In the 90's the low-fat bandwagon came through town and I hopped on board. I bought into the myth that fat was the root of all evil and it was what I was eating, rather than how much, that was making me fat.
I had a subscription to Cooking Light, bought several cookbooks that focused on low fat cooking, and became adept at reading labels and figuring out in my head what the percentage of calories from fat is. For several years I tortured my family with flavorless food, rubbery cookies, and downright disgusting desserts before realizing that I wasn't magically slimmer by cutting the fat. Butter and I became friends again and my family heaved a huge sigh of relief.
What I gained from that experience, though, was the ability to play with a recipe and figure out how to cut the fat and calories by making substitutions. In some, not all, baked goods, up to 1/2 the fat can be replaced by yogurt. It gives moisture that low fat foods really need, plus the acidic nature of yogurt gives a tender crumb to quick breads and coffee cakes. I've continued to use yogurt in a variety of recipes because I think it improves the taste and texture.
A little while ago I received an email asking me if I'd like free coupons to try Stonyfield yogurt. Free yogurt? Sure! I waited patiently for an envelope with coupons but what came instead was a box with a hot pad, a spatula, my new favorite shopping bag, and coupons. Yeah! Prizes, treats!
Stonyfield yogurt is organic and it's certified as gluten-free. This last bit made me a little curious. Yogurt is a dairy product so why would you think there'd be gluten in it? A little investigation and my cybersleuth husband found out that the certification is a rigorous inspection of the manufacturing and processing plant to show that no gluten contamination is present. I know that even the tiniest bit of gluten can make a person with celiac disease sick for days, so I would imagine this certification would be a great blessing for them.
Check out their site for information about their products, what organic means, and for some great recipes. Plus there are coupons to print out!
To test out the yogurt I went on a baking spree and made muffins and lemon cakes, as well raspberry frozen yogurt and my husband's famous guacamole. It was all fabulous. Then I tried the whole milk French Vanilla yogurt with cut up nectarines and it was an amazing dessert. Smooth, creamy, and delicious. Mmm, just thinking about it makes me want to go get another bowl full.
Since I'd already blogged the other things, and to take advantage of my blueberry crop, for this post I made blueberry coffee cake. This cake is so moist, flavorful, and delicious that you'd never guess it's low fat or that it's made with whole wheat flour. It's got just enough batter to cover the blueberries so every bit is juicy with blueberries. Even if it's hot in your area, it's worth getting up early and turning on the oven to have this on the table for breakfast or for coffee with friends.
Whole Wheat Blueberry Kuchen
- adapted from Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too by Susan Purdy
1 large egg
1/2 cup skim or 1% milk
3 Tbsp canola or safflower oil
1/2 cup nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt
1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
1 cup unsifted whole wheat pastry flour*
3 Tbsp toasted wheat germ
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
1-3/4 to 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed, gently dried, with all the stems picked off, or frozen whole unsweetened berries
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1- Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 400 deg. F. Coat a 9x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2- In a large bowl combine the egg, milk, oil, and yogurt. Whisk to blend. Set a strainer over the bowl and add all the dry ingredients. Stir to combine them and sift onto the liquid mixture. Stir just to blend; do not overbeat! Gently fold in the berries and turn the batter into the prepared pan.
3- Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon for the topping and sprinkle it over the batter. Baker for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a ckae tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares (9 squares for generous portions, 16 for dainty portions) and serve warm.
*Don't worry about buying something as specialized as whole wheat pastry flour. It can be substituted for all-purpose flour in cookies, and other baked goods, giving a little nutrition boost to your treats.