Baking Without Butter

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

Mar 18, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons – easy!

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

I love easy cookie recipes where you just dump everything into a bowl, stir, drop, and bake. That’s how easy these coconut macaroons are to make. It only takes five ingredients to make these show-stopping cookies and that includes the chocolate. And there’s no butter! Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons make perfect gifts. People will think you’re a gourmet baker but this is a foolproof, easy recipe.

I make these cookies every year for our annual holiday open house and there’s one guy who only comes to have these cookies. (Mark, you know who you are!) No matter how many I make, they always disappear too soon and now I think I may have to check his pockets when he leaves… 🙂

Here’s how easy it is to make these chocolate-dipped macaroons. Everything but the chocolate goes into a bowl and you combine it with 2 forks. That’s the best way I’ve found to stir it all together. Then I shape the mounds on the baking sheet using the 2 forks but you can use spoons if you like. While the cookies bake, I melt the chocolate. I used to do that in a double boiler where I placed a pyrex bowl over simmering water (the bowl can’t touch the water) but now I just microwave the chocolate to melt it. I check it at 30 seconds and a minute to stir so if you microwave, keep checking and stirring until it’s melted.

There are so many ways to add the chocolate. 1) You can cover half the cookie with chocolate and leave half plain. 2) You can drizzle strands of chocolate across the cookie back and forth with a spoon. 3) You can dip the bottom first and then add chocolate to the edges like in the photo. That’s how I usually do it. I found the first few were easy to roll around to cover the edges but when there’s less & less chocolate, I spooned it onto the edges. Then you place the chocolate-dipped cookies onto wax paper to set.

If you make them, send me a picture! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Jan 15, 2014

Greek Walnut Cake

Greek Walnut Cake Recipe

There’s no butter in this moist and sweet walnut cake. The Greeks call it karithopita and what makes it so moist is that you soak it in a spicy syrup made with cinnamon, lemon peel, and cloves. Just poke a few holes around the top of the cake and pour over a warm, sweet syrup. A lot of Greek desserts use a syrup – baklava is a great example.

I always feel better when I can bake something sweet for dessert without butter. This cake uses oil and since it’s a Greek cake, I use heart-healthy olive oil. Both olive oil and walnuts are considered heart-healthy. Any time I bake with nuts, I always toast them first and I suggest doing it for this cake, especially because there are a LOT of walnuts in the recipe and toasted walnuts always make a cake or cookies taste better.

My stepmother is Greek so I have grown to love Greek food (and her, too). She is the one who told me to poke holes in the cake before pouring on the syrup since not all recipes use holes but it really helps soak the cake beautifully. My Greek walnut cake can be served warm or cold. Make it for your next party. Opa! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Nov 19, 2013

Lightened Up Pumpkin Cheesecake

Lightened Up Pumpkin Cheesecake

I’m sharing one of my prized recipes just in time for Thanksgiving. This is one people will talk about long after it’s gone and they’ll probably ask for the recipe. My lightened pumpkin cheesecake is made using all reduced fat ingredients so it’s a healthier dessert, perfect after you’ve stuffed yourself senseless with turkey. This lighter cheesecake won’t weigh you down and the recipe is fairly simple but you will need a springform pan.

The crust is just graham crackers sprinkled on the bottom so there’s no heavy butter-laden crust. And the secret to this light and airy cake is to beat the egg whites separately and fold them in at the end. I get the best results using Daisy Brand light sour cream and Philadelphia brand 1/3 less fat cream cheese. I tried neufchatel but didn’t like the result, and I would never use Knudsen reduced fat sour cream for anything!

So if you try this amazing holiday dessert, make sure you have all your ingredients at room temperature and leave enough time to let it cool for at least two hours on the counter and then refrigerate for at least two hours as well. This is my Thanksgiving gift to all you cooks who will soon be stuffing turkeys and faces! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 1, 2013

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Wow! I love this incredibly easy recipe. It’s so simple. One bowl. No mixer. No shaping. And no cleanup if you use parchment paper. There is no butter and no flour is this simple cookie recipe. And my version has less sugar than most. Wait ’til you try one – the taste is out of this world!

Even the most amateur cook can’t mess this up. Here are the steps: 1) Mix ingredients together in a bowl. 2) Drop on sheet and bake. 3) Done.

I’ve always used natural peanut butter, like Laura Scudder’s or Santa Cruz organic, but always chunky. You can use smooth… but why? With chunky peanut butter, you get some nice peanuty crunch with every bite. When cookies are this easy to make, anyone can make cookies from scratch – in 15 minutes.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Aug 18, 2013

Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

CrispyCrunOatCk_600Baking without butter is a priority around here because I am not living without cookies. When I’m not having my lemon brownies, doughnuts, marble loaf, or apple bars (all made without butter) there is always a cookie on my dessert plate. I haven’t had a store-bought cookie in decades. Why would I when healthy cookies are so easy to make. We eat a few and I freeze a few, so there are always a variety of cookies in the freezer.

Crispy cookies like this one can be eaten still frozen – talk about crunchy! This healthy cookie can be made with extra light olive oil or canola and it’s 100% whole grain, made with oats and whole wheat pastry flour with crisp rice cereal added for even more crunch. You’ll see I added some mini chocolate chips although you can omit those… but I wouldn’t. 🙂 Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

To see how to keep cookies crisp click here.