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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Boosting Fiber in Baked Treats

Fall is starting and I have an overwhelming urge to bake, bake, bake! All I can think about is breads, pies, cakes, brownies and cookies. I love the warm, cozy, comforting smell my house has when there is something sweet in the oven. Baking is like meditation for me. There is a specific order and pace to it that cannot be rushed and I find that very soothing. I also enjoy the creative outlet that comes with experimenting with new ingredients and creating new recipes. I can't tell you how THRILLED I am when something I try turns out to be delicious. (Probably because it doesn't happen regularly!!) I have been dying to bake banana bread for days now. Patiently, I watched the bananas on my counter, counting the days until they were too ripe to eat, and just perfectly sweet for bread. Yesterday was that day. I was bored with my usual recipe, so I began searching the internet for something new. I found on Food Network a recipe from Flour's bakery in Boston that looked scrumptious, and I knew I had found a winner. I had a few reservations, however. I wanted desperately to bake, but didn't want a complete nutritional failure sitting in my kitchen, tempting me. I have finally lost my 30 pounds of baby weight after 14 months and have no desire to ever see it again. I don't deprive myself of sweets, because, let's face it, that would just be plain miserable. I needed a treat but needed one that wouldn't completely blow all of my hard work. My idea was to replace some of the white flour with whole wheat and replace some of the fat with yogurt and sour cream. The first recipe is the original version from www.foodnetwork.com. The second is mine.

Flour's Bakery Banana Bread

Ingredients
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Directions
Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Baking Mommy's Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1/2 plus 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 plus 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 Tbls brown sugar
2 eggs
1/8 cup canola oil
1/8 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt (I used Yoplait Fiber Plus Honey Vanilla)
3 large bananas, very ripe
2/3 toasted, chopped pecans

Follow directions from above recipe

I know there are alot of ingredients and alot of strange measurements, but the result is well worth it. You will never know that the fat is reduced and the fiber is increased. Its a sneaky treat!

Last night, I also got a little crazy and baked Chocolate Chip cookies. In my whole wheat kick, I added some in to those as well. The result was pretty good. They are a little grainy, but still delicious. Next time I will add a little less whole wheat flour, maybe half and half and see what happens. I will say though, one of these cookies, to me, was more filling and satisfying than two or even three (!) of the regular version. The recipes are below.

The Best EVER Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients

2 sticks ‘cold and cubed’ unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar – not packed too hard. Just spoon it in the cup(s) and press down lightly when full, sweeping off any extra that runs over.
2 eggs
1 Tbls good quality vanilla extract
3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups AP flour – Spoon and Sweep method. (feel the dough, it should be moist, kind of like cold cookie dough in a tube.. but not super sticky, so you can portion the cookies with your hands)
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4-1 teaspoon baking powder ( I don’t fill the tsp fully, hence the 3/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (I usually use half semisweet and half milk chocolate AND, a little birdy told me to use Guittard)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.. and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla and mix until just incorporated.

2. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chunks and nuts.

3. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients.

4. Scoop and bake for roughly 15 minutes. I like my cookies a little raw and gooey, so I take them out before. Just keep an eye on them and bake to your taste!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie

I followed the above recipe, but used 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose. The dough was a little stiff, so I's suggest using a few tablespoons shy of 2 cups on the whole wheat flour.

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