how do you make a cookie healthier?

i say keep the sugar, and the chocolate chips, and the butter/margarine; just throw in handfuls of oats, wheat bran, and whole grain flour (…flax seeds, some shredded carrots, granola…), and—behold—healthy cookie!

…usually, looking at such images of whole grain flour and oats and wheat bran knowing that they were going to be baked with cookies would make my mouth scrunch up disapprovingly and immediately make me think of my sister squeaking at me to Stop making sugar!

but not this time, because once i measure out these healthy fluff stuff and dump them into my white chocolate chunk cookie batter, i realize–i’m making ‘healthy’ cookies, which means i’m baking some sweet stuff my sister can’t yell at me about (for she’s taken the initiative of trying to make our family eat better, which automatically means less sugar—whattheheck?)! or at least, she won’t yell at me too much, because at least i’m putting an effort into baking with a health-conscious mind [*insert sly wink here*].

these cookies are really, really good. mind you, they’re quite sweet, but when they’re loaded with mouth-watering chunks of white chocolate AND enough healthy fluff for you to be able to shrug off any guilt, who can say no? not to mention those added oats and wheat bran add a nice, almost chewy texture. yumyumyum/nomnomnom.

and when you have these cookies with a glass of milk? well look at that, your daily intake of calcium! it’s only up from here, serrriously.

recipe: better-for-you white chocolate chunk cookies
makes 12 cookies

ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole grain flour
1/3 cup wheat bran
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
7 tbsp butter/margarine
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
30g (essentially half of 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup white chocolate chunks
1/2 cup oats

procedures
preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit; line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or lightly grease)

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, bran, salt, and baking soda. set aside.

in a large bowl, beat the butter/margarine and sugars until light and fluffy. add the vanilla and egg and beat until incorporated. add the flour mixture and beat until just smooth. using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chunks and oats.

shape the dough into 12 balls, each about 2 tablespoons (i used a ice cream scoop, which my sister gave to me for christmas !) and place them about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. bake in preheated oven until the cookies are golden brown, the edges are set and the centers are still a little soft, about 16-18 minutes. cool cookies and then devour them! with a glass of milk for calcium !

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a couple of days ago when i made this banana blueberry pound cake, my sister joked about how the two of us react to discovering fruits in our home:

fattydumpling: oh, look! blueberries to eat whole for a healthy breakfast!
me: oh, look! blueberry to add to a cake to eat for breakfast!

okay, to be honest, i’m pretty sure those weren’t her exact words. but she’s getting kookier and kookier these days it’s hard to understand her! still, it’s true: i do really like cake for breakfast… it’s not like i’m going to go on a sugar high! i’m good with moderation. that’s real important. cake for breakfast sets a great mood for my day. and it also carries me on throughout my day–given i drink a glassful of milk, and maybe have some fruit. and maybe some yogurt for extra good measure.

anyhow, i made this banana blueberry pound cake a couple of days ago, and it was really good! i got the recipe from sing for your supper, replaced the vegetable shortening with margarine and an egg with banana. i like the sweet flavour added with the banana, paired with the tartness of the berry. and this cake has a killer crust–cake crust is so yummy! i do hope you can pardon me if i sound a little too squeal-ly and excited; i’ve been deprived of cake for a little while now and the reunion feels like hearts meeting stars. i shall be making this over and over.

blueberry explosion!

recipe: banana blueberry pound cake
adapted from sing for your supper’s blueberry pound cake

ingredients
3/4 cups margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup fresh or frozen (un-thawed) blueberries
2 bananas, mashed

procedures
preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

in a large bowl, cream the margarine/butter and sugar. add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. in another bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. add the dry ingredients to the margarine mixture alternately with the milk, starting with flour and ending with flour. mix in the vanilla and bananas. fold in the blueberries.

pour batter into the loaf pan, and bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

eat for breakfast!


despite being fond of winter, these past few months seem to be weighing on me heavily. when i’m not doing school work, i’m thinking guiltily about school work. faced with these great mounds and mounds of deadlines and assignments, i tend to flicker my eyes towards any direction besides the direction that tells me THIS IS DUE IN TWO DAYS. i survive. things are fine. strangely enough, i feel as if this school year is going to be the best one yet, out of the four. and when i don’t feel as positive, i just think about cats.

hurrah for cats !

today is chinese new year, which means every baby who is born from now until some time next year is a RABBIT. but, for the vietnamese, rabbits are not so special, because it’s the year of the cat.

it’s also my birthday. isn’t that great? on this day, it’s both the cat’s and my day to bask in glorious love and attention. the cat and i are practically family now! i feel so fuzzy and warm. i knew this was my destiny.

i don’t really know if i’ve been making sense for the past few sentences… so i’ll go on to talk about what i made a couple of days ago. which was coconut honey rice pudding, made with japanese/calrose/sushi rice. a yummy sweet treat, especially appropriate for chinese new year.

