Tuesday, February 07, 2006

On the Low-Fat Side

Almost No-Fat Fudge Brownies

When I checked out Chocolate by Nick Malgieri from our local library, I had no idea that this would be the first recipe --of all the other wonderful ones-- I would try from it. Of course, I had no idea that we would be going low-fat for a while, either. That said, I must add that these brownies did not disappoint. They took quite a bit longer to bake than what the book said, and although I was sceptical about my first low-fat dessert, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture at the end.

While I was making these brownies, I thought that the amount of sugar used was exagerrated for the size of pan indicated. Later I learnt that sugar is a tenderizing agent, and more sugar makes up for the reduction of fat which has the leading role in tenderizing baked goods. Interesting, isn't it? (FYI, let me add that the finished product did not taste too sweet at all.)
  • 1/2 cocoa powder
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs softened butter
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter sides and bottom of 8" square pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In a seperate bowl, beat butter and sugar. Whisk in the egg whites, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in the applesauce mixture into the flour until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until firm. (Mine took quite a big longer to set.) Cool in pan before you cut into 16 squares. Keep covered at room temperature or wrap and refrigerate.

Blueberry Pecan Coffee Cake

Renne tipped me for this one (Thanks!). I had the ingredients at home, and tried it the same day she sent me the link. (I made it in a loaf pan.) As you can see, all the blueberries conspired to sink to the bottom, and my coffee cake looks more like an upside-down cake. On the bright side, the taste and texture were really good and everyone loved it; what's more, it was as good as freshly baked the next day. I'll definitely make this again, maybe with dried fruit instead of the blueberries. However, I think I'll change the way things are done a little bit. I am planning to beat the egg yolks with sugar until they really thicken, add the flour-nut mixture and fruit next, and the whipped egg whites at the very end end. This way, I hope to achieve a thicker batter which will hopefully hold the fruit nicely distributed.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


I have been tagged by Tulin of Domestic Cat to list my food challenges for 2006. Let's see if I will be able to come up with 5 as asked:
  1. I promised to make a wedding cake for my friends who are getting married at the end of March. The bride wants a chocolate cake with a traditional white frosting. I have tried my hand at wedding cakes before, but every wedding cake is definitely a new challenge; and this one will be even more so because of the dark colored cake under the light colored frosting. I am both very excited and nervous about this project. The good news is that I'll have another friend --who is more experienced in making big cakes-- to help.
  2. My husband was diagnosed with gall stones about two weeks ago, and has been on a strictly no fat diet since then. Knowing that he should stay away from the kind of desserts I usually make initially left me without any desire to bake. But lately, I am starting to discover that it is possible to make delicious desserts with much less fat. This is virgin territory for me, so I am very excited and really look forward to experimenting with new ingredients and recipes.
  3. I always wanted to learn more about bread baking. I hope that 2006 will be the year that I can experiment more with yeast.
  4. I want to master making madelaines, canelles and homemade puff pastry. And, oh yes, there are a couple of desserts in Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme that I have been dying to make. I really hope that I can do at least some of these this year.
  5. I started to use mascarpone and creme fraiche in my baking in 2005. Both of these are hard to find in US supermarkets, and they can be quite costly even if one can find them. I want to try and see if I can make these European ingredients at home.
And now I tag Anna (Cookie Madness), Sarah Lou (One Whole Clove) and Fethiye (Yogurt Land). I hope you guys have not been tagged with this before. Would you like to share your 5 food challenges for 2006 with us?