Christmas is nearly approaching, we are already starting to eat chocolate, cookies… The festive season is usually associated with gaining weight, but this year it won’t be the same! The food that will destroy your diet the most is dessert, we have gathered some healthy dessert recipes that will indulge your craving for a Christmas sweet. You can tell us thank you;)
We have to start with a chocolate recipe, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without chocolate. Eating chocolate can be good for your health, it improves your cardiovascular health. This is because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa , contains flavonoids. However the high fat and caloric content of chocolate can counteract these benefits by causing weight gain if regularly eaten in large amounts. Also it’s better to avoid any of milk chocolate or white chocolate (high in sugar and fat).
Fruity Chocolate bar
- 8 ounces good quality, dark chocolate (70-80%), very finely chopped
- 1 cup assorted Giving Tree fruits, large pieces roughly chopped
Gently melt chocolate on the lowest possible heat setting. Stir regularly, removing from heat as needed. The goal here is to keep the temperature under 90 degrees, be patient, keep stirring, and even with the heat on a low setting the chocolate will melt eventually.
Once melted and smooth, pour chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread into an even layer (it will not cover the entire pan, just spread it until it’s as thick as you want your final bark to be).
Sprinkle evenly with Giving Tree fruits. Let dry, uncovered at room temperature, for 1 to 2 hours or until set. Break into serving size pieces.
Because of the nature of freeze-dried fruit, this particular bar is best enjoyed within a day or two, as the fruit will begin to soften once exposed to humidity. The bar is good for up to a week, however, the fruit just might be a bit softer after a few days out in the open.
A traditional dessert that nobody can resist is the apple pie… with less sugar.
In a food processor, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (cut into 1/4-inch pieces); pulse until large flakes form. Add 7 table-spoons trans fat-free shortening and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cold water over the mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time, tossing with a fork to mix. Roll the pastry into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten into 3/4-inch thick disks on separate sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
Step 2. Make the apple filling
Peel, core, and slice 5-6 apples, enough to make 6 1/2 cups. Add 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss well; set aside.
Step 3. Assemble the pie
Preheat oven to 400º. Place larger half of chilled pastry on a 12-inch sheet of plastic wrap. Dust dough with flour and roll into a 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin, then invert over a 9-inch pie pan. Peel off plastic and gently tuck pastry into pan, letting edge drape over sides. Lightly moisten upper edge of dough with a damp pastry brush. Transfer filling to pie shell. Roll other half of pastry into an 11-inch circle on plastic wrap. Invert over filling, then peel off plastic. Pinch edge to seal; trim excess.
Step 4. Bake till golden
Create decorative edge on crust with fork. Slit top pastry for steam vents. Brush top of pie with milk and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake for 20 minutes on center oven rack, shield-ing edges of crust with foil. Reduce heat to 375º; continue baking until the pie is golden brown and juices bubble through at least one vent, another 30 minutes. Insert wooden skewer into pie; there should be no resistance. Transfer pie to cooling rack and cool at least 1 hour before serving.
(inspired from the www.health.com)
No-Bake Cranberry Jam Tarts
- 1Cup Almonds
- 1/2Cup Rolled Oats (not quick-cooking)
- 3/4Cup Soft Dates
- Pinch of Salt
Quick Cranberry Jam:
- 1 1/2 Cup Fresh OR Frozen Cranberries
- 2T Maple Syrup
- 2T Coconut Sugar
- 1/4C Orange Juice
- 1/2C (approx) Water
- Zest of half an orange
- 1/2t Vanilla Extract
Using a food processor, blitz the almonds and oats together to form a fairly fine flour. Add the salt and the dates and process until you have a thick mixture which holds together when pinched between finger and thumb. You may need to add a couple of extra dates if it’s too crumbly.
Divide mixture between the 12 holes of a shallow cake/tartlet tin and press firmly in the base and up the sides to form 12 neat tart shells.
Refrigerate or freeze until ready to fill.
For the jam, place all ingredients except vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring, until the cranberries have all popped and the jam has thickened up. Pour into a jar and refrigerate until cool. (I left mine chunky but blend with an immersion blender if you prefer yours smooth)
Run a knife around the edges of the tart shells to loosen them and pop them out of the tin. Fill each with a couple of teaspoons of the jam.
Serve at room temperature
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 egg
- ½ cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 2 tablespoons applesauce
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons allspice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup wheat flour
- Turbinado sugar (for garnish)
- In a medium bowl, add 1 egg, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup molasses, ¼ cup almond butter, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 tablespoons applesauce; vigorously whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Add 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons allspice, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ¼ cup all purpose four, and ½ cup wheat flour to the wet ingredients and stir with a large spoon until well combined. Turn out onto plastic wrap and form into a rough ball; cover with plastic and chill at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Flour a flat surface and a rolling pin, then roll out the dough to around ¼-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread men, about 25-35 total. Place gingerbread men on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for about 8 minutes, until until puffed and slightly firmed. Let rest on the pan for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Store covered at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer term storage.
- 4 ripe halved and pitted pears (I cut a little whole in mine for the pecans to fit it)
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup of honey
- 1.5 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of candied pecans
Preheat oven to 350°
Fill holes with candied pecans
Sprinkle pears with spices
Drizzle with honey
Bake for 25-40 minutes (they are done when the skin begins to curl).
will see the difference.
Everywhere you can hear ‘eat less sugar, sugar is bad for you’. Of course, you would like to eat less sugar, but it’s hard and you don’t know how. Don’t worry. I am here to help you figure out how to reduce sugar to become healthier.
So first let’s try to understand why we love sugar so much?
All humans have loved sugar for years and years. Sweet is associated with the notion of pleasure and reward in our brain. When we eat sugar we secrete dopamine (the neurotransmitter of pleasure) so obviously, as it’s joyful to eat sugar, you just want to repeat this behaviour. That’s why all the junk food is full of sugar even in salty foods.
How to eat less sugar?
You have to change your bad habits and relearn how to eat healthy without being on crazy diets. Just choose healthy food with good quality, fruits & vegetables and eat less processed foods as possible. Changing habits will take time but you will see the difference in the long term and you will also change your taste. Time to try new things!
What are the alternatives to sugar?
The best alternative to sugar is fruits such as bananas, grapes, strawberries… they are full of vitamins and they contain a lot nutritional content. However, beware of pure fruit juice, as you are just drinking pure fructose which will turn to fat.
You have some healthy sugar such as:
Coconut palm sugar (extracted sap of the coconut palm, boiled and dehydrated)
Date sugar (dehydrated, ground dates)
Brown rice syrup (brown rice, which is cooked and then exposed to enzymes which breaks it down into sugar)
Why not try our Raw Coconut Water – no added sugar! As nature intended!