Friday, June 05, 2009

Strawberry Goodness!

As strawberries are in season, I have a hard time passing up the large containers that are usually for sale at a good price.  Then I get home and am left with the task of just what to do with all of them in a short time!  Quite a few get tossed in the freezer for later use.  We are loving smoothies right now!

But this is what I made with some of them.  Yesterday I made some QUICK, homemade, low fat/low calorie good-enough-for-me strawberry frozen yogurt.   (It IS just a little icy after freezing overnight, but I like it!)

Quick, Easy, Homemade, Light Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

1  1/3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/4 cup agave nectar

2 ounces whipped topping (Cool Whip)--you could use more, this is all I had

2 cups fat free vanilla yogurt (I used Dannon light & fit)

Put strawberries and agave (or sugar) in gallon-size zip top freezer bag.  Pressing the extra air out, zip the bag closed.  Mash the strawberries and agave together in the bag.  (Fun for kids!)  Add the whipped topping, zip bag again and squeeze again to mix.  Add yogurt to the bag and mix until well blended.  Place in freezer to harden (2 to 4 hours).  After two hours, remove from freezer and squeeze mixture to make a creamier texture.  Serve after 2-4 hours for soft serve, or let sit on counter 15 minutes to soften slightly.

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I got this idea from Recipezaar here.  This served nicely along size my next strawberry "creation" that I got from Joy the Baker blog.  It's strawberry coffee cake (for the full fat version, see the link to her blog).  It looks so good, but me being me, I had to cut some of the fat and calories out and make this just a little healthier (for me!).  So here is my version.

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Strawberry Coffee Cake, by Katrina, adapted from Joy the Baker who adapted from Panache at Rose Hill  (My changes will be in red.)    

1 heaping cup sliced strawberries  (I used at least 1 1/2 cups)  I actually wish the strawberry layer was thicker, but it looks better over on Joy's blog so I'm not sure why)

1/3 cup sugar  (I used 1/4 cup agave nectar)

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons water

1/2 cup butter, softened  (1/4 cup salted butter--it's what I had) and 1/4 cup fat free vanilla yogurt

1 cup sugar  (I used organic evaporated cane juice sugar)

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour  (I used whole wheat pastry flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt  (Since I used salted butter, I just added a pinch of salt)

8 ounces sour cream  (I used light sour cream)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

a few drops of almond extract (optional)  (I would have liked more, but only put a few drops and can't taste it)

Topping:

3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes  (I used salted butter)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour  (I used whole wheat pastry flour)

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar  (I used organic evaporated cane juice sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

To make the topping:

Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.  Set aside. 

To make the strawberry mixture:

Combine strawberries, the 1/4 cup of agave, water and cornstarch in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes (this only took a minute or two to thicken for me), stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and strawberries are soft and somewhat broken down.  Set aside to cool. 

Grease and flour a 10×10-inch baking dish, knocking out excess flour, and set aside. 

To make the coffee cake:

Cream butter and sugar (and yogurt) until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract, and almond extract if you’re using it. 

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter in 3 parts alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat just until combined. 

Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan.  Spread the cooled strawberry mixture over the batter.  Spoon the remaining batter onto the strawberries and spread evenly.  Top with streusel topping and bake in the upper third of the oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes (I only baked this for 40 minutes and think it was a little overdone, start checking after 30 minutes!), until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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Kevin thought it tasted a little funny, but I like it.  I may just be excited to be eating "healthier" cake.

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AND--these aren't made with any extras for health and don't even have REAL strawberries, but need to share them with you. 

Have you seen these new M&M's? 

