** Healthy & Low-fat Chocolate Crinkle Cookies **

Thanks to The Food Architects , brought to you by the  El-Bizri family in Lebanon, I came across their Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe. Whether served with your morning coffee or evening tea, those “crinkles” are just too perfect, and also, addicting!

But since we need to watch what we eat until the Eve, I made them in a healthier version. Now, I can’t find powdered sugar in the healthy aisle, so that was probably the only ingredient that’s a big no no. But a little of it is not that bad.

Substitute for sugar, fructose. It’s a sugar substitute (and not an artificial sweetener) and sweeter than table sugar. The recipe asked for 1 1/3 cups of granulated white sugar, I just used 2/3 cups of sugar. As for the 1/2 cup of melted butter, I used 1/2 a cup of melted coconut oil. Imagine, healthy chocolate cookies :D , yaaaay!!!!!!!!

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Recipe:

(yields 2-3 dozens)

- 1/2 a cup of melted coconut oil (since in the winter it turns to ghee)

- 2/3 cups of fructose sugar

- 2 eggs at room temperature

- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

- 2 cups of flour

- 6 tbsp of cocoa powder

- 2 tsp of baking powder

- 1/2 tsp of salt

- 2 cups of powdered sugar

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Preparation: 

- preheat your oven at 200 deg c. line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a silicon mat and set aside.

- in the bowl of your electrical mixer, add the melted coconut oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar. beat until just combined. in a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt.

- while the mixer is moving on low speed, add the flour mix gradually until you get a dough. mix all the ingredients with your hands and form a ball. cover the dough with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hr or overnight.

- roll the dough into 1-inch or 2-inch balls. roll each ball into the powdered sugar – either put the sugar in a bowl or a zip-lock bag. put the balls on the prepared cookie sheet and press down with your thumb.

- bake the cookies for 8-12 mins, do not over bake them. wait 5 mins for the cookies to cool until you transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

according to Mama Bizri’s:  Don’t use the local Lebanese powdered sugar because it contains a significant amount of cornstarch, hence the cookie dough absorbs the coating before baking and you won’t have this sugar final effect. Purchase imported packaged powdered sugar for this recipe.

- since I used local Lebanese powdered sugar,I had to sift more sugar on top after they were baked.

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** Healthy Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins **

Yes I am very well aware of the current season… It’s Christmas and it’s all about getting fat and eating yummy gingerbread cookies, drinking hot chocolate, and stuffing your face with cake log. But I am saving all this for Christmas Eve. I am preparing a superb dessert menu. But as for those days, I am simply having as much as I can from all the healthy baking I can make. So, since the beginning of this month, it’s all about watching what I eat, until the 24th ;)

We’re all used to the carrot cake, or carrot muffins, or maybe beet cake, but zucchini??? That was a first for me and a definitely going to try it again recipe! I do think I’ll add some cocoa powder to the batter next time to give it a chocolaty taste.

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The recipe is simple and easy! Always, feel free to use any substitutes. If you don’t want to go healthy and low fat, switch the coconut oil with butter, fructose sugar with regular sugar or packed brown sugar, and you can also add some chocolate chips if you wanted :D

So here it goes:

Recipe: 

(yields: 12 – 15 muffins) 

- 2 cups of whole wheat flour (you can also use all purpose)

- 1 cup of oats

- 2 eggs at room temperature

- 1/4 cup of coconut oil

- 2/3 cup non fat yogurt

- 3 grated zucchinis

- 1 tsp of cinnamon

- 1/2 tsp of nutmeg

- 1 tsp of baking soda

- 1 tsp of baking powder

- 1/4 tsp of  salt

- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

- 1 cup of fructose sugar

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Preparation:

1- preheat your oven at 177 deg C. Line your muffin tins (2×6 or 1×12) with paper cups and set aside.

2- in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the sugar, eggs, and coconut oil. add the vanilla and yogurt and beat until you get a smooth mixture. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, oats, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and set aside. While the mixer is moving slowly, add the flour mixture gradually. When all is incorporated, fold in the grated zucchini.

3- using your ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into your prepared muffin tins. I got 15 muffins exactly. I didn’t fill them all the way to the top.

4- bake for 20 – 22 mins, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. set aside for 5 mins, remove from the tins, and let them cool completely before you store them in an airtight container overnight. You can devour on the spot, or save them for a healthy breakfast. Try them with a dollop of low-fat cream cheese in the morning. You won’t Regret it ;)

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** The Barney Cake **

My little nephew {#1} was asking me for a cake. And when I asked him what flavor he wanted it, he specifically asked for a vanilla Barney cake. Ok, so here’s the gig. I can bake and guarantee you a PERFECT taste, but as for design… no comment! Where on earth was I gonna make a Barney looking cake. So I decided to make it super simple for myself, I ordered the sugar 3-D barney from a pastry shop here in Lebanon; Chopin, to whom I thank so much for preparing it. They did it for me on the same day when others refused to even prepare it; same day, next day, or any other day {{won’t be quoting them though}}.

