Baking Without Butter

Aug 14, 2015

Simple Yellow Cake Without Butter

Best Yellow Cake RecipeThis is my go-to yellow cake, one you can make from scratch in 40 minutes. Try it with my 2-minute chocolate frosting that has only 2 tablespoons of butter. What I like the most is all the things you can do with this quick and easy recipe.

For a fast dessert, I make this cake and frost it right in the pan. It’s a healthier dessert I feel good about and it really satisfies my sweet tooth. I have made it using 1% and 2% low fat milk as well as whole milk. All versions turned out great.

I have also doubled the recipe and made two cakes using two cake pans and used it for my fresh strawberry cake so now you can make my wildly popular strawberry cake with no butter at all!

The one I really love is my Boston cream cake that I make with just one 9-inch cake, which I slice across in half, fill it with homemade custard and top with a chocolate glaze. (why do they call it Boston cream pie? – it’s not pie!)

One thing of note: this is a much better cake when you use a cake strip. See in the picture how the cake is perfectly flat? I highly recommend using a cake strip, also called a baking strip, whether you buy one or make your own. It keeps the edges of the cake from over-baking.  Click here to learn about cake strips.

If you want a healthier cake that’s low in sugar and saturated fat, try my recipe. You can use my frosting or do your own thing with this simple, easy recipe.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jul 19, 2015

Breakfast Cookies Again? Yes!

Healthy Breakfast CookiesIt must be Sunday morning because I’m making breakfast cookies again. Here they are before baking. There are three things that are a constant in my kitchen (besides me)… three things that when I almost run out, I make more. They are: breakfast cookies, granola bars, and tortillas. This morning I ate my last breakfast cookie, there’s one tortilla left and I made granola bars yesterday. So it’s breakfast cookie and tortilla-day today.

Are you wondering why these three? Because you can’t buy anything even close to homemade tortillas. My granola bars are out of this world. And my breakfast cookies may not be pretty, but they are fantastic, especially if you want more fiber in your diet. Those are chopped prunes you see there… or wait… those could be pieces of dark chocolate!

My recipe uses bran cereal, whole wheat pastry flour, and oats (did I mention there are 4 grams of fiber in one cookie?). Then I add some moist chopped prunes (they do not taste like prune cookies!) and either chocolate chips or this time I chopped up some of a dark chocolate bar. And here they are all done…

High Fiber Breakfast CookiesThese are cookies of substance, great taste and texture, and many health benefits. Dark chocolate benefits the heart and all that fiber benefits your digestive system and keeps you regular. As for prunes, besides fiber, they are very high in antioxidants. Prunes benefit your eyes, heart, immune system and can help prevent bone loss.

Just like people, don’t judge this cookie by its appearance. It’s what’s inside that matters. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

May 8, 2015

Fiber – how to get more.

Homemade Bran Muffins Recipe

On the menu this morning – bran muffins. And I’ll tell you why you should try this easy recipe. We all need fiber. You could try one of those cereals with tons of fiber — you know, the ones that taste like particle board chips. Or you can make your own delicious bran muffins, which by the way, are very portable for breakfast on the go.

Fiber is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal diseases. Fiber also promotes regularity and can prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. By the way, when you increase your fiber you also need to increase your water intake. So I had one and a half muffins for breakfast with a big cup of green tea and some peaches. And that’s what I cooked today (so far). …just sharing… – Jenny Jones

Click here for the recipe.

May 4, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls on Sunday

Cinnamon Rolls No Butter RecipeI try to be good, I really do. But I made my amazing cinnamon rolls for brunch today. Well, it wasn’t really brunch – it was just breakfast but when I put cinnamon rolls on the table, it became brunch. Isn’t that why we all love going to brunch? “Let’s get the eggs and omelettes over with so we can get to the sweets!”

So that was me this morning, having my obligatory scrambled eggs and whole grain toast to clear my conscience in preparation for cinnamon rolls. Boy are they good! I see why so many people love this recipe. It’s easy and you can actually make this recipe with no butter at all, which is what I did. I used Canola Harvest instead of butter for the filling and didn’t miss the butter at all. Click here for the recipe.

These sweet rolls are soft and gooey and they smell amazing. I used Saigon cinnamon, which is more potent than the popular Ceylon cinnamon and I highly recommend it. Anyway, there’s only half a pan left now and that won’t be around long since I’m having it for dessert tomorrow.