i found this recipe on la fuji mama a little while ago and started drooling on my sister’s laptop keyboard. oogling every picture of the rice pudding on her blog, i could almost feel the texture of the rice in my mouth.  so imagine my delight when i was finally able to devour this dessert… :)

and guess what? for christmas my sister gave me a nice bottle of fancy schmancy vanilla extract, which i had been frequenting william sonoma to lovingly stare at. i’m pretty sure this stuff made my rice pudding taste significantly more awesome. all hail fattydumpling.

if you like soy milk, coconut, or honey, you’ll easily like this rice pudding. it had just the right amount of sweetness and had a consistency like oatmeal (which my mom compared it to). (–but wait–do all rice puddings have a consistency like oatmeal? hmm…) plus the flavours of soy milk and coconut milk joined together tasted really yummy! to be honest, i found out i’m not too fond of rice pudding in general, despite only trying it twice, including this one. but this variation still tasted really delicious. so if you’re a fan of rice pudding, or perhaps just the flavours involved in this particular recipe, you’re in for a good treat.

happy new year; i send my best wishes for your survival during the rest of this winter.

recipe: coconut honey rice pudding from la fuji mama

when times get rough n tough, make sugar stuffs. i just made that up. it should be my life motto, since it very honestly reflects my strategy for dealing with stressful times.

i also turn to thinking about what kind of gifts i should get for my family and friends, or how exciting it will be when i finally get a cat. at the moment, i know i would like three particular breeds: an exotic shorthair, a british shorthair, and a scottish fold. very sweet, mild-tempered cats, that are suitable for never leaving the house and venturing outside unsupervised. because i don’t want to share my cats with terrifying, grubby hands. i shall be a jealous, smothering cat-owner. cat-friend.

anyway. a little while ago i made some sweet things for my friend’s birthday. and then again because i felt like it. and then once again for a get-together with my friends, which is pretty much a day i used to fulfill my evil plan of converting all of my classmates into sock-toy-making christmas elves (i probably won’t explain this anytime soon).  frankly, making these things was just an excuse to throw together chocolate, marshmallows, and bananas in holy matrimony. and oh boy! did i feel special once i dumped all the dishes into the sink and wiped up my working space and realized i had just made my very own creation based off a simple cocoa brownie recipe. chocolate-banana-marshmallow cupcakes to the rescue! stuff yourself silly with these cakey brownie-s’more-like treats, with a de-lightful banana flavour. that’s what my sister did. except she was silly to begin with.

i love these things! huzzah ! and if you make these, i hope you do too.

recipe: chocolate-banana-marshmallow cakey-things
makes 12 cupcakes

ingredients
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled coffee (i just added a tablespoon of maxwell house with 1/4 cup of boiling water, and then chucked it into the freezer until it was cold)
1 ripe banana, mashed
6 marshmallows

procedures
preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. line your muffin tin. cut your marshmallows into half and set aside.

stir together the melted butter/margarine, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. beat in egg. in a medium-sized bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, then gradually add that into the egg mixture, beating until it’s all well-blended. stir in the chilled coffee and mashed banana. fill batter into muffin molds.

bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until just set. gently press half a marshmallow onto each of the cupcakes and then bake for another 15 minutes, or until the marshmallow is slightly browned. or, you could bake it even longer until you like the colour of your marshmallows :P

and then stuff yourself silly.

i cannot remember the last time i missed class because of illness. actually, i can’t even remember the last time i missed school for something non-related to school.

i don’t like missing class. it means falling behind; back into a dark forest of educational mysteries and the necessity to ask classmates about work missed. i don’t really like bothering people with those types of questions…

but i missed class yesterday, because of illness! aha! it was quite the treat. well, the illness wasn’t that great–i just meant the escape from class. that was excellent. a much needed mental health day was finally taken. oh yes. plus! my day of luxury didn’t end there…another treat i gave myself was crepes.

my mom recently bought an crepe pan, thinking that it would be ideal for cooking breakfast eggs with. but then she stuffed it into a plastic bag and hid it away in some dark cupboard after using it for the first time. that pan wasn’t really for her.

deciding to play hero, i fished the pan out from its prison and used it for what the thing was created to do best: making crepes. armed with a ridiculously simplified recipe from epicurious and halloween chocolate (for filling), i went about creating these supa thin pancakes for the first time as if i didn’t have crazy chills, coughs or cc..sniffles. yaah!

the friday that just passed just so happened to be my sister’s birthday.

which always feels a tiny tiny bit meaningless since she never seems to get any more mature. or at least never seems to act more her age, which at the moment is the age of a university student. go ask her if she’d rather go to a party with her friends, or spent the night reading her favourite childhood picture books and see how she answers. nooo competition. robert munsch, anyone?

either way, at whatever age she decides is a suitable age to finally catch up with maturity, i do hope she never stops liking cake.

my parents aren’t so fond of me when i attempt to make a cake where frosting accompanies it. frankly, i’ve always had terrible experiences with creating a good-tasting mixture of anything involving butter, cream, and [icing] sugar. but now that i think about it… i should probably start neglecting margarine and use butter more often. ahh, now everything makes more sense.

anyway, i mean that because my parents don’t approve of my cakes with frosting, they opted to buy a cake for my sister’s birthday instead of letting me make one for her. but that never stops me  ! after we came home from the store i started making extra stuffs for my sister’s special day, including sushi, mint-chocolate brownies, and this lemon cake topped with raspberries.

