The holiday season is upon us once again. It’s a time to recount the blessings in our life, get together with family and friends, and enjoy good food. Desserts are usually an important part of that good-food lineup.
While many desserts taste wonderful, most of them are loaded down with refined sugar. One of the many lessons learned from the pandemic is that we must keep our immune system strong. Since sugar weakens the immune system, loading up on sugar-laden desserts during the holidays (or any other time) is counterproductive to a healthy lifestyle. But there is hope! You can enjoy healthy holiday desserts that are sweetened more naturally and do not impact health negatively as does the more refined sugars. It is still important however, even with these healthier desserts to exercise a degree of self control.
Below are recipes for healthier options. Now you can enjoy your dessert and better health too!
Frozen Carob Peanut Butter Pie1
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups carob chips
- 1/2 cup soy milk powder
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 3/4 cup smooth, natural peanut butter (non-hydrogenated and unsweetened)
- 1 pre-baked gluten-free pie crust. 9” or 10” or 1 1/2 cups ground granola mixed with 3 Tbs. oil: mix together and press into pie plate.
- Bake crust at 375ºF for 10 minutes.
- Blend all ingredients, except peanut butter, in a blender until smooth.
- Add peanut butter and continue to blend. Pour into pre-baked pie shell of your choice and freeze for 4-6 hours or overnight.
- Take out of freezer 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Wash, peel, core, and thinly slice 8 apples or enough to fill 7” x 11” x 2” baking dish. Spray the dish with cooking spray.
Fill the dish half full of sliced apples. Wash 1 cup raisins and sprinkle them over the apples. Add a pinch of salt and trickle 6 Tbs. maple syrup over the raisins. Add the remainder of the apples, filling the dish almost to the top. Prepare crumb mixture:
Mix well in a bowl
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 3/4 cups quick oats
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Emulsify in a small bowl
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Spread crumb mixture evenly over sliced apples. Bake at 325ºF for 40-45 minutes or till crumb mixture is golden brown.
Fruited Nut Log3
- 1 cup walnuts, ground
- 1 cup almonds, ground
- 1 3/4 cups date pieces
- 1 1/4 cups fine macaroon coconut, unsweetened
- 3 Tbs. carob powder
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 Tbs. arrowroot powder or unbleached flour
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla
Places dates, carob powder, orange juice, arrowroot powder, salt and vanilla in medium saucepan. Boil 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in ground nuts and 1 cup coconut. Divide in fourths. Form each into long roll. Roll in the remaining 1/4 cup coconut, chill and cut into half-inch slices. Makes about 40 pieces.
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 Tbs. arrowroot powder or unbleached flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. coriander, ground
- 1 cup date pieces
- 1/2 cup water
Blend dates with water. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
- 3 1/4 cups oat flour
- 1 1/3 cups cashews or almond meal
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup water
Blend nut meal, salt and water. Mix into oat flour. Roll pie crust into ball and roll 1/8 inch thick making a 5-inch circle. Place 2-3 Tbs. Pumpkin mix on 1/2 of circle. Flip the other half over and crimp edges with a fork. Prick top with a fork. Place on a “pammed” baking sheet. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Makes 30 turnovers.
- 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, in juice
- 3 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, rinsed
- 2 12.3-oz. packages silken tofu, extra firm
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice concentrate
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 rind lemon or 1/2 tsp. Lemon extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Prepare a baked Crumble Nut Crust in a 1-“ springform pan.
- Combine crushed pineapple, cornstarch, and cashews in blender and blend smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend again.
- Pour into springform pan with prepared crust.
- Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes, cool and chill.
- Serve with Strawberry Jam.
Crumble Nut Crust6
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 brown rice flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs. honey
- 2 Tbs. water
- Place coconut, almonds, flour, and salt in food processor. Blend together for about 30 seconds.
- Add honey and process about 15 seconds more. Add water and blend again
- Press into a lightly oiled 9-inch pie plate, shaping with fingers to make a nicely formed piecrust.
- Bake at 375ºF for 10 minutes
- 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup pitted dates or dried pineapple
- Thaw strawberries if frozen. Puree the berries in a blender.
- If dates are not soft, place in small amount of water and steam on the stove.
- Combine with strawberries in the blender and blend smooth. Chill to thicken.
- Serve on Tofu Cheesecake.
- Cooking for Life, Stephanie Bergsma, p. 144, Stephanie Bergsma, 2013.
- Tasty Vegan Delights, Gloria Lawson and Debbi Puffer, p. 118, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2001.
- A Taste of Nature, Lavonne Hoover, p. 133, Lavonne Hoover, 1992.
- Ibid, p. 141.
- Amazing Health Cookbook, Barbara Watson, p. 110, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2012.
- Ibid, p. 117.
- Ibid, p. 113.
Photo by: Lynda Kechiche