Happy Valentine’s Day from Jersey Bites! Today is the day to indulge in all things sweet and sumptuous. It’s also the perfect day to congratulateMorristown baker Susan B. Walter, winner of Today’s “Too Good To Be Healthy” cooking contest, which aired last week. Walter, author of Subee’s Kitchen blog, has graciously shared her winning recipe with us and tells us a little about her experience as a food blogger seeking to contribute a healthy slant to home cooking, even if she has to be a little sneaky about it.
Walter’s winning Black Bottom Cupcakes feature semisweet chocolate, heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder, white and brown sugar, fat-free Greek yogurt, and…pureed prunes? “No, I didn’t tell my kids about the unique ingredients in there,” she admits. “They didn’t detect anything. I’ve also made them for PTO luncheons and other functions and have gotten a great response. You wouldn’t know!”
When it comes to baking, Walter indulges in a lot of trial and error. The black bottom cupcake recipe, for instance, went through at least four versions. She explains that she tried applesauce instead of oil but didn’t love that version. “I tried Greek yogurt but that alone didn’t seem quite right,” she says. “Pureeing prunes in with the yogurt deepened the chocolate flavor. I finally came up with adding the egg whites in to get the texture right.”
Walter started Subee’s Kitchen blog in 2011, after considering the idea for a long time. “I like writing, I like cooking,” she says. “I wanted to chronicle our family recipes, to create a record of what I cook for my kids—the things I’ve created that they love. It’s really our family collection and I like being able to share that with people.” Even though she’s a food blogger, Walter is careful about social media overload. She doesn’t post every single recipe she makes or go wild uploading photos of fabulous food on her plate at every meal. “The posts I do are winners, family favorites,” she explains. “I like to teach and share ideas for how to cook healthier but still have it taste good.”
Appearing on Today—following car service and an overnight hotel stay in the city, courtesy of NBC—was an exciting whirlwind and winning was a thrill. Read Walter’s detailed recap of the event here: Healthy Cupcakes Take TODAY Show’s Top Prize! And keep an eye out for future contest wins by this honorary Jersey Girl, a native of Washington state who truly fell in love with food while living in Paris for two years. “I think I have contest fever now,” says Walter. “My experience shows you can win these things if you‘ve got the right recipe.”
Try a not-so-guilty pleasure this snowy Valentine’s Day weekend with Sue’s award-winning “Too Healthy To Be Good” Black Bottom Cupcakes:
Makes 18 cupcakes
- 8 oz. (1 package) Neufchatel/reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated (white) sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (1 oz.) mini chocolate chips (or chopped semisweet chocolate)
- 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
- 12 prunes
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups flour
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 egg whites
Heat oven to 350°F. Arrange muffin cups/liners in 2 muffin tins.
- In a small bowl or large Pyrex measuring cup, mix together the reduced fat cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth.
- Stir in mini chocolate chips.
- In a food processor, pulse together yogurt and prunes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Add yogurt/prune mixture, water and vanilla to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
- In another small bowl, beat the 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Stir a little of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate batter to lighten. Then, using a spatula, fold in the rest of the egg whites.
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups. (Cupcakes will look about half full.)
- Spoon about a tablespoon of the filling into the center of each cupcake.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Store at room temperature in a covered container. A quick 8-10 seconds in the microwave will restore the just-out-of-the-oven meltiness.
If you prefer to reserve your healthy habits for bikini-weather months, here’s another chocolate treat from Subee’s Kitchen that’s simple and sinful: Molten Chocolate Love. Though Sue is working on creating a gluten-free, low-fat chocolate soufflé recipe, she admits these “dangerous” little cakes are her favorite non-healthy indulgence—especially when they’re paired with vanilla ice cream. Vive le chocolat!
Deanna Quinones is the Jersey Bites Regional Editor for Morris County. A freelance writer, blogger, and unrepentant chocolate addict, Deanna spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morristown, where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids. An experienced book marketer, award-winning greeting card writer, and entertainment writing dabbler, Deanna can be reached at email@example.com. (photo credit Pete Genovese/The Star-Ledger)