Category Archives: Desserts

A Norse Viking Apple Cake for Your Sweetie

Photo: Viking apple mini-cake.

Back in 2014, I copied down a recipe for a Viking apple cake that was called Mandel Eplekake, which is apparently Norse for it. I filed it away and hadn’t tried it. Last night, I had half an apple left over that needed to be used, so I adjusted the recipe down to make two mini-cakes and made it low carb. The recipe called for almond flour so I used that although mine is the coarse raw almond flour with the skins ground into it, so it has a darker, more whole wheat type appearance, but tastes very good. I also added sugar-free honey, cinnamon, and cloves to the recipe.

Now, the Vikings probably didn’t have cinnamon and clove, but I am pretty sure they used honey. No matter, I put them in to enhance the flavor of the apples. The result is a delicious little cake with slices of apple and a light seasoning that is not too sweet. I added a heaping tablespoon of whipped topping and served it warm. You could top it with more of the sugar-free honey or just a little heavy cream. It’s simple to make and makes a satisfying quick dessert. I suspect it would work equally well with pears and peaches.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it. It would be a nice capper after dinner for your sweetie.  I would love to get the feedback on it.

Viking Apple Cake

Two mini-cake low carb version

1/2 medium Apple, cored and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons Sugar Substitute
1 Egg
3 tablespoons Almond Flour
2 tablespoons granulated Sugar Substitute
1 tablespoon Sugar-free Honey (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
2 dashes ground Cloves
1 tablespoon Butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.) prepare two 1/2-cup ramekins or custard dishes by greasing them with butter. Alternately, and to remove from the cup easier, put a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom in each of the cups, then butter or spray with cooking spray.

Put apple slices and 2 tablespoons of sugar substitute (liquid or granulated) in a small pan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook about 5 minutes. Drain. You can also do this step in the microwave by covering the slices with water in a microwavable bowl and cooking for 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, add the egg and the remaining two tablespoons of granulated sugar substitute. Whisk until they are well mixed and frothy. Add the honey and whisk again. Add the almond flour and stir it into the egg mix.

Put the apple slices on the bottoms of the cups, dividing them evenly. Sprinkle half the cinnamon and cloves over each one of the ramekins. Stir the batter again and use a tablespoon to scoop the mixture into each cup so that they are even.

Put the ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

Let sit about ten minutes, then serve with whipped cream or just heavy cream.

Makes two servings.

Photo: Nutrition Info Viking Apple Cake

Goes with Coffee: Apple and Pecan Muffins with Streusel

Photo: Apple Muffins

I had an apple that needed using so I decided to try this delicious-sounding recipe from AllRecipes.com user NMARIEA, but I adapted it to a low carb version. The result is delectable, especially when heated up before eating. It works well for a quick breakfast and also for a light dessert.

I put a light streusel topping made with almond flour and brown sugar mix on top, just enough to give it a little sweetness. For the flour, I used a combination of different brands, such as Carbolose, Bakesquick, and Carbquick in it. Each one has a different texture and taste so together, you get a nice mixture.

Apple and Pecan Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel

1 cup Low Carb Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup white Sugar Substitute
1 Egg
1 Egg White
1 teaspoon Vanilla or Almond Extract
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped Apples
1/3 cup Pecans pieces

Topping
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar Substitute
1 tablespoon Almond Flour
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F.) Prepare 10 muffin tins by spraying them with cooking spray or put paper liners and spray those.

In a large bowl, add the butter and sugar substitute and mix together until creamy. Add the egg, egg white, vanilla or almond extract and cinnamon. Mix until combined.

In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. Mix into the butter and egg in small batches until combined. This will be a fairly stiff dough. Stir in the apples and pecans.

Put about two tablespoons of the dough in each muffin cup. Because of the apples, they will nearly fill the cup.

In a small bowl, put in the brown sugar substitute (I used the Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, or you could use Sweet Brown from LC Foods and add a little more butter.) Add butter and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Cut together until it is crumbly. Sprinkle a little over the top of each muffin.

Bake 11 to 14 minutes. Use a toothpick to test if they are done. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.

Makes ten average-sized muffins.

Start the Year Off with Cream Cheese Cookies

Photo: Cream Cheese Cookies

I haven’t made these lovely little cookies in years, but I love the taste of cream cheese in my cookie. I found a recipe that I adapted to a low carb version and they came out delicious. You can use any sugar-free jam for the filling. I made some with apricot jam and some with raspberry. I also put pecans on some and sugar-reduced craisins on others. If you can think of something else you’d like to top them with, it will probably work.

