cup finely chopped apple
1 cup finely chopped carrot
2 cups whole grain wheat flour (or substitute white whole wheat flour for a smoother texture)
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Combine sugars, salt, baking soda, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Lightly beat egg and add. Add all other ingredients and stir well until fully incorporated. 

Drop tablespoon-sized portions of batter onto a greased cookie sheet. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes per batch. Makes about 2 dozen. 


Cookies may be dropped fairly close together on baking sheet as they do not spread much.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Brownies in 5

Chocolate is, in my opinion, one of the most delicious - and most workable - ingredients ever. I recently discovered exactly how workable it is as I was trying to concoct a recipe that was gluten-free and delicious for my wheat-intolerant dad and brother. This recipe is what I came up with! It's a variation on a flourless chocolate recipe, but without the cocoa powder these brownies are a little more fudgy while still having a great chocolate flavor!

2 cups     chocolate chips
3/4 cup   sugar
1 tsp       baking soda
1 tsp       salt
3            eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 pan. 

Melt chocolate by placing it in a heatproof bowl resting on the rim of a small pan of simmering water. The steam from the water will rise and heat and melt the chocolate.

When chocolate is melted, beat together with dry ingredients until combined. Add eggs a little at a time until batter is smooth. 

Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-35 minutes. Let cool for at least minutes before eating.

Extra chocolate: Add 3/4 cup of unmelted chocolate chips to batter.

Peanut butter cup: Replace 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with 3/4 cup peanut butter. 

Spicy: And 2 tsp of chili powder.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

The Best? The Best!
So, what makes this frosting the best? I mean, how hard can it be to blend together sugar, butter, and chocolate? (That's really all there is to it - news to me when I first set out on the sure-to-be tedious task of making my own frosting.) My only way to prove that this is really the best is to: 1) Direct you to the ingredient list, where you may notice that chocolate words like "cocoa" and "semisweet" are included not just once, but twice! And 2) Encourage you to make it yourself.

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa mixed to paste with a little hot water
scant 2/3 cup melted chocolate of your choice (semisweet recommended)

large mixing bowl
electric mixer
measuring cups
teaspoon measure

Blend vanilla and butter until soft and fluffy, and vanilla is no longer visible

Add confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup at a time as you blend. Get help from a someone else for this if possible so one person can blend while the other adds sugar. Beat in a few tablespoons of milk for a softer consistency.

Buttercream will keep up to 3 days stored in a cool place, or may be refrigerated for up to a week. If stored in refrigerator, let stand 1 hour before using to soften.

Tips (mistakes I made so you don't have to)
  • I make a double batch to frost a round, 8 inch layer cake. It's always better to have extra in case a little -or a lot- "disappears" as you make it.
  • Because the melted chocolate in the buttercream will harden a bit over time, it's best to use this frosting immediately for maximum spread-ability.