Showing posts with label low fat desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label low fat desserts. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins: An easy, low-fat Coffeehouse recipe from Cleo Coyle

A Brew to A Kill:
A Coffeehouse Mystery
Cover art for the paperback
edition, releasing Aug. 2013
My readers might recall these light, chocolaty muffins from my recent Coffeehouse Mystery A Brew to a Kill

As the story opens, Greenwich Village coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi not only attempts to expand her business with a coffee and muffin truck, she also hires a sweet-natured dietitian to help lighten some of the higher calorie items on her menu. 

When Lilly is brutally struck by a hit-and-run driver, Clare’s outrage propels her into tracking down the culprit; and once again, Clare is sleuthing her way into and out of trouble. 

For today's recipe, I attempted to channel Lilly and duplicate one of her menu makeovers. May you eat it with joy--and in good health! 

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's 
Chocolate Ricotta Muffins 
With a mocha variation 

To download this recipe in a free 
PDF document that you can print, 
save, or share, click here.

A few quick notes...  

The star of today's recipe is, of course, the ricotta cheese, which brings creamy moistness to these muffins along with protein and nutrition. 
The fat component comes not from butter but canola oil. An even healthier option for the fat is one I sometimes choose--extra virgin, cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil. (If you've never used coconut oil before, a helpful post on particulars and brands can be found here.) 

Natural cocoa powder adds flavor but also structure to the muffins, which allowed me to reduce the amount of refined white flour in the recipe. To make these muffins even healthier, you can swap in “white whole wheat” flour instead of all-purpose, which brings more dietary fiber to your snack table. Finally, gluten-free flour is always an option for those who need it. 

And now for the recipe...

Makes 6 large muffins or 8 small


1 large egg
½ cup ricotta (whole or part-skim)
½ cup light buttermilk (shake before measuring)
3 Tablespoons oil (canola, vegetable, or extra virgin coconut)
¼ cup granulated white sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 pinches of table salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour 

Variation: For Mocha Muffins, add 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso where indicated in Step 1. Instant espresso is freeze-dried espresso and not ground espresso roast beans. I use this brand (Medaglia D’oro), but you can certainly use any you like. 

Chocoholics: Feel free to fold in semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips before baking (1/3 to 1/2 cup, according to your own taste). You can even “go nuts” and add finely chopped hazelnuts or walnuts. 

Step 1 – Make muffin batter with one-bowl mixing method: Using a hand whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg until slightly frothy. Measure in the ricotta, light buttermilk, oil, white and light brown sugars, cocoa, vanilla extract, salt, baking powder, and baking soda (if making mocha muffin, add your 1-1/2 teaspoons of instant espresso now). Whisk well until fully blended. Measure in the flour. Mix only enough to make a smooth batter. Do not over-mix at this stage or you’ll develop the gluten in the flour and your muffins will be tough instead of tender. 

Step 2 – Spray the papers: Line muffin cups with paper holders and spray the papers with non-stick spray. This is a low-fat recipe, so if you do not spray the papers, the muffins will stick.

Step 3 – Bake: This recipe makes about 1-3/4 cups of muffin batter. You can make six large muffins or eight small ones. Divide the batter among your muffin cups. Bake in a well-preheated oven at 375° F. for about 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Do not over-bake. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into a test muffin comes out clean (with no batter clinging to it). 

TIP: Muffins will be fragile when they first come out of the hot oven. Allow them to cool in the pan for about ten minutes and transfer to a rack. If muffin edges are sticking to the paper, simply allow them to cool a bit more.

Optional frosting: 
If you like, finish cooled muffins with a dollop of my Chocolate “Buttercream” Frosting (without butter or cream). What is the mystery ingredient in this "healthified" chocolate frosting? (Followers of this blog already know. :))

Get my healthier chocolate frosting recipe by clicking the link above or clicking here


F   o  o  d  i  e 

P h o t o s

To see more recipes from 
A Brew to a Kill, click here 
for the illustrated guide, and...

☕  ☕  ☕  ☕  ☕

Eat with joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 
To learn more, click here. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Comment to Win a Pocket Pie Mold for Ellery Adams' Pies and Prejudice Release!

Comment for a chance
to win this week!

See details below...

Release day is always special for an author, and that's why we're celebrating. This is the official publication date for PIES AND PREJUDICE, the first installment in a charming new mystery series by our fellow crime-writing cook Ellery Adams!


Pies and Prejudice:
Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery

When the going gets tough, Ella Mae LaFaye bakes pies. After catching her husband cheating in New York, she heads back home to Havenwood, Georgia, where she can drown her sorrows in fresh fruit filling and flakey crust. But her pies aren't just delicious. They appear to have magical effects on the people who eat them.

Ella Mae soon makes her own wish come true by opening the Charmed Pie Shoppe. But with her old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor making trouble, and her old crush Hugh Dylan making nice, she has more than pie on her plate. Then Loralyn's fiancé is found dead--killed with Ella Mae's rolling pin--and it will take all her sweet magic to clear her name. 

Available at your local bookstore or  -  -  Barnes & Noble

Help us congratulate Ellery
on her new release day!

Tell us YOUR favorite pie in the comments below, and you'll be entered automatically to WIN one of Ellery's favorite fun mini pie molds, a heart-shaped pocket pie maker! 

The contest is now over
and our randomly drawn winner is...

"The Cat Bastet"
aka Cathy AJ

Congratulations, Cathy!
Drop me an e-mail with your address,
and I'll send the pie mold out to you.
My e-mail address is

In the meantime, we hope you'll enjoy one
of Ellery's wonderful pie recipes, re-posted below. And, of course, we hope you'll go out this week and purchase Pies and Prejudice for your keeper shelf.

Ellery Adams' Low Fat
Apple Berry Tart


3 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I used Honeycrisp, but it’s also fun to mix up the apples and use one Golden Delicious and 2 Granny Smith, for example)
1 pint of fresh raspberries, rinsed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon lemon juice
8 sheets phyllo dough (14-inch by 9-inch sheets)
butter-flavored cooking spray
cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss apples slices and raspberries in a medium bowl with sugar and lemon juice. Meanwhile, remove eight sheets of phyllo dough from the pack. 

Lay the phyllo sheets on a clean work surface. Removing one sheet at a time and covering the remainder with plastic wrap or a damp paper towel, spray each sheet with butter-flavored cooking spray (I used Crisco spray), then lay sheet in a 9-inch pie dish, with the extra dough hanging over the edge. Repeat with remaining sheets, forming a circular pattern.

Add in the mixture of apple and raspberries, then bring up the sides of the dough and fold in, leaving a gap in the center. Spray with butter-flavored spray. Sprinkle cinnamon over the whole tart. Bake for 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Cheers, Ellery!
Enjoy your release week!

Thanks to everyone who left comments. 
Watch this blog for more fun giveaways soon!