So here goes my little 20 cm 2 layer cake, vanilla with cream cheese frosting and a little food coloring.

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The outcome was amazing though. The look on his face was priceless, and that big hug he gave me OMG to die forrrrr!!!!!

Recipe:

For the cake:

- 2 cups of flour

- 1 cups of sugar

- 100 grams or 1stick of butter softened

- 3/4 tsp of salt

- 1/2 tsp of baking soda

- 1/2 tsp of baking powder

- 1 cup of full fat milk

- 3 eggs at room temperature

- 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

- 200 grams of cream cheese room temperature

- 120 grams of powdered sugar or more

- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

- 50 grams of softened butter

Preparation:

1- make sure before ever starting a recipe, to remove the eggs and butter out of the fridge an hour before starting. butter or spray oil two 20 cm cake pans. Add parchment paper and set aside. Preheat your oven at 170 deg C.

2- in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter. add the sugar gradually until fluffy. add each egg at a time, beating well after each addition. add the vanilla and beat. in a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. add 1/3 of the flour mix to the egg mixture and 1/2 the milk. beat just until incorporated. add 1/3 of the flour, and beat. add remaining milk and flour mix, do not over mix.

3- separate the batter into your prepared pans. bake for about 25 – 30 mins or until inserted tooth pick come out clean. Leave the cakes to cool. Once they are cool and before frosting them, layer your cakes with a sharp knife and set them aside.

4- For the frosting: beat the softened butter until creamy. add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and beat until they mix well. while the mixer is moving, add the powdered sugar gradually until you reach the consistency you want. you might need more or less than the quantity suggested. Take 1/3 of the cream cheese mix and add green food coloring to it and mix. Add a little bit of red and blue food coloring to the remaining 2/3 mix and mix until you get that purplish color.

5- for assembling: add the green cream cheese on top of the first cake, a generous amount. add the second cake on top and leave the remaining on the side for later use. add the purple cream cheese over the entire cake. with the remaining green frosting, add it into an icing bag and use the frosting head of your choice to make a nice frame around your cake. If you have any left over purple frosting do the same on the bottom.

6- refrigerate overnight before you enjoy it ;)

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** healthy double chocolate cupcakes **

Jack-O-LanternHAPPY HALLOW’S EVE EVERYONE Jack-O-Lantern

What’s Halloween without anything yummy to eat ;) candy, chocolates, bars, food, junk, love, more food… if that’s the case, then it’s Halloween all year long for me hehehe :D

What’s healthy, yummy, and chocolaty, and moist? Those cupcakes I made…

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can you believe this baby is healthy? no butter? sugar substitute? but believe me, one was just more than enough! I substituted sugar with fructose and butter with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. They were absolutely moist, even when coming out of the fridge! you can also substitute flour with whole wheat flour, or almond flour if you want them gluten free!

For the Cupcakes:

1 c unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ c all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp of coconut oil

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tbsp vanilla extract

½  c of fructose sugar

¼ c plain nonfat yogurt

½ c nonfat milk

For the Frosting:

1 c unsweetened cocoa powder

½ c honey or agave

2 tsp vanilla extract

8-10 tsp nonfat milk

     1. Preheat your oven at 177 deg C. Line your muffin mold with cupcake liners. Spray oil the liners and set them aside.

     2. In a bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the eggs, vanilla, and                 coconut oil. Add the sugar and yogurt, and beat just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and milk gradually, starting and ending with the flour. (1/3 of the flour         mixture, 1/2 milk, 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 milk, and 1/3 flour mixture). Don’t over mix, just until everything is incorporated. Divide the batter equally into your prepared         liners.  Bake for 21 minutes. Set them aside for 5 mins before you transfer them to cool completely onto the wire rack.

    3. For the frosting: add the cocoa powder, agave or honey (i used agave), vanilla, and 8 tsp of milk. Stir until smooth, if you feel the frosting is too thick, add the             remaining or more milk until you reach your desired consistency. Frost the cupcakes after they have completely cooled. Place them in an airtight container in the           fridge over night before devouring.

Adapted from: Amy’s Healthy Baking

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BON APPÉTIT

** Chocolate Caramel Tart **

I have to admit, the best part was making the caramel. Although I did burn it the first time, it was super fun remaking it correct the second time. I loved it. The taste was just amazing, my uncle said it tasted like a Mars bar, well not bad. Took that as a compliment.

