Cooking Light Carrot-Cake Bars

The idea of baking lighter treats appeals to me, and there was a time many years ago, when I was in the habit of using egg whites and applesauce every time that I would bake a cake, quick breads, etc.

My how times have changed… 

While shopping my most favorite thrift store recently, I stumbled across a Cooking Light cookbook for a quarter.  I know, what a bargain! This cookbook has every recipe from the year 1999 that was featured in the Cooking Light magazine so I snatched it up and figured maybe it’s time I get back on the light wagon. 

The recipe for Carrot-Cake Bars is one of many that caught my eye in my new used cookbook.

These bars turned out moist, tender, definitely not oil laden, and delicious.  Yea!  I did make a few slight changes to the original recipe.  First, I used all-purpose flour in place of the whole-wheat flour the recipe called for.  I also used 3/4 cup of sour milk (made with skim milk) instead of the buttermilk, and I skipped adding the raisins.  I think not adding the raisins was a mistake.  While I am not a raisin lover, I do think they add a nice subtle flavor to your treats.  And lastly, I used only 1 cup of old-fashioned oatmeal which I think this was a good move.  Below I’m sharing the original recipe with you.  So feel free to go with it, or make your own modifications.

Carrot-Cake Bars from Cooking Light (Original Recipe)

2/3 c. packed brown sugar

2 tbsp. margarine or butter, softened

3/4 c. low-fat buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large egg whites

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 c. regular oats

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. shredded carrots

1/2 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 11×7 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat sugar and margarine until blended.  Add buttermilk, vanilla, and egg whites; beat well.  Add flour and next 5 ingredients; mixing until combined.  Stir in carrots and raisins.  Pour batter into a prepared baking dish.  Bake for approximately 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Cool in pan and serve.

According to the Cooking Light Cookbook, these bars (original recipe) have 121 calories, 2.3 grams of fat, 3.1 grams of protein, 23.3 carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 138 mg of sodium.   I added a few calories to my bars because I drizzled a thin buttercream icing on top.  Shame on me I know.  But look at the calories I saved elsewhere.

Do you like baking and cooking light?  Or do you say –  Ah, what’s the sense?

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Sometimes you just have to overdose on chocolate.  And I’ve found that one of the best ways to do that is with these Triple Chocolate Brownies.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

This brownie recipe comes from my cookbook, In the sweet of it.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. granulated sugar

2 eggs, warmed to room temperature

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. baking cocoa

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 8”x8” square glass baking pan.

In large bowl, add butter, sugar, eggs, and melted chocolate; stir thoroughly.  Add baking powder, salt, cocoa, and flour.  Mix all ingredients together until blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the brownies.  Remove from oven and cool thoroughly before cutting.  

Triple Chocolate Brownies

These brownies are chewy on this inside with a light crusty top.  Many times I will use a double Dutch cocoa when I make these, but I did not do that for this particular batch.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Do you have a recipe that you are drawn to when you need a chocolate overdose?

3 Favorite Recipes and 3 Years of Blogging

Today marks my 3 years in the blogosphere.  I hadn’t even given it a thought until WordPress sent me a congratulatory message this morning.

To celebrate my blog turning 3 years old, I decided a virtual party was in order, so here are a few of my favorite desserts for you to indulge in.

These HOMEMADE LEMON CUPCAKES are one of my favorite cupcake recipes. Moist and lemony – these are perfect recipe for any Spring or Easter celebration.

This OLD-FASHIONED CUSTARD PIE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE is one of my favorite pie recipes.  The smooth sweet taste of custard is countered with the tangy strawberry sauce.  This pie will delight your flavor buds – guaranteed.

And these CHOCOLATE COVERED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE BARS are one of my favorite bar recipes.  These cheesecake bars will take care of any craving you might have for chocolate and cheesecake at the same time.  The caramel is just a huge added bonus.

Thank you all, for reading my blog and helping it grow.  Without you, the readers, it wouldn’t be what it is today.  Your interest is what inspires me to continue baking, writing, photographing, and sharing glimpses of my country life.

 

 

December’s Cookie of the Month

December tends to be  busy month for most people.  There is   shopping, gift wrapping, baking, and celebrating to do, among other things.

With a hectic month like this, and since I’ve been on a shortbread cookie kick lately, I decided to share a simple recipe with you to finish off  The Joy of Caking’s Cookie of the Month series.

These cookies are melt in your mouth delicious and will pair well with a fresh cup of coffee.  In other words, you might resort to making these just for a little self-indulgence.

Kahlua Chocolate Shortbread Bars

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c.  granulated sugar

1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melt

1/3 c. baking cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. Kahlua

1/4 tsp. salt

2 – 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, with electric mixer, beat margarine, butter, sugar, melted chocolate chips, and baking cocoa.

Add vanilla, Kahlua, salt, and flour; mix completely.

Spread dough out onto prepared cookie sheet shaping into a rectangle (about 1/4”) thick.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted into center.

Allow cookies to cool completely and drizzle melted chocolate on top to finish them off!

I hope you enjoyed The Joy of Caking’s Cookie of the Month series.  If you didn’t happen to catch all the recipes you can find them below.

September’s Cookie of the Month – Walnut & Cappuccino Chunk.

October’s Cookie of the Month – Shortbread Sprinkles.

 

November’s Cookie of the Month –  Chocolate Chip Shortbread.

 

weekend-potluck-buttong

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp Bars

These bars remind me of a Butterfinger candy bar.  They are crunchy, peanut buttery, and chocolaty. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp Bars

And did I mention that they go great with a cup of coffee?  I love serving them on the Villeroy and Boch  Mariefleur cup and saucer.  It makes them seem like such a special treat. 

If you are looking for beautiful Christmas gifts for the foodies in your life then I would highly suggest you take a look at Villeroy and Boch’s website.  In my opinion, you can’t go wrong giving one of their beautiful cup and saucers with a pound of coffee, box of tea, and/or homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp Bars.  If you’re considering this, then please add me to your Christmas list!

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisps recipe came  from Kraft Food & Family Holiday 2006 issue.  I  like them because there is no baking involved.  Here is my slightly adapted version.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisps

1/3 c. brown sugar

3 tbsp. corn syrup

2 tbsp.  creamy peanut butter

2 c. Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal

Topping

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 c. creamy peanut butter

1/4 c. cocktail peanuts, chopped

Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil.  Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, microwave brown sugar, corn syrup, 2 tbsp. and peanut butter on high for 1 minute and stir.  Cook for 1 additional minute, or until melted.    Add cereal; mix until cereal is coated.  Press into bottom of prepared pan.

In small bowl, microwave chocolate chips and peanut butter on high until melted.  Spread over cereal mixture and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.  Cut into triangles.  Store in refrigerator in airtight container.

Makes about 16 triangle bars.

Have you started your Christmas Shopping?  What are you hoping Santa brings you this year? 

*Villeroy and Boch sent me this cup and saucer as a product sample.  I was not compensated for this post, and my opinion is all mine Smile