Make sweet treats without the sugar

  • By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
  • Monday, December 31, 2007 4:54pm
  • LifeSnohomish

How is it that determination and intention can fall by the wayside so quickly? It’s maybe, after all, only one day since you jotted down a few of those famous New Year’s resolutions, and already you can feel yourself weakening and wobbling. Amazing but true.

How about that “sounded easy enough” one, wherein you eliminate or cut down — way, way down — on your carb intake. Drastically reduce the sugar in your diet. Lay off the sweet stuff. Radically limit your consumption of goodies.

You know the one. One day into the year, though, and all you can think about are those leftover Christmas cookies, candies and other holiday yummies. This would be the resolution you’re beginning to think you must have made without any thought whatsoever, but it’s come alive and had better start screaming at your willpower to, for heaven’s sake, stand up, because you can feel your grip slipping and your good intentions starting to melt away…

Hey, wait a sec. You might not have to give up and give in to the dreaded sweet-tooth syndrome after all. You might actually be able to have your cake, so to speak, and eat it too. A few thumbprint cookies? Sure thing. Handful of glazed, spiced nuts? You betcha.

By now, you’re probably thinking there must be a catch. One of those too-good-to-be-true loopholes. Well, there is. You have to have the proper know-how. And Snohomish cook and self-described “food fanatic” Judy Barnes Baker knows where it’s at. In a copy of her new, low-carb cookbook, “Carb Wars: Sugar is the New Fat,” that’s where.

“Carb Wars” sells for $21.95 and is available online at www.cookbookmarketplace.com, at Amazon.com and at various retail stores. For more information: www.carbwarscookbook.com.

And, while I certainly cannot make any sort of guarantee, it looks to me like our Forum gluten-free gals and guys might get some good mileage out of at least some of recipes too.

Now, while you mull things over, let’s take a shot at “Carb Wars” recipes for:

Thumbprint cookies

1 cube (1/2 cup) butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup granular Splenda

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups almond flour or almond meal (available at Trader Joe’s or www.glutenfreemall.com)

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup finely chopped almonds

1/4 cup sugar-free strawberry or peach jam

Cream butter and Splenda with an electric mixer, then blend in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Whisk the almond flour together with the baking powder and salt. Stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Shape the dough into 1-inch diameter balls and roll in the chopped almonds. Place on a large cookie sheet. Make an impression in each ball with your thumb. Return to the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cookies for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned and baked through. While still hot, fill the cavities of the cookies with 1/2 teaspoon sugar-free jam. Return to the oven for 2 or 3 minutes to melt the jam. Makes about 30 cookies.

Cream cheese cupcakes

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature

3 eggs

1/2 cup granular Splenda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Fresh fruit or sugar-free jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper baking cups. Turn cream cheese into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs and Splenda with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a rack. The centers will fall; fill the depression with fresh fruit or sugar-free jam, if desired. Keep refrigerated. Makes 12 cupcakes.

The next Forum will appear in Friday’s Time Out section.

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