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Source: Test Kitchen Secrets for Light Desserts


10 Lightening Hints – In testing, we used these strategies to lighten our desserts. Try them in your favorites at home.


1. Decrease the sugar by an eighth or a fourth. Use heat-stable sugar substitutes or sugar substitute blends when sugar isn’t needed for crisping, tenderizing, or caramelizing.

2. Turn plain fat-free yogurt into yogurt cheese and use it in place of whipped cream, sour cream, and cream cheese. Or switch to fat-free milk and reduced-fat cream cheese, sour cream, and whipped dessert topping.

3. Capitalize on fruit’s natural sweetness and fiber and use less sugar.

4. Bake with cake flour for a more tender cake, then use less sugar for tenderizing. Or try a whole grain flour in place of a fourth of the all-purpose flour.

5. Instead of frosting, top baked desserts with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a chunky fruit salsa.

6. Skip the crust when baking cheesecake and use only a top or bottom crust for pie.

7. Use unsweetened cocoa powder instead of higher fat chocolate products.

8. Try crispy whole grain cereals for dessert or struesel toppings instead of high-fat, high-sugar crumb topping.

9. Opt for egg whites or frozen or refrigerated egg product in place of some or all of the eggs.

10. Experiment with sugar-free and fat-free packaged dessert products, but read the labels to make sure the carb and sodium counts fit your guidelines.


Raspberry-Mint Swirl Cheesecake


Cheesecake Ingredients:
5 c plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt*
3 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 c fat-free milk
2 sprigs fresh mint
1 c fresh red raspberries
3 tbsp sugar or sugar substitute** equivalent to 3 tbsp sugar
1 8-oz package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar or sugar substitute** equivalent to 1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 recipe Raspberry Sauce (see below)
fresh raspberries
fresh mint leaves


Raspberry Sauce Ingredients:
2 c fresh raspberries


Cheesecake Directions:


For yogurt cheese, line a yogurt strainer, sieve, or small colander with three layers of 100 % cotton cheesecloth or a clean paper coffee filter. Suspend lined strainer over a large bowl: spoon in yogurt. Cover with plastic wrap: chill for 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator. Discard liquid; set aside. In a small saucepan, sprinkle 2 1/2 teaspoons of the gelatin over the milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Bruise mint sprigs by pressing with back of a spoon: add to saucepan. Heat and stir over low heat just until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Cool for 15 minutes. Remove and discard mint sprigs, set aside. Place the 1 cup raspberries in a food processor or blender. Cover and process until smooth. Transfer puree to another small saucepan. Stir the 3 tablespoons sugar into raspberry puree. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons gelatin; let stand 5 mintues. Heat and stir over low heat just until gelatin is dissolved. Cover and chill for 15 minutes. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in yogurt cheese, the 1/3  cup sugar and the vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in milk mixture. Stir 1/2 cup of the cream cheese mixture into raspberry mixture. Spoon half of the white cream cheese into a 7-8″ springform pan. Spoon half of the raspberry mixture into mounds on white cream cheese mixture. Using a narrow, thin-blade metal spatula, swirl raspberry mixture into white cream cheese mixture. Repeat layering remaining white cheese mixture and raspberry mixture. Cover and chill for 24 hours. To serve, using a small sharp knife, loosen cheesecake from side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Cut cheesecake into wedges. Drizzle Raspberry Sauce onto dessert plates. Place cheesecake wedges on top of sauce. If desired, garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.


Raspberry Sauce Directions:


Place 2 cups fresh raspberries in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Press through a fine mesh sieve; discard seeds.


*Test Kitchen Tip: Be sure to use a brand of yogurt that contains no gums, gelatin, or fillers. These ingredients may prevent the whey from separating from the curd to make yogurt cheese.
**Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Equal Spoonful or packets or Sweet ‘N Low bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use product amounts equivalent to 3 tablespoons and 1/3 cup sugar.


Makes 12 Servings.


