JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Sunday, October 28, 2007

HotM 8: Baking round up

Well, as usual, I'm running to catch up with myself. This month's excuse is that it's half term, and we've been busy - but who isn't busy with everyday life? Apologies, especially to those of you who responded quickly to my cri de coeur for help with low cholesterol heart-healthy baking.

That means NO butter and not much marge. Not many egg yolks. No cream. No cheese to speak of. Not a lot of oil, even if it is olive oil. You see the problem. Off the top of my head, we're down to meringues and macaroons. As we're all after a healthier lifestyle, and as SO many food bloggers like to bake, I feel sure that you've all got at least one delicious yet low-fat cake or biscuit recipe that you use in your kitchen ... you'd be doing me, and countless others, a huge favour if you'd share it.

Almost immediately, I had an email from Janette (no blog link attached):

I don't have a recipe but I do have a book suggestion.
Only seen it at Amazon and on the shelf at the bookstore
and library...

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes
for Cupcakes that Rule by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Terry Hope
Romero, and Sara Quin (Paperback - Sep 26, 2006)

Now I know that there are people who are irritated by the stridency of the vegan bloggers network, but this month I noticed particularly how vegans have got low cholesterol baking cracked - no butter, no egg yolks ... all the same problems. And anyway better by far than the sour message I received (which I can't now find, so I think I must have deleted it) saying the best thing to do was not to eat baked goods. Yes, well, thanks for that. Luckily, most bloggers like nothing better than an excuse to get out their baking pans ... so here, without further ado, are their delicious - and heart-friendly - results.

Bee started by making her own nut butter (actually, a really good idea, just look at the ingredient list of your favourite peanut butter if you don't believe me ... full of stuff you can hardly believe is necessary). She used this to make heart-healthy almond cookies, flavoured with cranberry and orange ... but this master recipe could just as easily be used to make peanut, cashew or hazelnut biscuits.

Lakshmi at The Yum Blog says that Zero Butter low fat cooking opens up a whole world of amazing possibilities - Cakes and Brownies can graduate from a “once in a while” indulgences to a routine snacks. She does this by using apple puree instead of butter ... in this post producing healthy chocolate brownies. Not just a one-off, but an approach that you can adapt to all your favourite indulgent recipes.

Gillian Law (no blog) sent this link to Molly Cake, a moist and fruity cake which contains no refined sugar or fat. It’s also free of eggs and dairy products, which means it’s suitable for vegans, or anyone trying to cut down a little. Once tested, all who have tried it want the recipe.

Check out Ilva's grape foccacia ... this is an end-of-summer treat for Italians, to use up the last of the harvest. Ilva (my HotM co-host) says you don't need a recipe, you can use your own bread dough - but she gives one, as well as beautiful photographs.

Nupur's banana bread
is healthier than most, because it uses fiber-rich whole-wheat flour and the fat is mainly peanut butter, a rich source of protein, micronutrients and "good" fats. More egg whites instead of any yolk, and apple sauce. Chocolate chips, too.

Here's a link to my home-made vanilla essence. Mine is still in the early stages, although it will be ready in time to use for baking in December. I've included it because when you take the egg yolks out of your baking, you're taking quite a bit of the taste too ... this is a lovely way to put in a vibrant fresh taste.

Labelga in Brussels gives a recipe for lovely chewy oatcakes with dried fruit ... it's an obvious way forward for those watching cholesterol, yet many off-the-shelf products, and even recipes are not that healthy. This one uses olive oil and no eggs, the moisture comes from the fruit itself, which needs a good long soak (I'd use fruit juice rather than water, and perhaps tea for the spelt ...).

Over at Foodblogga you'll find Heart Healthy Date, Fennel, and Pistachio Scones - wonderful flavours, and using cottage cheese rather than apple sauce because of an unfortunate attempt at apple sauce muffins.

Dhivya at Culinary Bazaar has baked us a delicious ricotta dessert with berries - again, egg whites only, low fat cheese, plenty of fruit.

Check out Zlamushka's Polish carrot cake. She uses margerine (fine, there are some good heart-healthy ones out there), and the cake is packed with fruit and vegetables, as well as whole flour. The icing is tofu and honey with vanilla or jasmine essence.

You'lll find cranberry and pistachio biscotti at Fun and Food - something lovely to dip into your coffee without feeling guilty!

Over at Tasty Palettes you'll find a guilt-free apple crisp ... one of the comments says that it looks like apple crumble, and that's something my son really loves, so this is definitely one to try. Apple sauce instead of butter in the topping - clever.

Christine's daughter in law gave her a useful tip which she passes on to us at Christine Cooks - one banana may be substituted for one egg in most baked vegan recipes. And that's what she's done in her experimental chocolate brownie recipe. Don't they look good?

