Guilt-Free Ricotta Cheesecake (fat/sugar/gluten FREE)
Mar12

Guilt-Free Ricotta Cheesecake (fat/sugar/gluten FREE)

Fat free, sugar free, gluten free, and zero points?! Now I bet you’re curious! Whip up this tasty treat when you’re craving something sweet, or need a baking fix. (You can even make them in your toaster oven.)   You get a more luscious, smoother texture with low fat ricotta cheese, but if you’re following Weight Watchers Simple Start or Simply Filling, it’s still super-delish with Trader Giotto’s Fat Free Ricotta—and would you believe, it’s a Weight Watchers Power Food?! (Therefore = zero points) I wouldn’t serve this if I was having the Queen of England over for tea, but this is my go-to when kettle corn just won’t cut it, and I feel  like baking something delicious that won’t make me feel one bit guilty… (Unless, of course, I eat the whole batch! What…?! I’ve never done that!) Actually, even if you ate all three, you’d only be eating a cup of ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, and an egg. Not the end of the world. 🙂 WARNING: One of the criteria for determining if something is a Weight Watchers Power Food is by its abuse potential. So, while all of these ingredients are Weight Watchers Power Foods, if you do find yourself eating more than one serving—or it triggers the eater in you—I would recommend saving it for when you have other Weight Watchers over to share it with, or holding off until you can handle it better! Counting Points? It’s only 2 PointsPlus per serving. (Or 7 Points for all three!) It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 Whisk all the ingredients together until nice and smooth     Place in 4-inch ramekins and bake in toaster oven for 20 minutes   Cool. Chill. Enjoy. (Pin! Share! Comment! 🙂 )   Fat Free Ricotta Cheesecake (gluten free) 2014-03-11 18:18:22 Serves 3 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus for one ramekin or 7 PointsPlus for the whole batch! Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 30 min Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 20 min Total Time 30 min 184 calories 6 g 104 g 12 g 12 g 7 g 112 g 147 g 3 g 0 g 5 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 112g Servings 3 Amount Per Serving Calories 184 Calories from Fat 108 % Daily Value * Total Fat 12g 19% Saturated Fat 7g 37% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 104mg 35% Sodium 147mg 6% Total Carbohydrates 6g 2% Dietary Fiber 0g 0% Sugars 3g Protein 12g Vitamin A9%Vitamin C0% Calcium20%Iron3% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie...

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Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Nutella Sauce
Feb16

Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Nutella Sauce

Panna Cotta—which means “cooked cream” in Italian—is the most luscious, dreamy dessert, and you won’t believe how easy it is to make!   We had the pleasure of dining at charmingly quaint Via Veneto in Santa Monica last weekend (favorite new LA restaurant!), with our dear friend, Neil, who was visiting from New York. Left to Right: Neil Gillis, Orna Purkin, Sam Purkin   I can resist most restaurant desserts… but they had me at Nutella! Their Panna Cotta with Nutella Sauce was one of the most exquisite things ever to pass my lips. Delightfully smooooth and silky. (How could a milky pudding topped with chocolate hazelnut sauce be bad?) Sorry, didn’t even pause to take a pic before indulging! I politely stopped after what seemed like my third of the dessert, but when I realized that no one else was going in, I quietly scooped up the rest. I guess I wasn’t as discreet as I thought, because quick-witted friend Neil said, are you going to scarf that one too? (Referring to the Berry Panna Cotta, which the extremely authentic Italian waiter—whom we thought at first was was putting on an accent—had mistakenly brought out, and graciously allowed us to keep.) Funny! (Rude) And so began my mission to make Perfect Panna Cotta for Valentine’s Day I found the cute heart shaped ramekins at Cost Plus World Market.   There are many variations of Vanilla Panna Cotta out there, and I can’t believe I got suckered in by the 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt in Iron Chef Michael Symon’s recipe. (Either that or the boyish good looks and charm!) I know a mere 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt won’t add protein or nutritional value to an entire recipe. (And it’s kind of ironic, since I gobbled up every last drop of remaining full-cream deliciousness—putting my usual fat free yogurts to shame!)   Anyway, I thought a little tang in the Panna Cotta would balance the sweetness of the sauce… right? Right! Oh.  My.  Goodness. Your guests will be blown away by this beautiful and decadent dessert—surprisingly light, and not too rich or sweet. If you want to keep it super-simple, just pour into serving glasses or cups and refrigerate—no need to un-mold before serving. (That part can get a little tricky.) PLEASE try it! And let me know how you like it.   Foolproof Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta   Vanilla Beans are pricy, but really take this kind of a dessert to a whole other level. And they’re fun to use.   Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the sticky seeds with the tip of a...

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Apricot Squares
Sep02

Apricot Squares

Grating the dough gives these tasty squares their good looks, and wonderful, crumbly texture!   The smell wafting out of my oven right now takes me right back to my childhood, when my older sister, Sharon, often made these delicious “farfel biscuits.” I’ve fleshed out the simple recipe from The New International Goodwill Recipe Book (which every young Jewish girl in South Africa got when starting out) with detailed instructions and pics. I hope you’ll give them a try, because they’re really easy, and you’ll probably find all the ingredients in your pantry! What you will need  Since this is a jam-centric recipe, buy a good quality jam. I’m partial to Bonne Maman, which is smooth and has a lovely taste, and most importantly doesn’t contain corn syrup. You can find it at most supermarkets these days—even Costco carries the Apricot Preserves, so you know they must be good! Spray baking sheet and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang for easy removal Grate half of the chilled dough directly onto the prepared pan Spread the jam evenly on top Grate the remaining dough on top Bake 20 – 25 minutes till golden; after 5 minutes carefully transfer to wire rack to cool completely Cut with a sharp knife into 2-inch squares Apricot Squares 2013-09-01 20:58:35 Yields 35 Write a review Save Recipe Print 184 calories 30 g 25 g 7 g 2 g 3 g 52 g 31 g 15 g 0 g 2 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 52g Yields 35 Amount Per Serving Calories 184 Calories from Fat 57 % Daily Value * Total Fat 7g 10% Saturated Fat 3g 17% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 0g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 25mg 8% Sodium 31mg 1% Total Carbohydrates 30g 10% Dietary Fiber 0g 2% Sugars 15g Protein 2g Vitamin A4%Vitamin C3% Calcium3%Iron2% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 1 cup butter, salted, room temperature 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 large eggs, room temperature 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 4 cups all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt vegetable cooking spray 2 1/4 cups apricot jam, room temperature Instructions Lightly coat an 11 x 17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Spoon jam into a bowl, and beat with a rubber spatula to smooth out; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with...

