Skinnier Strawberry Shortcake

This ain’t your momma’s Strawberry Shortcake!  No sir.  This is Strawberry Shortcake elevated to a whole new level.  Fresh baked sponge cake.  Freshly whipped cream.  And berries picked from a local farm. 

I tried to come up with some fancy shmancy name to help emphasize the awesomeness of this cake, but there was nothing that described it better than the simple, traditional name. 

I lightened this up a bit by using Splenda in the whipped cream and to macerate the strawberries.  Yes, there’s still 2 cups of heavy cream in there, but hey – you’re not going to eat the whole thing, so don’t freak out.  I only ate 1/16 of this cake and was quite satisfied.  All in moderation, folks.

I think this will be my new favorite recipe for fresh strawberries.  But don’t quote me on that.  I have about 3 more gallons of strawberries, so I may find another favorite!

Skinnier Strawberry Shortcake

Cake

  • 4 eggs, seperated
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Splenda

Strawberries:

  • 1/2 pound fresh strawberries
  • 2-4 tbsp Splenda (depending on the sweetness of your berries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To prepare cake, line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment or waxed paper.  Grease and flour the paper lined pan and set aside.

Combine sugar and egg whites in large bowl and whip to stiff peaks.  Add egg yolks and gently whisk until combined.  Add milk, vanilla, and flour and gently fold in until combined.  Fold in melted butter.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 mintues or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool completely on wire rack.  Remove cake from pan and split horizontally.

While the cake is baking, finely dice the strawberries.  Combine with Splenda and set aside to macerate until ready to assemble cake.

When cake is cooled and ready to be assembled, prepare the whipped cream:  Combine heavy cream, splenda, and vanilla in a metal bowl and beat until slightly stiff.  Reserve one cup for piping on the top of the cake.

Place one cake layer on a serving platter.  Top with half the the remaining whipped cream.  Spread a layer of strawberries over the whipped cream.  Top with the other half of the whipped cream.  Place the remaining cake layer on top.  Spoon the reserved 1 cup of whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, and pipe diagonal stripes over the entire top of cake.  Garnish with fresh strawberry halves, if desired.

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Paw Paw Muffins

About a week ago, I went to a friend’s house to pick up something I had ordered from her.  When I stepped on her porch I could smell this really sweet, fruity scent.  When she opened the door the first thing I said was “what smells SO GOOD out here???”  It smelled absolutely divine.  I can’t even describe it.  She informed me that it was Paw Paw fruit from her Paw Paw tree.  Seriously?  I had only heard of them from The Jungle Book movie!  Is there really such a thing?  Yes, there really is.  She gave me a bag of them to take home and try.  She told me that they are an ‘acquired taste’ for most people, so don’t be alarmed if you take a bite and don’t really like it at first.  So, I took my little bag of Paw Paws home and was anxious to taste one and make something with them. 

First, I just cut one open, and ate a bit of the flesh with a spo0n.  Hmm…she’s right.  I didn’t love it.  But I didn’t hate it either.  I couldn’t decide.  So, I made muffins with a few.  I did like the muffins better than the plain paw paw, but I still didn’t love it.  My husband really liked the muffins though.  Here’s the recipe, in case you ever come across some Paw Paw fruit yourself!

Paw Paw Muffins

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 medium-large paw paws (or 4 small ones), flesh removed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In seperate bowl, combine paw paw flesh, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg yolk.  Stir just until mixed together.  Add dry ingredients and walnuts to paw paw mixture, stirring just until combined.  Don’t overmix.

Divide evenly into 5 or 6 muffin cups (grease the muffin cups or use papers).  Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean.  Cool slightly before serving.

Blueberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Yes, another ice cream recipe.  My kitchen has turned into sort of an ice cream factory lately.  I just keep thinking of new flavors I want to play with!  Can you blame me?  Smooth.  Creamy.  Just mix it up and throw it in the freezer.  Doesn’t get much easier.  So, when we had a big bowl of blueberries that were reaching their last days, I decided to make a blueberry cheesecake ice cream!  Super delicious.  Seriously.  It was my husband’s favorite so far. 

Blueberry Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream

Ice Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup spreadable cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup graham cracker chunks

Blueberry Sauce

  • 2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Prepare the blueberry sauce by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook, stirring often, until thickened.  Let cool before proceeding.

For the ice cream, whip one cup of the heavy cream to stiff peaks.  In seperate bowl, beat cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk until smooth.  Add remaining cup of heavy cream and vanilla; stir until smooth.  Fold whipped cream into mixture.  Spoon blueberry sauce over whipped cream mixture.  Sprinkle graham cracker chunks over top.  Gently fold in until there are ribbons of blueberry sauce running through – do not overmix.

