Happy Christmas Eve Eve! (Old-Fashioned Gingerbread and Candied Cranberries)

23 Dec

‘Tis the season to be eating…fa la la la la la la la la….

You know what happens when I am too busy to blog for a while? My queue of recipes starts filling up. Fast. I eat three (or four. Or five.) meals a day, and usually I want to blog about ALL OF THEM because they are so delicious, but that would be boring. (Can’t you see that? A post about cereal? Lame.) But still, it’s been a good couple of weeks since I last blogged–most of which has been during the CHRISTMAS!!! season–so my list of things to blog about is…extensive, to say the least. And I am quickly running out of time in which it is appropriate to blog about holiday goodies…however, I will try to limit this post to a couple hundred recipes.

Not really. Just two for today. I am the classic example of self-restraint.

First up, is….*drumroll* —Old Fashioned Gingerbread (Sneaky-Healthy Style)!

I’m telling you, this is the way to eat gingerbread. It really is. That’s not to say that gingerbread men or gingerbread houses are bad in any way shape or form–I would be the first to admit their complete tastiness/awesomeness–but they’re so, you know, pretty that I always feel absolutely terrible eating them. Add that to the fact that I like to imagine that little people live in the gingerbread house (don’t judge. I think that, okay?), and by eating it I leave them homeless. And on that note, I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly enjoy savagely biting the head off of a poor defenseless gingerbread man (until his delicious head is in my mouth, at which point caution is thrown to the wind). But anyway, this gingerbread is actually a loaf of bread. This is gingerbread in its original form, the way that I’m pretty sure grandmas in the fifties would make it. Except this recipe takes great pains to be healthy, with whole wheat flour, no butter, and splenda instead of sugar! Yeah, yeah, I know, “ew, healthy”. But honestly? My mom didn’t tell me that this recipe was supposed to be healthy, and I would have sworn that it was made with your typical heart-stopping butter/sugar/simple carb combo. It tastes exactly the same–which is delicious. And you know, ginger helps prevent cancer. Mm-hmm. Eating a slice of this is equivalent to going on a run!

…Okay, maybe not. But a girl can dream.

Second up are the infamous Candied Cranberries.

These are so cute as well as being delicious. Done right, they have a crunchy exterior layer of sugar, and then they pop in your mouth to reveal a slightly tart and soft interior. It’s like a roller coaster for your palate! If you’re into that sort of thing.) And they look so pretty and festive too…this is a must-have for your holiday dinner tables. You can serve them as an appetizer, or with the meal, or as an after-dinner but pre-dessert treat, or you can simply set them out alongside the mixed nuts for people to nosh on while they listen to christmas music and chat! (If any of you didn’t get the chance to try them when I brought them in, my deepest apologies. Guess you will just have to make them yourself!) Don’t let the recipe intimidate you. It’s actually pretty easy, despite being a tad finicky and specific.

Recipes are below. For now, I’m having a great Christmas Eve Eve, mainly because my hands smell like butter and sugar…but that I will tell you about later. Anyway, enjoy the holidays, everyone! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, after all…

Old Fashioned Gingerbread (Sneaky-Healthy Style)


Ingredients:

1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp light spread (like Promise Buttery
Spread Light or Smart Balance Light)
1/2 cup splenda
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp  molasses
3 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup non-fat buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 1 1/2 quart glass Pyrex oblong loaf pan with foil (non-stick foil works best). Whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Add the reduced-fat spread and whisk together until smooth. Add the Splenda, applesauce, pumpkin and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the molasses.
In separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they begin to be very frothy and white. Do not beat into stiff peaks (the egg whites should about triple in volume). Place the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and wheat germ in a sifter and sift into the mixing bowl. Gently fold the creamed mixture together with the flour mixture. Add buttermilk and fold until smooth. As soon as the mixture is well blended add the frothed egg whites and fold together until smooth.
Pour the batter into the lined Pyrex dish. Place the loaf pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 50 minutes.

Candied Cranberries

(source: myrecipes.com)

Ingredients:

2  cups  granulated sugar
2  cups  water
2  cups  fresh cranberries
3/4  cup  superfine sugar

Directions:

Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. (Do not boil or the cranberries may pop when added.) Stir in cranberries; pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving steeping liquid, if desired. Place superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, rolling to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry.

Note: The steeping liquid clings to the berries and helps the sugar adhere. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week.

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