Low-Fat Brownies have a
wonderfully moist and chewy texture and a deep chocolate flavor.
Serve them plain or topped with fresh berries and/or a scoop of low
fat vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt, or a fruit sorbet.
Homemade Applesauce can
easily be made at home. All you need is some tasty apples. Great as a
snack or as a side to pork and other meat dishes.
Fruit Salad (Fruit Cocktail)
consists of a variety of fresh or dried fruits soaked in a citrus flavored sugar
This meringue cake, with its
unusual soft sweet marshmallow center and crisp crust is produced by
folding a little vinegar and cornstarch into the stiffly beaten egg whites
and sugar. more
Amaretti is the Italian name
for macaroons, which means little bitter things. Crisp and crunchy on
the outside and soft inside, these small domed shaped cookies originated
in Venice Italy during the Renaissance period.
Honey Granola is a delicious
mixture of oats, almonds, wheat germ, and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, and
sesame) that are coated in a sweet mixture of honey, brown sugar, and
The porridge of my youth
started with 'rolled' oats which are oats that have been cleaned,
toasted, hulled, steamed and then flattened into flakes and, depending
on the thickness of the flakes, are labeled either 'old-fashioned' or
Granola Trifles is a
delicious combination of crunchy granola, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
These fruit and nut bars are
chewy and crunchy and loaded with flavor. They are healthy for us as
they contain lots of dried fruit and nuts and the batter has no butter
or oil in it. more
These muffins have the
delightful flavor and crunch of cornmeal and are bursting
with fresh blueberries.
As its name implies,
soda bread gets its rise, not from yeast, but from baking soda
(bicarbonate of soda). It can be made very quickly as it contains
only four ingredients; baking soda along with flour, salt, and
Blackberry Sorbet is a beautiful deep burgundy color with a sweet flavor and
soft and grainy texture. more
Frozen Fruit Pops are made
from a berry puree, sugar syrup, and fruit juice.
Strawberry Sorbet is a
delicious frozen blend of pureed strawberries and sugar.
A Watermelon Bombe is a
frozen dessert made by layering lime sherbet, vanilla ice cream and
raspberry sorbet in a mold. This bombe is made to look like a watermelon
and the contrast of flavors and textures is quite refreshing.
Raspberry sauce has a sweet
and tangy flavor and it has so many uses; from simply pouring it over a
of ice cream, to serving it as a sauce with a plated dessert, to
flavoring creams and sauces. more
Cran-Raspberry Sauce is a
sweet and tangy sauce made with a combination of cranberries and
raspberries, along with sugar and a little lemon zest.
For those times when
strawberries are expensive or not at their best, frozen strawberries can
be used to make this delicious puree (sauce). It has an intense
strawberry flavor that comes very close to the taste of wild
A delicious dessert made
with Apples that have their cavity filled with cinnamon brown sugar and
nuts that are baked until soft and tender.
This yeast bread has a
beautiful golden brown crust and a delicious rye flavor (caraway
seeds are optional) with a soft and tender crumb.
"Healthy Desserts" is a
section that includes all sorts of baking, from muffins to granola to
cakes to cookies to candies. It gives a
variety of recipes, some of the recipes are
virtually fat free or low in saturated fat, others are fruit based, some
contain whole grains, and there are also some recipes that are just
lower in fat than what you would normally find.
Now there are some whole foods that are just naturally healthy.
Fruits (fresh, frozen, and dried) are one example. They make really great desserts as they are
naturally sweet, full of flavor, contain essential nutrients, and they
are low in calories and saturated fat. When fresh fruits are in season,
sometimes all that is needed to finish a meal is a bowl of ruby red Bing
cherries, a slice of juicy sweet watermelon, a medley of lightly
sweetened berries, or crunchy slices of apples. But there are also ways
to incorporate fruits into our baking. Fresh, frozen, and dried fruits
can be stirred into batters for muffins, scones, bars and squares, and
quick breads for added flavor and texture. Berries (either fresh or
frozen) also make delicious fruit sauces that can be poured over sorbets
or frozen yogurts, or served alongside a slice of angel food cake or a
Pavlova. You can use a variety of fresh and dried fruits to make
delicious fruit salads, and berries make great fruit sorbets, fruit
smoothies, a jellied fruit terrine, or jellied strawberry creams topped
with jellied raspberry puree. And don't forget to add fresh berries or
dried fruits to a bowl of granola or, better yet, layer the granola with
fruit and yogurt for a lovely granola trifle.