When I made my batch, I used three different flour options — Bakesquick from DCC, coconut flour (1/4 equals 1/2 cup of other flour), and vanilla whey protein powder for 1/4 cup of it. It worked okay, but unless you like the slightly grainy texture of the coconut flour, I would stay away from it for this recipe. You can use almond flour or any other low carb flours to make this.

Cream Cheese Cookies

2 sticks of Butter, room temperature
8 ounces of Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 cup Sugar Substitute
2 Eggs Yolks
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 cups Low Carb Flour
Sugar-free jam – Any flavor

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, butter,and sweetener together until smooth. Scrape the bowl if the mixture builds up on the sides. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until combined.

If you are using a combination of low carb flour types, mix them in a bowl before adding to the creamed mixture. Add about 1/4 cup at a time until you’ve mixed it all in. The dough will be stiff.

Chill dough for at least two hours to firm up the butter and cream cheese.

Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Use a teaspoon of dough to roll into a ball about 1-inch in diameter. Place on baking sheet and flatten the top until about a 1/2-inch thick disc is formed. Make about a dozen on the cookie sheet, then go back and press a little well in the middle of each cookie for the filling. Put about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar-free jam in the well, or you can top them with a half pecan or two or three sugar-reduced craisins.

Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes until the bottoms turn slightly brown. Remove and let sit to cool for about 10 minutes to firm up.

Use a spatula to move them to a wire rack to continue to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Nutrition Information Image

Rugalach for the Holidays

Photo: Close up of rugalach

Just a little late for the Jewish holiday, I made a batch of low carb Rugalach cookies. These are simple to make, although a little time-consuming, and make a delightful cookie for the holidays. After my first batch, I plan to make a few minor changes to the next batch I make, but I wanted to get this recipe up before I do that. I cut down a little on the chocolate used, and this recipe reflects that.

Rugalach Cookies

FOR THE DOUGH:
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup low carb all-purpose flour *

FOR THE FILLING:
1/2 cup raspberry jam, apricot jam or marmalade
3 tablespoons sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I prefer pecans, but you can use walnuts or almonds)
1/3 cup chopped cranberries
2 ounces sugar-free chocolate, finely chopped

FOR THE GLAZE:
2 tablespoons egg whites
1 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably coarse sugar

For this recipe, I used Dixie Carb Counters All Purpose Low Carb Flour rather than their biscuit mix. Tova Foods also has an All Purpose Low Carb Flour as does LC Foods. I have not tried this with Almond Flour, but I believe it would work fine since it is mixed with cream cheese.  You will need to make sure the dough is chilled well or it will break easily.

Make the dough first. In a food processor, place the softened cream cheese pieces and the softened butter pieces. If you use unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pulse until the cream cheese and butter are blended together. Add the flour and pulse several times to mix it in. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed to get all the flour mixed in. Pulse until the dough forms large curds.

You can mix it with a hand mixer also, but don’t let the dough form into a ball on the blades.

Turn the dough out into a bowl and gather it into a large ball. Divide it in half, shape each into a disk, wrap in plastic, then put into the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

Before you begin rolling the dough out, make the filling. Heat the jam over low heat or in the microwave until it liquefies. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar substitute and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside. Chop the cranberries in a small food processor. In a microwavable bowl, add 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the cranberries. Microwave for 40 seconds. Stir well.

Ready two baking sheets.

Pull one disc of dough from the refrigerator, place a sheet of parchment over the breadboard, and sprinkle low carb flour on it. Roll out the dough into a circle about eight or nine inches in diameter. If it is too firm to roll easily, let it sit for about 10 minutes. Spoon or brush about 1/2 of the melted jam in a thin layer over the dough and sprinkle 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar over the top. Scatter 1/2 of the nuts, 1/2 of the cranberries, and 1/2 of the chopped chocolate over the jam. Cover the filling with a piece of waxed paper and gently press on it to push the filling into the dough. Remove the waxed paper, Slide the disk onto a baking pan and put the pan in the refrigerator to chill while you roll the second disc and repeat the steps.

