Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lovin' the Yogurt


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

Topping:
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.

26 comments:

Deborah said...

I have made baked goods with yogurt before, but usually only if it calls for it. I'm going to have to change that! Beautiful blueberry kuchen!

Melinda said...

They sound perfect for tea time too!
I hope my newly planted blueberry bush gives me loads of blueberries so I can make this. Of course, I can buy some but I have high hopes for loads of my own home grown berries to use next year.
I made a muffin recipe a few years back with peach yogurt. They were delicious and very moist. I am sure the secret yogurt ingredient made all the difference.

VeggieGirl said...

Gorgeous kuchen!!

Natalie... said...

Mm wow these sound good, I'm still a believer of fat is the source of all evil..well in meals anyway..cakes and desserts are an exception! These sound delicious though :).

Snooky doodle said...

Never thaught that low fat goodies can look so appetizing. Thanks for the recipe. Is there any substitute for blueberries since they re not available here ?

Laura said...

That looks wonderful. I love blueberry coffeecakes....

Grace said...

excellent blueberry and yogurt usage! other than over-glazed, over-cinnamoned cinnamon rolls, blueberry coffee cake is my favorite breakfast treat. and hey--yours is even pretty healthy, so it's a win-win. :)

Kate / Kajal said...

hey these look pretty healthy, the yogurt , wheatgerm, blueberries which are very good for you eyes ... hmm cant see how i can resist these :)

Aimée said...

Lynn! Thanks for a coffee cake recipe that is guilt-free. I normally don't "watch what I eat" but I love coffee cake for breakfast and the recipe I usually make has a shocking (even for me) amount of sugar and fat in it. It's hard to reach for a third slice when you know what it may be doing to you.
I think I'll print this up for the weekend. You're the best!

CookiePie said...

WOW - those look delicious!!! Blueberry + crumb topping = fantastic. I can't believe it's low fat! I have to try it.

Heather said...

ooh these look beautiful! i love using yogurt in cooking, i agree with you, it adds a lot of really nice moisture.

LyB said...

I love using yogurt in baked goods. I usually use yogurt when a recipe calls for milk, it makes everything better! And we just got loads of fresh, local blueberries at the market, this sounds like a great way to use some of them!

Baking Soda said...

Woot! Great recipe, since I discovered a real nice yoghurt cake recipe -and it actually performed- I'm hooked! My thighs say thank you!

Debbie said...

I have used yogurt in recipes and your blueberry kuchen looks delicious.....

Nora B. said...

I'm with you making substitutions. I love cooking with yogurt. I also use apple sauce and pureed prunes as butter replacements.

This kuchen sounds really healthy. I have a feeling that I will be making this today, and I am not just saying that to be nice :-) I don't have toasted wheat germ, but i do have some sort of bran flakes I think in my freezer. And I even have frozen blueberries, so I am sorted!

Thanks for this recipe. My hips thank you :-)

Jacque said...

Oooh, good post... very informative. And the coffee cake looks delish! I'm thinking other fruits would go nicely with it too.

Peabody said...

I got that free yogurt as well. Good stuff, I have yet to post what I made with mine yet though.

Amy said...

This looks really delicious! A perfect cake for blueberry season.

Anonymous said...

any suggestions on which other fruits i can use? since we dont have blueberries in our part of the world

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I love baking with yogurt - and this coffee cake has my name written all over it!

Kevin said...

Those look so good! I like using yogurt in baking.

Adam said...

Yes, I'm late to the party... but I just want to say this cake looks awesome. I love how you incorporate healthier ingredients, and know a thing about fat or two.

I think our blogs could learn to be best buds with their interests :)

Katrina said...

I use yogurt in my favorite muffins all the time, it's a great fat-cutter!

kickpleat said...

this looks awesome! i always sub in yogurt and it always works out really well. i'm bookmarking this!

patio said...

I made the coffee cake this morning to send with my husband and his work crew. It didn't make it out the door without two healthy pieces cut out. Even without the wheat germ (which I didn't have), it was delicious.

Dee Light said...

This looks so yummy!! I will have to try the yogurt sustitution thing. Thanks for the tip. I am really fond of butter, but it wouldn't hurt to cut back.