Other whole foods that
would enhance our diets are ones that are high in fiber, both insoluble
and soluble fiber. Wheat bran, oat bran, oatmeal, and even some
pectin-rich fruits like apples, citrus fruits, and strawberries are all
high in both fiber and minerals. Oat bran and oatmeal are soluble fibers
which are said to help control blood sugar and reduce blood cholesterol.
Wheat bran, wheat bran cereals, whole grain breads, and the skins of
many fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, are insoluble fibers which
may help with bowel functions and may help to prevent some cancers. It
is a good idea to incorporate both types of fiber into our diets. Having
a bowl of oatmeal or oat bran for breakfast would be a good idea as
would a bowl of wheat bran cereal. Another idea would be to make muffins
using oat bran and wheat bran or make your own granola which is ideal
both for breakfast and as a healthy snack.
Of course we also need to
talk about types of fat as there has been a lot of talk lately about
obesity rates and heart disease with the amount of fat in our diets
being labeled as one of the causes. But as Dr. Stephen R. Devries tells
us in his book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Cholesterol
"not all fats are created equal". We all need a certain amount of fat in
our diets and, let's face it, fat tastes good. It is just that most of
us eat too much of it (we should aim for only about 30 percent of our
total daily calories to come from fat) and the wrong type. There are
three types of fat, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.
Let's begin by talking
about saturated fat, the fat that is mainly found in animal products,
like butter, whole milk, cream, ice cream, high fat yogurt, cheese, and
egg yolks. Although we can enjoy these foods, it is a good idea to be
conscious of the amount we are eating as saturated fat tends to raise
bad LDL cholesterol* which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. One
saturated fat that is getting a lot of bad press, and for good reason,
is trans fat or trans fatty acids. These are really nasty fats as they
raise bad LDL cholesterol*, increase triglyceride levels, and lower good HDL
cholesterol**. Trans Fats are made by bubbling hydrogen through
vegetable oil (called hydrogenation) and can be found in a lot of stick
margarines, some vegetable shortenings, commercially fried foods, some
processed foods, and some commercially made baked goods and crackers, to
name a few. Always, always, check ingredient labels on products to see
if trans fats are listed (labeled as "partially hydrogenated oil" or
"hydrogenated oil"). Keep in mind that
nutrition labels do not always list small amounts of trans fat.
Everyone's goal should be to avoid or at least try to reduce
the amount of trans fats in our diets.
Now for the healthy fats,
the foods and oils that we should try to use instead of saturated fats. First,
monounsaturated fats are said to raise the good HDL cholesterol**
and lower the bad LDL cholesterol*. Olive, canola,
and peanut oils, as well as some tub margarines, fall into this category
as do avocados,
seeds, and nuts. The second type of good fat is polyunsaturated fats
which are said to help lower blood cholesterol. Safflower, sunflower,
soybean, fish, and corn oils fall into this category as do ground
flaxseeds, and some soft margarines. But keep in mind that while these
oils may be better for us than butter, they still have a lot of calories
so use them sparingly.
In closing, I am not a
dietitian so the recipes do not list the amount of calories or fat
content. And while I am not against enjoying decadent desserts, I think
it is a good idea to eat them in moderation. Below I have included a
bibliography that you may want to read as it provides for further
reading on cholesterol and it also lists a number of books that are
devoted to lower fat cooking.
*LDL Cholesterol means
Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol. This is what doctors call the "bad"
cholesterol and if there is too much of it in the blood it starts to
build up on the walls of the arteries forming plague. Diets that contain
too much cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat can raise LDL levels.
**HDL Cholesterol means
High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol. This is what doctors call the
"good" cholesterol and high levels seem to protect us from heart
disease. HDL carries the bad cholesterol from the arteries back to the
liver. HDL levels can be affected by environment, weight, exercise, and
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