Posts tagged under Sweet. Show all posts.
The wonky spring weather continues, and while last week called for a return to toques in the morning, this week, the mercury is on the rise and the humidity is out in full force.
As soon as the temperatures warm, there is not one, but sometimes two, ice cream trucks that park at my kids’ school, waiting for them to come pouring out of their classes, tempting them with an assortment of frozen delicacies. Every single day (for the past four years!) my ten-year-old asks me for a treat, and every single day I say ‘no.’ It’s not that I don’t want him to have the occasional ice cream cone; it’s just that these trucks are privately owned, and I’m not sure how safe their products are (I’ve heard horrible things about ice cream trucks and the bacteria that grows within).
My solution is these frozen banana bites. I keep a container of them tucked in the freezer, and although they aren’t quite the same as the fake-coloured and semi-frozen confectioneries on offer at the playground, they are tasty. The frozen banana mimics the texture of ice cream, and the chocolate coating adds the hint of sweetness the kids are looking for.
Are you thinking about frozen treats this week? What are some of your favourites to keep on hand?
Find the full printable recipe here: Frozen Banana Bites
If you’re making the choice to have something sweet, choose wisely.
As we’ve discussed, sugar is the new transfat/salt/evil ingredient according to the latest reports. It’s been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. This week, Rose Riesman was on Toronto’s Breakfast Television sharing the shocking news about how much sugar we’re currently consuming.
According to her report, the average Canadian ingests 130 pounds of sugar per year. This number was shocking to me. We are eating our body weight in sugar-enhanced foods, not to mention the naturally sweetened ones we consume, like fruit. The good news though, is that with just a few simple changes to our shopping and eating habits, it’s possible to reduce our consumption dramatically, while still enjoying the occasional treat.
Rose compared some popular snacks and take-out foods with some slightly less sweet counterparts. Here are the results of her study:
Dairy Queen Lemonade Raspberry Chiller = 48 teaspoons of sugar VS.
Dairy Queen Small Raspberry Sundae = 14 teaspoons of sugar
Cinnamon Caramel Pecan Buns = 19 teaspoons of sugar VS.
Country Style Raspberry Filled Donut = 5 teaspoons of sugar
Baskin Robbins Large Vanilla Shake = 30 teaspoons of sugar VS.
Baskin Robbins Two –Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream Cone – 13 teaspoons sugar
Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (1 bowl) = 7 teaspoons of sugar VS.
Twinkies (2) = 7 teaspoons of sugar
Skittles (1 small package = 11 teaspoons of sugar VS.
M&Ms (1 small package) = 4 teaspoons of sugar
One Large Coke (from movie theater) = 33 teaspoons of sugar VS.
One Small Cokes (from Movie Theater) = 10 teaspoons of sugar
Another shocking statistic I learned from this segment is that 1 out of 3 kids born after the year 2000 will have sugar-induced diabetes.
Were you surprised by any of these comparisons? Are you concerned about your family’s sugar intake?
Picnic season is officially upon us, and I couldn’t be happier. There’s some sort of magical law that makes anything eaten outdoors taste better automatically. So I try and take full advantage of dining al fresco whenever the opportunity presents itself. Plus, there’s also the bonus of not having to clean the dining room table that’s usually littered with tiny crumbs and water spills.
In an effort to come up with something other than cookies to tuck into our picnic basket, I baked up these blackberry crumb bars. Not only are they incredibly tasty, and not too sweet, they’re also versatile and can be customized with whatever berry is in season. They travel well, and make just enough to feed a large group without too many leftovers.
I froze a few extra pieces that I had on hand to see how they would hold up, and I actually enjoyed them a little more after they were chilled. In the future, I will likely pop these into the freezer as soon as I cut them, and then I’ll pack them up straight from there. By the time we eat, they’ll be cool yet soft, and perfectly pleasant for a hot afternoon.
What are some of your favourite picnic snacks to pack?
Find the full printable recipe here: Blackberry Crumb Bars
A couple of months ago I shared a recipe for frozen banana bites: sliced banana pieces dipped in melted chocolate and drizzled with sprinkles, nuts, etc. This time I’ve elevated them just a little thanks to my friend, Julie, who recently wrote about serving Frozen Elvis’ at a party.
I loved the idea of adding chopped bacon and peanuts to my otherwise simple frozen treat. The salty flavours combine with the sweet fruit to make a perfect pairing, and seeing that bacon appears to be one of the must-eat foods this summer, the timing couldn’t be better.
You can make a platter of these for your own family, or serve a tray of them when you’re hosting a barbecue or summer gathering. I think your guests will thank you.
How do you feel about the use of bacon in many sweet treats these days?
