It’s Not Just For Christmas Fudge

(I am reposting this from a few years ago, still LOVE this fudge!)

I used to make this recipe for fudge quite a bit for the holidays when I worked at WLNY in New York. I remember CJ asking for it quite a bit! It’s simple and pretty fool-proof. I could eat the whole pan if it were left in my vicinity! Fudge is good anytime of year not just at the holidays so make a batch today and take a break from the diet. If you are allergic to nuts, leave them out. Have fun!

INGREDIENTS:

3 (6 oz.) packages semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 cup chopped walnuts (or other favorite nut)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Line an 8″ square baking pan with waxed paper or aluminum foil.

2. In a heavy two-quart saucepan, combine chocolate chips, condensed milk and salt.

3. Cook over low heat until chips melt. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts and vanilla.

4. Spread mixture evenly into lined pan. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Makes 36 pieces

Strufoli (Italian honey balls)

 This is a reposting of a previous blog from last year! Still a timeless treat no matter what the holiday is, and this time it’s for Easter! So give them a try! They are not hard to make, honest!!

This is a recipe that my grandmother (Nana) used to make for us years ago, usually around Easter. Though they are good at any time of the year for any occasion. The first time I made these it took me forever to roll each little ball. Then I talked to my Italian Aunt Rosie about making them and she laughed when I told her I rolled each little ball individually. She said that took way too long! She told me to roll the dough into long strips like giant pretzel rods and just cut them! Simple! These little honey balls are really good and bring back so many childhood memories. They stay fresh for a very long time and you can even freeze them for another time! (Without the honey of course!) They really are simple to make and always a hit.

Strufoli (Honey Balls)

INGREDIENTS:

4 eggs

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

2½ cups flour

½ cup honey

vegetable oil

colored nonpareil (confetti)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, and butter. Add flour, 1 cup at a time. The last ½ cup of flour can be added if necessary to make a smooth dough. Let dough stay in bowl, covered with a dish, for ½ hour.

2. Roll out portions of dough. Cut dough into strips, rounded like pretzels, then cut into ½-inch pieces.

3. Heat about 2½ inches of oil in the bottom of a pan or deep fryer. Fry the pieces of dough, a handful at a time. If you can do this in a frying basket, it will be easier to take them out. Place pieces on paper towels to drain.

4. Heat honey until just under the boiling point. Place strufoli in a bowl and drizzle honey over them, gently tossing. Arrange on a large platter and sprinkle with the nonpareil (confetti). You can shape into a mound on a large flat dish or into a wreath.


Makes about 150 little strufoli

Tropical Pudding Shots

Yes pudding shots! I know you’ve all heard of jello shots. I also think it’s time for me to serve them at my next party. But pudding shots are almost the same but with pudding! This recipe calls for sugar-free fat-free pudding but if you’re not watching calories just use the regular pudding. I actually have not made them yet but I plan to soon! They sound delicious! This recipe also only makes 8 servings so if you have a huge crowd  adjust the amounts accordingly. And since I am allergic to the aspartame in the sugar-free jello puddings (and jello) I will have to find one with Splenda or just use the regular kind. Have fun and enjoy the weekend!

INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces fat-free milk (I will probably use fat-free half-and-half)

1 small (4 serving) package Jell-O Sugar Free Fat Free Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (or any other kind you want)

3 ounces coconut rum

1 ounce lime juice

½ cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, not drained

1 cup Cool Whip Free, thawed (or regular if you wish)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine milk and pudding in a bowl and whisk or mix until smooth. Add the rum, lime juice and pineapple. Stir well.

2. Fold in the Cool Whip. Once mixture is smooth throughout, divide it among 8 small cups.

3. Place in fridge until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes. Use a spoon to eat!

Makes 8 servings

Pumpkin Carrot Bars

Yes I am still in Fall mode. Trying to pretend it’s cooler outside and that the leaves are changing here. But then I look outside and see nothing but green palm trees, green leaves on the maple trees, green everywhere! Ok, so the leaves really don’t change here. They do fall on some trees but they aren’t pretty about it. Oh well, the sacrifice for living in the Sunshine State. Maybe they change in northern Florida? And right now the temperature is still 79 degrees. It’s 7pm! But I did buy a couple little pumpkins at Walmart yesterday! I will use them for pies or something later in the year. They actually last a long time after the fall! I’ve had pumpkins that lasted till April!

Well I found this recipe and changed it a bit to make it a little less fattening. I substituted Splenda and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend for the sugars and I use light cream cheese in place of regular. As always, feel free to use the real stuff if you want. I was also very happy to hear that the pumpkin shortage is officially over as well. Last year I had stocked up on the canned pumpkin when I found it. It was like gold! But the crop was good this year and we can all breathe easily now! Whew!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour or whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup granulated Splenda (sucralose)

1/3 cup light butter/margarine, softened

½ cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend

2 eggs

2 large egg whites

1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin

1 cup carrot, finely shredded

Cream Cheese Topping/Icing:

4 ounces light cream cheese, softened

¼ cup Splenda

1 tablespoon fat-free half-and-half (or whatever milk product you want)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan. (or similar pan)

2. In a small bowl combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a larger bowl, beat together sugar (1 cup), butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Add eggs, egg whites, canned pumpkin and carrots. Beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and mix until well blended. Spread into greased pan.

