Category Archives: Desserts

Easy Microwave Brownies

Microwave Brownie with Hazelnut Cream Topping

A few weeks ago, I splurged big time and bought a microwave brownie baker at my local dollar store. What the heck? It might turn out to be a shortcut to one of my favorite treats, you know. (By the way, you can buy one just like it or a Betty Crocket one for $5 to $10 dollars!)

The kit includes a plastic pan for the microwave and an odd little measuring box. It has separate compartments and markers to put in your ingredients. Then you dump them all into the baking pan and mix them together. So I guess you could call this a measuring box.

I tried it once as written, cooking them in the microwave for 3 minutes. My brownies came out a little too done and not gooey as promised. So, I changed the recipe a little, using another similar one but used butter in place of oil. I cut the time back by 15 seconds. Brownies were a little less done but lacking the texture I was hoping to get. On the third try, I cut the time back to two minutes. Whoops. Still not in the gooey mode. The fourth time, I cut them back to 90 seconds. This time, they weren’t quite done in the middle. So, the most recent attempt was one minute and forty-five seconds. Success! While the brownies looked a little underdone when I first removed them from the microwave, they cooked a little longer and are now perfect.

The moral of this tale is that you may have to play with the time in your microwave. Since my unit is 1000 watts, a 1200-watt one might need only 90 seconds, while an 800-watt unit might need two minutes.

Alternately, you can abandon the microwave and simply cook them in an 8×8″ pan in the oven. Instructions are below.

I used a combination low carb flour of 6 tablespoons Bakesquick and 2 tablespoons Almond Flour.

Microwave Brownies

1 cup Sugar Substitute
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup All-Purpose Low Carb Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

Wet Add-ins:
1/2 cup Butter, melted and cooled
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Optional Topping (ices two brownies):
1 tablespoon Sugar-Free Hazelnut Spread
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
2 tablespoons Cool Whip or other toppings

Brownies:

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.

Melt the butter and let cool for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, add the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk together until the eggs are completely incorporated.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir together until all the flour is moist. Add nuts and stir them in. If you wish, you can add 1/3 cup of sugar-free chocolate chips to make them even richer. Pour batter into a microwavable 6″x6″ pan to microwave or into an 8″x8″ baking pan for the oven.

To microwave, cook 1 minute 30 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds and let cool. With luck, this will produce a moist, gooey cookie. If it’s not quite as you like it, cook it more or less the next time you make it.

To bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) Bake 20 to 22 minutes, checking with a toothpick to ensure it doesn’t get overcooked.

To bake in the oven, let cook for 20 to 22 minutes, checking to make sure it doesn’t get overcooked.

Makes about 6 to 8 brownies.

For the topping:
It’s best to make only enough for what you’re going to eat at the time. This recipe makes enough for two brownies.

In a small bowl, add hazelnut spread and butter. Mix together, then add Cool Whip (or even whipped cream if you prefer.) Stir together until it is blended, then spread over the top of the brownies.

If you have friends over and you’re eating the whole pan at once, simply triple the amounts for the topping.

Low Sodium Brownies

For my friends who need a low sodium intake, this recipe works with almond flour and coconut flour.

To make low sodium brownies, use these ingredients:

1 cup Sugar Substitute
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Almond Flour
2 tablespoons Coconut Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

Wet Add-ins:
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
2 Eggs
3 tablespoons Egg Whites
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Cook in the microwave as described above.

Filled with color and flavor Ricotta Cookies

 

Photo: Cranberry Ricotta Cookies

I’m a big fan of ricotta cheese. I use it a lot in my cooking, whether as a lasagna layer, an add-in to quiche, or to add sturdiness to my baking. It has a mild flavor, but it brings fluffiness and texture to your cooking. It can elevate the simple to something more elegant. I don’t have the same fondness for cottage cheese, so I often substitute ricotta.

However, this cookie recipe actually is a ricotta original. The cookie is like a sugar cookie with a light, fluffy center. I added chopped cranberries to it for specks of color and a bit more taste; however, it isn’t needed if you prefer to leave them out.

About the flour combination I used, these work well for me, but you don’t have to use them. You can choose coconut flour (use about 1/2 the amount called for and add egg whites to add moisture and help the lift), almond flour, soy flour, or any other low carb flour you like. The carb count may come out a little higher, but you should be below 2 net carbs per cookie with most low carb options.

I recommend using Swerve Confectioners’ Sugar, but you can use Splenda and process it in a blender to powder it. It will use at least two cups of Splenda to make one cup of powdered sugar. Alternately, you can dip the warm cookie in a plate of granulated sugar substitute of your choice or sprinkle the sugar over the tops.

Cranberry Ricotta Cookies

1/2 cup Butter, softened a bit
1 cup White Sugar Substitute
1 Egg
8 ounces Ricotta Cheese
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose Low Carb Flour
1/4 cup Almond Flour
1/4 cup Vanilla Whey Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 tablespoon Sprite Zero or Diet 7-Up
1 cup Cranberries, chopped

Icing:
1/3 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Butter
1 cup Swerve Confectioners’ Sugar
1/2 tablespoon Lemon Extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Either grease two cookie sheets or cover them with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream one-half cup of butter, vanilla, and sugar together. I like to start with cut and slightly softened butter, so the beater doesn’t throw it all over the counter. Beat in the egg and the ricotta cheese.

In a separate bowl, add the flour, almond flour, whey powder, baking powder, and baking soda and whisk together. Add a little at a time to the ricotta mixture, beating on low. Add 1 tablespoon of the Lemon soda of choice.

