Baking Without Butter

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

Trust me. This apple tart is easy to make and it’s delicious! Not to mention it looks amazing. If you like things not too sweet you will love this easy recipe. I make it with my easy oil crust, so there is no butter anywhere in this recipe, 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 really big apples, about 1/2 pound each, 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 healthier oil crust  made with extra light olive oil but you can any oil of your choice.  You can 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. I 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 apples are cooked and soft and they want 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. I tried using thicker slices but then the top was sort of mushy. So slice them 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. No matter what, I use all of the apples, even using leftover pieces to fill in any gaps. 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

Sep 3, 2014

Light As A Cloud Ricotta Cheesecake

Homemade Italiain Ricotta Cheesecake

Eat a piece of cheesecake and run! That’s because to burn off the calories from one slice of old fashioned cheesecake, you would have to jog for over an hour. But not so with my lightened up ricotta cheesecake. A walk around the block should do it. This is a healthier cheesecake for sure because it’s made using part skim ricotta cheese with no cream cheese or sour cream in sight. It’s also called Italian Cheesecake and the first time I had it was at an Italian restaurant. I ordered the cheesecake intending to share because it was, you know… cheesecake. But it was so light I ate the whole piece and could easily have had another one.

It was delicious! I had to learn how to make my own and I did. I even lightened it up some more by using part skim ricotta cheese and this delicious dessert just melts in your mouth. So no more full fat cheesecake for me. The last time I had regular full fat cheesecake at that “factory,” I wanted to stop at the mall on the way home and buy bigger pants. Make my Light as a Cloud Ricotta Cheesecake and you won’t need new pants. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Aug 15, 2014

My Everyday Cookies

Healthy Whole Grain Cookies Recipe

These healthy cookies are always on hand in my kitchen because I love sweets but they have to be as healthy as I can make them. And these are. They are 100% whole grain made with whole wheat pastry flour and oats. Then I add heart-healthy olive oil and this is a cookie I can eat every day (and I do!). The truth is that most of the time, dessert in my house is just a cookie and it’s this cookie more than any other. It’s sweet and satisfying and might actually do you some good. It has lots of fiber, heart healthy fat, and no butter or white flour. Did I mention a few mini chocolate chips?

I tried to decide what to call this… Oatmeal Cookies, Whole Grain Cookies, Healthy Cookies, Olive Oil Cookies, Cookies I Eat Every Day, but then I settled on Everyday Cookies because I have them just about every day. Sure, they are dessert after dinner but why not after breakfast? They have oats and whole grains and nuts – isn’t that what’s in a granola bar? And my granola bar recipe has chocolate chips too. So I do eat these healthy cookies every day, sometimes more than one a day.

These are some crispy cookies, which is good because they keep really well. I keep them in a covered container, mostly in the fridge by the second day, but they don’t last long. With two of us here they disappear fast and when they’re gone, I make more. If you’re looking for a crispy, healthier cookie, one that you can eat every day that might even do you some good, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jun 27, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie From Scratch

Here is my summer gift to all the bakers. My lemon meringue pie will spoil you forever because there is nothing that compares to homemade lemon meringue pie. And when it’s healthier and easier than all the other pies, it’s a true gem. This lemon meringue pie is healthier because the crust is made with extra light olive oil, no butter or shortening, and it’s easier because you can make the whole thing, from scratch, in an hour. That includes the easiest crust ever, from scratch, and a foolproof luscious lemon curd that will never fail you.

I make all my pies with an oil crust to avoid saturated fat and they are so much easier (and healthier) than the butter or shortening kind. Oil crusts can be patted into a pie pan or rolled between wax paper and simply placed into the pan. The beauty is that if there’s a crack or opening in the crust, you can just grab some dough from somewhere else and patch it. I love that. I make mine with extra light olive oil but you can use canola or any vegetable oil of your choice.

As for the lemons, it helps to have a juicer but you do have to make fresh lemon juice. And don’t even talk to me about bottled juice! So now you have a healthier, easier way to make one of the great American classic summer desserts, lemon meringue pie. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

May 28, 2014

Black Forest Brownies

Black Forest BrowniesWow! If you ever want to up your game when baking brownies, you have to try these awesome, fudgy, moist, delicious Black Forest Brownies. It’s a simple, one-bowl recipe and by lining the pan with foil, there’s almost no cleanup. Using canned dark sweet pitted cherries makes this is an easy recipe and it’s the main reason these brownies are so moist and yummy. Oh right… then there’s the chocolate chips. What an awesome combination.

Using Dutch-processed cocoa powder, like Droste brand, is what will give you a beautiful, rich dark color but that’s not the only reason to use Dutch processed cocoa. Cocoa processed this way is less bitter than the other kind like Hershey’s natural cocoa. But… you can make these brownies with Hershey’s with just a minor change, switching from baking powder to baking soda.

My recipe uses no butter, only two tablespoons of olive oil, and Greek yogurt. I like Fage 2% yogurt (never fat-free!). I use all-purpose flour in this recipe but I’ve also made them with half all-purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour. Either way, they are not too sweet, with a delicious combination of rich chocolate and dark, sweet cherries. To try may amazing Black Forest Brownies, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Mar 22, 2014

Whole wheat lemon brownies? You betcha!

Whole Wheat Lemon Brownies

Any time I can make a recipe better or healthier, I’m always willing to try. I was craving lemon brownies today (maybe because my lemon tree is getting full!) so I decided to make lemon brownies and this time, I decided to experiment with whole wheat pastry flour. “These are just for me,” I thought, “so if they don’t turn out, nobody has to eat them.” I expected they would be too dense and heavy but you never know if you don’t try and any time I can bake with whole grains, I do it. I just assumed it would not work with my light and soft lemon brownies.

Guess what? They were fabulous!!! I seriously could not tell the difference from the original ones I made. All I did was replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour and now my lemon brownies are even healthier: no butter and no white flour! I could hardly wait to share this with everyone because “Easiest Lemon Brownies” is one of my most popular recipes. Even the picture looks the same.

Whole grains worked with my chocolate brownies and now the lemon ones too. I guess I should have known but this was a learning experience for me, to always be open to making things better. I’m so glad I decided to try this and I have just changed the printable recipe to include the whole wheat pastry flour. Everything else stays the same. If you haven’t tried them yet, you should. I just had one that was still warm. Make that two. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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