Saturday, February 26, 2011

Upside-Down Pear Cake (sugar-free and flour-less!)

It's my second day with my new blog and I already have something new! Now, I know that it's called the Quirky Cookie, and I'm already straying away from the cookies, but don't worry, they'll be back!

In the meantime, I have an experimental recipe for you to try. I've been making upside-down plum cakes for awhile, and they are a big hit, but I came across a problem this morning: we didn't have any plums! So rather than getting off the couch and going to the market, I did what I do best: substitute!

And I also mixed it up a little bit to make it a bit tastier, so I hope you like it!

So, I have a feeling, for those of you living life without the joys of a springform pan, it is just as easy to use a normal pan, and pour the batter in first with the pears on top. BUT that takes away all the fun, because then the final product won't be a surprise!

And for those who haven't tried pear sauce, it's yummy! I found it at Trader Joe's next to the applesauce. Oh, and don't forget my FAVORITE secret ingredient :)

  • 3-4 Pears (or if trying the plum recipe, I used 8 small plums)
  • 1/2 cup Agave Nectar
  • 6 Tbs Butter
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 4oz container of Pear Sauce (or apple sauce works well too)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Oats
  • 3/4 cup Almond Meal
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer the inside of a springform pan with foil.
  2. Cut thin slices of the pears and, in a large bowl, mix with agave nectar.
  3. Arrange Pear slices in concentric circles in the springform pan, overlapping slightly.
  4. In electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Add milk, pear sauce, and vanilla extract.
  5. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Slowly add to butter mixture.
  6. Pour over pears evenly.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and loosen the edge of cake from foil.
  8. Flip over and enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome! (Flour and sugar free oatmeal raisin cookies)

Hello everyone! I am so excited to be starting this blog because now I can share my passion of baking with all of you! However, my approach to baking might be a little different...quirkier...than yours. I try to lead a healthy lifestyle, and unfortunately dessert is not always a welcomed guest in my household. So I have a solution: using not-so-common healthy (or healthier) substitions for common recipes. Yes, it is possible! And I spend hours (and hours and hours and hours) experimenting to come up with the perfect and delicious recipes.

And so without further ado....ta-da! My first recipe:
Flour AND Sugar Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
These are definitely a favorite in my house!
So first, I need to give you some info on the ingredients you may not be familar with:
  • Agave nectar: this is a natural sweetener, which is substituted for sugar. It is a lot like honey, and is very sweet. Agave nectar has properties similar to real sugar so it is more practical than other articial sweeteners BUT because it is a liquid I usually end up using another sugar substitute (like Splenda) as well to give the cookies a better consistency. It can be found at most supermarkets. If you want to know more, I used this website
  • Almond Meal: All it is is crushed up almonds. That's it. And it can be substituted for flour to give your baked goods a sweeter taste (and it's nutritious!). However, it's consistency is more like corn meal than flour so it doesn't give cookies or muffins much structure, but using a couple more eggs usually helps. I buy it at Trader Joe's, and all health food stores should have it. And if you can't find it, just get out the food processor and start grinding!
Okay, I think I've covered all the bases and we are finally ready to bake! Here's the recipe you've been waiting for:

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup sugar substitute (I used Splenda)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (or sugar-free vanilla sweetener)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups oats
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit

In electric mixer, mix together butter, agave nectar, and sugar substitute. Add eggs and vanilla.
In separate bowl, combine baking soda, cinnamon, salt, oats, and almond meal. Slowly add to butter mixture until fully blended. Add raisins.

Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and remove from baking sheet.
(don't be alarmed if the cookies are really soft, they are supposed to be!)

See, it's easy. You should try it! I promise you will be happy you did!