Angel Food Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Admittedly I prefer cooking meals to baking any day!  My desserts are never pretty. 😐  Regardless, I bit the bullet today and prepared to make something to take to a 4th of July BBQ tomorrow.  I thought about cookies, but wasn’t in the mood for something so labor intensive, then came upon a long forgotten boxed angel food cake mix in my cupboard.  The “best by” date had admittedly passed, but since the only added ingredient was water, I decided to give it a shot… #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Angel Food Cupcakes

  • 1 Box Betty Crocker Angel Food Cake Mix
  • 1+1/4 Cups Water

Add water to cake mix in metal or glass bowl and mix on low 30 seconds then medium for 1 minute.  Divide batter between 24 paper lined cupcake pan holes and put pans into a preheated 375° F oven.  Bake for 18 minutes, or until tops are browned and not sticky to the touch.  Remove from oven when done baking and cool on wire racks until ready to frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 Ounces Cream Cheese
  • 12 TBLS (3/4 Cup) Room Temperature Butter
  • 1+1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4+1/2 Cups Confectioner’s (Powdered) Sugar

Put butter, vanilla, and cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on medium speed until well combined.  Reduce speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated then turn speed to medium and whip until frosting is light and fluffy.

Frost each of the cupcakes & enjoy!  Keep in refrigerator.

Nutrition Information (24 Servings)

  • 236 Calories:  70 Calories (Cupcake)     166 Calories (Frosting)
  • 8.28 g Fat (All from the Frosting)
  • 38 g Carbs:  16 g Carbs (Cupcake)     22 g Carbs (Frosting)
  • 2 g Protein:  1.5 g Protein (Cupcake)     .65 g Protein (Frosting)

Low Carb & Gluten Free Brownies

avocadobrowniesAlthough I’m not a daily dessert eater, I do have a wicked love of anything chocolate.  These #KetoFriendly brownies satisfy that love without ruining my diet goals.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Keto Avocado Brownies

  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 6 TBLS Unsweetened Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Mix
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2/3 cup Xylitol (Sugar Substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract, pure
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a 8”-x-8” square pan with parchment paper. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan and smooth top with a spatula.
  3. Bake until brownies are soft but not at all wet to the touch, 40 – 45 minutes. Let cool 25 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Keto Lemon Cheesecake Bars

withberriesA light lemony cheesecake dessert on a buttery shortbread-like crust with a sweet-tart lemon layer covered by creamy cheesecake layer.  You can enjoy this guilt free because #ItsKeto!

Keto Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly butter a 13 x 9 Pyrex baking pan.

Using a pastry blender, forks, or your blender/Vitamix, combine the ingredients for your crust until coarse crumbs form.  TIP:  I like to use my Vitamix 750 Pro on the 2 setting, after pulsing to start, so that, instead of coarse crumbs, a light, fluffy dough forms.

  • 1+1/2 Cups Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Swerve Confectioners Sugar Substitute
  • 3/4 Cup Cold Unsalted Butter, Cut into Cubes

Press the crumbs into the bottom of the baking dish.  Bake until golden brown, 18-21 minutes.  Don’t under cook the crust!  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Prepare the lemon layer by combining, in your blender:

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Xylitol or Erithritol (Sugar Substitutes)
  • 1+1/2 TBLS Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
  • 2 TBLS Lemon Zest
  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice

Pour lemon mixture onto the baked crust.  Skim off any large bubbles from the surface of the lemon layer.

Prepare the cheesecake layer by combining, in your stand mixer or cleaned blender container:

  • 2 – 8 oz Packages Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Granulated Xylitol or Erithritol
  • 2 Large Eggs

BEWARE:  If you use Xylitol in this recipe, which I prefer because there’s no aftertaste or cool sensation, Xylitol IS NOT PET SAFESo, no sharing with your furry babies.

When well combined, pour and spread over the lemon mixture.  It’s ok if the lemon layer peeks through, the cheesecake layer rises to the top during baking.  Bake until the filling is set about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool pan on a wire rack before putting into the refrigerator to chill.  Cut into 24 Bars and top with a couple of fresh berries if desired.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information (24 Servings):

  • 131 Calories (Savings of 125 Calories without real sugars & all purpose flour)
  • 1 g  Fat (Savings of 13 g Fat from traditional recipe)
  • 4 g  Carbs  (Savings of 27 g Carbs from traditional recipe)
  • 3 g  Protein

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice

Lime-Coconut-Cauliflower-Rice

A new spin on a Keto staple.

