Dec 22, 2008

Date-Nut Bread

I love dates. To me they are nature's candy. Far better I would say than any cheap chocolate. I have a few recipes for dates, but because it is the holidays I will give you this yummy bread recipe. You must use nuts, I am sorry all you non-nut people. Otherwise it would be too sweet. If you have a mini-loaf pan, these make great gifts (wrap in plastic wrap, use tape to secure the bottom, and tie a beautiful bow on top with a name card). I bought a mini-loaf pan at Target a few years ago that I really like because it fits all of the batter for a singe loaf recipe. Try this sweet breakfast bread next time instead of banana bread. You might be surprised!

Date-Nut Bread
1 cup of boiling water
2 TBS butter
8 oz pitted dates, chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup brown or dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Combine hot water, dates, and butter in a large bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes. Stir in egg.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Add dry ingredients to wet. Add nuts. Mix until combined. Pour into 1 greased loaf pan, or 4 greased mini-loaf pans. Cook at 325 for 1 hour 15 minutes for large loaf and about 20-25 minutes for mini-loaves. Use a toothpick to test for doneness (if it is still a little undercooked in the middle, that is OK. Just allow it to cool in the pan longer and it will continue to bake). Allow to cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for easiest slicing.
Butter or cream cheese compliments this bread nicely.

Dec 18, 2008

Diabetics coming for Christmas dinner? Fear not...

So my good friend Sharee has a Christmas dilemma... She has two diabetic relatives coming for Christmas dinner. What in the world do you make for dessert? Well here with me today is Betty Crocker who publishes a wonderful book called the Diabetes Cookbook ;^) Here are three recipe ideas to serve to those who might be counting carbs and sugar.

Fruit and Nut Topped Pound Cake
*I like this one because you could have other toppings for the sugar eaters - toffee, chopped chocolate, whipped cream, toasted coconut, Carmel sauce, etc.
14 servings (less if you are eating less controlled portions)

1 package (10.75 oz) frozen pound cake loaf, cut into fourteen 1/2" slices (well, for us sugar eaters, maybe a 1" piece is more like it :^)
2/3 cup soft cream cheese with strawberries, raspberries, OR pineapple
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, well drained
1 1/2 cups bite-sized pieces assorted fresh fruit (kiwifruit, strawberry, raspberry,pear, apple)
1/2 cups reduced fat (or regular if you ask me) chocolate syrup
1/2 cup sliced almonds or toasted coconut

1. Set oven control to broil. Place pound cake slices on rack in broiler pan. Broil with tops 4 to 5 inches from heat 3-5 minutes, turning once, until light golden brown.

2. Spread each slice with about 2 tsp cream cheese. Top with orange segments and desired fresh fruit. Drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with almonds or coconut.

Food Exchange:
1 starch
1/2 fruit
2 fat
21-25g Carbs

Baked Custard with Fresh Raspberry Sauce
6 servings

3 eggs, slightly beaten (room temperature - you don't want scrambled eggs)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
2 1/2 cups very warm milk (about 120 degrees)
ground nutmeg
Fresh Raspberry Sauce (below)

1. Heat oven to 350. Mix egg, sugar, vanilla and salt in medium bowl. Gradually stir in milk (be careful not to scramble your eggs). Pour into six 6oz custard cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

2. Place cups in rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches, on oven rack. Pour very hot water into pan to within 1/2 inch of tops of cups.

3. Bake about 45 minutes or until knife inserted halfway (or toothpick) between center and edge comes out clean. Remove cups from water. Cool about 30 minutes. Unmold and serve warm with Fresh Raspberry Sauce. Store covered in refrigerator.

Fresh Raspberry Sauce

1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) raspberries
1TSP water
1TSP sugar

Place all ingredients into a food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Press through sieve to remove seeds if desired.

Food Exchange:
1 skim milk
1/2 fruit
1 fat
21-25g Carbs

Key Lime Bars
36 bars

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (20 squares) (put them in a sealed plastic bag and crush)
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup Key lime juice or regular lime juice
1 Tablespoon grated lime peel
Additional lime peel if desired

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of square pan, 9X9X2 inches, with shortening. Mix cracker crumbs, butter and sugar thoroughly with fork. Press evenly in pan. Refrigerate while preparing cream cheese mixture.

2. Beat cream cheese in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in milk until smooth. Beat in lime juice and lime peel. Spread over layer in pan.

3. Bake about 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 3 hours until chilled. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows. Garnish with additional lime peel. Store covered in refrigerator.

