baking

Making Baking Healthier

Making Baking Healthier

I don't know anyone who would argue that cookies and cakes are necessary food groups for a balanced diet. (Chocolate, on the other hand...) But even with all the conflicting information, I believe that baked goods can still be a nutritious alternative to store-bought processed foods. Here is the outline of the philosophy I have embraced to judiciously incorporate delicious baked goodness into our family's diet over the years while still keeping as much nutrition in our calories as possible.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Making pumpkin pie from scratch is the most delicious way, and not as difficult as you might think. This is our family recipe. Perfect fall comfort food!

Wasn't That a Party?

Cake is something that doesn't make an appearance here very often, mostly because there is so little to redeem it, as far as nutrients are concerned. As a "recovering sugar addict", I generally don't need to have any more temptation around the house.

However, when birthdays come along, I ask the guest of honour what special dessert they would like to have. More often than not, it is chocolate cake.

Jabin, who turned six on the 21st, seemed to be having a difficult time making up his mind. DQ ice cream? Chocolate cake? Pie? He kept waffling back and forth. I felt bad for the little guy--such a big decision for an almost-six-year-old.

So, this time, I made an exception. On his actual birthday, which was a Monday, I took him and Noah to Dairy Queen for lunch, complete with an ice cream treat (for them) as dessert.

Then, for his party on the following Friday, I made Chocolate Gingerbread cake--served up with even more ice cream!

The Jabin was very pleased.

(And I even snuck in some nutrients, anyway, in the form of pumpkin. Want the recipe?)

I knew it! ;-D


Chocolate Gingerbread Cake
(Click to follow link to a PDF 4x6 recipe card.)

olive oil
1 c. butter, softened, divided
1 ¼ c. unpacked whole sugar
1/3 c. molasses
3 eggs
4 1-oz. squares semisweet chocolate
2 c. pureed cooked pumpkin (or 1 14-oz. can)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 c. unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. sea salt, ground fine
icing sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray or brush a large Bundt pan with olive oil. 
  2. In large mixing bowl, cream ¾ cup butter and sugar. Mix in molasses and then add eggs one at a time, mixing well. 
  3. Melt remaining butter with chocolate; stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Blend chocolate mixture, pumpkin, and vanilla into the creamed mixture. 
  4. Combine flour, spices, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Pour into a Bundt pan. 
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before inverting on a cake plate and removing pan. Let cool completely, then dust with icing sugar; serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream. 

Note: For a more subtle flavour, the molasses can be left out and the sugar increased to 1 ½ cups.

Copyright 2011 Talena Winters. www.talenawinters.com

Carrot Spice Muffins

Yet another recipe for the Quick Mix repertoire!

Carrot Spice Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins, or up to 36 small ones

3 c. Basic Quick Mix
¼ c. whole sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ c. chopped Crispy Pecans*
1 c. raisins or other dried fruit

2 eggs
¼ c. molasses
¼ c. extra virgin coconut oil or butter, melted**
1 ½ c. milk, buttermilk, or kefir
2 c. carrots, peeled and grated

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well to receive the liquid.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to mix. Pour into well. With a wooden spoon, stir just enough to moisten. Fill greased muffin cups ¾ full. (I love using a ¼ c. scoop to fill up my large muffin cups.) Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for 20-25 minutes.

After removing from oven, let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, and then dump onto cooling rack.

*Crispy Pecan recipe can be found in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.

**NEVER use a microwave to melt your butter, or for any other reason—that is, unless you WANT to be part of the statistic about cancer being the leading cause of death… your choice! http://www.relfe.com/microwave.html

©2010 Talena Winters www.talenawinters.com

The Simple Things are The Best Things

The Simple Things are The Best Things

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie recipe--a Winters' family favourite!