This recipe is so versatile that it could be:

 

  • A side dish for chicken, seafood, beef, pork, or grilled vegetables
  • A base layer for a sweet flavored (like Keto Sweet & Sour Chicken) Asian inspired main dish bowl
  • A bed for kebabs
  • A layer in a cold chicken salad
  • A taco or burrito ingredient, or even
  • Chilled and served as a “rice pudding” type dessert.

Tip:  This dish is better a day (or at least a few hours) after it’s been made and refrigerated, then reheated.

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 TBLS Butter
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Crushed into a Paste (I use jarred, crushed garlic)
  • 1 Medium-Large Head Cauliflower, Riced (About 6 Cups)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Lite Coconut Milk
  • 1 TBLS Lime Juice
  • Zest from 1 Lime

Heat the butter and garlic in a skillet over medium heat.

Steam the riced cauliflower in a microwave steamer for 3 minutes.  Add the cauliflower rice to the skillet, sprinkle with salt and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the coconut milk and lime juice. Cook the rice for 8 minutes stirring frequently until the rice has completely softened and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Sprinkle the rice with lime zest before serving.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Nutrition Information per serving – 6 Servings

  • 68 Calories
  • 2.5 g Fat
  • 6 g Carbohydrates
  • 2 g Protein

 

Banana Muffin Tops

muffintops2I’m in the maintenance phase of Keto, where I have more leeway with the number of carbs I’m eating, which makes me a lot happier.  I’ve missed bread & pizza the most, but don’t want to completely erase my positive health gains by going back to high carbohydrate baked goods.  That leaves me few choices because, frankly, I have been very unimpressed with #KetoApproved recipes for breads.  It’s been really frustrating.

I’m stubborn though, so I keep trying.  I am still working to modify my recipes to create  #KetoFriendly baked goods that don’t taste like cardboard, have a too-dense, unenjoyable texture, and that I’d want to eat more than once.  This one was a win!

Banana Muffin Tops

  • 1 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats (they’re Gluten Free)
  • 1/2 Cup Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Liquid Stevia
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 Medium Ripe Bananas (6″-7″), mashed
  • Chopped Macadamia Nuts, Walnuts, Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Chips, Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350° F and lightly spray a baking sheet or muffin top pan with cooking spray (TIP: Don’t use an Olive Oil based spray – it will change the flavor of your muffin tops).

Combine oats, flax seed, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, lightly beat the eggs, then mix in vanilla, stevia, milk, and mashed bananas.  (TIP:  If you are adding unsweetened coconut to your muffin tops, add it into the wet mixture)  Leave mixer on low and slowly add dry ingredients until well combined.  Let the batter sit for 5 minutes.

If you are using a muffin top pan: Divide the batter equally between 12 top-cups.  Make sure you mound the batter – don’t smooth the batter flat. (TIP:  If you are adding nuts or chocolate chips, etc., to your muffin tops, gently press those items on top of your mounded batter)  Bake for 20 minutes and allow to sit in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

If you are using a cookie sheet: Divide the batter into 6 equal mounds per sheet remembering not to smooth the batter flat.  Tops will spread a little bit, so space them out on the baking sheet.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes and allow to sit on the pan to cool for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Store the muffin tops in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.  These are great plain, but you can also spread peanut butter or cream cheese on them for an extra decadent treat.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Dessert Wine Pairings

dessertwines

It’s no secret that I love food and wine, but even I have to admit that sometimes the wine you drink with dinner may not be the same wine that you want to keep drinking when it comes time for dessert. #GirlsGoneWine

Generally, it’s not a bad idea to follow the rule: the darker the dessert the darker the wine.  If you don’t feel secure with a rule that is so non-specific, there are a few other taste guidelines according to the different dessert types:

  • Custard and Vanilla
  • Fruit and Spice
  • Caramels and Chocolate

Custard and Vanillacremebrulee

When your dessert is based around the light, mild, buttery flavors found in most custard based desserts you want your wines to have the same basic flavor profiles.  So, if you are serving a vanilla custard, pudding, flan, crème brûlée, tart or pie, you’ll want to serve a white wine like a late-harvest Riesling, or a sparkling wine like an Asti Spumanti or demi-sec Champagne.  This Vanilla Crème Brûlée from The New York Times is #FastAndEasy and needs only 5 ingredients!