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Low Fat Cinnamon Apple Cake
Jun14

Low Fat Cinnamon Apple Cake

You don’t have to be a baker to make this cake! It’s super-easy and absolutely delicious. Only 8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus values per slice.   Your family will be chomping at the bit to try it, after inhaling the wonderful aroma while it bakes. The cream cheese in the batter—even though fat free—gives the cake its moist, luscious texture, and cuts the calories and fat. Delicious for dessert, as a coffee cake, or even for breakfast. I love that you can make it the day before and it will still be moist and delicious. I went with Trader Joe’s 0% Frozen Vanilla Greek Fat Free Yogurt. Slightly tart, but deliciously smooth and creamy. (If you’re a Pinkberry fan, you’ll love it.) If you’re going to all that trouble to bake a low-calorie cake, it seems a little silly to add full fat ice cream to the plate! Don’t you think? Only 100 calories and zero grams of fat for a 1/2 cup serving. Compare to 160 calories and 16 grams of fat in TJ’s Super Premium French Vanilla Ice Cream. Springform Pan If you don’t have an 8-inch springform pan, you can use an 8 1/2 or 9-inch springform, but reduce the baking time to 50 – 60 minutes. It’s really worth it to invest in good baking equipment because you will see a huge difference in your baked goods. Apples Always buy an extra apple or two just in case! The original recipe calls for Rome apples, but I’m partial to Fuji for their flavor and texture. From reading reviews online, it seems as if almost any apples will work. Click here for an easier way to peel and core apples >> Cream Cheese Fat free  or low fat cream cheese work just as well, but make sure to use the one in a block, not in a tub. I usually use Fat Free Philadelphia, but this time I used Trader Joe’s Low Fat Cream Cheese and it was delish. Half the fat of regular cream cheese What is Softened Butter (and Cream Cheese)? Softened butter (65 – 67 degrees) should easily bend without breaking, and should give slightly when pressed. Let refrigerated butter sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. For faster softening, cut it into slices. It shouldn’t be melting at all, or it won’t retain the air incorporated during creaming. Tips for Success Don’t overmix the batter; when you see the last traces of flour disappearing it’s time to stop mixing!   Gently stir in the cinnamon-apple mixture with a silicone spatula. Mix in the apples just until incorporated evenly. Mmm… yummy batter! Smooth...

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Delectable Strawberry Shortcake
May30

Delectable Strawberry Shortcake

These are AMAZINGLY good!  The biscuits are delicious for breakfast too! I felt like baking something yummy… Last day of Memorial Day weekend, and no more juice to play outside with my overzealous three-year-old! The 7-page-spread on Strawberry Shortcake in Food Network Magazine—7 of the 10 pages I actually managed to read; between fetching snacks, getting paints, and averting mini-disasters in our back yard—had me scrambling to find the episode of The Best Thing I Ever Made, where Iron Chef and Chopped Judge, Alex Guarnaschelli, impressed me with her updated Strawberry Shortcakes, with some interesting ingredients. Biscuit or Scone? They reminded me of the gorgeous scones that my step-mother, Pam, would whip up for “tea” on a Sunday afternoon for company; with strawberry jam and dollops of whipped cream. Yumm. Coming from South Africa—where a biscuit is a cookie, and a cookie is a cupcake (I know, very confusing)—I set out to figure out the difference between a biscuit and a scone. According to Rose Levy Beranbaum, my baking idol, the only difference is the shape; biscuits are round and scones triangular. Alex’s Special Twists I love the hint of cinnamon and lemon zest, and the vanilla—all of which intensify the flavor, and color, of James Beard’s Strawberry Shortcake, on which her recipe is based. The luscious, velvety dough is created by a secret ingredient—hard-cooked egg yolks. James Beard, “The Father of American Cooking,” learned this trick from his mother. He shared it with Larry Forgione, “The Godfather of American Cooking,” and owner of the famed New York City restaurant, An American Place, where this casual but delectable, quintessentially American dessert was featured—during which time Alex spent one-and-a-half years, at the start of her career. Since I’m not usually a sorbet fan, this other Alex-surprise-twist was unexpectedly one of my favorite parts of the whole ensemble! You can find Sharon’s Gourmet Sorbet at Gelsons Market Trader Joe’s also carries a delicious Raspberry Sorbet The cool, slightly tart sorbet makes the strawberries pop, and balances the richness of the smooth cream and the warm biscuit. Another deviation from the many recipes out there, is her addition of orange liqueur to the strawberries. I decided not to spend the $12 on Grand Marnier, and didn’t miss it a bit. But if you have some at home, or you’re a fan of those flavors, go for it! For me, shortcakes are the perfect combination of the rich, flakiness of pie dough and the sweet, tenderness of cake. And they’re sooo easy to make! If I can do it so can you. I’ve added extra details, and make-ahead instructions, for the newbie bakers—to take out the...

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