Today I also made my ribs and potato salad for dinner so we’re having leftovers tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be a good day with ribs, potato salad, and cinnamon rolls for dessert! And that’s what I cooked today. …just sharing… – Jenny Jones

May 1, 2015

My Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Quick & Easy Chocolate Cake

Looking for an easy chocolate cake from scratch? This is it. Oh… and looking for a healthier chocolate cake recipe? This is it too. It’s not a fancy cake but it’s really moist and rich tasting even thought it’s made without eggs or butter. I make it with extra-light olive oil but my frosting does have two tablespoons of butter. If you use my frosting, that means each slice would have 3/4 teaspoon of butter. I can manage that. But you can also skip the frosting, make it a vegan chocolate cake, and just dust it with some powdered sugar.

For baking with chocolate I always use Dutch-processed cocoa for a beautiful dark color and it’s also less bitter than the regular one. It can be hard to find but World Market carries my brand (Droste), which I used in this recipe. This is the perfect cake to make last minute since there is no butter to soften and no eggs to warm up to room temperature. I often put it together before dinner and by the time we eat, the cake is cooled and then I whip up some frosting and… we have dessert.

This easy chocolate cake from scratch is perfect for Sunday family dinner… everyone does have a Sunday family dinner, don’t they? For the frosted version, click here for the recipe. For my chocolate cake with no butter recipe, click here. – Jenny Jones

Mar 6, 2015

Brownies for the weekend

Whole Wheat Brownies Recipe

It’s always good to have something sweet for the weekend (besides my sweet-heart!). He loves my easy chocolate brownies so I made some for the weekend. At the same time, I improved the recipe with a few minor changes, which I have noted on the printable recipe. I followed Lisa’s comment below my recipe and reduced the baking soda for a fudgier brownie. I also doubled the vanilla and reduced the baking time.

I also adjusted some amounts for easier measuring. I realized that 1/3 of a cup is 5 1/3 tablespoons so I changed both the 5 tablespoons of oil and the 6 tablespoons of yogurt to 1/3 of a cup each. It’s much easier to measure and makes no difference in the batter. We both like the new brownie better but the old version is still available too.

This morning I also made my giant breakfast cookies.  Just like my brownies they are 100% whole grain and made without butter.

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I love these breakfast cookies so much I just added them to “My Favorites” category. A lot of times, I also have them for dessert. For dinner I made vegetable fried rice with edamame. So that’s what I cooked today. …just sharing… – Jenny Jones

Feb 27, 2015

Crispy Apple Tart

Crispy Apple Tart Recipe

This apple tart is pretty easy to make and it’s delicious! Not to mention it looks amazing. If you like things not too sweet you will love this crispy fruit tart. I make it with my easy oil crust, no butter, and very little sugar. I’ve tried it with different apples but granny smiths work the best. They are firm and easy to slice thinly. It takes three or four really big apples, about 1/2 pound each (I prefer four), and the glaze is just some apricot jam that’s warmed up a bit. I use St. Dalfour brand.

Most tarts use a crust with shortening or butter but mine is a much easier oil crust made with avocado oil but you can any flavorless vegetable oil of your choice.  You could actually press the entire crust into your pan but it’s hard to get an even thickness so I roll it between wax paper. Then it almost fits the pan and you can press it a little towards the edges and basically “cut & paste” the crust together. Try not to have any holes or cracks and also keep it inside the rim or it can burn. As it is, the edge of the crust gets really dark but it’s super crispy and delicious.

I make this tart in a 12-inch pizza pan and I have also used a pizza pan with holes and that works well too. Here it is right before baking:

Best Apple Tart RecipeI love this healthy dessert. Make it for a party and call it apple pizza. One thing about serving: The apples are cooked and soft so the best way to slice the tart is with a long knife using a rolling motion. The soft apples will try to stick to the knife so keep an eye on them. I tried using a pizza cutter (the wheel thingy?) – bad idea. It took some of the apples with it.

Be sure to slice the apples nice and thin – 1/8-inch thick. As for how to place the slices, be creative. I always do the perimeter first but you can do your own thing. I also tried making the crust using whole wheat flour but it would not come out crisp so all-purpose is the flour to use. Hey, the apples have fiber! 🍏 Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Feb 26, 2015

I updated my breakfast brownies

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I made my breakfast brownies today and decided they could be better. So I made a second batch with a little more sugar, a little less cereal, and I added another egg and liked it better.  I adjusted the printable recipe accordingly but you can always get the old version at the bottom of the recipe. If you need extra fiber, there’s a ton in these chewy breakfast brownies.

Like most cooks, I’m always trying new things with my recipes, looking to see if I can make something better or easier or healthier. I also made potato soup today and I plan to post the recipe soon.

