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We’ve Moved!

1 Mar

Dish Dash Dime has moved to it’s very own website. I’m so excited to bring you a website that will continually evolve to bring you the best recipes, deals, freebies, giveaways and more. So what are you waiting for? Go to DishDashDime.com right now.

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Free Sample of Swerve, All-Natural Sweetner

10 Jan

Here’s another sample to help you with your new year’s resolution. Swerve, an all-natural sweetener, is giving away free samples. Just click here and your sample will come right to your door. You can request either granulated OR confectioner’s sugar.

Swerve’s description says, Swerve® is the first all-natural zero calorie sweetener that tastes, measures, cooks and bakes like sugar. One cup of Swerve® equals one cup of sugar.”

Now…what will you make with your sample?

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

7 Jan

Yesterday I got my “subscribe & save” shipment (from amazon.com) of reduced fat Skippy Peanut Butter. Immediately, I had to make cookies — mostly since we still have 2 jars left in the pantry from our last shipment. $8.xx isn’t too shabby for 6 jars of my husband’s favorite peanut butter, either!

This recipe requires peanut butter, one egg, one cup sugar, and a splash of vanilla extract. Seriously, that’s all you need! (Not to mention, these are gluten-free cookies, too!) Now, since I’m trying to cut down fat, I actually used 2 egg whites instead of one whole egg.

Then cream together the sugar. If you’re using one whole egg, this is obviously one step. But I like to whip my whites a bit first.

Next add your peanut butter. This is where one of these cool measuring gadgets would come in handy. Perfect for sticky things that need proper measuring. Combine the peanut butter with the other ingredients and add a dash of vanilla.

So this mixture is probably different from most cookie doughs you’ve made in the past. It’s not firm and crumbly. It’s actually quite thin. Carefully place your dough in small, one inch size balls onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet (for easy removal, later).

Next, sprinkle the cookies with sugar, and criss-cross a fork design into each cookie to flatten them down.

Now I also had three chocolate kisses sitting on the counter. So naturally, they soon appeared on the top of three cookies.

Place cookies in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. I will warn you, these are not your typical cake-like peanut butter cookies. They actually come out quite flat (which you could control with the size of the cookie, and how much you flatten before you put them in the oven). No worries, they are delicious.

If you like warm cookies out of the oven, be careful – these will appear flimsy at first. But they will set up pretty fast. And with parchment paper, they should slide right off. Cool cookies on a wired rack and store them in an airtight container. They should last about a week on your counter.

If you’re watching calorie intake, replace the sugar with a sugar substitute and be sure to use the egg whites. Enjoy!

For recipe lovers:

1 cup sugar + extra sugar for sprinkling
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Making a Healthy(er) Pumpkin Pie

5 Jan

Pumpkin Pie and healthy aren’t two words that typically go together well. Pie, in it of itself brings on feelings hefty calories. But for me, I must have pumpkin pie this time of year. So I did a lot of searching a couple of years ago, and came across a recipe from Hungry Girl. Surprising to me, pumpkin is actually a great food if you’re watching your waistline.  It’s naturally very low in fat and also rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s the eggs, sugar and thick buttery crust that adds all the extra fat, calories, and ups your sugar intake to keep you up into the wee hours of the night – after your turkey coma, of course! So next year when you get that hankering for a sweet, creamy, pumpkin pie, try this alternative.

Combine pure pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling), evaporated fat-free milk, splenda (sometimes I use half sugar, half sugar substitute, and other times, I use full sugar), and egg whites. I use egg whites instead of the egg substitute since I don’t care for products like that. Then add the syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and salt to the mixture. The mixture will appear very thin, but don’t worry.

And now…the crust debate:

Hungry Girl uses a crust using their popular secret ingredient, ground up fiber one cereal. However, I don’t care for the consistency, so I use ready-made pie crust from the store. Its convenient, and no-fuss. I know its going to bake right and I like it for those reasons. However, when I made this pie on Christmas Day, I forgot to bring the crust over to my parent’s house. In two years, this was the fifth pie I had made there and was use to the ingredients I needed to bring and the ones my parents had on hand. Whoops!