1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 1 fat
11-20 g carbs

Dec 15, 2008

Melt in your mouth Oatmeal Raisin (or Crasin) Cookies

These are very, very yummy. They are chewy and crunchy. Eric and I experimented with many recipes until we found (or created - we can't remember) this one. A note on vegetable shortening: someone once told me that she noticed a difference in her baking when she used store brand shortening as opposed to Crisco. We buy butter flavored Crisco. I would love to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience - either liking or disliking store brands. I would do the test myself, but having 4 dozen cookies hanging around my house would pose a very dangerous threat of rapid expansion to my hips, thighs, and buttocks :^) We used cherry Crazins this time and loved the change up! Also, if using raisins, use golden raisins if possible. They are more pump and juicy. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin (or Crazin) Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups Oatmeal (whole rolled oats are best)
2 cups raisins (golden are best) or Crazins (dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 350
Yield: about 3 dozen

Beat shortening and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk. Mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to other mixture. Stir in oatmeal and raisins.

Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets for about 10 minutes. They should be starting to brown around the edges, but still be pale in over all color. Remove from oven and let them cool on the cookie tray for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack. Wait until they are at least cool enough not to burn your mouth - and eat.

Dec 10, 2008

The BEST Sugar Cookies

This one I can take no credit for. I got it recently from my friend Kate's recipe blog (MUCH more professional than my blog). I made them for a party last weekend and they really made the yummiest sugar cookies I've had - and I have tired a LOT of recipes. So here they are! Check out her blog for more amazing tips on decorating

Sugar Cookies

1 C real butter (no substitutions!)
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t almond extract (you could use vanilla too)
3 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and extract and mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.

Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in waxed paper and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. The longer the better, and don't you cheat. If you want your cookies to hold their shape well, the dough needs to be really chilled. If you're in a hurry, immediately roll dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and place on a flat surface in the fridge. It will chill super fast and be ready to go in no time.

When you're ready to roll out dough lightly sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out dough with a rolling pin.

Alright now, cut out those cookies. Thick or thin, however you like it...

Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. The baking time really depends on how you like them. I like them really soft so I really under-bake them. In my oven, about 8 minutes does it. However if you're making large cookies, or ones with small parts or heavy frosting, you might want to be careful because they might break when they're super soft.About 8 minutes will get you a really soft cookie, a few minutes longer (when they start to just brown around the edges) and you'll get just a little crispiness around the edges and then a soft center, bake even longer (and roll thinner) and you'll get a crispy cookie. Any way you do it, they'll taste good. Remove onto cooling racks when you're done and let cool completely. I honestly think these even taste better the second day.Frost any way you like. If I'm making sugar cookies merely for the purpose of eating them, then my preference is a big swirl of almond cream cheese butter cream, hands down.

Rae Note: I found for the thickness I like -about 3/8 an inch - 11 minutes was perfect for a soft, but slightly crisp cookie. yuuummm

Dec 4, 2008

White-Out Chex Mix

There will be parties from here until New Years, and I don't know about you but I am very excited. This is a recipe that I am sure have m-a-n-y variations (feel free to post yours in the comment section). The name was "White Trash" which - fine - but really that just did not sound appealing to me. So I changed the name. So call it what you will, but this is a very yummy party treat. I got this one from a neighbor. It is one of those things I have always wanted the recipe for, but haven't made yet! So when it says 3 packages white chocolate, I'm not entirely sure what that is for all of those who like to know EXACTLY what to buy. My guess is three packages of white chocolate that you would find by the baking chocolate, above the chocolate chips. It is better to have too much chocolate than not enough.

3 cups rice chex mix
3 cups corn chex mix
3 cups cashews
3 cups pretzels
1 1LB bag M&Ms or Reeses Pieces
3 Packages white chocolate

1. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Think LOW heat.
2. Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl
3. Drizzle chocolate over dry mix
4. Mix until well coated
5. Spread out on waxed paper and let it harden
6. Break into pieces and store in bag... or eat it!

Dec 2, 2008

Cranberry Citrus Bread

This recipe is fabulous! Sarah brought it over for Thanksgiving and I have gradually eaten the whole loaf... With the help of Noel of course.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cups orange juice or lemon juice
2 TBS shortening
1 TBS grated orange peel
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan.

1. Mix together four, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl
2. Stir in OJ or lemon juice, shortening, orange peel, and egg. Mix until well blended.
3. Stir in cranberries and nuts
4. Spread into pan
5. Bake for 55 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean
6. Cool on a rack 15 minutes
7. Remove from pan and cool completely
8. Wrap and store overnight

Of course who can really wait until it's cooled over night? Chrissy and I always thought this was some sort of test - how much self restraint do you REALLY have? Chrissy, the kids, and I always ate the Zucchini Bread while the butter could still melt on the bread... Yummmmm