Mini Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies (1 PP+)

I have a love-hate relationship with the holidays.

I love the gifts (giving and receiving), the lights, the tree, the ornaments, the colors, the Christmas cards BUT the cookies, cakes, candy is a little rough for someone trying to stay satisfied on 29DPs a day. Lemme give you an example. Peppermint Jojos. It’s a seasonal peppermint oreo at Trader Joe’s that I always buy b/c you can only find them during the holidays. But 1 cookie… Wait for it… 4 POINTS! And who eats just ONE cookie??

Oh and did I mention *I* love to bake. Oh yes. I’m pretty sure that’s why I was fat. Baking is sneaky business. A lick here. A taste there. And then there’s quality assurance. I have to eat 1 or 2 or 3 of what I bake just to make sure it’s safe. Right fellow bakers??

So when I saw a 1 POINT cookie on WW home page this morning, I knew what I was baking tonight.

Mini Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
Recipe adapted from Weight Watcher Recipes

Original recipe = 24 cookies | 1 PP+ per serving
CB’s changes in red = 34 cookies | 1 PP+ per serving

INGREDIENTS
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, semi-sweet
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste instead)

1. Preheat oven to 200F.
2. Spray baking sheet with non-cooking spray coat and lightly dust with flour and shake off excess.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or a large mixing bowl with hand mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
4. Fold in chocolate chips and vanilla extract.
5. Drop mixture by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart, making 24 cookies. [CB’S NOTES: I filled piping bag with batter fitted with Magic Tip 7ST or favorite large star piping tip. Pipe onto baking sheet. I got 34 cookies but that did not seem to change the point value per serving.]
6. Bake until lightly golden, about 1 hour. [CB’S NOTES: Mine took 2 hours!]
7. Turn oven off and let cookies sit in oven for 1 hour or overnight.

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A
He’s not a big marshmallow fan but he did eat more than 1 cookie. :)

Wifey rating: A
This reminded me of a marshmallow cloud of deliciousness with a little chocolate surprise with every bite. Enough said. (Updated 12/16/11: I realized a day later that the longer you let them sit, the more crispy they get. Just FYI.)

Advertisements

Crock Pot Creme Brulee (12 WW+)

I usually don’t start my blog post with a picture.

But THIS Crock Pot Wednesday picture says it all.

Has anyone invented taste-o-vision yet?

Because you all HAVE TO try this one. Open wide! What did I tell ya? Wait! Didn’t your mama teach you never to talk with your mouth full? lol

I found this recipe on one of my favorite Crock Pot blogs. Creme brulee you say? In a crock pot? SIGN ME UP! It’s one of my ALL-TIME favorite desserts. If I’m at a restaurant, I do the wiggle to make room for creme brulee. But when I went to calculate the points, I gasped at 16 WW+ PER serving.

Remember? I only get 29DPs per day. That’s more than half my points. No bueno! So I decrease the portion size, made a few substitutions and BAM! (channeling my inner Emeril!) it’s creamy, yummy and more manageable pointwise without sacrificing the taste.

BOOYAH. <– That's slang for "exclamation of joy" according to the Urban dictionary.

Mmmm… Pure joy. Don’t bother me. I’m eating.

Crock Pot Creme Brulee
Recipe adapted from A Year Of Slow Cooking

Makes 5 servings

Original recipe = 12 WW+ per serving
CB’s changes in red = 9 WW+ per serving

INGREDIENTS
2 cups heavy cream (I used 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup half-and-half)
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup baker’s sugar*
1 Tbsp good vanilla
1/4 cup raw sugar, topping (I used 5 tsp Splenda brown sugar)

* If you can’t find Baker’s Sugar (superfine sugar), you can use granulated sugar pulsed a few times in a coffee grinder OR you could also just substitute straight granulated sugar but Baker’s Sugar (superfine sugar) will dissolve in the mixture better.

1. Place 5 dessert ramekins inside the crock pot. Using a cup or pitcher, pour water around the edges so there is water 1/2 – 3/4 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. If they start to float, push them down so you can fill the water to the correct amount.
2. In a medium bowl with a whisk, whip the 5 egg yolks. [CB’S NOTES: Instead of a medium bowl, I mixed all the ingredients in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup so that it was easy to pour the mixture into the ramekins later.]
3. Slowly add the cream and baker’s sugar. Then add the vanilla extract.
4. Pour mixture into each ramekin and carefully lower into the crock pot without getting any water in it.
5. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours. Check after an hour. Custard should be set with the center still a bit jiggly. [CB’S NOTES: Mine took 2 hours.]
6. Remove the lid (be careful not to get any condensation on the ramekins). Use oven gloves and VERY carefully remove each ramekin. (If you have laminate countertops, you might want to put them on a wire cooling rack before you put it on your counter top.)
7. Let cool completely on counter to room temperature.
8. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. [CB’S NOTES: If your ramekins will be sitting in the refrigerator longer than chill time, then I recommend you cover with saran wrap to minimize condensation. They can keep for up to 3 days.]
9. Before serving, sprinkle each ramekin evenly with 1 tsp sugar.
10. Using a creme brulee torch, caramelize the sugar OR put ramekins in the oven on the broil setting. Keep an eye on them! They burn fast!

