Healthy Irish Brown Soda Bread

Relax—no yeast required!

Mmm, I love bread but with me trying to get back into my wedding “shorts” (yes, shorts) I have not been baking like I used to.   I spied the March, 2010 edition of Cooking Light in my doctor’s office.  In honor of St. Patrick’s Day it was full of great Irish recipes, and I’ve always wanted to attempt Irish soda bread and was surprised to realize it doesn’t contain yeast.  It’s a quick bread so even those scared of yeast (R, I’m talking to YOU!) can make this yummy, healthy bread.  (Although once you get started working with yeast you will get the hang of it and love the feel and texture of yeast goodies.)  The nutritional value of this bread is great: 160 calories a slice, 1.8 grams fat and 7.2 grams protein.  Enjoy!

Healthy Irish Brown Soda Bread

Cooking spray
2½ c whole-wheat flour
½ c all-purpose flour
½ c steel-cut oats (such as McCann’s)
2 T brown sugar
1 T wheat germ
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
½ t salt
2 c low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325°.  Coat a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Line the pan with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray (I did not line with parchment and had great results).

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through salt).  Combine buttermilk and egg; add to flour mixture.  Stir just until combined.

Spoon the mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Invert bread onto a wire rack; cool completely.  Slice bread into 12 slices.

Don’t forget to wear green on the 17th!

P.S. to Lovely Daughter, I know this is your favorite holiday; enjoy sweetie!



Cranberry-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole-wheat cookie: why?

In my ongoing quest to eat (and cook) more healthfully, I’ve been perusing Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007.  When I saw these cookies I decided I would (as is typical in my world ) slightly tweak the already pretty darn healthful recipe and try out a batch with Better Half being the designated guinea pig.  He’s very truthful (as is my friend R) about telling me if something is thumb’s up or thumb’s down.  I gotta be honest; when I first saw the cookies come out of the oven I thought what a dud, but it turns out they’re pretty tasty!  My changes to the original recipe are in red and, seriously, eight hours in the fridge?  I like fairly instant gratification–two hours is sufficient!

If you’re on Weight Watchers, these little gems are only 2 points a cookie–not too shabby, eh?

Cranberry-Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ c all-purpose flour
¾ c white whole-wheat flour
¾ c regular oats
½ t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
¼ t salt
¼ c dried cranberries
2½ T finely chopped walnuts pecans
1 T sunflower seeds
2½ T semisweet chocolate minichips
¾ c packed brown sugar
5 T butter, softened
2 T honey
¾ t vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Cooking spray Parchment Paper

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flours, oats, baking powder, and the next 5 6 ingredients (through chips) in a large bowl.  Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add honey, vanilla, egg, and egg white; beat well.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate 8 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 10 12 minutes.  Cool 2 minutes on pans.  Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.  Makes 36 cookies.

I’m feel healthier already!

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Gooey Meets Crunchy

Since I’ve been on my kick to eat better, get in shape, blah, blah, I haven’t been cooking as usual.  I’ve been jonzing for butter and chocolate.  Enter these amazing cookies.  Don’t be put off by the peppers.  I dislike black pepper but do like cayenne, paprika, chili, etc.; black pepper=ick.  This recipe is courtesy of Cooking Light, but these cookies taste anything but light.  They’re crispy on the outside and fudgy-gooey on the inside with a hint of cinnamon and a little unexpected kick.   Better Half, a man of few words, was very vocal in his admiration, and we’ve decided this is our new favorite !

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

5 ounces bittersweet (60%-70%) chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Dash of black pepper
Dash of ground red pepper
1¼ cups sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place chocolate in a small glass bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring until smooth.  Cool to room temperature.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.  Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper); stir with a whisk.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes).  Add egg; beat well.  Add cooled chocolate and vanilla; beat just until blended.  Add flour mixture; beat just until blended.  Drop dough by level tablespoons 2 inches apart on baking sheets covered with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 minutes or until almost set.  Remove from oven.  Cool on pans 2 minutes or until set.  Remove from pans; cool completely on a wire rack.  Optional:  sprinkle cooled cookies with powdered sugar.

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