Tag Archives: cranberries

Happy Holiday Cheeseball

As I hinted, I did make a terrific cheeseball over the weekend, let it sit until Monday, then dug in. I would have posted yesterday, but time escaped me again! Wrapping packages, writing my last few Christmas cards, and the next thing I know, the day is gone. Funny how that happens faster when you get older.

I took time to look for the Christmas star, aka the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction. I expected it to be brighter and maybe a little larger, although I’m sure city lights dimmed the view. If I’d been in the desert like I used to be when I lived in El Paso, Texas, I’m sure it would have popped more. Still, how the heck did the Three Kings manage to follow that light amongst all the others?

But I digress… I found this recipe on gimmedelicious.com and had to make minor adjustments to make it low carb. Of course, I added a tiny touch or two to make it mine. Use low carb crackers, bagel chips, carrots, or celery as the base to spread a little of this yummy cheese on top. Easy to make, it comes together quickly once you have the chopping done. It’s great for a family gathering or a small party. Besides that, it’s festive-looking with the red and green in and on it.
One tip, though; when it comes to chopping chives or onions, it’s easier to use kitchen scissors to cut them into small pieces.

Photo: Cranberry-pecan cheeseball

Cranberry Pecan Cheeseball

8 ounces Cream Cheese
1 cup White Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
1/2 cup dried Sugar-reduced Cranberries chopped and divided
1 cup Pecans chopped and toasted (optional)
2 tablespoons Chives, chopped
2 tablespoon Spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Set the cream cheese out to soften for about an hour. Meanwhile chop the pecans, the craisins, chives, and spinach. Shred the white cheese if needed.

Toast Pecans: Pre-heat oven to 375F. Spread the chopped pecans on a baking tray and bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until they smell toasty. Be careful not to burn them.  Set these aside and turn the oven off.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder together until you have a smooth mixture. Add 1/2 of the roasted pecan and 1/2 of the cranberries, then the chives. Stir together until these are mixed through the cream cheese.

Cut a large piece of plastic wrap and put the mixture in the middle.  Use a spoon or spatula to begin to shape it into a ball. Once all the cheese is pulled together, use the wrap to push it closer together and round the shape as you encase the ball in the wrap and close off the top by twisting.

Put the cheese ball in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours. This will firm up the cream cheese.

Before serving, mix the remaining pecans, cranberries and spinach or chives together on a flat surface, such as a baking pan or cheese board. Unwrap the chilled ball and roll it in the pecan and cranberry mixture, coating all sides. Press the fruit and nuts into the ball if they won’t stick.

Place on a serving platter and surround with dippers. Makes about 12 servings.

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

Easy Cranberry Cake for the Holidays

Photo: Cranberry Nut Cake

… or any other time you feel like eating it. I even like it for breakfast.

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com and adapted it to both low carb and low sodium. The original recipe is called a Cranberry Pie, but it’s really a very moist cake. I’ve made it three times now, varying the third version to use 1 cup of apples in place of 1 of the cups of cranberries. I believe it will also make a great blueberry, raspberry, peach, or pear cake. The carbs will vary depending on the fruit you use. I also used pecans instead of walnuts, but either will work well with it, and I suspect almonds or macadamia nuts would be good also.

As a cranberry cake, it’s festive and delicious for an easy holiday meal dessert. Warm it up a little, then top it with a little whipped cream or ice cream.

Photo: Slice of Cranberry Cake

Low Carb Cranberry Nut Cake

1 cup Low Carb Flour
1 cup Sugar Substitute
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 cups fresh Cranberries
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts or Pecans
1/2 cup Butter, melted
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Almond Extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F.). Prepare a 8″ pie pan or a cast iron skillet or other oven-proof pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper, then spraying the bottom and sides with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt and whisk together. Add the cranberries and nut, then stir to coat them with the flour.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then add to the flour mixture along with the melted butter and almond extract. Stir to mix the liquid into the flour, making sure to get all the flour mixed in. The batter may be thick, but if it is too thick to spread, add a little water.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to even it. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Makes 8 servings.

Photo: Nutrition Info - Cranberry Nut Cake

Photo: Low Sodium Cranberry Cake

Low Sodium Cranberry Nut Cake

1/2 cup Almond Flour, finely ground
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
1 cup Sugar Substitute
2 cups fresh Cranberries
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts or Pecans
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil or Coconut Oil, melted
2 Eggs
1 Egg White
2 to 4 tablespoons Water
1 teaspoon Almond Extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F.). Prepare a 8″ pie pan or a cast iron skillet or other oven-proof pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper, then spraying the bottom and sides with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized bowl, add the almond and coconut flour, and sugar then whisk together. Add the cranberries and nuts, then stir to coat them with the flour.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and egg white, then add to the flour mixture along with the oil and almond extract. Stir to mix the liquid into the flour, making sure to get all the flour mixed in. The batter may be thick, but if it is too thick to spread, add a little water. a tablespoon at a time to get the mixture to a spreadable consistency. When using coconut flour, it will absorb a lot of liquid, so add liquid, mix it in, then let it sit and add more if necessary.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to even it. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing. Nut flours are delicate and might break when you lift them out of the pan.

To flip to a plate, let the cake cool completely, then put the plate on top of the pan and turn it over. The parchment will allow it to release easily. Remove the parchment, then put another plate over the cake and flip it to get the top up. Serve with a low sodium whipped topping.

Makes 8 servings.

Photo: Nutrition Info - Low Sodium Cranberry Nut Cake

Quick Dessert with Cranberries and Pecans

Cranberry Pecan dessert photo

I cannot believe March is almost over! Where does the time go? I seem to be way behind on everything this month. But I did manage to try out a quick recipe for a wonderful dessert like Pecan Pie.

I’ve seen several recipes for “Impossible” pies that use the same technique as the Bisquick recipes that work so well to mix all the ingredients in one bowl, pour them into the pie shell, and they separate while they cook to give you a crust on the bottom and sometimes a topping layer. So far, I haven’t been able to duplicate this using low carb flours.The food tastes great, but the crust doesn’t seem to come out on the bottom. This is another one of those recipes. It seems more like a very low flour cake than a pie, but the taste is wonderful.

The original recipe came from Dixie Carb Counters, but I made a few adjustments. I used the DCC All Purpose Flour to make this, but I think it will work equally as well with almond flour, soy flour, or coconut flour (use 2 tablespoons and add 2 tablespoons of water). The recipe uses a small amount of flour, so the crust isn’t very thick.I used my cranberries whole, but they might be distributed better if they are chopped.

Cranberry Pecan Pie Cake

Cooking Spray
2 tablespoons Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar Substitute
1/4 cup Low Carb Flour
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon Sugar-free Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/8 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Pecans, chopped
1/3 cup fresh or frozen Cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F.). Prepare a pie tin or an 8-inch square baking pan by spraying with cooking spray. I also like to line mine with parchment paper, then spray the paper.

In a small bowl, add the sugar, flour, and baking soda and mix together. Set aside. In a larger bowl, add the eggs, butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk together until blended. Stir in the flour until it is all mixed in. Add 3/4 cup of the nuts and the cranberries and stir them in.

Pour into your prepared pan, smoothing until even. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of pecans over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, checking at 20 to see if the edges are getting too browned. If so, cover with foil and cook until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Makes 8 Servings

Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories:162 Fat:15.7 g Net Carbs: 1.6 g Protein: 3.7 g