Holiday Bites: Naughty But Nice Peppermint Fudge

I was honest when I said that I abide by the adage that calories, fat, and carbs don’t count in December, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t try, where I can, to trim all of them to try and stay loyal to my Keto lifestyle.  So, this is the Chocolate Peppermint Fudge from a couple of days ago, just slimmed down a bit… As written, each of the 36 pieces clocks in at 77 Calories, 5.6g Fat, and 2.6g Carbs.  Because this fudge turned out so rich, and was so thick from the 8 x 8 pan, I cut each piece in half again so the nutrition information in that case would be: 38.5 Calories, 2.8g Fat and 1.45g Carbs.  My sweet tooth was completely satisfied with one piece halved. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

naughtybutnicefudge

Naughty But Nice Peppermint Fudge

  • 1 TBLS Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Truvia
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 TBLS Keto Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 TBLS Water
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 4 Ounces Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 2 Ounces 60% Bittersweet Baking Chocolate
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 4 TBLS Butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp Peppermint Oil (to taste – see tip below)
  • 2 Ounces Peppermint Candies, finely crushed

Line an 8×8″ baking dish with foil, overlapping the edges.  Melt 1 TBLS Butter and brush the foil with it thoroughly.

Heat Truvia, cream, corn syrup, salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves.  Add chocolate.  Stir until melted and mixture is smooth, then bring to a boil.  Fit saucepan with candy thermometer and increase heat to medium-high.  Cook, brushing down sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush as needed to dissolve sugar crystals, until thermometer registers 238° F.

Immediately pour mixture into a large bowl.  Dot top of mixture with butter; do not stir.  Rinse thermometer, removing any sugar crystals, pat dry, and fit on bowl.  Let mixture sit until thermometer registers 110° F, 30–45 minutes.

Remove thermometer.  Add vanilla extract and peppermint flavoring to mixture and beat with a hand mixer (I admit I used my stand mixer…I don’t own a hand mixer :|) on high speed until mixture is light and thick like frosting and has lost its high gloss (will still have a slight sheen), about 4 minutes.

Scrape into prepared pan; smooth surface, then top with peppermint candies, pressing gently into surface.  Cover with plastic and cool in refrigerator until set, at least 3 hours.

Using foil, remove fudge from pan, peel away foil, and cut fudge into a 6×6 grid to make 36 squares.

Nutrition Information: (Makes 36 Squares – 1 piece per serving)

  • 77  Calories
  • 5.6 g  Fat
  • 2.6 g  Carbs
  • <1 g  Protein

Do Ahead: Fudge is best stored in a tightly sealed container, between layers of waxed paper, in the refrigerator.

Tips: 1) Crush the candies in a zip bag using a rubber mallet or rolling pin, 2) Peppermint oil is quite strong so, for less intense peppermint punch, you can easily cut it to 1/8 tsp, and 3) A hand mixer is better than a stand mixer for this recipe, but I do admit that I got lazy this time and used the stand mixer and it turned out just fine.

Low-Carb Homemade Corn Syrup

There’s no way to avoid it, if you’re baking or making candy: you are going to need light corn syrup at some point to get a good result.  After a few trials (and errors), I finally came up with a corn syrup recipe that is close enough to maintain the integrity of the recipes without adding any weird after tastes or textures!

lightcornsyrup

Low-Carb Light Corn Syrup

  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Truvia
  • 3/4 tsp Vanilla
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Xantham Gum

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix the water and Truvia.  Bring to a low boil and stir in the Vanilla.  Reduce Heat to low.

Spoon out 1 TBLS of the hot Truvia mixture and, in a small bowl, stir in the Xantham Gum.  It will be quite thick and sticky.  It’s ok if it’s not entirely smooth.

Stirring continuously, add the Xantham gum mixture to the saucepan.  Return the heat to medium and bring the mixture back to a low boil.  Cook for one minute until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

Pour the corn syrup thru a fine mesh strainer, pressing the corn syrup thru while leaving any unincorporated Xantham gum solids in the strainer.

Allow to cool slightly before using.  As this cools further it can become crystallized, although mine did not.  Mine just thickened into a jelly like consistency.  If either happens, just put it in the microwave for 10 – 15 seconds and stir it again before you’re ready to use it.  Makes about 1/2 Cup and doesn’t keep real long, so plan to make it when you will be likely to use it up.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Holiday Bites: Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

One of my favorite things about the December holiday season is the permission we all seem to give ourselves to indulge in every hearty, rich, gooey, decadent dish and treat we can before the calendar changes over welcoming a new year. Calories, fat, and carbs don’t count in December, right? 😂😂

Some treats I make year after year, but I’m always looking for new ways to indulge my love for all things food. This year I tripped across a 2016 recipe from Bon Appétit that has two of my favorite holiday ingredients: chocolate and peppermint. It’s one that’s joining the annual must haves list for sure! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint flavoring or extract or ¼ teaspoon peppermint oil
  • 2 ounces soft peppermint puff candies, finely crushed

Line an 8×8″ baking dish with foil, pressing into edges. Lightly coat with nonstick spray. Heat sugar, cream, corn syrup, salt, and 2 Tbsp. water in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Add chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth, then bring to a boil. Fit saucepan with candy thermometer and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, brushing down sides of saucepan with a wet pastry brush as needed to dissolve sugar crystals, until thermometer registers 238°.

