Oh, sure. We could eat one chocolate and not ruin our diets. After all, we have to learn to eat in moderation. But some of us would have trouble with the knowledge that there were chocolates in the house.
Fill them with some sort of mushy unidentifiable middle, and I can pass on them altogether, no problem. But put caramel inside them, and I'll search for them in the attic in the middle of the night. Did I say I? I'm sure I meant some hypothetical person. Not me. Nooo, the dogs never wake me in the middle of the night to chase some inconsiderate skunk, leaving me half awake in the kitchen looking for a midnight snack.
So I started thinking about low calorie Valentine treats. In The Diva Paints the Town, Sophie bakes a Black Forest Cherry Cake for Wolf for Valentine's Day. The calorie count in the whipping cream alone in that cake would blow anyone's diet.
At the moment, I'm working on Domestic Diva Mystery number 7, tentatively titled The Diva Frosts a Cupcake. You can imagine what it's about. But the great thing about cupcakes is portion control. So I started playing with ideas and here's what I came up with.
Cocoa powder has all the flavor but considerably fewer calories than chocolate chips or blocks of chocolate. A touch of coffee always intensifies chocolate flavor for virtually no calories. Add beaten egg whites for volume and suddenly low calorie cupcakes seem quite possible.
Now, these aren't going to replace your favorite cake. But they're a tasty treat for (drum roll here, please) 136 calories a cupcake! Not too shabby! They remind me a lot of brownies in flavor and texture. In fact, they might be a nice treat in a lunchbox for a kid who needs to cut back on calories.
I might just stick some of these in the freezer. You know, for the next time a skunk comes by.
Of course, if you're one of those people who has to have frosting, well, you're on your own there. To dress these up, I cut a heart out of aluminum foil, placed the cut-out over the cupcakes, and dusted with powdered sugar. It does add calories, but if you're making them as a treat for a sweetie who is watching his or her weight, those few extra calories might be worth it. It's your call. I popped some nice healthy raspberries on top of some, too.
Low Calorie Chocolate Cupcakes
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Pensey's)
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons olive (or canola) oil
1/4 cup fat free (0%) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake wrappers in baking pan.
Combine the cocoa powder, coffee, 1/2 cup sugar, and flour in a bowl. Stir with a fork to combine.
Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites. When they grow in volume, add the sugar and beat until they can hold a peak. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, and add the oil. Alternating between the flour mixture and the milk, add them in small amounts, beating well, then add the vanilla and beat one last time.
Fold about 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate (to lighten the weight). Fold in the remaining egg whites.
Divide equally among 12 cupcake wrappers.
Bake 18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. They will shrink a bit as they cool.
Cool on a rack. Makes 12 cupcakes.