I discovered this mistake on Christmas Eve, so we had planned to go to the store in the morning. Nothing was open when hubby went – he checked five different stores, four different shopping areas — only Starbucks was open (haha!). So my dad decided to surprise us and make a crust. While all the women in the house were out of the kitchen, he tried his hand at his first ever pie crust. You see, my dad is the number one fan of this pumpkin pie. I think he likes it better than any full fat, gourmet, restaurant, or even…yikes…Costo’s pumpkin pie! I was skeptical since my dad is a steak guy – and a great steak guy at that. Put him on the grill, making potatoes, or gravy, and it will taste amazing. Pastry chef? Not so much. Here’s what he turned out:

And into the pie shell went the pumpkin pie mixture. For reference, this dish is a 9 inch pan.

We’ve learned to time this with eating dinner and put the pie in when the holiday meat of choice (turkey, prime rib roast, etc) comes out of the oven. The pie takes about 45 minutes. We let meat rest for about 20 minutes. And take out the pie towards the end of our meal. By the time we’re ready for dessert, pie has been cooling on the counter for about an hour. Although Hungry Girl recommends chilling in the fridge for several hours or even overnight, we indulge ourselves in the pie within two hours of it coming out of the oven.

The reason for the bubbles on the pie is because of the crust. The crust wasn’t too bad – just a simple sweet pie crust. Maybe one of these days I’ll experiment with a healthy pie crust too? Remember to refrigerate the leftovers. This pie serves as a great breakfast the day after as well…!

So is this a healthy pumpkin pie – you do the math:

Regular Pumpkin Pie
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 400
Fat: 18g

Hungry Girl’s version (with fiber one crust)
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 133
Fat: 3g

My version of Hungry Girl’s version of Pumpkin Pie (estimated)
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 200
Fat: 6g

Recipe Lovers:

For Filling
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
One 12-oz. can evaporated fat-free milk
3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, granulated
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
Optional Topping: Fat Free Reddi-wip

Blackberry Cobbler

27 Dec

Whole Blackberry CobblerThere is nothing like going through your fridge and having to toss out what was once a great deal on fresh produce. Somehow, it always gets buried in the corners and bottoms of those bins, only to see daylight when its become mushy and smelly. Luckily, on this occasion, I had kept these blackberries front and center on my eye-level shelf, to stare me down every day saying, “make something delicious with me!” So out came a decadent, yet so easy, dessert. Here is the recipe that inspired me on allrecipes.com: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/blackberry-cobbler-ii/detail.aspx

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained

Now, you’ll soon learn that I don’t follow recipes exactly – I’m more or less inspired by them and then do my own thing. Usually, I come out successful. If I don’t…I’ll let you know and be real. I’m not perfect, and neither is my cooking or baking (or reading recipe skills at that!) Haha. I go against a lot of cooks and rarely use exact measurements. You can thank my mom for that habit…

First I turned on the oven and preheated to 400 degrees. In a bowl I sifted together the flour, 3/4 a cup (or so), baking powder, and salt. I added the cold butter and began to crumble the mixture together. Not working, butter was too warm. Hmmm…So I add my boiling water. Still too dry, so I began to add water, 1/2 tbsp at a time. Then like magic, my crumble topping was looking great. I also added a teaspoon or so of cinnamon and some vanilla extract.

In a small pot, I mixed together my cold water and cornstarch, and then added my rinsed blackberries. It didn’t seem like enough, so I added some frozen raspberries from my freezer. And next time I’ll remember to add my lemon juice and sugar before the berries…made it hard to incorporate. Once the mixture has reduced, pour into a buttered 8×8 glass dish. Then top with crumble. I just used my clean hands to drop bits and pieces over the top.

Then I popped the dish into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

While it sat on the counter and cooled to a nice warm temperature, we ate our dinner…quickly. Soon we were devouring this sweet sensation.

Blackberry Cobbler

This was a divine cobbler. My husband, who has learned to eat anything I put in front of him, loved this so much it was gone within 2 days! Be sure to top it with ice cream for an even more divine treat.