Find the full printable recipe here: Frozen Elvis Bites
In an effort to make more of our sweet treats from natural ingredients, I’ve been taking some of our favourite nibblies and giving them a ‘healthy’ makeover. It doesn’t work for everything I’ve tried, but these peanut butter pretzel balls were a huge success, and I don’t even think my kids remember that they used to be made with far less nutritious ingredients.
The original recipe derives from Martha Stewart, and calls for regular peanut butter, powdered sugar, pretzels and chocolate. In my version, I used all-natural peanut butter, honey, pretzels and dark chocolate, and it worked perfectly. Unsweetened peanut butter tends to be slightly thicker than it’s processed counterpart, making it easy to use honey in place of a dry sugar. The end result yields the same texture, minus the heavy sweetening. I melted a bar of 85% extra-dark cocoa for the dipping, reducing the sugar content even further.
While these treats aren’t lunchbox friendly, they’re great for road trips or to be kept tucked into mom’s purse for a little something sweet when the need strikes. Just don’t leave them out in the heat or the chocolate will be melted in seconds.
Have you done a recipe makeover? Tell us all about it!
Find the full printable recipe here: Peanut Butter Pretzel ‘Candy’
Since we’re talking about food allergies this week, I thought it might be the perfect time to share my friend’s recipe for wacky cake, an allergy-free cake/cupcake that contains no eggs, dairy, nuts or tree nuts. I’m sorry to say that it also isn’t gluten-free, but I think that if you’re well versed in that kind of baking it should be easy to adapt this recipe to suit your needs.
Although my children (and nieces and nephews) are exempt from having food allergies, I’ve baked this recipe more times than I can count for classroom parties and birthday celebrations. It tastes just like a regular cake, and it’s nice to know that I can serve sweet treats to some of the food sensitive kids I know, without worrying about offering them something that could be detrimental to their health.
The original version of the wacky cake was created during the depression era, when eggs, milk and butter were regularly being rationed. Although we don’t have quite the same economic concerns today, we are faced with other issues, and I like the idea of a multi-generational recipe that’s able to feed those who might not otherwise be able to enjoy the occasional chocolate cake.
Find the full printable recipe here: Chocolate Wacky Cake
Somewhere in the culinary dictionary, about halfway between pancakes and cookies, you will find these little gems. Cooked on the stovetop in a skillet, then finished in the oven, it’s hard to know how we should classify this sweet treats, but it really doesn’t even matter because the kids will love them regardless of their moniker.
I was drawn to this recipe simply because it screamed ‘Halloween,’ yet managed to avoid the colourful appearance and cloying taste of most of the treats available at this time of year. I think it makes a fun afterschool snack, and the squeeze bottle/piping bag that you use to make the web shape is perfect for little hands, giving the kids the chance to make their own creepy creations.
Find the full printable recipe here: Skillet Spider and Web Cookies
Shortbread cookies have been around for centuries and for good reason, too. Made with only four ingredients—butter, sugar, flour and salt—they can be manipulated into a variety of shapes and flavours with little effort and time.
While shortbread is often chilled and cut into holiday shapes using cookie cutters, the dough can also be pressed into a pan and scored into pieces, rolled into balls or shaped into a log and sliced. One simple recipe can easily yield three or more different cookies that look as though you spent hours baking.
The quality of the shortbread is often related to the quality of the items used. Because there are so few ingredients, I like to recommend buying the best butter you can afford. You will be rewarded with a crisp but tender shortbread that holds it’s shape well, yet crumbles just a little with each bite taken—a true testament to a well-made cookie.
Here are three variations of shortbread cookies using just one recipe. I like to divide the dough into thirds and customize each according to the three sets of directions listed below.
Do you make shortbread for the holidays?
Find the full printable recipe here: Vanilla Bean Shortbread
A few weeks ago, I brought a small tin of Millionaire’s Shortbread in to the Monday morning editorial meeting at the SavvyMom office. The treats were a hit, but what had everyone talking was how neatly they were cut.
Years of working in catering taught me a few tricks I keep up my sleeve—and this is one of them. Here’s how I cut my dessert squares into even pieces with clean edges.
There you have it…a foolproof way to make your bars and squares look like they came from a bakery.
Do you have any cutting tips to share?
Now that we’re almost a month past Christmas, I feel like it finally might be safe to share a cake a recipe with you.
This isn’t just any cake recipe. This one-dish, three-step, egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free cake recipe is so flavourful, moist and simple to make, I think it could quickly replace whatever you’re currently baking up for your weekend desserts, playdates or classroom parties.
Also, this is a perfect starting point for young kids who are interested in baking. It doesn’t require heavy-duty mixers, complicated ingredients or anything other than what you likely already have tucked inside your pantry, and because it’s made in the pan the cake is baked in, you’ll require nothing more than a fork, a few measuring cups and spoons to put this all together.