Pull out the first pan when you put the second pan in, then cut the original dough into quarters, like you would a pizza. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter for this. Try to get it separated evenly. Now, cut each wedge into three triangular slices. Starting at the outside edge, roll the dough toward the middle to form a crescent cookie and tuck the end tip under the dough on the baking sheet, curving the cookie a little. Repeat with each triangular shape, cutting each of the quarter wedges into three triangles.

Pie cut for 12 slices.

Repeat with the second round of cookies. Put the shaped cookies in the refrigerator or other cold place on their baking sheets  to firm up for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F.) Position the racks in the oven to divide it into thirds.

Before baking the cookies, mix the egg white and water together and brush over the tops of the cookies and sprinkle the granulated sugar substitute over each.

Photo: One dozen rugalach cookies

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom racks and turning them from the front to the back of the oven about mid-way through the baking. Remove when they are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack until they are just warm or at room temperature.

Makes 24 cookies.

Nutrition information per cookie:
Calories:102.2 Fat: 8.9 g Net Carbs: 1.0 g Protein: 3.3 g

Product Review: DCC Double Chocolate Brownies & a Recipe

Photo: DCC Double Chocolate Brownie

Product Review: DCC Double Chocolate Brownies

Every now and then, when you go out to dinner at a place that offers gooey brownies topped with ice cream, you may be tempted to get one. Especially if you’re like me and you miss the chocolate deliciousness of a brownie. I actually have a pretty good brownie recipe, but the ease of having a mix that is so simple, you can put it together in five minutes is pretty alluring.

I recently bought a package of Dixie Carb Counters (DCC) Double Fudge Brownie mix to give it a try. First, it is a snap to get this ready to go in the oven. The easy to follow recipe walks you right through it. Before you begin, grease an 8″x8″ pan.

First problem, I can’t find my 8×8 pan, so I settle for my 6×6 pan. Okay, so my bars will be thicker than they would be in an 8×8, which means cook them a little longer. Also, I cut a piece of parchment paper to put on the bottom so they won’t stick. That takes a minute to do, so not an issue. Then spray the parchment with baking spray.

Next, melt one stick of unsalted butter and the contents of package 1, which is chocolate, together in a medium-sized bowl in the microwave. Works great. After one minute, I have melted chocolate and butter that I mix together.

Next add in 2 eggs, the flour and cocoa mixture in the second packet and mix well. Pour into your baking pan and cook for 15 to 18 minutes until they are done and spring back when you touch them. Cut into 16 pieces and you’re done.

Easy to make. But you don’t end up with the little beauty at the top of my page. Nope, that is my variation on this mix. While the mix will yield a 2×2″ brownie that is 52 calories and 2 net carbs, it isn’t iced and nutty like mine. To make my version, read on.

Caramel Pecan Brownie

Photo: Pan of Caramel Pecan Brownies

1 package of Dixie Diner Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
2 Eggs
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Pecans, chopped
8 Russell Stover Sugar-free Chocolate Carmels, cut in half

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8×8-inch baking pan with baking spray or cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and spray with baking spray.

In a medium microwavable bowl, add the butter and packet 1 from the mix (chocolate bar), then microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir to mix together and make sure they are melted. (If not, put back in the micro for another 30 seconds.)

Add the baking mix in packet 2, vanilla extract, and the eggs. Mix together using a spoon or whisk until all the flour is incorporated. Add the pecans and stir to distribute.

Pour the batter into the pan and tap it down to make sure it is even. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the brownies look done but still soft when you touch them. Turn off the oven, then put the caramels on top of the brownies in rows of 4 across and 4 down. Leave the brownies in the oven another 5 minutes, then remove and spread the melted chocolate caramel over the top like an icing.

Remove and let cool so the caramel sets before cutting into 16 – 2 inch brownies.

Nutrition Information for 1 brownie (16 yield)
Calories: 84.3 Fat: 5.8 g Net Carbs: 2.5 g Protein: 1.5 g

If you make them in a smaller pan, like a 6×6″ one, then cook them about 20 minutes before checking, then follow the rest of the instruction, but cut them into 8 slices rather than 16.

Nutrition Information for 1 brownie (8 yield)
Calories: 168.7 Fat: 11.5 g Net Carbs: 5.0 g Protein: 3 g

Based on my experience with the Brownie mix, I’d give it five cooking spoons of deliciousness.

Tip: If you refrigerate your brownies, take them out about an hour before you want to serve them to allow them to come to room temperature and for the caramel to soften before cutting.