2008-11-18

Creamy Lemon Nut Bars


Creamy Lemon Nut Bars




1. Ingredients

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour, divided
1/3 cup PLANTERS Pecans, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Nutrition Info Per Serving


Calories: 137 kcal
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Fat: 5 g
Protein: 1 g
Sugars: 14 g

About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database

2. Cooking Directions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil; spray with cooking spray. Mix butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Gradually stir in 1-1/2 cups of the flour and pecans. Press dough firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.


Beat cream cheese and granulated sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until well blended. Add remaining 1/4 cup flour and eggs; beat until blended.


Stir in lemon juice and peel. Pour over baked crust in pan. Bake 30 min. or until set. Remove from oven; cool completely. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar; cut into 32 bars.


Yield: 32 servings


3. Still Hungry?


Notes: Great Substitute
Prepare as directed, using lime juice and grated lime peel.

BAKER'S(R) ONE BOWL Chocolate Bliss Cookies



BAKER'S(R) ONE BOWL Chocolate Bliss Cookies


1. Ingredients

2 (8 ounce) packages BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, divided
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, slightly softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon CALUMET Baking Powder
2 cups chopped PLANTERS Walnuts


Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 102 kcal
Carbohydrates: 10 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 6 g
Protein: 1 g
Sugars: 7 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database

2. Cooking Directions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coarsely chop 8 of the chocolate squares; set aside. Microwave remaining 8 chocolate squares in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min., stirring after 1 min.

Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla; stir until well blended. Add flour and baking powder; mix well. Stir in chopped chocolate and walnuts. (Note: If omitting nuts, increase flour to 3/4 cup to prevent excessive spreading of cookies as they bake.)


Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.


Bake 12 to 13 min. or until cookies are puffed and shiny. Cool 1 min.; remove from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely.


Yield: 30 servings


3. Still Hungry?


This is the most luscious, chocolatey cookie ever! The addition of chopped nuts makes it even more decadent. A must try!


Notes: Bite-Size Cookies


Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough, 1-1/2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 6 to 7 min. or until cookies are puffed and shiny. Makes about 5-1/2 doz. bite-size cookies or 33 servings, 2 cookies each.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti


Chocolate Almond Biscotti





1. Ingredients

12 (1 ounce) squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons CALUMET Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup PLANTERS Slivered Almonds, toasted


Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 112 kcal
Carbohydrates: 16 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Fat: 4 g
Protein: 1 g
Sugars: 10 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database


2. Cooking Directions


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour large baking sheet. Reserve 1/2 cup of the chocolate. Microwave remaining chocolate in small microwavable bowl on HIGH 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is completely melted; cool slightly. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; set aside.


Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in almonds. Divide dough in half. On floured board, shape each half into 10x2-inch log. Place, 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheet.


Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on baking sheet 15 minutes. Place logs on cutting board; diagonally cut each log into 18 slices using serrated knife. Place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Bake an additional 20 minutes, turning biscotti over after 10 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.


Melt reserved chocolate as directed on package. Drizzle over biscotti. Let stand until chocolate is firm.


Yield: 36 servings


3. Still Hungry?

These crunchy twice-baked Italian cookies are flavored with melted chocolate and toasted slivered almonds. They're ideal for holiday gift-giving.

Notes: Tips


Storage Know-How
Store in tightly covered container up to 2 weeks.
Great Substitute
Prepare as directed, using 1 pkg. (12 oz.) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks.

Chocolate Brown-Sugar Brownies


Chocolate Brown-Sugar Brownies





1. Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


Nutrition Info Per Serving


Calories: 220 kcal
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 14 g
Protein: 2 g
Sugars: 17 g

About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database


2. Cooking Directions


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In the top of a double boiler, melt the butter with the chocolate; let cool.


Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until thickened; beat in the vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate mixture until combined. Sift the flour over the batter and fold it in. Fold in the pecans.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let the brownies cool in the pan for 1 hour before cutting into squares.


Yield: 24 servings


3. Still Hungry?


Lisa loves wickedly intense chocolate brownies, like the ones in The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. F&W's version includes light brown sugar, which makes the brownies sweeter and more tender, and substitutes pecans for walnuts.

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Refrigerator Cake


Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Refrigerator Cake






1. Ingredients

2 cups chilled heavy cream
1 (10 ounce) jar bittersweet chocolate sauce
1 (9 ounce) package chocolate wafers
Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish



Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 597 kcal
Carbohydrates: 65 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 35 g
Protein: 6 g
Sugars: 27 g



About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database



2. Cooking Directions

In a large chilled stainless steel or glass bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the chocolate sauce at medium speed until firm peaks form. Spread about 1/2 cup of the whipped chocolate cream on a long rectangular platter, to form a 3-by-10-inch rectangle.
Using a small offset spatula, spread 1 tablespoon of the remaining chocolate cream on 35 chocolate wafers and arrange them in 5 stacks. Top each stack with a chocolate wafer (you will have 6 or 7 wafers left over). Arrange the wafer stacks on their sides as close together as possible on the chocolate cream on the platter. (The wafer stacks will lie lengthwise on the platter.) Spread all but about 1/2 cup of the remaining chocolate cream all over the cake, fixing any wafers that tilt or slide.


Press a long sheet of plastic wrap over the cake, flattening the top and sides gently. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or for up to 2 days. Refrigerate the remaining chocolate cream.

Discard the plastic wrap and frost the cake with the remaining chocolate cream, smoothing the top and sides. Garnish with the chocolate shavings. Cut into slices, wiping the knife after each cut.


Yield: 6 servings


3. Still Hungry?

Star Ingredient: The King's Cupboard Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate Cream Squares


Chocolate Cream Squares


1. Ingredients

1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in
1/3 cup water
6 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 331 kcal
Carbohydrates: 30 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 21 g
Protein: 4 g
Sugars: 24 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database


2. Cooking Directions


MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 18-by-12-inch large rimmed baking sheet and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Butter the paper and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate with the dissolved espresso and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.


In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks at high speed until pale, 2 to 3 minutes. At medium speed, gradually beat in 1/3 cup of the sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until very thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and the chocolate mixture and beat at low speed until blended.


In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and beat at high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the chocolate mixture and the flour into the whites in 2 batches, until no streaks remain. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the cake has risen and is slightly springy. Transfer to a rack and let cool.


Run the tip of a knife around the cake and sift cocoa over the surface. Cover the cake with wax paper and top with a cutting board. Invert the cake onto the cutting board. Lift off the pan and peel off the paper. Cut the cake in half crosswise, forming 2 rectangles. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.


MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING: In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate with the butter and water. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and shiny. Scrape into a bowl and let cool. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla until firm. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cooled chocolate.


MAKE THE GLAZE: In a small saucepan, combine the shortening with the granulated sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, add the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate and let stand until melted, 2 minutes. Whisk in the vanilla. Let the glaze cool until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.


Spread the cream filling over one half of the cake and top with the other half, cocoa side up. Press down lightly and run a cake spatula all around to smooth the edges. Pour the glaze down the center of the cake and gently spread it so that it covers the top and drizzles down the sides.

Freeze the cake for 4 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature until just soft enough to cut. Cut the cake into 3 long strips, then cut each strip into 6 squares. Transfer to plates and serve.


