I know this doesn’t happen with everyone, but my tolerance for sweets has declined with age. For example (and this is a true story), I drank chocolate milk every morning for probably 75% of my life. For most of those years, it was Nestle Quik. Once I thought it was tasting too sweet, I started making my batches with cocoa powder and experimenting with things like black walnut bitters. And then, one day, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I still like the occasional hot chocolate but it’s just that… occasional.
On top of that, I have a close family member with type 1 diabetes, so I try not to bake sweets for my family anymore. (Instead, I’ll hoist my baking adventures onto my work colleagues.)
So with a title like “Half the Sugar, All the Love”, the latest cookbook by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel really got my attention.
The book is sectioned into:
- Lunches and salads
- Basics and Condiments
I like that the book makes a distinction between naturally occurring sugar and added sugar. There are nutritional guidelines, and explanation about the different kinds of added sugar.
Personally, I focused more on the recipes for breakfasts, snacks, and desserts. I feel like they are the area where added sugar is the biggest culprit. The lunches/salads, and dinner chapters almost felt like “filler” chapters. Don’t get me wrong, all the recipes sound good. Some of the recipes you’ll find in the lunches/salads, and dinner chapters are:
- Salmon yaki onigiri
- Alphabet soup
- Fall harvest mason jar salad with creamy poppy seed dressing
- Romaine and cherry tomato salad with miso dressing
- Vietnamese chicken noodle soup
- Beef and broccoli teriyaki bowl
- Pineapple teriyaki salmon burgers with sriracha mayo
If you ate these dishes out, there probably would be added sugar. But since these are all savory dishes, if you cook them at home, they don’t have much added sugar. I think the only exception would be the teriyaki sauce.
I really wanted to make something from the dessert chapter. The chocolate and peanut butter snack cake speaks to me personally, but I’ve been doing more baking more desserts than usual, so I ended up picking Blueberry Oat Muffins as my introductory recipe.
The muffin recipe does not use any granulated sugar. It gets its sweetness from homemade date syrup. I also liked the amount of whole grain being used, which is a blend of oat flour, whole wheat flour, and flaxseed. It’s actually quite a bit of ground flaxseed – a whole ½ cup! This is not something I see a lot of in muffin recipes, so I was quite curious.
I made a few minor changes that I don’t think had much of an impact on overall flavor. I used raspberries instead of blueberries (because I had them and I’m trying to clean out my food stores right now), spelt flour instead of wheat flour (because commercial wheat flour generally tastes like cardboard), and I baked this in a dish instead of making individual muffins (I’m just lazy).
It makes a lot of batter! I can usually swap a 12 muffin recipe with my favorite baking dish and estimate the oven time without a problem. This time I had to cook for a lot longer than I was anticipating. So, I think there’s a really good chance you’ll get more than 12 muffins out of this recipe. That’s not a bad or a good thing. It’s just a comment.
The batter itself came together pretty easily. Expect to take a little longer to put this together than other muffin recipes because you’re making your own date syrup and your own oat flour. As for final results, I really liked this but it does taste very healthy. The sweetness from the dates is really mild. I wouldn’t be surprised if other people don’t like this muffin much. I ate mine with some Fage Greek yogurt, and it made for a great breakfast.
Other recipes that I am interested to make are:
- Cherry-oatmeal breakfast cookies (I love breakfast cookies)
- Fruit and nut granola
- Overnight French toast strata with raspberry sauce
- Blueberry scones
- Maple brown butter corn bread
- Blondies with white chocolate and almonds
- Double chocolate brownies
- Pecan pie bars
- Chocolate and peanut butter snack cake
- Double chocolate layer cake with whipped chocolate frosting
- Hot chocolate blocks
The book isn’t being released until Christmas Eve, so it’ll be difficult to gift it for the holidays but I think this is a great book for someone is health conscious or someone who is just looking for a good all-around family cookbook. I look forwarding to baking from this book and feeling like it’s ok to share with my diabetic family member.
Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Workman Publishing for this review. I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.