Hungry? Decorate a Cake…

25 Dec

Today, I returned home from the gym with one very important task in mind, decorate my cake. It was 11am, and I needed to have everything ready for both Christmas Eve festivities as well as Christmas Day fun by 3pm. In all the hustle and bustle, I spent 2 hours decorating this cake, and forgot to eat lunch. Therefore, my lunch was all the delicious, “mandatory” frosting tasting… And I’ve now decided that decorating a cake might as well be a meal – albeit a sugary, caloric, nutrient-rich free meal. Also, as promised, I have pictures today!

Frosted Chocolate Cake

After my crumb coat, see previous post here, I was able to pull off this beauty…somehow. Being that this was my first time and I’m a beginner when it comes to baking, I was quite impressed. To decorate, I used a Wilton Decorating Kit that I picked up a couple years ago from Joanne Fabrics, probably with a 40% off coupon, knowing me!

The kit boasts a 25 piece ensemble – but 12 of those items are disposable decorating bags. The other 13 items are 2 couplers, 5 tips, 4 colors, a flower tool, and illustrated how-to booklet (which I’ve never read…).

First, I tried some practice piping, after watching countless videos on youtube. A shoutout to this video here for teaching me exactly how to pipe – although I watched over ten videos, and about ten years worth of food network too… Keep in mind that a lot of these videos use different types of icing which will affect the overall final look of your piping skills.

After that, I started with the borders. I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I was bummed to find out that I only had my small star tip, since a larger star tip would have created a larger shell border.

Next I added the same border to the top of the cake and also some red piping on the side with a flower tip. For writing, I used what I was comfortable with – a ziplock baggie snipped at the corner. I wrote in cursive since I’ve recently learned its easier to write on cakes using a fluid motion. After that I added some swirls with more chocolate icing, and then added some red dots. But at this point, I needed some green in the picture. It was just too red and white.

So along came another ziplock baggie with green frosting. After working with piping bags and tips, the baggies just don’t operate the same. I’ve upgraded to pastry bags and now I can’t use my old standby – oh well! I couldn’t keep the pressure going, so you’ll see the lines get a bit crazy at times. Here is my final finished product. My first attempt at decorating a cake, in a semi-professional manner that is…!

And it made it all the way to church, to my parents house, and inside for our celebration later that evening. Didn’t smudge it one bit!

You can actually see the side of the cake in this shot. It was a fun project and I can hardly wait to have an excuse to decorate another cake!

For recipe lovers:

Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar, and then add in milk. Stir together ingredients before using hand mixer, otherwise, you’ll get a nicely powdered kitchen counter. You might need to adjust milk or sugar to make the consistency to your liking. Once your ideal consistency is reached, add vanilla and a final stir.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder (more cocoa = more dark, fudge-like flavor)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar, and then sift in cocoa powder. Combine with milk before beating with hand mixer. You might need to adjust milk to make the consistency to your liking. Add vanilla, and give it one last stir.

Cake was a box mix – initial frosting inside and crumb-coating the cake was store bought since I wasn’t planning on decorating anything creative when I initially bought and made the cake (inspiration litterally came overnight…haha). Piping was all above buttercream recipes above.

Crumb Coating Saves the Day

24 Dec

Tonight, I made my annual “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake. Chocolate Devil’s food cake with chocolate frosting this year. It isn’t complete yet, so I’ll post a picture later. For now, know that it is perfectly frosted thanks to some wonderful information I’ve learned – crumb coating.

Crumb coating is the simple art of frosting your cake twice. Once the cake is cooled, and layered as you like, you spread a thin coat of your frosting over the top and sides of the cake. It doesn’t matter how messy or crumbly your cake looks at this point. The next step requires patience. Place the cake into the fridge and wait. Some say to wait about 5 minutes, some even say freezing it until its frozen. I waited around 20 minutes for my crumb coat to “set” and form a barrier. After that I was able to load a nice smooth layer onto my cake.

Before the crumb coat, my cake was kinda falling apart. It was leaning to one side and becoming a hot mess. So I just went ahead, did the thin layer, and put it in the fridge. When I did my second layer, I was realistically doubtful of the outcome. How could this really help? But my frosting went on so much easier. And I was able to manipulate the frosting to give my cake a really nice flat top and smooth sides.

Tomorrow, I’ll also be trying my hand at piping for the second time. The first time, two years ago for a superbowl party, was a nightmare. Hopefully Christmas Eve proves some better results.

Pictures to come!

 

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