Yield: 18 servings


3. Still Hungry?


This super-rich dessert contains chocolate whipped cream between layers of bittersweet chocolate cake topped with a fudgy chocolate glaze. It's best made one day ahead and refrigerated overnight.

Wolfgang's Favorite Chocolate Cake


Wolfgang's Favorite Chocolate Cake


1. Ingredients


8 (1 ounce) squares Bittersweet Chocolate
4 ounces Unsalted Butter
5 Large Eggs
1 pinch Salt
2/3 cup Sugar


Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 245 kcal
Carbohydrates: 22 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 15 g
Protein: 3 g
Sugars: 19 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database

2. Cooking Directions


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter, flour and line the base of a 10-inch round cake pan with parchment.


Combine chocolate and butter in a bain marie or in a bowl over simmering water.
Whisk together the egg yolks and all but 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Stir melted chocolate into egg yolks until thoroughly combined.


With an electric mixer, on medium speed, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.
Gradually beat in the remaining sugar and continue to whip until egg whites are stiff but not dry.


Carefully fold chocolate mixture into egg whites. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes.


Turn out onto a rack immediately.


As the cake cools, the center will sink and crack - do not worry.


Yield: 12 servings

3. Still Hungry?


This is a flourless chocolate cake, one that tastes fabulously rich and decadent. It requires nothing more than a sprinkling of powdered sugar and unsweetened whipped cream to make an exciting finish to a great meal.

Heavenly Chocolate Cake



Heavenly Chocolate Cake



1. Ingredients

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix (not pudding in the mix variety)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
3 eggs
1 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
4 ounces PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar



Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 284 kcal
Carbohydrates: 49 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 3 g
Sugars: 36 g



About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database




2. Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 13x9-inch baking pan.
Stir cake mix and 1/2 cup of the cocoa in large mixing bowl. Add eggs, 1-1/3 cups water and dressing; beat with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan.


Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, milk and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually add combined powdered sugar and remaining 1/4 cup cocoa, beating well after each addition. Spread over cake. Cut into 16 pieces to serve.

Yield: 16 servings




3. Still Hungry?


Notes: Size-Wise

Looking for a special treat? One slice of this heavenly cake provides a lot of chocolatey flavor.
Jazz It Up


Top each slice with fresh berries before serving.

Molten Chocolate Cakes



Molten Chocolate Cakes




1. Ingredients

4 (1 ounce) squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping


Nutrition Info Per Serving


Calories: 302 kcal
Carbohydrates: 29 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 19 g
Protein: 4 g
Sugars: 22 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database


2. Cooking Directions


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Butter 4 (3/4-cup) custard cups or souffle dishes. Place on baking sheet.


Microwave chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 1 min. or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour. Divide batter between prepared custard cups.
Bake 13 to 14 min. or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 min. Carefully run small knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Serve immediately each topped with 1 Tbsp. of whipped topping.

Yield: 8 servings


3. Still Hungry?


Looking for the perfect dessert for a group of chocoholics? One serving of these indulgent molten cakes will hit the spot.


Notes: Size-Wise


Looking for the perfect dessert for a group of chocoholics? One serving of these indulgent molten cakes will hit the spot.


Make Ahead


Batter can be made a day ahead. Pour into prepared custard cups. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Bake as directed.

Spicy Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chunks


Spicy Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chunks




1. Ingredients

1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened, divided
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6 (1 ounce) squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
2 tablespoons sugar

Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 258 kcal
Carbohydrates: 33 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 12 g
Protein: 4 g
Sugars: 22 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database


2. Cooking Directions


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, reducing water to 1/2 cup and increasing oil to 1/2 cup. Add half of the cream cheese, the pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. Beat on medium speed until well blended. Stir in chopped chocolate. Pour into greased 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan.


Bake 40 to 45 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 min. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.


Mix remaining cream cheese, whipped topping and sugar until well blended. Spread on top of cooled cake. Cut into 16 slices to serve.


Yield: 16 servings

3. Still Hungry?


Start with a simple boxed cake mix, and add a few simple ingredients to take it to a whole new level. The combination of pumpkin and chocolate is absolutely scrumptious. A sure-fire hit with your family and guests.


Notes: Size-Wise

Sweets can be part of a balanced diet but remember to keep tabs on portions.
Substitute

Chocolate-Fudge Pudding Cake


Chocolate-Fudge Pudding Cake


1. Ingredients

1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see Ingredient notes)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (see Ingredient notes)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup 1% milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 1/3 cups hot brewed coffee
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar (see Ingredient notes)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 309 kcal
Carbohydrates: 50 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 12 g
Protein: 4 g
Sugars: 37 g

2. Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar (or Splenda Sugar Blend), cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk egg, milk, oil and vanilla in a glass measuring cup. Add to the flour mixture; stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Mix hot coffee and brown sugar (or Splenda Granular) in the measuring cup and pour over the batter. Sprinkle with nuts. (It may look strange at this point, but don't worry. During baking, cake forms on top with sauce underneath.)

Bake the pudding cake until the top springs back when touched lightly, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve hot or warm

Yield: 8 servings

3. Still Hungry?

When you have a craving for a comforting dessert, try this pudding cake, which forms its own rich-tasting sauce as it bakes. The coffee flavor is subtle, but it adds complex depth to the cake's flavor.

Notes: Ingredient notes

Whole-wheat pastry flour--the whole-grain equivalent of cake flour--adds fiber and a rich, nutty taste.

Substituting with Splenda(R)

In the Eating Well Test Kitchen, sucralose is the only alternative sweetener we test with when we feel the option is appropriate. For non baking recipes, we use Splenda(R) Granular (boxed, not in a packet). For baking, we use Splenda(r) Sugar Blend for Baking, a mix of sugar and sucralose. It can be substituted in recipes (1/2 cup of the blend for each 1 cup of sugar) to reduce sugar calories by half while maintaining some of the baking properties of sugar. If you make a similar blend with half sugar and half Splenda(r) Granular, substitute this homemade mixture cup for cup. When choosing any low- or no-calorie sweetener, be sure to check the label to make sure it is suitable for your intended use.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Sheet Cake with Almond Cream

Chocolate-Cinnamon Sheet Cake with Almond Cream






1. Ingredients

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup cake flour (see Ingredient note)
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup 1% milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon amaretto
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 193 kcal
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 3 g
Sugars: 14 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database

2. Cooking Directions


To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray with flour. Alternatively, spray the pan with regular cooking spray, dust with flour and tap out the excess.


Melt chocolate in the microwave on Medium in 30-second bursts, stirring after each burst to ensure even melting, until completely melted. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a double boiler over hot water, stirring constantly.) Set aside.


Whisk cake flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.


Beat egg whites in a clean medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.


Beat the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil in a large bowl on medium speed until combined. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then melted chocolate and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until combined.


Add 1/2 cup milk to the egg-yolk mixture, beating on low speed, then add half the flour mixture. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup milk, then the remaining flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the whites with a spatula, using long, even strokes.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly to the edges.


Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.


To prepare almond cream: Beat cream and confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is the consistency of sour cream, about 1 minute. Add sour cream, amaretto (or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract), vanilla and cinnamon; beat to combine. Serve the cake with the almond cream.


