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Thursday, April 1, 2010

easter dessert: no guilt carrot cake bars with cream cheese unfrosting

the babies and i have the plague over here, so i'm thinking lots of sitting around and eating sweets for easter weekend. you with me? we aren't buying any easter candy, so we'll have to get our fix through desserts.

long, long ago i wrote a post about making healthy desserts. here's a repost along with the most delicious, totally guilt-free dessert to go with it. it makes a huge 10x15 jelly roll pan, so it goes a long way. it will be sure to feed, and please, all of the mouths at your easter feast! (find original post here)

i'll post another fun, springy easter dessert tomorrow! if you want to make it, prepare ahead and make sure you have a yellow cake mix, a small box of instant vanilla pudding, eggs and orange juice. mmm....

making "healthy" desserts

i realize "healthy dessert" is an oxy moron, but there are some things you can do to make your desserts lots healthier than they start out. here are a few quick tricks, some of which i've discussed before and some of which may be new!
  • make friends with your dessert. this may seem like a strange part of this list, but one of the best ways to make dessert healthier is to eat less of it! duh! get your fix in and then give lots away to your friends and neighbors. they'll appreciate it and you'll be glad you didn't get sick on your cookie dough. (i did this last week, so i would know. it was soooo yummy though... i just needed to make the cookies and get them out the door faster.)
  • never use oil. if a recipe calls for oil, use applesauce or yogurt instead. 1:1 ratio works great.
  • avoid recipes with lots of butter. you may often be able to find a recipe that is similar that uses oil instead of butter and then you can substitute it.
  • sneak in some non-white flour. it drives my husband crazy when he knows i do this, but if he doesn't know, he often loves is and then i tell him what i did! ha! i like to use part wheat or part oat flour (put some oats in your blender for this!). i made this apple cake from elise's a few weeks back with part wheat flour and it was fabulous!
  • add wheat germ or flax seed in place of some of the flour. these are extra, super healthy for you and a little bit goes a long way. i wouldn't substitute more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the flour for these.
  • cut back the sugar. this doesn't always work, but some recipes call for way too much sugar and it tastes better with less. just taste your batter to make sure you didn't take too much out. honey is expensive, but you can also use some honey instead of sugar - it's better for you!
  • use fat free ingredients, even if you're usually opposed. baking is a great time to use fat free cream cheese, sour cream, milk, etc. because however much you think they taste different, it's hard to taste the difference when they're baked into things.
  • make recipes that include a fruit or veggie. i love apple cake, carrot cake and zucchini bread. mmmm....

the applesauce for oil substitution will work in any recipe. try the flour and sugar ones. if it isn't yummy in one recipe try it in another!

*i wanted to use some of the homemade baby food my daughter is no longer eating so i decided to create these carrot cake bars. (have no fear, you can simply steam some carrots and run them through your blender with some water. 4 oz is about 4 ice cube sized blocks). they have no white flour, no oil or butter, lots of carrots and even the un-frosting has no butter and has less than a cup of powdered sugar instead of like 4-5 cups like normal frosting. i brought them to a church thing and people couldn't believe what wasn't in them. you can see how good they were from the picture. :)

no-guilt carrot cake bars with cream cheese un-frosting

makes 1 jelly roll pan-full

3/4 cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups applesauce
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oat flour
1 cup wheat flour
½ cup wheat germ (or 1/2 cup more oat/wheat flour if you don't have wheat germ)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 (4 ounce) jar carrot baby food (or homemade baby food, see * note above)
1 cup shredded carrots (or more if you'd like!)
½ cup un sweetened shredded coconut (optional), soaked in water for 20 minutes

1. cream sugar, brown sugar and applesauce. add vanilla and eggs and cream again.

2. add oat flour, wheat flour, wheat germ, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. mix until combined. add carrot baby food and mix again until combined.

3. stir in shredded carrots and coconut.

4. bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes in a jelly roll pan (10x15 cookie sheet). done when toothpick comes out clean.

cream cheese un-frosting

whip 1 block 1/3 less fat cream cheese (softened). then add 4 tablespoons milk and ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons powdered sugar and whip until combined. spread over carrot cake bars.


Anonymous said...

Always one of my favorites.

Heather said...

Now I know what I'm going to do this afternoon...

Cyndie said...

made it. Love it. Thanks!

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

please feel free to comment, criticise, rate recipes, try ideas and make requests for future posts!