Cherry almond cobbler — without the side of guilt


I love dessert.

Like really, really love dessert.

Ice cream, Pop-Ice, cupcakes, pie — present it on a plate and I’ll probably eat it. I’d rather cut calories a hundred other ways than sacrifice my sweets, which sometimes means my lunches and dinners can get drab . . . but it’s worth it to indulge in those little extras.

Eventually I realized maybe I could have my cake and eat it, too, as they say. If I tried making lighter desserts, I could enjoy my sweets without the extra helping of guilt that sometimes accompanies them. Look, I’ll be honest: I’m a curvy woman who likes to eat. And bake. Counting calories sucks. I’ve never been skinny and doubt I ever will be, so I do the best I can to exercise, eat healthy — and bake wisely. Having calorie-laden goods hanging around the kitchen counter is a recipe for derailment.

Enter this lower-fat cherry almond cobbler. Adapted from this AllRecipes creation, the dessert calls for vanilla yogurt, egg whites and a limited amount of added sugar. The result is more cake-like than cobbler-ish, but it’s delicious and light — almost like angel food cake with fruit! Even my cherry-hating dad and sister gave it a solid B and B-, respectively. (And my cherry-loving heart gives it an A.)


Lighter cherry almond cobbler

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup slivered almonds
1 (20 ounce) can reduced-sugar cherry pie filling
Fat-free whipped topping, if desired

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, beat yogurt and sugar. Add egg whites; mix well. Combine flour and baking powder; stir into yogurt mixture. Pour into a 13 x 9-in. baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon cherry filling on top, then cover with slivered almonds. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until filling is bubbly and toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Top with whipped topping, if desired.


Improvising: Almond lemon butter cookies

After bragging about my well-stocked kitchen on Twitter, I settled in to bake Spicy Lemon Butter Cookies — a long-standing recipe in my “to be baked” folder — only to discover . . . well, my pantry was stocked. Until I used up all my ingredients.

Gone were two staples of any baker’s repertoire: nutmeg and vanilla extract. Vanilla extract. I mean, seriously? We’re out of vanilla? Rookie mistake to not check and see if we had vanilla. I was cocky, friends, and I’ll admit it: I was wrong.

Wrong.

Still, I was in the mood to bake. So I improvised. The vanilla became almond, my most favorite of all flavors; and the nutmeg became extra cinnamon, which I added generously. If I’d been on my A-game, I would have thought to substitute cardamom — the most exotic of all spices in my pantry.

But I wasn’t. I was flustered.

Despite my frequent dessert-baking, I still consider myself an amateur. Cookies scare me. Unlike cupcakes, which have a foolproof pull-out-a-toothpick way of checking doneness, you can’t really tell if cookies are done until they’re . . . done. Or, in my case, “extra crispy.”

They were still delicious. Light, fluffy, and with a very distinct almond taste (and aroma!) I love. I could definitely see these at a summer or spring party, and I’m sure they’d be pretty if you didn’t make them as large as I did! Abide by the 1-inch-size cookie ball rule, friends. Abide. They spread.


Almond Lemon Butter Cookies

Adapted from WordFlux’s Spicy Lemon Butter Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
2 cups unbleached flour

Directions:
Beat butter, sugar, salt, egg, almond, cinnamon and lemon zest in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour on low-speed until well mixed. Refrigerate 1 hour. Alternatively, you can shape the dough into a log and wrap in a parchment paper before putting in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls or, in case you have made a log, slice the dough. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork.

Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store in an airtight container.



For more delicious and food-related posts (recipes, novels, and more!), head over to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.