I suggest serving it the day it’s made, but you can also store individual slices in the freezer for another time. Serve it with your favourite frosting, chocolate ganache or dusted with a dose of icing sugar, and your kids will thank you.
Find the full printable recipe here: Busy-Day Chocolate Cake
Around our house, Valentine’s Day dinner is usually a family affair instead of a couple one. I try to make something that I know everyone will love—with two tween boys in the house it typically involves lots of meat—and we do something sweet and festive for dessert.
This year I’m planning on little heart pavlovas in an effort to use up some leftover egg whites, but in the past, I’ve defaulted to something fruity, embellished with a touch of chocolate—like a simple fondue.
Using nothing more than chocolate chips and cream, the sauce thickens while I slice up a few fruits and platter them with whatever sweets I can find in the cupboard. Marshmallows are always popular with the kids and if I have some banana bread or lemon loaf on hand, I cut it up into thin slices and cut out little heart shapes with my cookie cutters. It all comes together in the time it takes the kids to clear the table, and we can dip and delight in a dessert the whole family will enjoy.
Alternatively, if you think your kids have indulged in enough candy during the school day, these simple apples are a fun way to inject a little festive fun into the dinner hour—without overdosing on an extra sugar. Press a small heart cookie cutter into a green apple and remove the cut piece. Do the same with the red apple and swap the heart pieces, putting the red one into the green apple and vice versa.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day dinner with the family? Do you do anything special to celebrate?
Find the full printable recipe here: Easy Chocolate Fondue
I have a passion for making cakes, and while I’m certainly no Sweetapolita, I can hold my own when it comes to baking and icing a birthday or simple celebration cake. I’ve taken several cake-decorating classes, have made a three-tiered wedding cake, and I’m even in charge of creating what you see here at SavvyMom in the monthly PartySavvy feature. Overall, I’m somewhat knowledgeable about cakes.
At least that’s what I thought, until recently, when I was asked how to make a healthy birthday cake frosting. To start with, I’ve always assumed that it was general knowledge that if you’re going to eat birthday cake it’s going to be unhealthy, but apparently that isn’t the case. There is a new trend leaning itself towards healthier birthday confections, and while I’m not sure they’ll ever be part of my baking repertoire, I was up to the challenge of creating a frosting that wasn’t sugar and butter laden.
It turns out the task was much easier than I expected. Cream cheese and jam, when whipped together, make a mighty fine replacement for the traditional cake frosting. Not all variations on the product works best, but here’s what I’ve discovered:
Find the full printable recipe here: Two-Ingredient Frosting
Just in time for March Break, comes a book that’s perfect for getting kids in the kitchen to cook up some healthy and homemade versions of their favourite store-bought treats.
Real Snacks by Lara Ferroni is a compilation of your favourite childhood goodies without all the junk. Made without artificial flavourings, industrial preservatives or fake colourings, this book is dedicated to helping you satisfy your junk food cravings by teaching you to make your own nostalgic childhood treats at home.
Were you a fan of Twinkies? Doritios? Animal Crackers? How about Cracker Jacks? This book has recipes for all of them, plus plenty of others, but uses mostly whole grain flours and natural sugars in place of the traditional processed products we’re used to. Each recipe concludes with suggestions for transforming the dish into a gluten-free or vegan option, and the directions are simple enough that almost everything can be made with your child’s assistance.
I gave the yogurt-covered raisins recipe a test run earlier this week, and it was a huge success. Admittedly, it uses more sugar than most of the other recipes in the book, but this is about as unhealthy of a recipe you’re going to see within the pages. The yogurt coating comes together quickly, without the use of any small appliances, and I think it would be fun to test out all manners of dippable foods, like other fresh and dried fruits, nuts, seeds, potato chips, etc.
What are some of your favourite treats from your own childhood? Would you like to be able to recreate them in your kitchen?
Find the full printable recipe here: Yogurt Covered Raisins and Almonds
I’m starting to think about what to make for Easter breakfast this year and, as usual, I’m struggling between a sweet or savoury main option. I know I can serve both, but I really do prefer to narrow it down to one or the other, and then fill the rest of the table with an assortment of fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits and baked bread.
This week, a recipe for Raisin Pecan Sticky Toast came though my email and it quickly became a front-runner for the sweet breakfast option, should I decide to go that way. Raisin bread is a nostalgic item from my own childhood and I can attest to how great it tastes when toasted. The addition of brown sugar and chopped nuts elevates it a new flavour level resulting in a tasty dish that resembles the French toast we’re all familiar with, but with a cinnamon bun taste, minus the mess. All the work for this recipe is done in the oven making it a perfect choice for easy entertaining, or just to leave your hands free so you can help the kids hunt for their eggs.
What do you like to serve for Easter breakfast? Are there any traditional foods that make their way to your table each year?
Find the full printable recipe here: Raisin Pecan Sticky Toast