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Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's.  Hmmm?  I saw these somewhere a few weeks ago and grabbed a little bag of them.  I tasted a few.  They are definitely candy, but not bad.  They really do taste like a candy version of pb&j.  After deciding to make cookies with them, I went in search of where I got them to get more.  I cannot find the little suckers anywhere.  It's kind of bugging me.  Were they at Walmart?  I go there a lot, but I cannot find them there.  The couple local grocery stores I shop at also don't have them.  They have disappeared.  I actually saw a commercial for them, too.  I'm sure they'll show up again sometime, somewhere.  In the meantime, I took the 2 ounces of them that I had and I combined them with some Strawberry Milkshake Oreos, crumbled up a bit and some peanut butter chips and I made one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipes (the New York Times recipe!).  These were different and fun and very sweet from all the extra cookies and candy, but I thought they were pretty good.  I just wish I'd have had more of those illusive M&M's!  The kids ate them, so they must have been okay.  Kevin wouldn't even try them!  He doesn't like strawberries very much, especially strawberry candy flavored things.  Just the thought of those Strawberry Milkshake Oreos makes him shutter.  In hindsight (well, I actually thought about this before deciding on regular dough), but I think these would be great with peanut butter cookie dough as well.

***Update:  I have, since writing this, found the big (14 oz.?) bags of these M&M's at Walmart.  I swear they weren't there for a while.  Others are saying they've seen them at Target and Walgreens, too.  They definitely taste like candy if anyone is hoping they taste like a pb&j sammie or something.  They aren't bad in their own right. ;)

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I made the full recipe  of the New York Times cookie dough, but only did the strawberry/peanut butter thing to half the dough, so Kevin could have a few good ol' chocolate chip cookies.  And can I just say again how much I love this recipe and these chocolate chip cookies!  I mean, just look at them---

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Sigh, cookies! ; )

18 comments:

Mermaid Sweets said...

Wow, what a great post, soo creative, and I love that zebra print plate of yours. All the food looks delish!

rita said...

I love the healthier changes you made on the coffee cake but hey Katrina, who need healthy when we can have those fun wonderful cookies! LOVE them!!! How cool are those new m&ms?

Lisa Ernst said...

You are so creative! Of course, I love the classic version; the NYT recipe is probably my all time favorite.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

This is not fair. You're tempting me with that amazing picture of the NYTimes recipe, one I've wanted to make forever, but cant because of the 'non-availability' of cake flour and bread flour :( :(
Your cookies look great, I love how you're always looking for stuff to jazz them up.

The Food Librarian said...

Wow! So many delights!!! I love all of them. I haven't seen the M&M! Wow!

Sara said...

Everything looks great, and those cookies sound so fun! I love strawberries, I even have them growing in my yard.

Pamela said...

You're so right...SIGH...COOKIES!! What's not to love, right? I like the strawberry coffeecake. Looks wonderful and the berries are on sale here, too.

Barbara Bakes said...

I want to try and start cooking with agave nectar. Have you had problems substituting it? The frozen yogurt looks especially yummy!

I saw the new M&M's at Walgreens recently.

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

I'm with you on the healthier changes all the way. I think it grows on you & the kids after a while. Love the way you made the changes; i do the same often! Great idea & lovely cake.

noble pig said...

Nice all around, you took your strawberry purchase seriously!

andrewsrock said...

Yummy yummy!! I love strawberries. I probably love them tooo much! but once I start eating them, I cant stop!! your boys are getting so big! I'm glad to see Sammy still has his curls!!

lola said...

i love frozen yogurt, but i thought i couldn't make it without an ice cream maker. thanks for the recipe. and everything in this post looks so delicious!

Tracey said...

I love it all, especially that strawberry coffee cake! I saw those M&M's at Target a few weeks ago but not sure if they still have them. I was intrigued by them but not enough to buy them so I'm glad you provided a report :)

Risa said...

Wow, I love all the strawberry goodness. I have never seen a recipe for frozen yogurt like yours and it seem super easy. As for the M&M's I think I saw some at Target if that helps you. I did not try them and was a little put off. I guess I did not realize it is suppose to simulate PB&J.

PheMom said...

WOW! That all looks great!

Anna said...

I saw those crazy M&Ms at a Walgreens in Los Angeles. I was to chicken to try them. You really are a daring baker ;)

bigsis said...

Those cookies look fabulous! Why have I not made this recipe yet?? And btw, I can't remember if I already told you that we added you to our blogroll. Keep up the good work!

James said...

Mmm cookies.. looks yummy and strawberry also. I love cookie very much.