4. Mix together cream cheese, sugar (¼ cup) and milk until thoroughly blended.

5. Drop teaspoonfuls of topping over pumpkin batter and swirl mixture with a butter knife.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan completely on wire rack before cutting into squares.

Makes 48 squares.

Skinny Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie is my favorite pie. But I could do without all the extra calories in it. This recipe is lower in calories and fat but still tastes great. If you don’t care about your calories/fat use the regular versions of the ingredients. Key Lime Pie also should NOT be bright lime green in color! It should be an almost pale yellow to very faint green. All those other pies that glow in the dark have food coloring added. You don’t need it! Honest! This recipe is also very easy to make and takes more time to chill and set than it does to prepare and bake. If you are ever in Key West though, try their frozen chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick! OMG! Talk about sugar coma! But it is so incredibly delicious and  heavenly. The last time I had it I shared it with my husband and stepson and we had a hard time finishing it. So worth the extra calories and fat every so often!

INGREDIENTS:

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

½ cup Key Lime juice (such as Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)

1 teaspoon lime zest (if you can find a key lime use that instead)

1 (14 ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

1 (6 ounce) reduced-fat graham cracker crust

1½ cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Beat eggs and egg whites at medium speed on an electric mixer until well-blended.

3. Gradually add the lime juice, zest and condensed milk into the egg mixture, beating until well-blended.

4. Spoon mixture into pie crust and bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until almost set. (The center will not be firm but will set up as it chills.)

5. Cool on a wire rack. Cover loosely and chill for at least 4 hours. Spread whipped topping evenly over filling. Serve!

Makes 8 servings


Chocolate Mousse Bars

All you chocolate hounds out there this one is for you! Chocolate Mousse is always seen as such a decadent dessert and it usually is but my recipe will use the sugar substitute sucralose (Splenda). Sucralose is one of the few substitutes that you can use exactly as you would sugar. It may even be sweeter! I can only use sucralose because aspartame gives me migraines. So no “Blue” in my house! Only “yellow”!  Aspartame can’t stand up to the heat of baking either so that is another reason to use sucralose. If you are really weird about using ‘fake’ sugar by all means use the real stuff. I will never know! And I won’t think any less of you! But if you use the sucralose and are counting points for  Weight Watchers for any reason, the bars are only 4 points each and regular sugar makes them 5 points each. Not much of a difference so it’s up to you!

Photo is for illustrative purposes only!

INGREDIENTS:

6 extra-large egg whites

1¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute

1 tablespoon canola oil

1½ cups unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1½ cups nonfat plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat the oven to 350º. Spray an 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl whip the egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Meanwhile, stir the oil into the melted chocolate. Add this mixture to the egg whites and blend.

3. With a mixer on low, sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold together. Beat until fluffy. Add the yogurt and vanilla; beat until uniformly combined.

4. Scrape the batter into the pan; smooth the top. Bake until the batter feels firm to the touch in the center, but a toothpick comes out coated with the batter, about 30-35 minutes.

5. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Makes 16 bars

Mini Upside-Down Key Lime Pies

Key Lime Pie is one of my all time favorite pies. If I splurge and get dessert when we’re out for dinner and Key Lime Pie is on the menu I can’t resist. (Unless there’s crème brûlée or tiramisu also!) But with the crust and sugar and rest of the high calorie ingredients I am always hesitant to order it. This recipe makes 5 little “pies” so it’s portion controlled and using lighter ingredients helps me stay in control. The recipe calls for sugar-free Jell-O, this can be an issue for me. Jell-O uses aspartame in their sugar-free product and I am allergic to it. I get intense migraines from even a little bit. So unless I find a sugar-free gelatin with sucralose in it I will probably use the full sugar version on the Jell-O.

For illustrative purposes only!

INGREDIENTS:

1 4-serving package (or half an 8-serving package) Jell-O Sugar-Free Lime Gelatin dessert mix

1 no-calorie sweetener packet (Splenda)

1½ tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups Cool Whip Free, thawed

2 sheets (8 crackers) low-fat honey graham crackers, lightly crushed

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup boiling water with gelatin mix and sweetener. Stir for at least 2 minutes, until completely dissolved.

2. Mix in lemon juice, vanilla extract, and ½ cup cold water. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, until slightly thickened but still mixable.

3. Stir in the Cool Whip. Whisk until completely blended. Divide mixture among 5 small bowls. Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

4. Once ready to serve, evenly distribute crushed graham crackers over the pies.

Makes 5 servings

Per pie: 83 calories, 1g fat, 15g carbs, 5g sugar, 1g protein, <.5g fiber