Earl Grey lemon tea­cakes of­fer dessert with­out much guilt

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FOOD - By Melissa D’Ara­bian

I love dessert. I also love be­ing healthy. My four kid­dos also love sweets. So over the years, I’ve cre­ated some great strate­gies for get­ting some dessert in our lives while also honor­ing our bod­ies, which frankly do not need as much su­gar as our palates seem to crave.

If you (or your fam­ily) loves baked goods too, go ahead and pre­heat that oven and lis­ten in — I’ve got some tips for keep­ing dessert alive while stay­ing rea­son­able. First: Make your own.

I have a lot more lee­way with home­made treats than for the pack­aged and pro­cessed ver­sions from the store. Not only can I man­age what is go­ing in them (so I re­duce su­gar, skip preser­va­tives and ar­ti­fi­cial stuff), but mak­ing my own baked treats puts a min­i­mum half-hour buf­fer be­tween me and a pan of brown­ies, which means we all will eat treats mind­fully, in­stead of grab­bing a box of cook­ies and nib­bling my way through them un­no­ticed while watch­ing an episode of “The Gold­bergs.”

Sec­ond healthy dessert tip: Cut up small por­tions of treats and serve them on a tray along­side a health­ier “open quan­tity” option. For in­stance, I may place a large bowl of clemen­tines or low­fat Greek yo­gurt on the ta­ble next to a plate of home­made ba­nana bread cut into small squares. Di­lut­ing the baked goodie with a pro­tein or fiber-filled option is a low-stress way to make dessert health­ier for the whole fam­ily.

Third tip: in­vest in a con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar duster and fill it up with or­ganic pow­dered su­gar. Even a tiny dust­ing of pow­dered su­gar fools our palates into think­ing some­thing is sweeter than it is, sim­ply be­cause it’s vis­i­ble. I can sprin­kle a bran muf­fin with the light­est coat­ing of pow­dered su­gar and my kids think they’ve scored a cup­cake.

Fi­nally, a tip just for the adults: Drink espresso with a chunk of dark choco­late or a small fin­ger of home­made cake (like this week’s Early Grey lemon tea­cakes) for dunk­ing — the deep roasted fla­vor of espresso cou­pled with just a lit­tle sweet makes a sur­pris­ingly sat­is­fy­ing, and so­phis­ti­cated, dessert.


Start to fin­ish: 40 min­utes

Serv­ings: 14


1/4 cup co­conut oil, soft, but not melted (pop in

freezer for a few min­utes if needed)

1 ta­ble­spoon Earl Grey tea leaves, pounded to a coarse pow­der (use a small plas­tic bag and mal­let or heavy spoon) 1 ta­ble­spoon lemon zest 1/4 cup light agave syrup (or 1/3 cup su­gar) 2 eggs 1 tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract 3 ta­ble­spoons lemon juice 1 cup all-pur­pose flour 3/4 tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der 1/4 tea­spoon bak­ing soda 1/4 tea­spoon salt Con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar for dec­o­ra­tion, op­tional


Pre­heat the oven to 325 F. Line bot­tom of an 8-inch square bak­ing pan with parch­ment pa­per and spray with non­stick spray.

In a medium bowl, whip co­conut oil, Early Grey leaves, lemon zest and agave syrup us­ing a hand mixer un­til well-blended and light. Add the eggs one at time and mix well with mixer in be­tween. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix well.

In a small bowl, sift the flour, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda and salt. Then pour in half the dry in­gre­di­ents into the wet in­gre­di­ents and mix very briefly. Add the sec­ond half of the flour and mix just un­til blended. Do not over­mix.

Scrape the bat­ter into the pre­pared pan and bake un­til cake springs back after press­ing lightly with your fin­ger, about 2530 min­utes. Let the cake cool for 10 min­utes in the pan, and then re­move to let cool com­pletely on a rack.

Cut into 14 fin­gers and sprin­kle with con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar (op­tional) and serve.

Nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion per serv­ing: 96 calo­ries; 40 calo­ries from fat; 5 g fat (4 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 31 mg choles­terol; 103 mg sodium; 12 g car­bo­hy­drate; 0 g fiber; 5 g su­gar; 2 g pro­tein.


This photo shows lemon and Earl Grey tea­cakes in Coron­ado This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d’Ara­bian.

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