Yield: 18 servings

3. Still Hungry?


Sheet cakes are a potluck dream: the baking pan holds the cake and makes it wonderfully portable. This one is accompanied by an almond 'cream' made from heavy cream and reduced-fat sour cream. Together, the cake and cream replicate the taste of Mexican chocolate with its undertones of almond and cinnamon. Or make cream cheese frosting and add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.


Notes: Ingredient Note


Cake flour is a less dense, low-gluten form of milled flour. If you can't find it, use all-purpose flour, but reduce the amount used by 2 tablespoons per cup.
Make Ahead Tip


Cover the cake and store at room temperature for up to 1 day. Cover and refrigerate the almond cream for up to 1 day.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake


Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake




1. Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, "natural" or Dutch-process
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 large egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, for garnish

Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 246 kcal
Carbohydrates: 39 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 4 g
Sugars: 28 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database


2. Cooking Directions


To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment or wax paper.


Combine dates, cocoa and instant coffee in a small bowl. Add boiling water and stir until the cocoa has dissolved. Cover and let stand until the dates have softened and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, spread hazelnuts in a shallow baking dish and bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.


Grind bread into fine crumbs in a food processor. Measure to make sure you have 1/2 cup. Transfer to a large bowl. (No need to wash the work bowl between steps.)
Place 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts in the food processor. Add flour and salt; process until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumbs.


Scrape the cooled date mixture into the food processor. Add 1/3 cup sugar, oil, vanilla and whole egg; process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the breadcrumbs and nuts. Mix gently with a rubber spatula.


Beat egg whites with an electric mixer in a clean large mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add one-fourth of the beaten whites to the batter and whisk until blended. Fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.


Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Coat the rack with cooking spray and invert the cake onto it to cool completely.


Meanwhile, to prepare glaze: Combine cocoa, chocolate, corn syrup and instant coffee in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Gradually add confectioners'' sugar (to the chocolate mixture), beating with an electric mixer, slowly at first, then gradually increasing speed, until the glaze is smooth and thickened. (The mixture may seem lumpy at first, but it will smooth out.)

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature until the mixture is set, about 30 minutes. 1


To finish the cake, place it bottom-side up on a serving plate. Place several strips of wax paper under the bottom edge to protect the plate from drips. Spoon on glaze and spread it evenly over the top and sides of the cake with an icing spatula or knife. Arrange the remaining 2 tablespoons hazelnuts around the top outside edge. Discard the wax paper before serving.


Yield: 12 servings


3. Still Hungry?

Turn this moist, dense and truly chocolaty cake into an elegant dessert by garnishing each serving with a dollop of whipped cream, some fresh raspberries and a light dusting of cocoa. Note that this cake does not contain any leavening: beaten egg whites alone are used to lighten it.


Notes: Equipment


9-inch round cake pan

To make ahead

Prepare through step 8. The cake will keep, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries


Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries





1. Ingredients

2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups unsifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt, drained overnight in a cheesecloth-lined sieve in the refrigerator
1/4 cup mascarpone (Italian cream cheese)
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 (64 fluid ounce) bottle fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup red currant jelly, melted



Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 325 kcal
Carbohydrates: 58 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 7 g
Protein: 5 g
Sugars: 38 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database



2. Cooking Directions

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch round cake pan or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Add breadcrumbs, tilting the pan to evenly coat the inside. Tap out excess.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until the butter turns a nutty brown, about 30 seconds. Pour the butter into a small bowl. Whisk in oil, then buttermilk; set aside. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick and pale and falls in a ribbon when the beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla.


Sift half of the reserved dry ingredients over the egg mixture; fold in with a rubber spatula until blended. Fold in half of the reserved buttermilk mixture. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out of the pan and place right-side up on the rack to cool completely.

To make filling and syrup and assemble cake: In a bowl, whisk drained yogurt, mascarpone, confectioners' sugar and orange zest until smooth.

In a small saucepan over low heat, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup water. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in orange juice and liqueur.

With a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 2 layers using a gentle sawing motion. With a pastry brush, brush all of the syrup on the cut sides of the cake. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate, cut-side up. Spread half of the orange-mascarpone filling over the bottom layer. Arrange about one-third of the sliced strawberries in an even layer on top. Spread with the remaining filling. Place the second cake layer on top, cut-side down.

Brush the top of the cake lightly with about 2 tablespoons of the melted jelly. Arrange the remaining sliced strawberries in straight rows on top. Overlap the slices and reverse the direction of the slices in each row. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.

Just before serving, remelt the remaining currant jelly and brush it over the strawberries on top of the cake.


Yield: 12 servings


3. Still Hungry?

Mascarpone (Italian cream cheese) is blended with drained nonfat yogurt for a smooth, creamy cake filling.

Key Lime Meringue Cake


Key Lime Meringue Cake





1. Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature (see Cake-Baking Tips)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest, preferably Key lime (see Ingredient notes)
3 tablespoons almond oil or canola oil
1 (14 ounce) can nonfat sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1/3 cup lime juice, preferably Key lime
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest, preferably Key lime
2 large egg whites, at room temperature, or equivalent dried egg whites, reconstituted according to package directions (see Ingredient notes)
1/4 cup sugar

Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 239 kcal
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Fat: 5 g
Protein: 6 g
Sugars: 35 g

2. Cooking Directions

To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray with flour (see Tip); alternatively, coat the pans with regular cooking spray, line them with parchment paper and spray the paper.

Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat 4 eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale yellow and doubled in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. Beat in vanilla and 1 teaspoon lime zest.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold almond (or canola) oil into the egg mixture, using long, even strokes, until just incorporated. Add the flour mixture; gently stir until just incorporated. Divide the batter between the pans; spread to the edges and gently rap the pans against the counter once or twice to settle the batter.

Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the layers onto the rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, if using, and let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

To prepare lime filling: Whisk condensed milk, lime juice and 1 teaspoon lime zest in a medium bowl until combined. Refrigerate until thickened, at least 30 minutes or overnight.

To prepare meringue: Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler. Transfer one layer, bottom-side down, to a large baking sheet. Spread the meringue on top of the cake, creating decorative peaks and valleys in the meringue with a rubber spatula. Broil until lightly browned, watching carefully to prevent burning, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

To assemble cake: Place the plain layer, top-side down, on a serving plate; spread the lime filling on top. Cover with the meringue-topped layer.

Yield: 12 servings

3. Still Hungry?

A cake with a meringue? Though not unheard of, this one is definitely a flight of fancy, a cakey version of Key lime pie.

Notes: Ingredient Notes

Key limes are more fragrant, acidic and juicy than the common Persian lime found in U.S. markets. Look for the small, round limes with yellow-green skin in the specialty-produce section of supermarkets or Latin food markets. Dried egg whites are pasteurized--a wise choice when making an uncooked meringue. They are also convenient when you have no use for leftover yolks. You'll find them in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets.
Cake-Baking Tips

When using cake pans, they must be greased and floured to create a thin layer of protection against the oven's heat. For greater convenience, use a cooking spray that has flour in the mix, such as Pam for Baking, Baker's Joy or Crisco No-Stick Flour Spray.

Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour, making it a better choice for tender baked goods.

To properly measure flour when baking, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from its container into a measuring cup. Once in the measuring cup, use a knife or other straight edge to level the flour with the top of the cup. If the measuring cup is dipped directly into the container--a common mistake--the flour will be packed into the cup and result in extra flour being added to the recipe, yielding tough, dense baked goods.

Room-temperature butter for a batter is one of the biggest culinary missteps. In fact, butter must be below 68 degrees F to trap air molecules and build structure. Otherwise, the fat will be liquefied and the cake will be flat. To get "cool" butter: Cut refrigerated butter into chunks and let them sit in a bowl for 5 minutes before beating.

Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake's crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.

Although you cannot overbeat the eggs, sugar and butter, you can overbeat the flour. If you do, you'll develop the gluten and create a quick bread rather than a layer cake. Beat the flour just until there are no white grains of undissolved flour visible but not until the batter is smooth.

Make Ahead Tip


Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day. Cover and refrigerate the lime filling for up to 1 day. Prepare meringue and assemble the cake just before serving.


Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake



Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake




1. Ingredients

3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
13 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar, plus
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 419 kcal
Carbohydrates: 86 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 3 g
Protein: 9 g
Sugars: 71 g

About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database

2. Cooking Directions

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pulse the chocolate in a food processor until finely ground; reserve. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar until combined; reserve.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk, mix the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, then beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until fluffy and just stiff.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift one-third of the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold it in with a large spatula until just blended. Add the vanilla and fold in the remaining flour in 2 batches. Fold in the reserved ground chocolate and scrape the batter into a 10-inch tube pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Invert the pan and place the tube opening over the neck of a bottle to suspend the cake, then let cool completely, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Unmold the Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake and coat generously with the Seven-Minute Frosting.

Seven-Minute Frosting: In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer. In a large stainless-steel bowl, combine the sugar, egg whites, 1/4 cup of water, the cream of tartar and the salt. Set the bowl over the simmering water and beat the egg whites with a whisk or handheld mixer until the frosting holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

Remove the bowl and continue to beat until cooled and billowy, about 2 minutes more. Beat in the vanilla and frost the cake.

Yield: 8 servings

3. Still Hungry?

Finely ground bittersweet chocolate is the secret to this great cake.


Notes: From Every Day with Rachael Ray, April - May 2006, submitted by Tracey Seaman.

Cranberry Chocolate Cake with Rummy Whipped Cream


Cranberry Chocolate Cake
with Rummy Whipped Cream



1. Ingredients

3 cups dried cranberries (such as Ocean Spray Craisins)
2 cups dark rum
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
14 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks
2 cups granulated sugar, plus
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
8 large eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups heavy cream, chilled

Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 1281 kcal
Carbohydrates: 138 g
Dietary Fiber: 9 g
Fat: 65 g
Protein: 13 g
Sugars: 112 g

2. Cooking Directions

In a medium bowl, soak the cranberries in the rum for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Drain the cranberries and reserve them and the soaking liquid separately. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the rum to flavor the whipped cream. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans (or springform pans) with cooking spray, then cover the bottom of each with a circle of parchment paper and spray again.

In a medium saucepan, stir the butter and chocolate together over low heat until melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and scrape it into a bowl. Whisk in 2 cups of the sugar and the salt until well combined. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, then sift in half of the flour, 1/3 cup of the cocoa and the baking powder and stir until no floury streaks remain. Repeat with the remaining flour and 1/3 cup of cocoa. Fold in the cranberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake layer comes out clean.

Cool the cakes on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the cakes from the sides of the pans with a knife and invert, 1 at a time, onto a plate and remove the parchment paper. Turn the cakes right side up and return to the rack. Prick the tops of the cakes with a toothpick in several places and drizzle with the reserved rum. Let the cake layers cool completely. (They will stay fresh for a couple of days when covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature.)

Up to 3 hours before serving, pour the heavy cream into a deep bowl, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of reserved rum and whip with an electric beater until thick and billowing. Do not whip the cream to stiffness or it will separate.

Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate and spoon a 1/2 inch of the whipped cream on top, then add the second layer and pile on the rest of the cream. Sift the remaining 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder over the top.

Yield: 8 servings

3. Still Hungry?

The dried cranberries soak in the rum for at least two hours or overnight, so plan accordingly. You can pour the reserved rum over the cake as it cools for an extra boozy kick.

Notes:
From Every Day with Rachael Ray, November-December 2005, submitted by Nick Fauchald.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake


Cream Cheese Pound Cake





1. Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 large egg whites
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package Neufchatel cheese (see Ingredient note)


Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 219 kcal
Carbohydrates: 28 g
Dietary Fiber: 0 g
Fat: 9 g
Protein: 4 g
Sugars: 18 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database

2. Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.
Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk whole eggs, buttermilk, oil, corn syrup and vanilla in another medium bowl until well blended.
Beat egg whites in a large clean bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and foamy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until stiff glossy peaks form.


Beat butter and Neufchatel in a large bowl until creamy. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures, beating until just smooth. Fold in about one-third of the egg whites with a rubber spatula until just smooth and no white streaks remain. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.


Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted into it comes out clean and the top springs back when touched, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto the rack; let cool for at least 1 hour more before slicing.


Yield: 24 servings

3. Still Hungry?

Although so moist and seemingly rich you can eat it unadorned, we recommend trying this pound cake topped with our quick cherry sauce.

Notes: Ingredient Note


For this recipe, be sure to use Neufchatel-type cream cheese that has 1/3 less fat than regular, not "light" cream cheese, which has less fat.
Make Ahead Tip


Wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


1. Ingredients


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons cool unsalted butter, cut into chunks (see Cake-Baking Tips)
2 large eggs, at room temperature (see Cake-Baking Tips), separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 ounce red food coloring, (see Ingredient note) (optional)
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
12 ounces soft light cream cheese
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 ounce chocolate, grated, for garnish (optional)

Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 286 kcal
Carbohydrates: 37 g
Dietary Fiber: 1 g
Fat: 12 g
Protein: 6 g
Sugars: 25 g

About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database

2. Cooking Directions

To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray.


Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks one at a time, then vanilla and food coloring (if using) until smooth.


Beat in half the buttermilk on low speed until smooth, then half the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the remaining buttermilk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture just until combined.


Clean and dry beaters. Beat egg whites in a clean medium bowl at high speed until soft peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter until just incorporated, using long, even strokes. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading to the edges. Gently rap the pans against the counter once or twice to settle the batter.


Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the layers onto the rack, remove the pans and let cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes more.


To prepare frosting & assemble cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Place one cake layer top-side down on a serving plate; cover with half the frosting, spreading just to the edges. Set the second layer on top, top-side down. Spread the remaining frosting on the top only. Sprinkle with grated chocolate, if desired.


Yield: 12 servings


3. Still Hungry?


This rich, chocolaty Southern favorite has its own culinary mythology: a couple at the Waldorf-Astoria shared a slice of bright red chocolate cake, a request for the recipe, and the surprise of later finding a $100 charge on their room bill. Maybe all desserts this good deserve a legend.


Notes: Ingredient Note


If you prefer not to use food dye, you can omit it completely: just add 4 more teaspoons of buttermilk to the batter (your cake will, however, be more brown than red). Natural food dyes, while less vibrant than conventional dyes, are chemical-, lactose- and gluten-free, but they vary widely in availability. Check for them at your local natural-foods store.
Cake-Baking Tips


When using cake pans, they must be greased and floured to create a thin layer of protection against the oven's heat. For greater convenience, use a cooking spray that has flour in the mix, such as Pam for Baking, Baker's Joy or Crisco No-Stick Flour Spray. Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. To properly measure flour when baking, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from its container into a measuring cup. Once in the measuring cup, use a knife or other straight edge to level the flour with the top of the cup. If the measuring cup is dipped directly into the container, a common mistake, the flour will be packed into the cup and result in extra flour being added to the recipe, yielding tough, dense baked goods.


Room-temperature butter for a batter is one of the biggest culinary missteps. In fact, butter must be below 68 degrees F to trap air molecules and build structure. Otherwise, the fat will be liquefied and the cake will be flat. To get "cool" butter: Cut refrigerated butter into chunks and let them sit in a bowl for 5 minutes before beating.


Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake's crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.


Make Ahead Tip

Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day. Assemble and frost when ready to serve.

Potato and Sweet Potato Torte


Potato and Sweet Potato Torte




1. Ingredients



1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, trimmed, washed (see Tip) and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 pound all-purpose potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices




Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 177 kcal
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Fat: 2 g
Protein: 3 g
Sugars: 7 g



About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database



2. Cooking Directions
Position oven rack at the lowest level; preheat to 450 degrees F. Coat a 9 1/2-inch, deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper or foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.




Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and thyme; cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. (If necessary, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water to prevent scorching.) Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.



Arrange half the sweet potato slices, slightly overlapping, in the prepared pie pan and season with a little of the remaining salt and pepper. Spread one-third of the leeks over the top. Arrange half the potato slices over the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Top with another third of the leeks. Layer the remaining sweet potatoes, leeks and potatoes in the same manner. Cover the pan tightly with foil.



Bake the torte until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the torte to loosen it. Invert onto a serving plate. Remove paper or foil and serve.


Yield: 6 servings



3. Still Hungry?
Layers of potatoes and sweet potatoes meld into an impressive vegetable 'cake' that forms a golden crust during baking. Serve as a vegetarian centerpiece or with roast poultry or pork.



Notes: Tip


To clean leeks: Trim and discard coarse green tops. Split leeks lengthwise with a sharp knife, beginning about 1 inch from the root end and cutting toward the green end. Leave root end attached. Swish leeks repeatedly in a basin of cold water to remove grit. Alternatively, trim roots and ragged tops. Slice leeks and place in plenty of water, then drain. Repeat a few times. The slices do not absorb water or lose flavor and the process is faster.
Make Ahead Tip



The torte will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat, covered, in a 350 degrees F oven.

2008-11-16

Chocolate Ganache Cake


Chocolate Ganache Cake



1. Ingredients


3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
20 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped in a food processor



Nutrition Info Per Serving


Calories: 580 kcal
Carbohydrates: 52 g
Dietary Fiber: 4 g
Fat: 39 g
Protein: 7 g
Sugars: 35 g




2. Cooking Directions


Make cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 3 (7- or 8-inch, 2-inch-deep) round cake pans and line bottoms with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.


Whisk together water, cocoa, and espresso powder until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.


Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing at low speed until just combined.
Divide batter among pans (about 2 1/3 cups per pan), smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for 7-inch pans or 20 to 25 minutes for 8-inch. Cool in pans on a rack 30 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool completely.
Make ganache while cakes bake: Bring cream to a simmer in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate until smooth. Transfer ganache to a bowl and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened but spreadable, about 4 hours. (If ganache becomes too thick, let stand at room temperature until slightly softened.)


Assemble cake: Arrange 1 layer on a cake stand or plate and spread 2/3 cup ganache evenly over it. Top with another cake layer and 2/3 cup ganache, spreading evenly, then third cake layer. (Chill ganache if necessary to keep at a spreadable consistency.) Chill cake until ganache filling is firm, about 1 hour. Keep remaining ganache at a spreadable consistency, chilling when necessary.


Spread a thin layer of ganache over top and sides of cake to seal in crumbs, then chill 30 minutes. Spread remaining ganache evenly over top and sides of cake.


Yield: 16 servings



3. Still Hungry?


For a fancifully tall cake, we used 3 (7-inch) round pans. It can also be baked in 3 (8-inch) pans, though the cake will be slightly lower. We tested this recipe with several different brands of chocolate, and found Lindt and Ghirardelli had the best flavor for this particular cake. Ours is garnished with unsprayed, organically grown rose petals, but be as creative as you'd like with yours.


Notes: Cooks' Notes


Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead, cooled completely, then chilled, wrapped well in plastic wrap.


Ganache may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Let stand at room temperature 2 to 3 hours to soften to a spreadable consistency.


This cake can also be made in 2 (8-inch, 2-inch-deep) round cake pans. Split layers horizontally, then use 1/2 cup ganache between layers.


Assembled cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake



Double Chocolate Layer Cake




1. Ingredients

3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter


Nutrition Info Per Serving

Calories: 693 kcal
Carbohydrates: 92 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Fat: 36 g
Protein: 9 g
Sugars: 67 g


About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database

2. Cooking Directions


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.


Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.


Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.


Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.


Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.


Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).
Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.


Yield: 14 servings


3. Still Hungry?


This old-fashioned chocolate cake made our staff swoon! Chef Ed Kasky uses Callebaut semisweet chocolate for the cake and Guittard French-vanilla chocolate for the frosting, but any fine-quality semisweet chocolate will produce a wonderful result in either.


Notes: Special Two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans.




Shows

There was an error in this gadget

50 Weight Loss Tips

I lost 30 pounds in three months. If you wanted to know how I did it, and how I intend on maintaining my current weight, then these 50 weight loss tips are for you. I’m not an expert, but I do speak from experience. If it helps you attain your own weight loss goals, then I’m happy to have helped (if only to serve as a reinforcement of knowledge you already possess). Most of this, I learned on my own or through close friends and family members. Ponzi’s been a great help through the entire process, being a model partner in the weight loss process. Feel free to add your own tips to this list, too! If someone wants to help me extend these points into a full-on eBook, I’m all ears.


1. Dietary control and exercise. It’s true what they say - all you need to do is watch what you eat, and expend more energy than you consume. It’s really that simple. You can quit reading this list now, you now know everything you need to know and didn’t need to fork over $500 for the privilege of me telling you the secret of losing weight. You don’t need to read a 4,000 page book, you don’t have to buy a tape series, you don’t need to stay up late at night to watch infomercials to understand this basic premise. It’s 100% true.

2. Change your lifestyle. If you’re calling this a “diet,” then you’re going to gain all the weight back (and more) within a few months of losing it. Diets do not work. Diets are temporary. When you change your dietary lifestyle, however, you’re changing your habits - and you’re putting yourself on track for long-term / continued success and weight maintenance. Don’t ever tell anybody you’re on a diet - ever. I’m speaking from experience, here - a reformed low-carber. Worked out well for a while, but ultimately failed because my entire lifestyle didn’t change (permanently).


3. Join an online support group. In my case, I created my own - FatBlasters. It’s essential that you not feel alone, and reaching out to friends (new or old) is typically a smart move. I just heard about PeetTrainer, but didn’t know about it when I began down the road to weight loss. You have to know that others are out there for moral support - they know things that you couldn’t possibly know, and they’ve probably been “in your shoes” at some point in the past (or present). Share stories, laughter, tears, successes, and failures - share them. There are thousands of communities out there, so keep looking until you find the one that fits you.


4. Take before and after photos. I know it sucks to see yourself as a chunky monkey (sorry, that’s what I called myself - if only to get myself motivated to meet my weight loss goal). However, there’s no easier way to illustrate your progress. The “after” photos are far more fun to capture and share, admittedly. Find yourself on Flickr! It’s good to see yourself how others see you. Do you like how you look? In many ways, Flickr helped me lose weight.


5. Hire a substitute teacher. Don’t reach for the brands you know and love immediately - or without thinking first. Eggs are “good” for you, but consider using egg substitutes instead (in fact, many restaurants will let you order lower calorie foods). There are countless “lower” alternatives for you to try. If something different doesn’t taste good, by all means - find a better substitute, or eat less of the original. In some cases, the substitute may be worse for you than the regular version of the product. The good news is, healthier choices are silently replacing their “normal” counterparts - and they taste just as nice.


6. Start reading labels. I know it sucks, but you have to do it - and there’s no way to avoid this tip. If you don’t know what you’re putting in your mouth, you’re flying blind. Don’t assume, either - triple-check the ingredients list and serving sizes. You must rely on yourself for this; nobody else is going to be able to lose the weight or do the math for you. It’s not that complicated a task, but it will require effort. If nothing else, just pay attention to the calorie count.


7. What’s so funny about bovines? If you like cheese, you must buy the Laughing Cow brand, and keep several of the suckers in stock at all times. The individually-wrapped wedges make for excellent snacks, and are wonderful when melted over just about anything edible. I’d be careful about straight-up American cheese, though - it’s oil, but not necessarily as good for you as (say) a slice of cheddar would be. I have yet to find something as calorie-light and filling as Laughing Cow (I don’t know how they do it).


8. Tell your family. You’re not going to lose the weight alone, even if you ARE alone in losing the weight. If you’ve got a family at home, talk to them about it - initially, not incessantly. Let them know what you’re going to do, and that you want (and need) their support. If you don’t let them know, you’re running the risk of them inadvertently sabotaging your efforts. You want them to help you get to your goal(s). You want them to share in your happiness when you’ve made it past a certain mark. Who knows? Maybe some of your new habits will rub off on them and they’ll become healthier people, too?


9. Go public. I didn’t want to admit that I had screwed up, but admitting the problem in public was the first step on the path to eventual success. I was now accountable for my actions, and all my friends knew what I was doing. There was no turning back, otherwise I’d be risk damaging my integrity. I didn’t want to disappoint the people who read me on a regular (or semi-regular) basis. Plus, it’s an easy way to find out which of your friends have gone through the process before - and glean tips from their own experiences. Then, other friends might become inspired to do the same thing you’re doing once they see that you’ve taken the first step.


10. Identify your exercise. No exercise was created equal. You might like running, so run. You might like jogging, so jog. You might like stationary bikes, so bike stationarily. Find the one that works best for you - that isn’t too much of a chore for you to do regularly throughout the week. Don’t pick a routine that you don’t like - or you won’t want to do it, and you certainly won’t stick with it for long. I also wouldn’t recommend buying into that whole “no pain, no gain” mantra. I’ve lost weight without hurting myself, and you probably can, too.


11. Become a Gazelle. You’ve probably seen Tony Little on TV, selling his Gazelle glider - a low impact exercise machine. I can tell you: it works. It’s easy on my legs, and really gives me a workout when I apply myself on it. Some people say it’s awkward to use, but I love mine - and would consider recommending no other home exercise equipment at this point. Then again, I’m a wimpy geek who only wants to burn calories.


12. Zone out. There’s a reason why people exercise to their favorite music - listening to external stimulus takes your mind off of the physical activity. That’s the secret to making “exercise time” fly. If you’re concentrating on what your body is doing, the session is going to drag on for what will seem like days. Buy a portable music player, or situate yourself in front of a television.

1) The Carb Rotation Diet.
2)
Eat-Weight-Off- Lose 10 Lbs In One Week.
3)
Diet & Fitness.

13. Never count on live programming. It’s important to stimulate your mind while your body is exerting itself in other ways. However, never rely on “what’s on TV or the radio” at the time. Instead of zoning out, you’ll find yourself flipping between channels - and that’s going to make the time drag as much as it would if you weren’t keeping your mind busy in the first place. “Live” is a very bad idea. Go with pre-recorded programming or go without.


14. Video games helped me lose weight. I can keep my balance on the Gazelle (which some might find difficult to do). As such, I plugged an Xbox 360 into the TV and started to play it while I was working out. Immediately, I found that I was sweating more than I was when I was only watching TV passively! The reason boils down to a single word: adrenalin. Now, the only way I’m able to work up a sweat is when I play a fast-paced game on the game console. Yes, even game genre is important; avoid any diversions that require long pauses between tasks. Racing games (like Burnout) have worked very well for me. The more mindless the game, the better your burn, the faster the exercise session will go.


15. Set realistic goals. You can lose 50 pounds in a week if you work out 12 hours a day and eat nothing but celery - but not if you’re human. Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t bite off more than you can chew - literally. Make small goals on your way to the bigger goal(s). In the end, you’ll have achieved more (and more frequently, might I add).


16. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. I offer this suggestion for a few reasons. First, they’re not good for you anyway. Second, you’ll eliminate a lot of the “bad foods” outright - no questions asked. You’ll have to become more selective in what you eat by avoiding these two nasty ingredients - which are in more foods than you probably care to know.


17. Don’t always listen to your mate. I’ve already suggested that you tell your family - but sometimes members of your family will try to dissuade you from trying to lose weight. It’s simple: they might not want you to succeed where they may have already failed, whether consciously or inadvertently. Your loss is not always their gain. Watch out for statements like: “You’ve lost enough weight.” or “I like you just the way you are.” Fact of the matter is, if YOU don’t like the way that YOU are - then YOU are going to have to do something about it, no matter what anybody says. They still love you, though (in theory).


18. Don’t compare yourself to others. Every body is different. It stands to reason that everybody will lose weight differently. Even if you do the exact same things that I do, you won’t lose weight at the same rate. The key is in finding your triggers. Keep your goal in sight, and do whatever you have to do to meet that goal. When you start looking at someone else’s habits, you’re only going to become discouraged and quit without even realizing that it’s physically impossible to be anybody but yourself.


19. Women aren’t men. It’s been proven that men can lose weight more rapidly than women can, which is likely due to our physiological makeup (women are supposed to have more fat than men, because they’re the birthing gender). This isn’t a sexist statement to make - it’s pretty much the truth. As such, females should expect to set separate goals than males - especially if you’re working on losing weight together, side by side.


20. Take a magic pill. Nonsense! There is no such thing as a magic pill. Don’t fall victim to the hype of the latest fat-burning drug commercial. If you listen or read closely, you’ll see that every single one of these things is effective when combined with proper diet and exercise (which they even state in their advertisements). The side-effects for these drugs are usually worse than your additional weight, anyway.


21. Vitamins are good for you. If you’re going to take any pills, let them be natural supplements (like Essential Fatty Acids or multivitamins). Be careful about overdoing it, though - especially with herbal remedies. Too much of anything is a bad thing. You can consult a nutritionist, but always buy on your own - and keep these supplements to a minimum. Remember, too, that specific vitamins are no good without specific minerals.


22. Deck your desktop. In the beginning, some of my friends sent me complicated spreadsheets to help chart progress. Uh, no - not for me; I’m the kind of guy who likes taking the easy route. As such, I scoured the Web for the best desktop tool and remembered CalorieKing. You won’t find anything easier to use. Trust me, this is the one; I can keep track of everything I eat and expend (without hassle). While the statistic-addicts will love CalorieKing for its thoroughness, the utility was truly designed with non-geeks in mind. The CalorieKing Web site and service are fine on their own, but the downloadable client is what you really want to get. Pay the registration fee, man - how much is your health worth to you?


23. Identify your ideal weight. If you’re 5′5″ with a certain build, there’s an ideal weight that matches your body type. Find it - and make that your goal. And if you don’t know what that might be, try searching the Web for a calculator (though results and calculations will vary by a small margin). Now you have a weight goal to shoot for.


24. Consider the source. I’m going to make a gross generalization here, but… why would I trust an overweight doctor or nutritionist to give me proper advice on weight loss? “Do as I say and not as I do” is not a maxim I’m willing to accept from anybody who would be qualified to tell me how to do something. Talk to people who are doing it, or who have done it and been successful. You don’t have to mirror their regimen, but at least you’re getting help from someone who’s really been there. Or, as they said in the Christmas episode of “Two and a Half Men,” people who live in fat asses shouldn’t throw waffles.


25. Ignore Ronald McDonald. You don’t have to eliminate fast food completely, but you should avoid it at all costs. Most of it is nasty, bad stuff anyway - if you’d even go as far as to call it food. If you’re looking for convenience, find a more convenient meal source. Besides, most of what they serve would be considered “food product,” not food. There’s a gigantic difference as far as your body is concerned. Your bloodstream does not have taste buds, need I remind you?


26. Scale up. If your measurement tool sucks, upgrade it. If it’s analog, dump it. I’ve talked to many geeks about their choice in scales, and most of them (myself included) recommend something in the Tanita family. They’re high-quality, rugged, accurate devices. Make sure you set your scale on a hard surface, too (as carpet foundations do not make for accurate weight measurements).


27. Watch your weight. Some people say that you shouldn’t weigh yourself more than once a week. I’ve been much happier charting my progress every day. No matter what, you need to weigh in at the same time, every time. For me, that’s 10am every morning (or somewhere thereabout). If you decide to weigh yourself every single day, understand that your weight will fluctuate by one or two pounds - and that you should only keep a serious eye on the lengthier trends.


28. One pound a week. If you’re not losing at least one pound a week on your chosen weight loss regimen, you’re (a) stalled, or (b) finished. You might need to push yourself even harder, or (in some cases) let up a little bit while your body plays catch-up. If you lose more than one pound a week, then you’re doing better than average. Expecting to lose five pounds a week just isn’t realistic, though.


29. Maintain your priorities. Sure, your sandwich would taste amazing with an extra tablespoon of mayonnaise… but do you really need it? Rather, is it more important for you to reach your weight loss goal quicker - or have this sandwich taste marginally better? What’ll happen the next time you’re faced with this decision - will you cave again? It’s a slippery slope; don’t lose sight of what’s most important to you.


30. All weight is not equal. Muscle weighs more than fat, but the last thing you want to lose is muscle! For this reason alone, it’s important to have a regular exercise routine somewhere in your schedule. Without exercise, your body is going to burn through muscle first - and you’ll wind up more imbalanced than you were to begin with. You want your body to burn fat, not muscle. You want to lose weight, but you want to lose “fat” weight - not muscle mass.


31. Counteract the “Rainy Day” principle. If you decrease your calorie count without necessarily increasing your physical activity level, your body is going to crash. It’s going to say to itself: “Holy sh*t! I better store these calories as fat, because I’m not getting enough of them - and I don’t want to die.” When you exercise, you set your body’s process to “burn” instead of “save.”


32. Don’t overdo it. If you change something in your lifestyle, you’re probably going to see results - but there’s a law of diminishing returns at play. You can exercise for an extra hour a day for a week and still lose the same amount as you had when you were only exercising half as much. Give your body time to adjust - don’t push yourself too hard or you’re just going to spend your energy on something that’s not necessarily going to give you immediate and direct benefit. This, of course, only applies to those of you wanting to lose fat - not for those who are training for a triathlon.


33. Patterns are good. Once you’ve found your workout groove, do your best to stick with it. Exercise no less than three times a week for 40 - 60 minutes each time, but don’t feel the “need” to do it more than five times over a seven day period. Your body will likely appreciate a burn-off in the morning more, but if you need to relieve stress in the evening - don’t be afraid to adjust your workout schedule accordingly. Schedule making and keeping are important for other areas of your life as well.


34. Sleep it off. To be an efficient fat-burning machine, your body requires at least eight hours of sleep a night. If you think that you’re doing yourself a favor by sleeping less, you’re mistaken. Give your body time to rest itself, both mentally and physically. Sleep is very, very important (if only for mental alertness for the following day). If you feel tired, that’s likely your body’s way of saying: “Shut your eyes, stupid!”


35. Remember that the fork is not a shovel. I eat fast (I swear I can’t help it). Even if I’m not hungry, I want to shovel everything into my mouth in less than a minute. But my brain doesn’t know that my stomach is full until twenty minutes after it actually is. As such, I could stuff myself silly before realizing I didn’t need to consume as much as I did. Try eating half of what’s on your plate, wait ten minutes, then continue to eat if you’re still hungry. You never want to feel full - ever. That’s when you know you’ve eaten too much. If you want a real hunger-stopper, try an Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplement (EFAs) twenty minutes before a meal.


36. Become your own snack fairy. It’s okay to snack between meals, really. Small meals throughout the day are enough to keep you satisfied, as (much like the sensation of being full) you never want to feel hungry. Let your body know it’s going to get a regular regimen of calories. Plus, if you starve yourself for the regular meals, you’re probably going to eat more before your brain tells your mouth to stop. Think about it: breakfast, lunch, and dinner are social constructs at their very core.


37. Love the oil companies. Just like your car needs high-quality oil, so too does your body. Not all oils were created equal, though it’s hotly contested which ones are better for you than others. Personally, I love a good olive oil - it’s 100% natural and is rich with Omega 9 fatty acids. Enova is another one that we’ve found to work quite well in our lifestyle at home. Choose your oil wisely, though - your weight loss goal should be more than simply cosmetic. It’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to food: the more natural something is, the better it is for you.


38. Fat is where it’s at. If you think you can lose weight and keep it off by avoiding all fats, you’re sadly mistaken. In fact, if you think that low fat eating is the only way to go, you might as well just quit now. Your body (and your brain) needs fat to survive! This is why the scientists call “them” essential fatty acids - Omegas 3, 6, and 9. These fats have been stripped from many supermarket shelf items, and it’s your responsibility to put fat back into your dietary plan. Don’t avoid eating fat, embrace it - equally.


39. Bring balance to the force. If you eat the same foods over and over again, you’re going to get bored - unless they’re foods you really, really like. Feel free to change it up - keep your tongue happy. Balance carbs with proteins with fats, though. If you have more of one nutrient for one meal, try more of another nutrient for the next. And for heaven’s sake, don’t just shop in the “diet” section of the store. You can still (likely) eat the same things you’ve always eaten, just not so much of them at any one time.


40. Know your daily calorie limit. When I was in the process of losing weight, it was suggested that I stay under 1700 calories a day. Knowing that number was half the battle. I could eat anything I wanted throughout the day, so long as I would stay at or beneath that number. While I couldn’t track 100% of the items I ate, I was able to make intake estimates - and adjust my schedule and ration my remaining calories accordingly. In this sense, you’re given extreme freedom - so long as you stay at or beneath that suggested calorie level for your plan. If you don’t know how much you’re supposed to take in, how are you supposed to know how much you’re supposed to take in?! Sounds redundant, but it’s a situation that many “dieters” are in (which is why they fail)!


41. Fiber good. When you start to lose fat, you’re probably going to get constipated. Yeah, it happens more frequently than we care to admit (or share). You should have a good amount of fiber every day, anyway. Fiber is very important to your health (and your weight loss goals). Try the Metamucil snack wafers for a quick fiber infusion. Then, magnesium citrate for those… “stuck” moments, in which you’ll find yourself from time to time. Stick a bottle or two of that in your fridge for safe keeping, and don’t plan on going anywhere for 24 hours after taking a dose (trust me, trust me, trust me).


42. Walk the walk. You burn calories when you walk, did you know that? Certainly, you don’t expend as much energy as you do when you run, but you burn it nonetheless. Consider picking up a good pedometer, if only to gauge how many steps you take in the average day. According to others, the Omron HJ112 Premium Pedometer is the one to beat. If nothing else, knowing how many steps you take on the average day will give you a better idea as to your regular activity level - around the home and/or the office. Plus, you can count those steps as calorie deficits in certain programs (like CalorieKing).


43. Train wrecks will happen. One of these nights, you’re going to go out with friends and eat your weight in steak (likely blowing any kind of progress you had made for that day). Instead of repeating the overindulgence, just put yourself back on track the next day. You’re allowed to “mess up” every now and again, so long as you don’t make a habit out of consuming an excessive amount of food. Right the dining injustice immediately. You’ll be okay. You’ll be fine. Just don’t do it again. And again. And again. And again.


44. Satisfy cravings with extreme prejudice. If you’re hungry for something, eat it. Don’t deny yourself the simple pleasures. If it’s possible, eat only half of what you want. Is your craving satisfied, or are you addicted to the flavor? Losing weight shouldn’t be torture for anybody. You have to ask yourself: Is it more important for me to eat this entire case of fudgesicles, or to look good for my brother’s wedding? Only you have the answer to that question, and if you ignore logic, you’re going to hurt yourself in the long-run. Just take a nibble or two - I won’t tell a soul.


45. Water you waiting for? If you’re not drinking enough water, your body will let you know. Thirst is an amazing sensation - quench it. If you’re not hydrated, your body won’t be working at peak levels. Most of your body happens to be water, by the way. If you’re worried about “water weight,” remember that you’re likely to retain more water when you’re not giving your body enough of it in the first place. Besides, that’s what those workout sessions are supposed to help with every other morning. I’m not going to dictate how many glasses you should drink, though - as that’s going to vary from person to person.


46. Join the soda club. Like most people, I love carbonated beverages. However, unlike most people, I love unflavored carbonated beverages - and if your tongue is attune to sugary-sweet drinks, you’re also the kind of person who believes that club soda tastes salty (even when it contains no sodium). Make the move to an unflavored drink sooner rather than later. If you need help along the way, lemons and limes can be your best friends. If you’re going to drink something more than water, at least make sure it’s not going to hinder your progress. If you’re a sugary-soda drinker, dropping it from your daily routine altogether will help you drop ~5 or more pounds in a single week (WITHOUT doing anything else).


47. Sugar is evil that tastes good. You probably don’t want to hear this, but sugar is a bad thing. The more refined it comes, the more your body is going to react negatively to it. Sugar, sugar, sugar is in everything, everything, everything. If it’s sweet, it’s got sugar in it. There are all sorts of sugars out there, and all of them are ultimately metabolized by the body. It’s a good bet that the sugars in an apple are better for you than the sugars in a candy bar, though. If you’re addicted to sugar, this is going to be a horrible hurdle to overcome.


48. Sugar substitutes are just as evil as sugar itself. Do you really think your body knows how to handle something that was man-made? Seriously. These chemically-adjusted products do not occur in the wild; there are no Splenda trees in warmer climates, nor are there NutraSweet plants in the Arctic. In some instances, taking in sugar substitutes may actually increase your levels of hunger! Let’s not forget about all the health issues that might arise from these unnatural substances. If you’re given a choice, it’s almost better to go with something your body knows how to deal with (real, unprocessed sugar). No, it’s much safer (and healthier) to stay away from blue, pink, and yellow packets entirely. Do a Web search for “Artificial Sweeteners May Damage Diet Efforts.” Then sit there and tell me they’re okay? No way.


49. White bread can’t jump. Did you know that white bread isn’t good for you? Oh, it’s true - just ask any diabetic. Research has shown that people who eat more refined products (like white bread) are more likely to have belly fat. Why? It’s simple: your body isn’t getting what it needs. The food industry isn’t the health industry, okay? You can’t trust that they’ve got your best interests at heart (despite all their marketing efforts). If you want the flavor of white bread, please eat the whole grain white bread instead? Sara lee makes a wonderful loaf, as I can personally attest (even though I like rye more than white or wheat). Repeat after me: whole grain white bread, whole grain white bread.


50. Hasta la pasta, baby. Much like its cousin, white bread, refined pasta can damage your health and pinch your weight loss plans. I’m not saying you should quit pasta altogether, but I will suggest that you change your pasta pusher to Barilla. They have a new wheat pasta that’s a dead ringer for the ol’ crappy white stuff you used to eat. “Barilla PLUS” is absolutely fantastic, as well as a good source of fiber and protein. You’re usually going to be better off with a “wheat” option, although traditional wheat pasta has a texture that you might not like (even though I find it perfectly acceptable to my palate).



Now, once you’ve achieved your weight loss goals, what are you going to do to keep the fat at bay? The worst thing you can do is something I’ve done countless times over: get lazy. I’ve conveniently forgotten about all of the aforementioned rules a few times, and it’s put me back in the same situation I don’t want to be in - ever again. While I don’t have to be as careful as I was during the weight loss period, I’m still measuring myself and recording my daily activities. This may turn into a weekly weigh-in soon enough, as it’s easier to correct yourself at 5lbs than it is at 50lbs. Good luck!