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Slice of Life

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Control portions with bite-size treats

For some reason, portion control goes out the window on weekends.

Four huge helpings of ribs and fries? No problem. Nine hunks of French bread slathered in butter? Why not? You can walk it off later. The food fest that lasts for three months of summer can really take a toll on the waistline and hips and thighs.

Nowhere does this manifest itself more than when it comes time to serve dessert.

Well, my fellow travelers on the path to weight loss, the following recipes all offer bite-sized portions of wonderful desserts so that if you serve them plated with cut up melon or berries, you’ve got a nice end to a meal that won’t have you loosening your belt or popping a few buttons. Just hide the leftovers or all bets are off if there will be any left to serve the next day.

Super Easy Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drain and save liquid

12 maraschino cherries, halved

1 package (18 1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 muffin tins (24 total muffins). In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and butter until blended. Spoon the sugar mixture into the 24 greased muffin cups. Place 3 pineapple pieces into the prepared cups. Put a cherry half cut side down in the center of the pineapple pieces. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil and the saved pineapple juice. Whisk to combine. Spoon the batter over pineapple pieces, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool no more than a minute then flip over onto cooling racks. Makes 24.

Chocolate Carmel Bites

1 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1 cup corn syrup

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar

Peanut Butter Frosting:

6 cups powder sugar

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line four mini muffin tins with mini cupcake liners. In a bowl, combine the melted margarine and sugar and mix to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Mix just until combined. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake 16 to18 minutes, until set. Remove from oven, and cool. Using a teaspoon or a small melon baller, make a well in the center of each brownie.

For filling: Combine all the filling ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly then remove from the heat. Working quickly, fill the well in each cupcake. If the filling hardens, just reheat it slightly.

For the frosting: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. If it is too thick, add additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. You can pipe the frosting on or swirl it with a knife. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. Makes 45 to 48.

No Bake Raspberry Tarts

15 mini phyllo shells

3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 cookie sheets)

1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons honey

4 (ounces) cream cheese or pareve substitute, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

15 fresh raspberries

In a bowl, combine the crumbs, butter and sugar. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of the crumb mixture into the bottom of each phyllo shell.

In another bowl, combine the honey, cream cheese and vanilla; mix to combine. Spoon 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture into each phyllo shell. Top each tart with 1 raspberry and with the remaining crumbs. Makes 15. This recipe can be doubled.

Choco-Nut Banana Tart

24 cooked mini tart shells (store bought or your own pie recipe)

1 egg

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg and brown sugar and mix to combine. Add the mashed bananas, chocolate and pecans. Spoon the banana filling into shells. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool 12 to 15 minutes before removing the tart from the cups. Makes 24.

– Modified from – Modified from Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.