(is it just me, or does the cake in the first picture look like a robot’s head?)

for some reason, it’s always hard for me to describe food, in terms of its texture, taste, and whatever else people like to notice. it was good, not too sweet. it tasted yummy. the raspberry gave the cake a nice flavour. yeah. how do i rise above this awkward moment…

i used the recipe for raspberry-topped lemon muffins from smitten kitchen. if you put a muffin batter into a cake pan, the result is cake, right?

my parents aren’t so fond of me when i attempt to make a cake where frosting accompanies it. frankly,

sometimes a little heat, metal, and chance of explosion is all you need to feel rebellious.

it’s also all you need to create some thick, sweet milk caramel stuffs, also called dulce de leche. don’t ask me how to pronounce it; all i know is that it’s somewhere along the lines of ‘duelsay dey leyshey’, but i just settle with rambling about ”dulsh de lush’ when i’m talking to my sister. i’m pretty new to it: i’ve never tried it beyond what i made yesterday, so i’m ignorant towards what it might should taste like. but it’s all yumyumyum over here, regardless.

traditionally, this milk caramel is made from slaving over a pot of a milk and sugar mixture for a very very very very long time. luckily, there are magical, less life-consuming ways of making dulce de leche with a can of sweetened condensed milk.

i opted for the slow cooker method, since there’s less risk of the can exploding hot sweetness in your face. well, there’s still a chance that might happen with the slow cooker, but quite unlikely as long as you follow the instructions. and the warnings. the slow cooker method still takes a long time still, about 8 hours (unless your slow cooker is weird, where in that case it might take a lot less or a lot more), but! you don’t need to watch over it, or enlist your arm into hours of stirring over a hot stove. or conscript somebody else’s arm.

kindofliketherecipe: all i did was get can of sweetened condensed milk without dents, stripped it of its lovely label, placed it in a slow cooker with a slip of aluminum foil under it (to avoid the imprints of rust), poured boiling water into the slow cooker until it covered the can completely and as much as possible, put on the lid, set it on low, and waited for 8 hours.

actually, despite reading from countless posts on food blogs that the can should not blow up as long as it was always submerged in water, reading the warning on the label telling me “DO NOT HEAT IN CAN” freaked me out and kept freaking me out. so, i also lit some incense and asked the great buddha to please ask the can to behave itself. plus, i made sure to jiggle the slow cooker every once in a while to see how the level of water was holding up. but, as expected, it didn’t change. it has nowhere to go, anyway.

after 8 hours, i turned off the slow cooker and left it there, returning a couple of hours later to remove all the water and let the can cool down overnight. if you make this, remember not to drop the hot can! it, under a lot of pressure, might explode from that kind of disrespect.

and in the morning: gooey, sugary, creamy,

…luckiness; no explosions, no trouble. thank you, oh great buddha. but still, i was filled with the adventurous thrill of dangerousness while ‘making’ this treat. and what’s more, since i thought my parents might think i was insane to cook something under pressure in its can, i strategically planned the creation so that they’d still be at work while it was cooking. oh yeah. pure rebellion.

i found a snail sitting on one of my blueberries.

snail on blueberry on dirty window ledge

i found him (/she, i suppose, since snails are hermaphrodites) hanging out on the berry in the package. i never saw the little face, though. i pulled him off the blueberry and then put both of them onto a plastic plate… and: i guess i wouldn’t be a very good mother, because more than five hours later, i remembered, “where is the blueberry and snail?”

my mom found the fruit on that plastic plate and ate it.

but have no fear, my mom swears she felt no unusual *crunch*, so that snail is probably having a healthy adventure right now. probably.

…speaking of blueberries.

my sister and  i made some muffins of blue explosion a little while ago.

warning: must use muffin liners. we only lightly greased our muffin tin, and those muffins were definitely against coming out of their molds. use muffin liners, or grease the living shite out of your muffin tin. seriously. if you could only reach into that image above and turn that poor muffin around to see the rest of its body…

anyway (:. my sister and i followed the recipe from allrecipes. we made only a quarter of the crumble topping, though, which was enough when we filled each muffin tin about three quarters full. they were gooood and fluffy. nomnomnom

i shall flee now while there is still time.