In today’s health-conscious world, it can be a challenge to find tasty treats to enjoy and still be mindful of your figure. But by employing a few strategic substitutions and/or additions to your favorite desserts, you can indulge both your sweet tooth and your waistline. For example, by using reduced-fat milk products in place of whole milk, and egg whites instead of a whole egg, you can cut down your cholesterol intake considerably. Using fruits and fruit juice as sweeteners instead of sugar not only reduces calories, but also provides extra nutrients like vitamins and fiber.
Need some ideas to get started? Here are five recipes for scrumptious, guilt-free desserts guaranteed to satisfy both your conscience and your inner gourmand:
Almond Spice Cake
The prunes in this recipe add a sweet, moist richness, as well as vitamins and fiber.
1/2 cup + 1 dsp sugar
1/2 cup + 1 dsppureed prunes
3 tbsp margarine, softened
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cup + 1tbsp + 1dsp white all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 1tbsp fat free or skim milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with low-fat cooking spray .
2. With an electric mixer, beat together sugar with prune puree, margarine, and both the almond and vanilla extracts for 2 minutes. Beat in egg whites and egg for 1 minute.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, allspice, and salt. Add to the prune mixture in conjunction with the milk, fully combining the ingredients.
4. Spoon batter into the coated pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out and let cool on a wire rack.
For an added culinary flair, top this pound cake with fresh prunes and reduced-fat whipped topping. Serves 10.
Diet Cola Cake
A favorite in the South, this easy cake recipe uses diet cola to sweeten and expand the ingredients.
1 18-oz. package chocolate cake mix
1 can diet cola
Spray a 13″ x 9″ square cake pan with low-fat cooking spray. Mix the cola with the cake mix in a large bowl, about 30 strokes. Pour into pan and bake according to package directions.
A traditional holiday treat. Try to use Rome or Delicious apples for best results.
4 large apples, washed, seeded and with cores removed to 1/2″ of the bottom of the apples. The holes should be about an inch wide.
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tbsp chopped pecans
3 tbsp currants (or chopped raisins)
1 dsp + 1 tsp margarine
2/3 cup + 1 dsp boiling water
1. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, currants/raisins, and pecans together in a small bowl. Place apples in a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan. Fill each apple with the pecan/raisin mixture. Top with a dot of margarine (1/4 of the Tbps).
2. Pour boiling water in the baking pan and bake at 375º F for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Be sure not to overbake or the apples will become too soft.
3. Remove from oven and pour the pan juices over the apples a few times.
Serve with low fat vanilla ice cream or low fat whipped topping.
Makes 4 servings.
An elegant and refreshing way to end a meal.
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp + 1 dsp cold water
1 1/2 cup + 1tbsp + 1dsp blackberries, fresh or frozen and partially thawed
1 tsp orange juice
1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and water and stir until sugar is completely dissolved, about 5-10 minutes.
2. Add blackberries and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until blackberries are soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Pour mixture into shallow baking dish and allow to cool completely. Place cooled mixture in freezer and freeze until completely solid (about eight hours).
4. With a fork, break frozen mixture into large chunks and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.
5. Sorbet can be served immediately or frozen. If frozen, remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving to defrost until soft enough for serving.
Makes 8 servings.
Mini-Chocolate banana sundae
A healthy treat that kids are sure to love.
2 dsp + 2 tsp semisweet chocolate chips
4 dsp + 4 tsp cold water
1 banana, thinly sliced
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp + 1 dsp nonfat yogurt or low fat whipped topping.
In a small saucepan, bring 4 tablespoons of water to a boil and add the chocolate chips. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over the banana slices and top with yogurt or low fat whipped topping.
Holiday seasons can be an especially difficult time of year for those of us who are trying to eat more healthfully, but with a little bit of planning and a lot of enthusiasm, baking cakes with healthy cake toppings can be a fun, rewarding and a nutritious experience.