Pour into a freezer proof, airtight container and freeze until firm.

 

Lavendar Peach Butter

I have a great neighbor.  She brings me fresh tomatoes from her garden.  She gives me homemade strawberry freezer jam.  And the other day she gave me some fresh basil and fresh lavendar from her garden.  I had never used fresh lavendar in cooking before, so I was excited to try it!  With peaches being so scrumptious right now, I thought it would be great to mix the two flavors.  Thus, Lavendar Peach Butter was born.  This recipe makes a small batch – only about a pint – but you can easily double, triple, or quadruple the recipe if you want to make several jars.

Lavendar Peach Butter

  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp fresh lavendar leaves, chopped
  • juice of one lemon
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Place water and lavendar in small saucepan.  Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and let steep for 10-15 minutes.  Add peaches, lemon juice, and lemon zest to pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The peaches will start to break down and thicken slightly.

With an immersion blender, puree the peach mixture until smooth.  (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor to puree.  Then, transfer back to the pan.) 

Add sugar and bring to a boil again, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for another 25 minutes.  Pour mixture into jars and let cool before adding the lid. 

Store in the refrigerator and use within one week.

Skinny Brown Butter Peach Crumble Bars

Peaches have been absolutely delicious this year.  We’ve been buying them from a local fruit stand regularly for the last several weeks.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had peaches as good as the ones we’ve been getting this year.   In addition to just breaking them open and eating them as the juice runs down my arms to my elbows,  I’ve been trying to come up with different ways to use them.  I found this idea of a cross between a granola bar and a peach cobbler.   I’ll be trying these with other fruits too…let me know if you do!

Skinny Brown Butter Peach Crumble Bars

  • 1-1/2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or you can substitute all purpose flour)
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp splenda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 stick light butter, melted
  • 4 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8×8 inch pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, splenda, oats, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside. 

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.  Stir constantly until the butter turns a light golden brown. (This will take about 3 minutes or so)  Once brown, add butter to flour mixture along with vanilla.  Stir until combined.  Fold in the peaches.  Press into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Let cool completely and cut.

Serves: 12

Weight Watchers Points + : 4 points each

Skinny Banana Nut Muffins

When you have bananas that are so ripe you just can’t bring yourself to eat them, it’s time for Banana Nut Bread.  Or, in my case, Banana Nut Muffins.  I’ve created a healthier version that won’t make you feel guilty for indulging a little!

Skinny Banana Nut Muffins

  • 4-5 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Line two muffin pans with 16  paper liners.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt, allspice, and cinnamon.  In a seperate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until creamy.  Beat in the applesauce and bananas.  Fold in the dry ingredients.  Fold in the nuts.  Spoon batter into paper liners and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from pan to cool completely.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Serves:  16

Weight Watchers Points + : 3 points each

 

 

Key Lime Pie Cookies

I made a Key Lime Cake the other day for a friend’s anniversary and had a ton of the filling left over.  The little wheels in my head started turning and I thought that a Key Lime Pie Cookie sounded awesome – a key lime and cream cheese filling sandwiched between two graham cracker flavored cookies.  So, I played around with that little idea and these cookies were born! 

Key Lime Pie Cookies

Cookies:

  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt (I used kosher salt)
  • 7 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes and cold
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 tbsp milk

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • pinch salt
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • powdered sugar (amount will vary, but you’ll need at least a couple cups)

 

To make the filling, combine sugar and cornstarch in small saucepan.  Stir in lime juice and water until smooth.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks slowly, until eggs are lukewarm.  Stir eggs into the remaining lime mixture.  Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat and stir in salt.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator. 

When lime curd is cooled, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add lime curd, mix well.  Add powdered sugar until mixture reaches a buttercream frosting consistency  – thick enough to pipe and hold it’s shape.

 

Prepare the cookies:

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to incorporate.  Add the butter and pulse until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. 

In a small bowl, whisk together honey and milk.  Add to flour mixture and pulse until the dough come together.  It will be very soft and sticky at this point.  Dust a piece of waxed paper with flour and lay half of the dough on top.  Pat dough out with your hands a little, then sprinkle the dough with flour and top with another piece of waxed paper.  Roll out to 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  Freeze or refrigerate until firm.  Repeat with the other half of the dough.  When chilled, cut dough into rounds with cookie cutter.  Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Remove from pan to cooling rack and let cool completely.

When cookies are cool, assemble by piping or spreading some of the filling onto one cookie; top with another cookie and press lightly.  Repeat with remaining cookies.