(Healthy) Holiday Desserts

Apple Pie:

vardhini pie IMG_9272Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, 1/4 inch pieces
7 tbsp trans fat-free shortening
1/3 cup cold water

5-6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon


Step 1. Prepare the pastry
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter; pulse until large flakes form. Add shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle cold water over the mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time, tossing with a fork to mix. Roll the pastry into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten into 3/4-inch thick disks on separate sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Step 2. Make the apple filling
Placed sliced apples in a bowl and add sugar, honey, flour, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Toss well; set aside.

Step 3. Assemble the pie
Preheat oven to 400º. Place larger half of chilled pastry on a 12-inch sheet of plastic wrap. Dust dough with flour and roll into a 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin, then invert over a 9-inch pie pan. Peel off plastic and gently tuck pastry into pan, letting edge drape over sides. Lightly moisten upper edge of dough with a damp pastry brush. Transfer filling to pie shell. Roll other half of pastry into an 11-inch circle on plastic wrap. Invert over filling, then peel off plastic. Pinch edge to seal; trim excess.

Step 4. Bake till golden
Create decorative edge on crust with fork. Slit top pastry for steam vents. Brush top of pie with milk and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar (try turbinado). Bake for 20 minutes on center oven rack, shield-ing edges of crust with foil. Reduce heat to 375º; continue baking until the pie is golden brown and juices bubble through at least one vent, another 30 minutes. Insert wooden skewer into pie; there should be no resistance. Transfer pie to cooling rack and cool at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition: Calories 319 (41% from fat); Fat 15g (sat 5g, mono 5g, poly 4g); Cholesterol 11mg; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 44g; Sugars 20g; Fiber 2g; Iron 2mg; Sodium 146mg; Calcium 8mg

Snickerdoodle Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar, stirring with a whisk.

Combine 1 cup of sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the corn syrup, vanilla, and egg; beat well. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, beating just until combined. Cover and chill for 10 minutes. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk.

With moist hands, shape dough into 42 (1-inch) balls. Roll balls in sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Flatten balls with the bottom of a glass. Bake at 375° for 5 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft). Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Nutrition (Per Serving: 1 Cookie): Calories 54 (22% from fat); Fat 1.3g (sat .7g, mono .1g, poly .4g); Cholesterol 8mg; Protein .7g; Carbohydrate 10g; Fiber .2g; Iron .3mg; Sodium 28mg; Calcium 3mg

Buttermilk Pralines

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
2/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Continue cooking over low heat until a candy thermometer registers 234° (about 10 minutes); stir occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

Stir in nuts, butter, and vanilla; beat with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to lose its shine (about 6 minutes). Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let stand 20 minutes or until set.

Note: Store pralines in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition (Per Serving: 1 Praline): Calories 65 (30% from fat); Fat 2.2g (sat .4g, mono 1.2g, poly .6g); Cholesterol 1mg; Protein .4g; Carbohydrate 11g; Fiber .3g; Iron .1mg; Sodium 36mg; Calcium 7mg


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