Serve with fruit (zero points!) for a great complement!

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A
He likes creme brulee but he’s not a freak like me. He even asked me if I should be eating this b/c I’m on WW. HA! Little does he know…

Wifey rating: A+
I bet if you didn’t tell anyone about the low point changes, they wouldn’t even know! This was AH-MAZING! I’m sitting here fighting the urge to eat the other ramekins. *willpower willpower*

The BEST Low Point Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!

I am on a HUGE cookie baking obsession right now. I blame Santa Claus. I’m doing trial runs so that when the BIG GUY comes, he’ll get the best cookies I can bake and maybe he’ll feel EXTRA generous when he comes to visit and fills my stocking.

I’m told Santa is a sucker for chocolate chip cookies. My fireplace mantel gnome told me. I think he’s really Santa’s elf in disguise. And if you’re craving chocolate chip cookies, look no further. I’ve found them. Soft and chewy chocolate chip deliciousness without any guilt. Just the way I like them. You’re welcome.

Hmmm… Now that I think about it. I better make sure an iPad 2 can fit in my stocking. I might have to hang my pillowcase instead. *wink wink*

Next up! Snickerdoodles. Oh baby…


The BEST Low Point Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!
Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

Original recipe = 24 cookies | 5 WW+ per 2 cookies
CB’s changes in red = 16 cookies | 3 WW+ per 1 cookie

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted (I used unsalted butter)
1 egg white
2 tbsp apple sauce (I used unsweetened applesauce)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt (I used kosher salt)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

* I bought my Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour from my grocery store, but I’ve also seen it at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Bristol Farms.

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Line two cookie sheets with Silpat or foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, sift flours, baking soda and salt.
4. In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater or in a separate bowl with hand mixer, whisk the sugars, butter, egg white, applesauce and vanilla together until light and fluffy.
5. Slowly dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended.
6. Fold in chocolate chips.
7. Drop by level spoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. (I used a leveled tablespoon which is probably why my cookies were bigger than the original recipe.)
8. Bake 8 – 10 minutes. (I baked for 10 minutes.) Remove from the oven, and let them stand 5 minutes before removing the cookies from the pans to cool on wire racks.

Enjoy!

Husband rating: A+
He said these are the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made. I didn’t even tell him these were low fat and he’ll never find out. It will be our little secret ;)

Wifey rating: A+++++
I can not give these cookies enough (+). These were so FRIGGIN’ delicious. Soft, warm and chewy. The way a cookie should be. Yummy! Just make sure that you have someone to share them with so you don’t eat them all yourself! HA! Next time I might substitute with Splenda brown sugar to see if it changes the taste to lower the points.

Other rating: A+
Husband brought them to department meeting and everyone raved about them. They had no idea it was a low fat cookie either. He said his colleagues were even taking some home for their kids. Needless to say, there were none left by the end of the meeting!

Pumpkin Muffins (2 WW+)

I haven’t regretted much during my weight loss journey.

But I do miss baking. I use to bake every week. There was never a time during the week that we didn’t have cupcakes, cookies, cake, SOMETHING sweet in our house. But lemme tell ya! Those little bites here. Those little licks there. THEY ADD UP! So now I don’t bake as often.

But this time of year is really hard b/c Fall just screams baking and pumpkin to me.

You can imagine my delight to find this bad boy recipe. I literally jumped for joy.

What’s even better. They don’t taste like 2 Points. They are so much more sinful than that. Shhhhh! Don’t tell. It will be our little secret.

Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe from WW boards

Makes 24 muffins

Original recipe = 2 WW+ points/serving*

* Your points/serving may vary depending on what brand cake mix you use.

INGREDIENTS
Box of spice cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Spice Cake)
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
cinnamon, garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pan with liners.
2. Mix together all ingredients. Fill each tin about 2/3 full. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top (optional).
3. Bake for about 20-22 minutes.
4. Let cool before serving.

Enjoy!

Husband rating: 5/5
He loved them!

Wifey rating: 5/5
Omg. These were melt in your mouth moist and delicious. Ok I admit it. I ate 2 in about 5 seconds but don’t worry! I froze the rest of them for another time. Maybe breakfast tomorrow? They stuck to the cupcake liner a little so next time I might just spray the cupcake pan with cooking spray and forego the cupcake liners.

Skinny Crème Brûlée (WW+ 5 points)

You can probably deduce from my blog name that I LOVE cupcakes, yes?

Well… Honestly I’m pretty much an equal opportunity desserts girl. But there’s one dessert in particular that I HAVE TO order if I see it on the menu: Crème Brûlée! <– I even know where all the accent marks go. lol.

Sadly, I haven't had a crème brûlée in almost 6 months. (That’s how long I’ve been on Weight Watchers. Can you believe it?) The thing about WW is that nothing is technically off limits but as you soon realize there are some foods that give you more bang for your buck point than others so my high point crème brûlée hasn’t made it on the menu in a while. Instead I’m opting for point friendly fruit lately.

But TODAY I needed a crème brûlée fix. When the cravings hit, they come hard and fast. And knowing me, I knew the only way to get past it was to indulge in it. Notice I said “indulge” not gorge. Unfortunately the points still haven’t changed in 6 months so I needed a “skinnier” option.

Even though it wasn’t the REAL thing, you can tell from the picture below, it wasn’t long before the ramekin was licked clean.

Skinny Crème Brûlée
Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

Makes 1 serving
Original recipe = 5 WW+ points/serving
CB’s changes in red= 4 WW+ points/serving

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp low sugar strawberry preserves (I used 2 tbsp Smuckers sugar free strawberry preserves)
6 oz fat free vanilla Greek yogurt ex: Chobani (I used 0% Fage)
1 tbsp turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
1 sliced strawberry to top, optional

1. Place fruit preserves at the bottom of a 6 or 7 oz ramekin.
2. Top with yogurt. (I put a layer of preserves in the middle of the Greek yogurt layer *AND* on the bottom of the ramekin.) When ready to serve top with sugar.
3. Using a creme brulee torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Cool a few minutes then top with fruit. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Husband rating: N/A

Wifey rating: 4.5/5
I wasn’t fooling myself that this would be exactly like a creme brulee (b/c there’s no substitute for the luscious custard goodness) but this was an AWESOME skinny alternative. You could easily add a serving of healthy oil (don’t forget to add in the points!) to meet your Good Health Guidelines too. Love that burnt sugar crunch!

Black Bean Brownies (WW+ 3 points)

I miss baking.

I use to bake every week if not every other day. Cupcakes, brownies, cookies etc. My family always knew *I* was responsible for desserts when it came to holidays and get-togethers. It was my “thing”. Heck I even belonged to an online baking group! <– Unfortunately I quit due to inactivity.

But being on WW doesn’t make baking very point friendly. So I haven’t baked much in the last 6 weeks. (Although I cook more so my husband loves it!) I know I can’t completely cut baking out of my life. I love it too much. And WW encourages you to think of the diet as a lifestyle change. So I googled some point friendly desserts and Big Goo came up with some doozies. But as soon as I saw black bean+brownies, my first thought was “Eeeww gross!” but my curiosity was piqued and I just HAD TO try it.


Black Bean Brownies
Recipe from Cheap Healthy Food

Makes 20 brownies
3 WW+ points/serving*

* Points/serving may vary depending on the brownie mix you use. Always calculate points based on the Nutritional Ingredients for the actual brand you use.

1 box brownie mix (I used Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge family size)
1-15 ounce can black beans

1. Drain and rinse beans through a strainer. Pour beans back into the can. Add water to can until can is filled to the top. Pour contents of can into a blender. Puree the life out of it! (I used the liquify button on mine b/c I did not want to see bean chunks in my brownies!)
2. Combine bean mixture with brownie mix in a large bowl or stand mixer. Follow the baking instructions on the back of the brownie box. (I baked my brownies for 28 minutes in a 9×13 pan)

Enjoy!

Husband rating: 5/5
He couldn’t believe it after I told him there were black beans in there. Needless to say he loved them.

Wifey rating: 5/5
I was VERY skeptical b/c the can of beans smelled awful and the brownies didn’t rise much. Maybe 1/4″ thick if that. But I was in chocolate brownie heaven when I ate 1 piece. Maybe it’s a good thing I know there are beans it them. Keeps me from wanting to eat too many. *toot toot*

Caramel Cookies (WW+ 1 point)

I have a sweet tooth. And I think that’s the thing I’m missing the most right now. So I started trolling around the Weight Watcher website for a relatively low point dessert that I could make for myself as a reward for jogging 15 minutes with the dog this morning.

It’s the little victories, people.

Just let me have it.


Caramel Cookies
Recipe adapted from Weight Watchers

Makes about 60 cookies
Original recipe = 1 WW+ point / serving
CB’s changes in red = 1 WW+ point / serving

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp table salt (I used kosher salt)
1/2 tsp baking soda*
1/8 tsp cinnamon

* I accidentally used baking powder so mine are probably pretty flat compared to using baking soda. No matter. They are still quite tasty!

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater (or an electric mixer), cream the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract. While the mixer is still running, slowly add in the dry ingredients until everything is incorporated.
3. Scrape cookie dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap (I used wax paper) and shape into a log about 2-1/2 inches wide. (Mine was about 1-1/2 inches wide to be able to get 60 servings.)
4. Refrigerate until firm about 20 minutes or overnight. (I put mine in the freezer for 1 hour).
5. Slice dough into 1/8″ thick slices and bake for 8-10 minutes. (I baked for 6-7 minutes for a softer/chewy cookie although the longer they sit out they will get crispy.)

ENJOY!

Husband rating: N/A

Wifey rating: 4/5
I don’t know how WW did it. The cookie in their picture looks HUGE but to get 60 cookies mine were tiny. And honestly. Girl Scout thin mints are 1 point each and no baking required. That being said. These are good cookies to have around for your sweet tooth if there’s no cute cookie selling sash wearing girl scout around. I only sliced off 5 cookies and put the cookie dough back in the freezer to slice another time. It’s a good thing too b/c I ate all 5 cookies. Oops!