If the dough is too thick to pull together, add a tablespoon of water and mix until it is easy to work with. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheet. Leave at least an inch between each cookie.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes until just turning brown around the edges. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets.

Make the icing by adding half-and-half and 1/2 teaspoon butter to a microwavable bowl and cook for 20 seconds to heat the liquid and melt the butter. Add lemon juice and mix. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. It should be about the consistency of gravy.

Use a spatula or spoon to spread a layer of icing over each cookie.

Makes thirty cookies.

Image: Nutrition Information

A Bar Cookie for the Holidays

Photo: Cranberry Nut Chewy Bars

Winter is arriving soon in the northern hemisphere, but many of us have already experienced the cold, snow, and icy winds that come with the season. Of course, it also means the holiday celebrations are already in full swing.

This yummy bar cookie recipe is just the thing to have with a hot cup of cocoa. I adapted a chewy chocolate chip bar one to use the red berries in it. Since it is meant to be a chewy bar, be careful to not overcook it. Depending on your oven, you may want to check it at 18 minutes rather than 20 and work your way up to perfection. I’ve overcooked the edge some, so I can say it still tastes delicious, but it doesn’t have the chewiness the center does. By the way, if you feel inclined to add sugar-free chocolate chips to the recipe, they would make it extra yummy.

More holiday recipes will be coming in the next week. I’ve got my mind set on making ricotta cookies this weekend and maybe a cheese ball.

Photo: Sweets By the Season book cover
Great low carb recipes for delicious desserts and other times.

By the way, if you’re looking for a great collection of holiday sweets to make, check out my book, Sweets By the Season which has over 55 delicious dessert recipes for any occasion. Most of these low-carb-adapted recipes are not on this web site. Click on the image to go to a universal link of available sellers.

Cranberry Ricotta Nut Bars

1/2 cup Butter, melted
1 cup Sugar Substitute
1 Egg
2 teaspoons Almond Extract
1 cup low carb All-purpose Flour
1/4 cup Almond Flour
1/4 cup Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
1/4 cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Cranberries
1/3 cup Pecans, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter, sugar substitute, almond extract, and egg until well combined.

Add flour, almond flour, whey powder, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl and whisk to combine. Stir flour mix into wet ingredients and mix until fully combined.

Stir in cranberries and nuts and pour into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 12 bars.

Image: Nutrition Info for Cranberry Bars

Rich and Delicious, Pecan Pie

As promised, albeit a little late, here is the recipe for low carb pecan pie. This is one of my favorite desserts. I love pecans, but I am picky about my filling. I’ve had some with a pale filling that is too sweet. This one is a nice caramel color. In this instance, I did not cook my crust long enough, so it got soggy while the pie was cooking. The dough is only on the bottom or slightly up the sides. Make sure your crust is lightly browned in the middle. I used sugar-free maple pancake syrup to add a little more flavor. I’ve used this same recipe to make individual tartlets. They cook in about 15 minutes and are lovely individual-sized pies.

Photo: Pecan Pie slice

Southern Pecan Pie

Crumble Dough

3/4 cup Almond Flour or other Low Carb Flour
1 tablespoon Butter
3 tablespoons Sugar Substitute

Filling:
3 Eggs
2 tablespoons Butter, melted
1/2 cup Sugar-free Maple Syrup
2/3 cup Sugar Substitute
1 cup Pecans, broken into pieces
1-1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
Pinch Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8″ pie pan by spraying with baking spray.

Mix flour, sugar, and butter together with a fork, cutting through to make a crumbly dough. Press dough into the bottom of the pie pan. Bake in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Combine all filling ingredients. Spoon the filling over the dough. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Check to see if the pie is fully set and done.

Let cool for about 10 minutes. Use a pie server to get the pieces out easily. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Nutrition Info: Pecan Pie

Thanksgiving is Upon Us

Amazingly, we have arrived at Thanksgiving in the USA. Canada celebrated a month ago. For everyone else, think of it as a prelude to the end of the current season. Here, in Reno, Nevada, our non-evergreen trees have dropped the last of their leaves signaling that Winter is coming. Snow is already on the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I can recall more than one snowy Thanksgiving here, so it could be a possibility.

Hope all of you are well. This has been a particularly tough year for everyone, but we are still surviving and are so thankful for it. For me and the friends I cherish, this is the one thing I am so grateful to say. Our hopes are to have a resolution to the pandemic soon, but until then, to continue to stay safe and healthy.

This message is a little late getting out, but if you are looking to keep your carbohydrates down over Thanksgiving, here are a few recipes I’ve published to help you do that:

 Happy Thanksgiving 2013 – Pumpkin Panna Cotta – has links to Smashed Turnips with Leeks, Irish Style Celery and Kohlrabi, and Butternut Turnip Mash.

 

Easy Low Carb Stuffing Bread

Use it in your favorite stuffing.

 

Traditional Pumpkin Pie 

Includes crust recipe.

 

 

 

 No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

 

 

 

 

Got leftovers?

Try this Turkey and Stuffing Pie

 

 

Use the search feature to find even more recipes for vegetables and desserts to compliment your feast.

I don’t have a new recipe for today because I’m scurrying to get everything prepped for Thanksgiving and doing NaNoWriMo (for those who don’t know, that is National Novel Writing Month, so I am writing as many words on a new novel as I can). I will have a recipe on Friday for low carb Pecan Pie. You won’t miss those carbs at all. Trust me.

Until then, have a very good Thanksgiving and stay safe.

Rene