When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I thought that giving up desserts would be the hardest adjustment. As it turns out, it was BREAD.
I love me some bread – sourdough bread, focaccia bread, hamburger buns, rolls at Sunday dinners, biscuits, Macaroni Grill bread, that delicious wheat bread at Cheesecake Factory!
I could go on, but it’s too depressing. And while wrapping a burger in lettuce leaves may be healthy, it’s also messy and drippy. Here is an alternative that has been around since Dr. Atkins published a basic recipe for it in the 1970s. It is made with eggs and cream cheese (or cottage cheese). It’s easy to make, but you have to follow some important steps so that it has the taste and texture you want. This recipe makes 6-8 buns, depending on how large you want them. Make these at least a day in advance, because they become more chewy and bready as they sit. Here we go:
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 tablespoons cold cream cheese
- Seasonings – if you are making hamburger or sandwich buns, you may want to add to the egg yolks a teaspoon of chopped rosemary or poultry seasoning or a pinch of salt or dry mustard. For a slightly sweeter bun, add a small packet of stevia to the egg yolks.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I do this whenever I bake or roast anything. It makes clean-up so much easier. Give the baking sheet a little spramp of nonstick spray before you place the parchment paper. That keeps it in place. Then spray the top of the paper to keep the buns from sticking.
- With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. This will take a few minutes. You want stiff peaks, not foamy.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, cream cheese, and any seasonings together till there are no cream cheese lumps.
- Now fold the egg yolk mixture into the whites gently. You want to combine but not deflate. It’s okay if there are a few streaks remaining.
- With an ice cream scoop, spoon the mixture onto the baking sheet. You can do this two ways: spoon the entire mixture onto one large sheet and cut it into squares when it’s done, or scoop individual buns. Smooth the tops and flatten to your desired thickness.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes. These buns bake slowly because they are essentially meringues. The tops should be light golden brown when they are done.
- Cool them on the parchment paper for 5-10 minutes, then on a wire rack till completely cool. If you made a single sheet, you can cut into squares if you want. Now place them in a plastic bag and store them at room temperature (or freeze them) overnight. This is an important step because the texture will change from crumbly to moister and will hold up better.
These babies can be toasted and buttered if you want toast with your breakfast. They make a great burger or sandwich rolls. Okay, they’re not Macaroni Grill or Cheesecake Factory, but they will do the job. Enjoy!