Dietary Exchanges: 0.5 Fat Free Milk, 1 Carbohydrate, 1 Fat


Carb Choices: 1


Nutrients Per Serving:
169 Calories
8 g Total Fat
4 g Saturated Fat
21 mg Cholesterol
153 mg Sodium
20 g Carbohydrate
2 g Fiber
9 g Protein


Nutrients Per Serving With Substitute: Same as above, except 137 Calories, 12 g Carbohydrate; Dietary Exchanges: 0.5 Carbohydate


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Chocolate Crepes with Banana-Pecan Topping


Ingredients:


1/3 c white whole wheat flower or all-purpose flour
2 tbsp packed brown sugar or brown sugar substitute* equivalent to 2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 c fat-free milk
1/4 c refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp canola or cooking oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 medium bananas
nonstick cooking spray
1/4 c sugar-free caramel-flavored ice cream topping
1/4 tsp rum extract
1/4 c chopped pecans, toasted


Directions:


In a medium bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add milk, egg, oil, and vanilla; whisk until combined. Heat a lightly oiled 7-8 inch nonstick skillet with flared side over medium heat. Remove from heat. Spoon in about 2 tablespoons of the chocolate crepe batter; lift and tilt the skillet to heat; cook until the top of the crepe is set and dry (30-45 seconds). (Or cook the batter on a crepe maker according to manufacturer’s directions.) Invert the skillet over paper towels; remove the crepe, using a spatula if necessary. Repeat with remaining batter, oiling the skillet occasionally. (You should have 8 or 9 crepes.) Set crepes aside.  Peel bananas; halve crosswise, then lengthwise, making 8 pieces. Lightly coat a nonstick grill pan or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Preheat over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Grill or cook bananas for 3-4 minutes or until softened, turning once. Remove bananas from grill pan or skillet. In a small saucepan, heat ice cream topping over low heat until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in rum extract. To serve, divide crepes among dessert plates, folding crepes as desired. Top crepes with banana pieces; drizzle with caramel mixture. Sprinkle with toasted pecans.


*Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Sweet ‘N Low Brown or Sugar Twin Granulated Brown. Follow the package directions to use product amount equivalent to 2 tablespoons brown sugar.


Makes 8 Servings.


Dietary Exchanges: 1 Fruit, 1 Carbohydrate, 0.5 Fat


Carb Choices: 2


Nutrients Per Serving:
155 Calories
4 g Total Fat
0 g Saturated Fat
0 mg Cholesterol
76 mg Sodium
29 g Carbohydrates
2 g Fiber
3 g Protein


Nutrients Per Serving With Substitute: Same as above, except 142 Calories, 26 g Carbohydrate, 75 mg Sodium


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Tropical Fruit Pavlova


Pavlova Ingredients:
1 recipe Mango Cream (see recipe below)
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 c sugar*
2 c cut-up, seeded, peeled fresh mangoes; sliced kumquats; cut-up, peeled kiwifruits; and/or halved fresh strawberries


Mango Cream Ingredients:
1 c cut-up, seeded, peeled fresh mango
yogurt cheese (see recipe below)
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp finely shredded orange peel


Yogurt Cheese Ingredients:
2 1/2 c plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt


Yogurt Cheese Directions:


For yogurt cheese, line a yogurt strainer, sieve, or small colander with three layers of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth or a clean paper coffee filter. Suspend lined strainer, sieve, or colander over a large bowl. Spoon 2 1/2 cups plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt** into the strainer, sieve, or colander. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator. Discard liquid.


Mango Cream Directions:


In a blender or food processor, place 1 cup cut-up, seeded, peeled fresh mango. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Transfer the pureed mango to a medium bowl. Stir in the yogurt cheese, 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel. Use right away or cover and chill Mango Cream for up to 3 days. Makes about 2 cups.


Pavlova Directions:


Prepare Mango Cream. In a medium bowl, let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Draw eight, 3″ circles on the paper or foil (or draw 1 8″ circle); set aside. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. For meringue, add cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). For small shells, using a pastry bag, pipe meringue onto the small circles on the baking sheet, building up the sides to form small shells. (Or use the back of a small spoon to spread the meringue onto the circles, building up the sides.) For one large shell, spoon the meringue into center of the 8-inch circle on the baking sheet. Using the back of a large spoon, spread the meringue to the edge of the circle. Build up the edge slightly to form one large shell. Bake for 35 minutes for 3-inch shells or 40 minutes for the 8-inch shell. Turn off the oven. Let dry in oven, with door closed, for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack. Carefully transfer shell(s) to plate(s). To serve, spoon Mango Cream into meringue shell(s). Top with fruit. Cut the large shell into wedges.


*Sugar Substitutes: We don’t recommend using sugar substitutes in this recipe because sugar is needed to maintain the structure of the meringue.
**Test Kitchen Tip: Be sure to use a brand of yogurt that contains no gums, gelatin, or fillers. These ingredients may prevent the whey from separating from the curd to make yogurt cheese.


Makes 8 Servings.


Dietary Exchanges: 0.5 Fat Free Milk, 0.5 Fruit, 1 Carbohydrate


Carb Choices: 2


Nutrients Per Serving:
154 Calories
1 g Total Fat
1 g Saturated Fat
5 mg Cholesterol
76 mg Sodium
31 g Carbohydrates
1 g Fiber
6 g Protein



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Coffee-Chocolate Marble Cake


Cake Ingredients:
nonstick cooking spray
2 1/2 c sifted cake flour or 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c buttermilk or sour fat-free milk*
1 1/4 c granulated sugar or sugar substitute blend **equivalent to 1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c canola oil or cooking oil
1/2 c refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp instant espresso, coffee powder, or instant coffee crystals
1 recipe Coffee Drizzle (see recipe below)
2 tsp powdered sugar and/or unsweetened cocoa powder


Coffee Drizzle Ingredients:
1/2 c boiling water
1 tbsp sugar or sugar substitute blend** equivalent to 1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant espresso coffee powder or instant coffee crystals


Coffee Drizzle Directions:


In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute blend equivalent to 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder or instant coffee crystals. Sitr until the sugar and espresso powder are dissolved.


Cake Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch fluted pan with nonstick cooking spray; lightly flour. Set the tube aside. Set aside 1/2 cup of the flour. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 2 cup cake flour or 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture. Beat with a wire whisk just until combined. In a medium bowl, combine cocoa powder and espresso coffee powder. Add half of the buttermilk mixture (about 1 3/4 cup), stirring until mixture is smooth; set aside. Add the reserved 1/2 cup flour to the remaining buttermilk mixture, whisking just until combined. Spoon half of the white batter evenly into prepared pan. Carefully spoon half of the chocolate batter onto the white batter in an even layer. Repeat layers. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Place cake on a wire rack set over a sheet of waxed paper. Using a long wooden skewer, poke cake in several places, poking all the way through to bottom of cake. Slowly pour Coffee Drizzle evenly over the top of the cake. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder before serving.


*Test Kitchen Tip: To make 1 1/4 cups sour milk, place 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough fat-free milk to make 1 1/4 cups total liquid; stir. Let stand for 5 minutes before using.
**Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Equal Sugar Lite or Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking. Follow package directions to use product amounts equivalent to 1 tablespoon and 1 1/4 cups sugar.


Makes 18 Servings.


Dietary Exchanges: 2 Carbohydrate, 1.5 Fat


Carb Choices: 2


Nutrients Per Serving:
206 Calories
7 g Total Fat
1 g Saturated Fat
1 mg Cholesterol
134 mg Sodium
32 g Carbohydrates
0 g Fiber
3 g Protein


Nutrients Per Serving With Substitute: Same as above, except 177 Calories, 24 g Carbohydrate; Dietary Exchanges: 1.5 Carbohydrate; Carb Choices: 1.5