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It’s cold here in California – down into the 60s! 😉 I know. It’s into the zeros in other places! I’m sorry. That’s why I made soup today, getting ready to post my recipe for everyone in the Boston area, where they’re getting record snow this week. So that’s what I cooked today. … just sharing… – Jenny Jones

Nov 7, 2014

Pumpkin Pie – Healthier & Easier

Best Recipe Pumpkin Pie from ScratchI am already planning my Thanksgiving dinner including a homemade pumpkin pie from scratch. But then I do everything from scratch. I even bake the bread that I dry to make my own stuffing mix, but that’s another recipe. This pumpkin pie is low fat and light because it’s made without butter or cream, or even whole milk. I love it! It’s all low fat and healthier, even the crust. Ever since I discovered how easy it is to make an oil pie crust not to mention how much healthier it is, especially made with extra light olive oil, it’s the only pie crust I ever use.

If you’ve ever made a shortening or butter crust with the ice water you know how hard it is to patch cracks. That’s why I love an oil crust. It’s easy to put together and you can just pat it into your pie pan. Or do what I do and roll it between wax paper to get an even thickness of crust. And any cracks or open spaces can easily be patched with pieces of dough.

Cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner for your family is a challenge. Even for an experienced cook, it’s a lot to put together and my rule is to make absolutely everything I can in advance. And that’s easy for pumpkin pie. In fact, it has to be made in advance because it takes hours to cool and then needs to be refrigerated. I even make the whipped cream in advance. What? You don’t make your own whipped cream? Has anyone told you how easy it is? It’s ONE ingredient… plus a little sugar.  It takes about two minutes to make and whipping cream has no carbs.

If you’re tempted to try using fresh pumpkin I have two things to say. One, you have to cut and cook it first and it’s easier to build a guest room over the garage.  Second, canned pumpkin has more vitamin A than fresh. I believe in cooking from scratch but not this time. I always use canned pumpkin. But make sure it’s only pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.

My healthier pumpkin pie is made with 1% milk, 2% reduced fat condensed milk, eggs, sugar, and spices. Of course cinnamon is the most important spice but all cinnamons are not the same. The one most stores carry is Ceylon cinnamon but I recently discovered Saigon cinnamon and wow! It’s more potent, more fragrant, and it’s the only one I use. My brand is Spice Islands. If you use Saigon cinnamon, you don’t need as much as you’ll see in the printable recipe. (There’s a how-to video coming next week!)

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Homemade pumpkin pie will always trump a store bought pie so I hope you’ll try my recipe. Why not make one this week… just to test it out of course. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 9, 2014

Homemade Apple Pie

Best Apple Pie Recipe

My homemade apple pie is so good, when anyone finds out I made one they invite themselves over. No shame. No made up stories. They just say, “I heard you made pie. I’m coming over.” Homemade apple pie is the most famous American dessert and what a treat it is when it’s made from scratch, especially a deep dish apple pie like mine. No matter how much money you have, there is no place you can buy apple pie like homemade. And this is a healthier apple pie because there is no butter anywhere. The crust is made with olive oil!

I used to be intimidated about making pie and it was always about the crust. Not only was is tricky to do with the ice water method, but who wants to eat all that shortening or butter? Once I discovered that an oil crust is not only flaky and delicious, but super easy to make, that’s all I use now (try my chicken pot pie).

With an oil crust most recipes say to pat the crust into the pan but I say put it between wax paper and roll it out. This way it’s an even thickness and you just have to trim the edges. Another thing I like about oil crusts is you can patch it wherever there is a hole or crack. Just put some extra dough there and press. Actually, you HAVE  to roll the dough to make apple pie because you need a flat top crust. It has to be one flat piece that’s rolled out and you just lay it on top, crimp, brush with milk, sprinkle on some sugar, cut some vents, and bake.

Screen shot 2014-10-08 at 8.56.37 PMThis pie bakes for almost an hour so you need to protect the edges of the crust from burning. That requires a pie ring or shield like the one pictured below.

They sell for about $5 and are much easier to use than making your own out of foil. But if you need to make your own, the easiest way is to cut a circle of foil that’s large enough to cover the whole pie and then cut a big crcle in the center, leaving the entire center of the pie exposed and just the edges of the pie crust covered. Tuck the rest of the foil under the rim, just like the photo below.

Fresh out of the oven, the center crust looks perfect...but how is the edge?

For anyone not familiar with tapioca, it is a starchy substance used in puddings and as a thickener but if you can’t find it you can use all-purpose flour instead.

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I hope you like this recipe. How about this? Next time you’re invited to a family member’s house for dinner, offer to bring dessert. Show up with a homemade deep dish apple pie and watch what happens. There won’t be enough. Your cousins will be arm-wrestling for the last piece. They’ll want you to run for mayor! That’s the power of homemade apple pie. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones