Sweet ideas for summertime treats

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summertime is the time to enjoy a variety of foods: cool, fruity, fresh and, of course, desserts. Yes, desserts are a welcome treat anytime throughout the year. My mother has an insatiable sweet tooth, and my daughter has followed in her footsteps. When Lexie was small we commented that she had a sweet tooth, and she looked at us and said seriously,"Which one is it?" It was so cute, but she does love her sweets, like her grandmother.

In keeping with the sweet-tooth theme, all of today's recipes are sweets for you to enjoy this summer and all year long. These recipes call for sweetener and reduced-fat options to lighten them up for healthier choices. Thanks to Jodi Thompson for sending in all these recipes for today.

Hot Roll Mix makes this yeast coffeecake easy to prepare. It's shape and filling can be adapted for a personal recipe idea. Coffeecakes can be made into a heart, horseshoe or other desired shapes. After forming, cut dough as directed in recipe. A single dried fruit such as apricots, pears or apples can be substituted for the mixed dried fruit, if desired.

Cinnamon Almond Coffeecake

Servings: 16

Mixed fruit filling:

2 1/2 cups chopped mixed dried fruit

1 1/2 cups apple cider or unsweetened apple juice

1 cup Equal Spoonful or 24 packets of Equal sweetener

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Coffeecake:

1 (16-ounce) package hot roll mix

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3/4 cup Equal Spoonful or 18 packets Equal sweetener

1 large egg

2 tablespoons stick butter or margarine

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

3/4 cup hot tap water

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds (optional)

For mixed fruit filling: Combine dried fruit, apple cider, 1 cup Equal and 1 teaspoon lemon peel in medium saucepan. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until cider is almost evaporated, stirring occasionally. Cool.

For coffeecake: Combine flour and yeast from hot roll mix in medium bowl. Add spices, lemon peel and 3/4 cup Equal; mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients, except mixed fruit filling and almonds, to make soft dough. Knead dough on lightly floured surface about 5 minutes or until smooth. Cover dough with bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll 1 piece on floured surface into 20-by-6-inch rectangle. Spread half of mixed fruit filling over dough to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up dough, beginning with long edge. Place dough, seam side down, on sprayed baking sheet; shape into a ring, pinching ends together to seal. Cut around sides of ring with scissors, cutting through center of dough and leaving top and bottom of ring uncut. Gently open cut surfaces of dough to expose filling. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Let stand in warm place about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake coffeecakes in preheated 350-degree oven about 15 minutes or until dough is browned. Slide coffeecakes onto wire racks to cool. Sprinkle with almonds, if desired.

Cherry Turnovers

Servings: 6

8 frozen phyllo dough sheets, thawed

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

6 tablespoons no-sugar-added black cherry fruit spread

1 1/2 tablespoons cherry liqueur (optional)

1 egg

1 teaspoon cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly brush each phyllo sheet with butter; stack. Cut through all sheets to form six 5-inch squares. Combine fruit spread and cherry liqueur, if desired. Place 1 tablespoon fruit spread mixture in center of each pile of eight phyllo squares; brush edges of phyllo with butter. Fold edges over to form triangle; gently press edges together to seal. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Beat together egg and water; brush over phyllo triangles. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fudgy Brownies

Servings: 16

6 tablespoons margarine

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1/3 cup skim milk

1/3 cup apricot preserves with NutraSweet brand sweetener or apricot spreadable fruit

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup all purpose flour

10 3/4 teaspoons Equal Measure or 36 packets Equal sweetener or 1 1/2 cups Equal Spoonful

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat margarine, chocolate, milk and apricot preserves in small saucepan, whisking frequently, until chocolate is almost melted. Remove from heat; whisk in egg yolk and vanilla; mix in combined flour, Equal, baking powder and salt until smooth. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar to stiff peaks in large bowl. Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites; fold in walnuts, if desired. Pour batter into greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until brownies are firm to touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Server warm or at room temperature.

Peach Crumb Cobbler

Servings: 4

2 cups fresh peaches, sliced

1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons low calorie margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the sliced peaches in the bottom of an 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix well. Blend in margarine and sprinkle mixture over peaches. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Servings: 16

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup butter, melted

3 packages (8 ounces each) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 container (16 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well. Press into a 10-inch springform pan, covering the bottom and sides then chill. In a large bowl, blend cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and the cocoa; mix well, then pour into the crust. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until firm. Let cool for 5 minutes. Leave the oven on. Mix the sour cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until combined. Spread over the top of the cheesecake and bake for 5 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate overnight before serving.

Once again, I am all out of room.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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