February 3, 2011

Low Carb “Cheats”

Posted in Cooking at 1:49 PM by Robin

I’m pretty sure there is a scripture somewhere that says “Man shall not live on meat and veggies alone.” If not, there should be. While completely going off of sweets and other carbs is great for the first two weeks, eventually your craving for something dessert-like is going to kick in, and you will need some alternatives that you can eat and still stick to your diet plan. So, today you get two recipes for the price of one!

Muffin in a Minute

I think the thing I miss more than anything else on this diet is bread. This recipe, which is straight off the Atkin’s site, is great for filling that bread craving. It uses ground flax meal instead of flour, which is supposed to be super duper good for you, and is very low in carbs. Plus, you can mix it up and cook it in the microwave in a minute and a half, so it’s almost instant gratification! You can find flax meal either in the cooking aisle or the health food section.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup flax meal
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 packet (about 2 tsp.) Splenda, or your favorite no-calorie sweetener
  • 1/2  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon sour cream

Stir the dry ingredients together in a large mug (you can use a small bowl, but the mug gives it the most muffin-like appearance). Stir in the wet ingredients. Your mixture will look gloppy and extremely unappealing. Cook in the microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes (mine takes 1:30). Make sure you put a plate underneath the mug because it almost always spills over the top (my mugs are kind of small, I guess). When you take it out of the microwave, it will look disgusting. Try not to judge it just yet. Turn the mug over and carefully tip the muffin out onto a plate and let some of the steam escape. Don’t worry, it still won’t look very appetizing. Now, cut it into three slices, and all of a sudden, it actually does look kind of like a sliced muffin.

This is great just with some butter spread on it. It kind of tastes like a bran muffin to me. Plus, it has a good amount of protein in it, so it’s pretty filling. I’ve heard of other people using different flavorings in it, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet.

Creme Brulee

OK, first off, I LOVE creme brulee. I think it has to be my favorite dessert of all time. So simple, and yet so amazing. (By the way, my birthday is coming up, and I would really love one of those kitchen torches….). The great thing about this dessert is that it is basically just eggs and cream, which are both Atkins-friendly (in moderation, cream does have a few carbs in it). All you have to do is substitute a low-carb sweetener for the sugar. This recipe makes 5-6 servings, depending on how big your dishes are.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Splenda, depending on taste

Preheat oven to 350*. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, cook cream in the microwave for two minutes, just long enough to warm it up. There should be a few little bubbles, but don’t boil it. Separate your eggs and keep the egg whites for an omelette or something if you want. Beat the egg yolks in a good-sized bowl with a whisk or hand mixer until well blended. Add the vanilla and Splenda and beat until fluffly and lemon colored. Gradually pour in the cream while still beating, just a little bit at first so that the hot cream won’t curdle the eggs. This is called tempering the eggs. When all the cream is added, beat for just another minute to make sure it is thoroughly combined.

Pour egg mixture into six ramekins (the cute little dessert dishes in the picture above) or small oven-proof bowls. Put the bowls in a large pan, like a 13X9″ casserole dish. Put the whole pan in the oven, leaving the oven rack partially extended for a minute. Pour about two cups of hot water in the bottom of the pan, being careful not to get any water in the bowls. The water should come a third of the way up the sides of the bowls, about an inch. Carefully slide the rack into place without spilling the water and cook for thirty minutes. The custard will still be a little jiggly looking but if you stick a knife in the middle it should come out clean. Take the custard out of the oven and let cool just until you can stand to touch, then eat it while it’s still warm! YUM!

Or, if you want the full creme brulee experience, you can make the caramelized sugar topping. This works best if the custard is refrigerated first. Preheat your ovens broiler. Sprinkle a layer of real sugar (white is great, but try brown too for a more caramel-y taste) on top of the cooled custard (Yeah, I know. But there is no substitute for real sugar in this case. Besides, it’s just a teeny little bit, and if you’re being good with everything else, you can still get away with it). Place the custard cups back on their tray (no water this time) and broil for like three to five minutes. Keep a close eye on it because it will burn quickly. You want the sugar to melt into a golden-brown hard candy topping. As soon as it turns brown, take it out.  (If you’re lucky enough to have one of those nifty torches, you just melt the sugar with that). There is nothing like breaking through that sweet crisp topping and taking that first bite of creamy vanilla custard. Heaven!

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3 Comments

  1. Chris Brewer said,

    Cool! I really want to try those muffins. I remember exactly what you are talking about with the bread cravings. I so missed that texture when I was doing the low carb thing. I’ve heard such great stuff about flax seeds. I sprinkle them on my oatmeal. This is great because it seems to be treating seeds like flour so you get similar results but with low carbs and tons of fiber and nutrients. Brilliant!!

  2. Kira Lambert said,

    dang. now I want some creme brulee and a kitchen torch! :)

  3. […] season oriented. Despite the fact that ice cream is my favorite dessert of all (well, up there with creme brulee, anyway), I really have very little inclination to eat it in the middle of winter, unless it is […]


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