Immediately pour mixture into a large bowl (do not scrape bottom or sides of pot). Dot top of mixture with butter; do not stir. Rinse thermometer, removing any sugar crystals, pat dry, and fit on bowl. Let mixture sit until thermometer registers 110°, 30–45 minutes.

Remove thermometer. Add vanilla extract and peppermint flavoring to mixture and beat with a hand mixer on high speed until mixture is light and thick like frosting and has lost its high gloss (will still have a slight sheen), about 4 minutes.

Scrape into prepared pan; smooth surface, then top with peppermint candies, pressing gently into surface. Cover with plastic and let fudge sit at room temperature until set, at least 4 hours.

Using foil, remove fudge from pan, peel away foil, and cut fudge into a 6×6 grid to make 36 squares.

  • Do Ahead: Fudge can be made 3 days ahead. Keep stored at room temperature.

  • Tips: 1) Crush the candies in a zip bag using a rubber mallet or rolling pin, and 2) A hand mixer is better than a stand mixer for this recipe.

Sweet Noodle Kugel

NoodleKugel2

When my father-in-law found out I enjoyed cooking, one of the first things he gave me was his Mother’s Jewish Cookbook.  He then opened it to much used page that had a recipe for a traditional #SweetLokshenKugel.  I was behind the 8 ball for a couple of  reasons on this one: I am not Jewish, so many of the words used in the, 70 + year old cookbook were, quite literally, foreign to me and, without the benefit of a picture accompanying the recipe, I was clueless as to what the recipe was actually for.  Dad did clue me in that it was for a noodle kugel that his Mother used to make, but beyond that he was pretty much useless. 😉  Once I #googled some of the words for the kosher ingredients and, what turned out to to be brand names, I was able to modernize the recipe and create something that he loved and requested for many years.

Sweet Noodle Kugel

  • 16 oz Wide egg noodles
  • 1 Cup Sugar (I now substitute 1/2 Cup Truvia)
  • 1 Stick Butter, melted
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Medium Granny Smith Apple, grated
  • 8 oz Golden Raisins
  • 1 – 20 oz Can Crushed Pineapple (mine came in heavy syrup)
  • 1-2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

Boil the noodles for 10 minutes.  Drain and put into a large mixing bowl or return to the pan you cooked them in.  Add the butter to the noodles and toss to combine.

Combine the Sugar (or Truvia), Egg, Grated Apple, Crushed Pineapple (undrained), Raisins, Vanilla, Ground Nutmeg and Cinnamon, stirring well.

Add the combined ingredients to the noodles and toss until well distributed throughout.

Pour the noodle mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, just until tips of the noodles on top begin to brown.  Cool and cut into 16 – 20 equal pieces.  Can be served warm or room temperature.

Nutrition Information (for 16 servings using Truvia)

  • 205  Calories
  • 6.5 g  Fat
  • 26.62 g  Carbohydrates
  • 4.75 g  Protein

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Turkey Day Prep: Keto Zinful Cran-Blueberries

SmoothandWholeZCB

A few years ago I created a cran-blueberry sauce that was bursting with flavor and incorporated my favorite thing: wine!  Since then I have tried to limit my sugar consumption and been eating a modified Keto diet, so this year I’ve adapted my recipe, by #CookingWithStevia, for the Keto crowd.  No matter what, I use a good Zinfandel.  The taste matters.  This year it’s a 2015 #TobinJames #FatBoyZinfandel

Keto Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Steviadon’t use Truvia, it has an after taste when not cooked
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring Stevia, wine and cinnamon stick to a full rolling boil in a medium saucepan.

Add remaining ingredients and return to a full boil (cranberries will start to pop), stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure nothing sticks.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop.

Turn off heat and, if all cranberries didn’t pop fully, press with the back of a large spoon if desired.  I use my meat mallet and gently press down until all are popped.

Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Cool slightly then move sauce to serving dish.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve cold.  Sauce will thicken up as it cools.  Garnish with a few cranberries, blueberries and curls of zest.  To save time, and stove space, this can be made ahead and kept refrigerated in a tightly covered container.

*If you want it jellied:  Strain out the berry solids and skins by pressing them using a rubber spatula and fine mesh strainer before refrigerating.  To get the most of the strained pulp, I run it through my mini-chopper (or a food processor / blender) after the first pressing, then run that through the strainer again.  Sauce thickens as it cools and should be stored in a sealed container if not serving immediately (after the 2 hour chilling).

Nutrition Information: (Makes 3 CupsServing Size 2 TBLS)

  • 33  Calories
  • <1 g  Fat
  • 2.2 g Carbs
  • <1 g  Protein

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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