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

  • 2 cups heavy or light cream, or half-and-half
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar, more for topping

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean and salt and cook over low heat just until hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then discard vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, add it now.)

In a bowl, beat yolks and sugar together until light. Stir about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours and up to a couple of days.

When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins in a broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. Cook until sugar melts and browns or even blackens a bit, about 5 minutes. Serve within two hours.

Most crème brûlée recipes need a torch, but this one is simpler & safer: it uses your oven’s broiler to get the crackly top.

**TIP: Make sure the custard sets for several hours in the refrigerator before brûléeing the top so you don’t end up with soupy custard.

vanillaspicedpoachedpearFruit and Spice

When your dessert is fruit based with a spicy profile, like those with apple, pear, pumpkin or cinnamon in them, you’ll want to lean toward white wines that have more character to them.   In this case you’ll want to consider Pink or Rosé Champagne, Sauternes, or late-harvest Gewirtztraminer.

Caramels and Chocolates

When your dessert is rich and full of any of the flavors across the chocolate spectrum turtlebrownies1(except white chocolate) or has the gooey richness of caramel’s toffee goodness, then the wines you’re looking for will be Red.  Late-harvest Pinot Noir, Banyuls, Grenache, Australian Shiraz, Port (the classic chocolate pairing), and Grappa all are excellent pairings for these rich dessert choices.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

 

 

Highland Springs Ranch Lavender Cheesecake

lavenderbannerEvery year, for about 5 weeks, at the Highland Springs Ranch in Cherry Valley, California, one of the best smelling, and best tasting, festivals takes place on the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California.

During the Annual Lavender Celebration, guests can tour 20 acres of the grounds in hay filled, horse drawn wagons sipping on lavender lemonade or licking creamy lavender ice cream cones.  There’s an organic marketplace to buy lavender infused honey, balsamic vinegar, essential oils, fresh lavender bouquets, plants and even lavender-stuffed toys.  There’s an oil distilling demonstration and plenty of fun activities for the kids, but, more than anything, it’s the food people come to sample.

Although The Ranch Restaurant closed in 2018, my favorite festival treat is still their Lavender Cheesecake with a crust made from homemade graham crackers.  It’s #ToDieFor but it takes some time to prepare (much of which is chilling time), so don’t plan to make this as a last minute treat.  Thanks to Betsy Andrews at Eating Well Magazine, I can make this treat at home anytime I want to!

Highland Springs Ranch Lavender Cheesecake

  • 6 TBLS Unsalted Butter, softenedHSRanchLavenderCheesecake
  • 2 TBLS Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBLS Granulated Sugar
  • 2 TBLS Honey
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1+1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1+1/2 TBLS Light Olive Oil or Canola Oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Combine butter, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add honey and ¼ teaspoon vanilla; mix until combined. Add flour and ¼ teaspoon salt; mix until combined. Form the dough into quarter-size chunks, about ½-inch thick, on the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and firm around the edges, about 20 minutes.
  3. Transfer the crust pieces on the parchment to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes. Pulse in a food processor until finely ground
  4. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Mix the crust crumbs with oil in a medium bowl; press into the bottom and about 1½ inches up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:

  • 3 – 8 ounce packages reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 TBLS Ground Lavender
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 4 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 TBLS Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  1. To prepare filling: Put a tea kettle of water on to boil for the water bath. Combine cream cheese, sugar, lavender and salt in the stand mixer bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping the bowl after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla; mix until combined.
  2. Tightly wrap the outside of the pan, bottom and sides, with heavy-duty foil. Pour the filling into the crust. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch up the side of the springform pan to create a hot water bath. Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the center of the oven. Bake until the cheesecake is set around the edges but the center still jiggles slightly, 1 to 1¼ hours.
  3. Let the cheesecake cool in the water bath on a wire rack until the water is room temperature, about 1 hour. Remove the pan from the water and remove the foil. Refrigerate, uncovered, until very cold, at least 4 hours.

This cheesecake can be made ahead and kept very cold for 3 days.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat