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Low-fat treats for the holidays

Lighten up your menus with some of these sweet treats from Cooking Light magazine.
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Worrying about all of the fat and calories can really put a damper on anyone’s holiday spirits. Fear not, you can still enjoy your holiday festivities with some of the low-fat recipes offered by this month’s issue of Cooking Light magazine. On NBC’s “Today” show, senior editor and dietitian Ellen Carroll, shares some yummy treats from the magazine. Savor some of the recipes she discusses.


This cake will become a year-round favorite. You can use a Bundt pan instead of a 10-inch tube pan; just lower the oven temperature to 350.

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup stick margarine or butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

» teaspoon salt

1 » cups low-fat buttermilk

» cup dark rum

1 tablespoon grated orange rind

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Beat sugar and margarine at medium speed of a a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs and egg white, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 6 ingredients (flour through salt). Combine buttermilk, rum, orange rind, and vanilla. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture. Pour batter into a 10-inch tube pan coated with cooking spary. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with Ambrosia. Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 1 slice cake and » cup Ambrosia).

Calories 292 (26% from fat); Fat 8.5g (sat 2.2g, mono 3.4g, poly 2.3g); Protein 4.4g; Carb 48.4g; Fiber 2.5g; Chol 25mg; Iron 1.3mg; Sodium 259mg; Calc 79mg


3 oranges

2 ruby red or pink grapefruit

2 cups strawberry halves

2 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into wedges

» cup flaked sweetened coconut

» cup dark rum

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1. Peel and section oranges and grapefruit over a bowl; squeeze membranes to extract juice. Add Sections to bowl; discard membranes. Stir in strawberries and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill. Yield: 18 servings (serving size: » cup).

Calories 50 (11% from fat); Fat 0.6g(sat 0.4g, mono 0.1g, poly 0.1g); Protein 0.6g; Carb 8.9g; Fiber 1.9g; Chol )mg; Iron 0.2mg; Sodium 4mg; Calc 18mg



The cheesecake needs to chill eight hours, so plan on making this a day ahead. The Cranberry Glaze can also be made ahead and chilled.

Cooking spray

1/3 cup gingersnap crumbs (about 6 cookies, finely crushed)

1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese

1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup sugar

» cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1 (8-ounce) carton low-fat sour cream

Cranberry Glaze

1. Preheat oven to 300.

2. Coat bottom of a 9-inch springfoam pan with cooking spray; sprinkle with cookie crumbs.

3. Place cheeses in a food processor, process 2 minutes or until smooth, scraping sides of bowl once. Add sugar and next 6 ingredients (sugar through sour cream); pulse just until smooth.

4. Pour the cheese mixture into prepared springfoam pan, and bake at 300 for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off, and let cheesecake stand in closed oven for 1 hour. Remove cheesecake from oven; cover and chill at least 8 hours. Serve with Cranberry Glaze. Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 wedge and 2 tablespoons glaze).

Calories 226 (29% from fat); Fat 7.4g (sat 4.1g, mono 2.3g, poly 0.5g); Protein 9.8g; Carb 29.6g; Fiber 0.3g; Chol 61 mg; Iron 0.5mg; Sodium 254mg; Calc 74mg

Cranberry Glaze:

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 cups fresh cranberries

2/3 cup water

1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan; stir in cranberries and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Cool. Yield: 1 ½ cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons).



1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115)

4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup evaporated skim milk, divided

1/4 cup water

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar, divided

1/3 cup dark corn syrup

2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place 3 3/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until blended. Combine 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup water, and egg. With processor on, slowly add milk mixture and yeast mixture through food chute; process until dough forms a ball. Process for an additional minute. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.

2. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Combine 1/3 cup milk, 1 cup brown sugar, corn syrup, and margarine in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Divide pecans evenly between 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray. Top each with half of brown sugar mixture.

3. Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Roll into a 24 x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface; coat entire surface of dough with cooking spray. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over dough. Beginning with a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Cut roll into 24 (1-inch) slices, using string or dental floss. Arrange 12 slices, cut sides up, in each pan. Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray, and let rise in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours or until doubled in size.

4. Preheat oven to 375.

5. Bake rolls at 375 for 23 minutes. Run a knife around outside edges of pans. Place a plate upside down on top of pan; invert onto plate. Yield: 2 dozen (serving size: 1 bun).

Calories 188 (19% from fat); Fat 4g (sat 0.5g, mono 2.1g, poly 1g); Protein 3.7g; Carb 35.1g; Fiber 1 g; Chol 10 mg; Iron 1.5mg; Sodium 110mg; Calc 51 mg

Mixer variation: Combine yeast mixture, 3 cups flour, granulated sugar, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Add 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup water, and egg. Beat at medium speed of a mixer until blended. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Proceed to step 2.

Reprinted by permission of Cooking Light: The Magazine of Food and Fitness, December, 1998. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. For more information on Cooking Light, you can visit their Web site at —