Chris at Mele Cotte immediately thought about using vegan recipes for this baking challenge, and modified a peach cake recipe. Her post describes how the first experiment didn't really work out - but she took this version to the office to share. The exquisite decoration is halved grapes.

Lauren bakes apple (or pear) muffins to take to work to snack on in the afternoon (SO much better than a Mars bar!). This is her first entry for Heart of the Matter, and she says she's been a long-time lurker on various food blogs - so thanks for sharing, Lauren, and welcome!

Linda has made Kruidkoek - that's Dutch spice cake. It's one of those cakes that's better made a day or two in advance, but Linda confesses to eating her third fresh slice as she was posting! Yoghurt, honey, flour, muscovado sugar, spices - and that's all.

Deeba is passionate about baking, and has made a spicy apple crumble using oats and marge for the topping.

I found Tanna's email apologising for being late when I started work on this roundup. So I emailed back and said that I was even later, and please would she send her post - her baking is a constant inspiration, and I know I'm not the only one to be inspired. This month, she's made blueberry polenta muffin tops. Mmm

SO many good things to try ... thank you ALL for taking part. This one has been especially good for me, because it's an area where I haven't had much success, where I feel I need a few fresh ideas - and I've certainly got lots to work on now. Let me know if the links don't work, or if I've left you out, as my usual system didn't work so well this month.

And watch out for the announcement of next month's Heart of the Matter, from Michelle (who has joined us as co-host) at The Accidental Scientist ... I'll leave her to tell you what we've decided on!


Ilva said...

wow Joanna, what a lot of interesting recipes! I'm really impressed. Great roundup too!

Carolyn said...

great reading - I am not so worried about cholesterol - but just like to keep my weight down through lower fat foods. BUT baking is my downfall and have never found much interesting beyond..marshmallows, jelly and meringues! I do bake banana muffins with only 1 oz of fat and 1 egg, which is lower than a lot of recipes...the recipe is on my blog

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links Joanna, I am in the same position as you as my husband had a heart attack 3 months ago. I don't have a sweet tooth but he does and it is very hard for him not eating biscuits and cakes. I have printed two of the recipes to try.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wonderful round-up with great recipes. The half-ed grapes are pretty! Thanks Joanna. I do now have my blueberry muffins up.

Suganya said...

Who knows low-fat, no cholesterol baking can be so much fun. THx for this wonderful round-up Joanna.

Joanna said...

Thanks, Ilva. Carolyn, I will look for your muffins, because I'm not so good at them, and would like to get better.

Marie ... I am so glad that you have found some of this useful - it was exactly what I wanted after my husband's heart attack, when we all felt a little disbelieving and lost. Do email me if you think I can be of any further help, or you'd just like a chat

Tanna, thanks for posting the muffins so quickly, they look great - I'm a real convert to cooking with corn and polenta now, thanks to you


TopVeg said...

What a great list - I had searched your blog earlier this week for some healthy biscuit recipes - so now I have got plenty to get my teeth into! Many thanks

Katie Zeller said...

Wonderful round-up and lots of great recipes! I didn't participate because I really don't bake very much - soda bread weekly, Pumpkin Bread and one or two cookies at Christmas is about it. Although, with all these recipes I may start again...

Chris said...

So cool! I can't wait to check out all the links! Thanks for all the work you did. :)

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

How fabulous Joanna! What a treasure trove here. I must admit, I was stumped with this one. I just never knew how to bake this way, and I'm thrilled to have recipes to try. What kind of a wretched person sends an email like that? Clearly no one they love's ever had heart disease. Or else they just don't know how to have fun. I loathe nasties like that in the blogosphere! They get me now and again too. Doesn't matter - this is a great round up, and I'm very grateful!

Latha Narasimhan said...

So many low fat recipes! Great roundup! All of them are worth trying!

Anonymous said...

Joanna, thank you so much for this roundup. What I like enormously is having a concentration of recipes at hand, and of people's ingenuity in response to a challenge. Buttermilk instead of milk, bananas instead of eggs: I've learned a great deal.

Anonymous said...

Well Joanna take comfort in the fact that at least you have been more organised than me. I did bake something but still haven't had time to write the post a week after the deadline. Never mind, will try to do better next time for your new co-host!

Lots of ingenious ideas here - I'll have to try some of them out (along with your butterless pastry)

Toffeeapple said...

This has even inspired me to do some baking, and that takes some doing. What an inspiration you all are.

Deeba PAB said...

GREAT JOB Joanna...some real pearls here. Great round up...and very good effort too. Am still very careful with butter and use it a lot, but restrict the amount the kids intake. U've done really well...LOL

Anonymous said...

you know this is such a fun event :D - looking forward to the next theme

Susan from Food Blogga said...

What a variety of healthy and beautiful baked goods! Food bloggers never cease to amaze me. I also really enjoyed your descriptions of each entry. Well done, Joanna. Thanks for hosting.