End your summer with delicious sugar-free fare

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Baseball and softball have both come to an end at our house for the summer. Last week we were at the ball field six days straight, like many other families. In thinking about not being at home for so many days in a row, I wondered who had come into our home and messed it up so badly. Then I realized that we ran in the door, dropped clothes that had to be laundered before the next day, showered and fell in bed, only to rise and start it all over again.

Things will start to slow down now as we prepare to head back to school. Though things have been busy, our children have had a fabulous summer spending every day with their cousin, Christa. I know they will be sorry to see summer vacation come to a close.

Over the weekend, we were at our niece's birthday party and one of the guests asked if I could share some sugar-free dessert recipes. I looked in my files and found several that a Jackson reader had sent in some time ago, and I just had not gotten to them. So, here are a few sugar-free recipes for you to try. Even if you are not watching your sugar, these are still good and worth a taste.

Sugar-free Blueberry Walnut Oatmeal Bars

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 cup sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick-cooking oats

3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat in egg and mix well. Stir in the orange zest and juice. Sift the flour with the baking soda, allspice and salt. Add half the flour to the butter mixture and stir until thoroughly blended. Mix in the oats, then lightly stir in the remaining flour. Add the chopped walnuts and blueberries. Mix well. Pour the batter into the baking pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Allow the cake to cool completely, then cut it into 2-inch bars. Remove the bars from the pan with a spatula and transfer to a serving plate. Makes about 24 bars.

Sugar-Free Apricot Oatmeal Cookies

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons apple juice

1 cup sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two large cookie sheets with butter or shortening. Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in the lemon zest and apple juice. Sift the flour with baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add half the flour in the oats. Lightly stir in the remaining flour. Add the chopped pecans and apricots. Mix well. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies have browned around the edges. Remove from the oven. After the cookies have cooled for 2 to 3 minutes, but are still warm to the touch, use a spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 30 cookies.

Cranberry Nut Tea Cake

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup orange juice

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Canola or corn oil

1 large egg

1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, chopped

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare an 8-inch-square baking pan with non-stick pan spray. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl; mix to blend. Stir in the orange juice, oil and egg. Fold in the cranberries, walnuts and orange zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is firm and an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Before serving, sift powdered sugar on top of the cake and cut it into nine 2-1/2 inch squares.

Key Lime Pie (Diabetic)

1 cup reduced-fat graham cracker crumbs

3 to 4 tablespoons melted margarine

4-1/2 teaspoons Equal sweetener, divided OR 15 packets Equal sweetener, divided

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1-3/4 cups fat-free milk, divided

1 (8-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup key lime, or Persian lime, juice

Light whipped topping, as garnish

Mint sprigs, as garnish

Combine graham cracker crumbs, margarine and 1 teaspoon Equal for Recipes in 7-inch springform pan; pat evenly on bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of milk in small saucepan; let stand 2 to 3 minutes; heat just to simmering, stirring constantly; cool. Beat cream cheese until fluffy in medium bowl; beat in remaining 1-1/4 cups milk and the gelatin mixture. Mix in lime juice and remaining 3-1/2 teaspoons Equal for Recipes. Pour into pan; refrigerate until set, 3 to 4 hours. Remove side of pan; place pie on serving plate. Garnish with light whipped topping and mint.

Cinnamon Apple Cobbler

Filling:

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened apple juice

6 cups apples, sliced, peeled and cored (about 9 medium)

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour

Sugar substitute equal to 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat buttermilk

1 egg white, lightly beaten

For the filling, place cornstarch and 1 tablespoon apple juice in bowl. Stir to mix well. Set aside. Place apples, remaining apple juice and cinnamon in pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes or until apples begin to soften. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pot. Cook and stir uncovered for another few minutes until mixture thickens. Remove pot from heat and stir in sugar substitute. Coat a 2 quart casserole with non-stick spray and spread hot mixture evenly in dish.

For the topping, place flour, sugar substitute, baking powder and soda in bowl. Stir to mix well. Add buttermilk and egg white. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Spread evenly over hot fruit. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until cobbler is bubbly around the edges, and top is golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Diabetic Mocha Cookies

1/2 cup margarine, room temperature

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/3 cup liquid sugar substitute

1-1/4 cups flour

3 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons instant coffee

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped nuts

2 large egg whites, room temperature

Cream together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and sugar substitute to creamed mixture and mix lightly. Stir together flour, cocoa, coffee and baking powder to blend. Add to creamed mixture and mix at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes or until blended. Add raisins and nuts to dough and mix lightly. Add egg whites to dough and mix until egg whites are adsorbed into the dough. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil or sprayed with PAM. Using fingers dipped in cold water, shape dough into round cookies about 1/4-inch thick. Spread the dough carefully because the finished cookie will be the shape of the dough after it is baked. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until the dough springs back when touched. Transfer from the hot cookie sheet onto a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

I hope you can try some of these, and if you have some sugar-free recipes you enjoy, send them in so I can be sure to share them with other readers.

Have a good 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 the Southeast Missourian staff.

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