Sunday, 28 October 2007

HotM 8: Baking round up

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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!


Christine said...

Great roundup, Joanna. So many intriguing recipes to try. I hope you get a breather now.

Lauren said...

Lots and lots of new recipes to try - thanks for the roundup, and including me! I'm now looking forward to next month.

bee said...

thank you, dear joanna. this is a great resource. i will definitely be trying many of these recipes.

Mansi Desai said...

Amazing roundup!! so nice to know you can eat such treats without feeling guilty!! some of these recipes really rock!!

zlamushka said...

Thanx for letting me participate. I loved the round up, there are some great ideas over there, .... Hope mine helped too...

Nupur said...

What a delicious round-up of goodies! Right in time for the holiday season too :)