Why did I bake during the week instead of the weekends like I usually do? Because I have  previously promised an awesome friend of mine to bake anything of his choice. So basically our Friday night was made up of pizza (YUM), GOSSIP, chocolate caramel pie, and more gossip.. anyways, here’s the delicacy :D

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I solemnly swear that this caramel recipe is EASY, YUMMY, and so caramalyyyy

INGREDEINTS

FOR THE CRUST:
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp. dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. salt
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and softened
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks,  room temperature (but when separating, make sure they are cold)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

FOR THE CARAMEL:
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
¼ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. crème fraiche

FOR THE GANACHE:
½ cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make the crust: Heat oven to 177 deg C. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using your food processor, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy; mix in yolks and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Transfer dough to a 9″ fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

2. Make the caramel: In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 6 tbsp. water and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 170°C. Remove pan from heat and whisk in butter, cream, and crème fraîche (the mixture will bubble up) until smooth. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4–5 hours.

3. Make the ganache: Bring cream to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for 1 minute, then stir slowly with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate until set, 4–5 hours. Slice and serve chilled.

 

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Derived from: Saveur.com 

BON APPÉTIT

** Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake **

It’s cinnamon season, so of course I got myself into the kitchen to prepare something cinnamon-y. I’ve been asked before what’s the best thing about cooking/baking. Truth is, it gets my mind off a lot that’s going around. Anyhew, this time it was a super fast recipe; I just placed everything inside my mixing bowl and prepared it.

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and this recipe is perfect for something to eat right out of the oven and not having to wait over night to devour it.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cake:

Ingredients:

- 3 cups flour
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 cup sugar
– 4 tsp baking powder
– 1 1/2 cup milk
– 2 eggs room temperature
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 4 tbsp butter, melted
– 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 tbsp flour
– 1 tbsp cinnamon

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Glaze:

- 2 cups of powdered sugar

- 5 Tbsp of milk

- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1- With an electric mixer or stand-up mixer, mix 3 cups flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined well, slowly stir in 4 tbsp melted butter. Pour batter into a greased baking pan, 26 cm.

2- In a large bowl, mix the 2 sticks of softened butter, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons  flour, cinnamon, and nuts until well combined. Drop evenly over cake batter by the tablespoon and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.

3- Bake at 177 degrees C for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center. Place powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake. Serve warm out of the oven or at room temperature.

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Adapted from: Six Sisters’ Stuff

BON APPÉTIT

** The Nutty Cake **

And here we are, on my favorite month of the year, October, the Autumn month. The month of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nuts, and spices. The month I just want to grab a cup of cocoa and a ginger bread cookie. But since I live in Lebanon and with the whole global warming issue, an icy cold water is just perfect. But wait, that didn’t stop me from getting into the kitchen on a Saturday evening and mixing up a beautiful nutty cake. Although I wanted to make it a healthy one, using olive oil instead of of 200 grams of butter, I just decided to make them all fat in my family! I mean a little butter shouldn’t hurt right? come on, I’m being nice.

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I love the way pecans look, they remind me of tanned skinny versions of walnuts :D

Recipe:

For the cake: 

- 3 cups of flour

- 3 cups of sugar

- 200 grams or 2 sticks of butter softened

- 3/4 tsp of salt

- 1/2 tsp of baking soda

- 1/2 tsp of baking powder

- 1 tsp of cinnamon

- 1 cup of full fat milk

- 5 eggs at room temperature

- 2 tsp of pure vanilla extract

- 1/4 cups of ground pecans

- 1/4 cups of ground almonds

- 1/4 cups of ground walnuts

- 1/4 cups of ground hazelnut

- whole walnuts and pecans for assembly.

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For icing: 

- 500 grams of cream cheese room temperature

- 230 grams of powdered sugar

- 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon

Preparation:

1- make sure before ever starting a recipe, to remove the eggs and butter out of the fridge an hour before starting. butter or spray oil two 26 cm cake pans. Add parchment paper and set aside. Preheat your oven at 170 deg C. mix all the nuts in a bowl. remove 1/4 cup of the mixed nuts and set aside for later assembly.

2- in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter. add the sugar gradually until fluffy. add each egg at a time, beating well after each addition. add the vanilla and beat. in a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. add 1/3 of the flour mix to the egg mixture and 1/2 the milk. beat just until incorporated. add 1/3 of the flour, and beat. add remaining milk and flour mix, do not over mix. using your rubber spatula, fold in the nuts.

3- add the batter into your prepared pans. bake for 30-35 mins or until insert toothpick or skewer comes out clean. make sure you start checking your cakes after 25 mins, just to make sure you don’t over bake or burn the cakes. after cakes are ready, set them aside to cool for 10 mins before you flip them onto the dish. flip the first one on your serving dish and the second on a rack to cool completely before icing.

4- to prepare the icing, beat the cream cheese until softened. add the sugar gradually until you get a soft creamy mixture. add in the vanilla and cinnamon and beat.

5- to assemble: once the cakes have complete cooled, add a generous amount of cream on top of the first cake and spread evenly. add the second cake on top and spread the remaining cream. add the walnuts and pecans around the cake and sprinkle the 1/4 cup of mixed nuts over. place in the fridge for at least 4 hrs or over night before serving it.

BEST SERVED WITH AN AWESOME CUP OF COFFEE OR JASMINE TEA ;)

 

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