In the spirit of the upcoming holidays and the arrival of fall, I thought I'd share some of my favorite treats that won't swell the waist line and may actually give you a happy protein / omega 3 boost. These are recipes I found and tried from Kalyns Kitchen, you'll see the link on the left side under blog rolls. :)
First are my favorite gluten-free Almond/Flax Cookies...these little gems are divine and I love having it with a glass of cold milk (% left to your discretion) I know these are a repeat from a previous blog of mine, but they're worth repeating AND pay attention kids, we're going to use the cookie batter as crust in the next recipe!
Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free Cookies with Almond and Flaxseed Meal
(Makes about 15 cookies)
1/2 cup trans-fat free margarine (be sure not to choose a margarine that has water for the first ingredient)
1 1/2 cups almond meal (I use Bob's Red Mill brand or Trader Joe's)
2 T flaxseed meal (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
1 cup granular Splenda
1/2 tsp. vanilla (I use Mexican vanilla)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
Put on a plate for rolling cookies:
2 T Splenda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
In large mixing bowl, beat margarine with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add half the almond meal, Splenda, flaxseed meal, egg, vanilla, baking soda, and cream of tartar and blend well with mixer until thoroughly combined. Beat in the rest of the almond meal. Cover bowl and chill several hours, or as long as overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine 2 T Splenda and ground cinnamon on plate. Use a tablespoon to scoop out dough, then roll into a small ball and roll in Splenda/cinnamon mixture. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. (I used a fork to smash the cookies down, which is optional.)
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are slightly firm and starting to brown. (I got distracted and baked them a few minutes too long, but they still tasted great.) Cookies will get more firm as they cool. These cookies are a bit more crumbly than regular cookies, but I thought the crisp texture was really nice. Cookies will keep for a few days, or can be frozen for a few months.
South Beach Suggestions:
Made with trans-fat free margarine, cookies like this would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet. They aren't low in fat, even with margarine, so this would probably be a "once-in-a-while-treat" for South Beach Dieters.
FYI I usually QUADRUPLE the recipe, these cookies keep for weeks (yay nutty goodness)!
The next little favorite recipe of mine is for a low-fat, low-carb, sugar-free, Pumpkin Cheesecake...and is this ever delicious! I also use the cookie recipe above to make a much better crust, just nuts on the bottom is a bit bland and doesn't allow the cream cheese to spread very easily.
No-Sugar Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake
(8 servings, but it's better to double the recipe for a thicker / hardier Cheesecake)
2 packages (8 oz. each) light cream cheese (not fat free!)
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract (I used a bit more)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling which contains sugar)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. apple pie spice (recipe called for pinch each of nutmeg and cloves, but I didn't have any cloves)
non-stick spray for baking dish (use very sparingly or it makes it hard to spread the cheesecake)
whipped cream (optional, I didn't think it needed it)
Preheat oven to 325 F. In large bowl combine softened cream cheese, Splenda, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Blend in eggs, one at a time. Remove one cup of batter and spread into bottom of glass or crockery baking dish which has been sprayed very lightly with non-stick spray. (I sprayed my dish too much and had a hard time getting the first layer to spread evenly. Next time I would put a thin layer of the cookie recipe and only spray the sides with the nonstick spray.)
Add pumpkin and spices to remaining batter and stir until blended. Carefully spread pumpkin layer over first layer. Bake in preheated oven 35-45 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then chill several hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream if desired and wait for compliments.
I used a 10" by 8" glass baking dish to cook this. Next time I think I would double the recipe and only increase to a 9" by 13" baking dish to make a thicker cheese cake. This would show off the layers better. Some cinnamon dusted on the top would have been a nice touch.
I also like cutting these into little bite sized cubes and freeze them for a later frozen treat when I'm craving things like ice cream. It sure hits the spot.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have and please let me know what you think...Have a great day!