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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dessert, Dessert, Dessert

If you are going to have dessert, make it count.

I really try hard not to eat something just because it's there. Most store-bought cookies, cakes and candy are loaded with unhealthy ingredients. And almost as important... most of the time they don't even taste very good! My husband and I always ask each other "Is it worth it?" and if it's not... we pass. The more you do this, the easier it becomes!

An easy way to make dessert healthier is to focus on fruits. Try berries with whipped cream, or frozen bananas. The other night for dessert, we had whole wheat graham crackers (sweetened with honey) spread peanut butter on top, sliced bananas over it and topped it all off with chocolate chips.

Cookies

For cookies, my main changes are to use wheat flour and reduce the sugar. I generally start by reducing the sugar by half. Sometimes that's all you can do, but other times, you can reduce a little bit more. This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, with the sugars already reduced by half. You can use full sized chocolate chips, but using mini chocolate chips helps you use less without feeling deprived-- you still get lots of chips in every cookie. Blend the oats in the blender. I like to make these cookies in a pan for bar cookies, so they are nice and thick.

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups wheat flour
2 1/2 cups powdered oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
Mini chocolate chips
Walnuts or pecans

Directions
Cream butter and sugar. Add brown sugar, then eggs, then vanilla, then baking powder and baking soda. Once all is mixed together add wheat flour and powdered oats (blend oats in blender first). Then add chocolate chips. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes, or 21 minutes for a 9x 13 pan.

Dairy Desserts

Dairy based desserts, like ice cream and pudding, blend well with maple syrup or agave nectar. These are less refined than sugar, and work well as a substitute. The other ingredients are good for you with lots of nutrition, like whole milk and eggs. These recipes come from The Joy of Cooking, with the only change in the amount and type of sweetener. Be sure to plan ahead, because these need time to chill.

Vanilla Pudding

Mix thoroughly in a heavy saucepan:
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt

Gradually stir in, making a smooth, runny paste:
1/3 cup whole milk or half and half
Whisk in:
1 2/3 cups whole milk or half and half
Stirring constantly, heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to low; stirring briskly, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat, then stir in:
2 tsp. vanilla
Pour into bowl or individual serving cups. Place plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent a film from forming.
Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Chocolate Pudding

Mix together thoroughly in a heavy saucepan:
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1/8 tsp. salt
Gradually stir in, making a smooth, runny paste:
1/3 cup warm water
Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from heat. For an espeically thick and chocolaty pudding, add and stir briskly until melted:
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
Stir in:
1 3/4 cup half and half
Place in a bowl:
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
Very gradually add, making a smooth paste:
1/4 cup half and half
Throughly stir the cornstarch paste into the chocolate mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low; stirring briskly, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, then stir in:
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pour into bowl or individual serving cups. Place plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent a film from forming.
Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

No Sugar Dessert

I have been trying to cut out sugar altogether for the last couple of weeks (I'll tell you more about how that's going in a future post). My new favorite treat is a chocolate fudge recipe I found here. SO. GOOD. And no sugar= no guilt! I follow the directions exactly, then pour it into petit fours cups (you could use muffin cups also, but I like the bite size pieces), and add a nut (almond or walnut) on top.

This post is part of Pennywise Platter.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the good suggestions for healthier eating.

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  2. Those cookies look fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  3. Oh man, dh made that fudge tonight and it is rich! He used half butter, half coconut oil. I also like an almond or two in my mouthful.

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  4. Is rich ever bad in any way?

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