Desserts without sugar can be guiltless, tasty, let diabetics indulge.
We’re not going to lie to you: Desserts without sugar do not taste as good as desserts with it.
But diabetes is not to be taken lightly. It is literally a matter of life and limb. Amputations are common with diabetes. So is blindness. Sugar makes it worse.
Basically, everything that makes a dessert good is what makes it bad for diabetics, who now make up a significant part of the population. More than 29 million Americans reportedly have diabetes — that’s one out of every 11 Americans — and three times that number are at risk for developing it.
But diabetics deserve dessert, too, and they can have it — provided they do not indulge too often, that the desserts they eat are low in sugar and carbohydrates, and that their portions are sensibly small.
That’s where today’s recipes come in. They’re appropriate for diabetics or anyone with a sweet tooth looking to reduce his or her sugar consumption. Considering that they are made with little or no sugar, they’re surprisingly good.
Of course they’d be better with more sugar and carbohydrates, but we’re talking about people’s lives and limbs.
Two things make this dessert great, and both of them are peanut butter. One is the way peanut butter goes so blissfully with butterscotch, even when it is fat-free, sugar-free, instant butterscotch pudding mix. And the other is the incredibly resourceful crust made from peanut butter, honey and Rice Krispies.
It’s light. It’s crispy (sorry, Krispie). And it’s downright delicious.
Crispy Peanut Butterscotch Pie
¼ cup natural (no sugar added) creamy peanut butter 1 tablespoon honey
1½ cups oven-toasted rice cereal, such as
Rice Krispies (more optional) 1 (1-ounce) package fat-free, sugar-free
instant butterscotch pudding mix
2 cups skim milk
1½ cups frozen sugar-free OR fat-free whipped dessert topping such as Cool Whip, thawed, divided use Ground cinnamon, optional
Combine peanut butter and honey in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave on 100 percent power for 30 seconds; stir until mixture melts. Stir in rice cereal. Using waxed paper, press cereal mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan.
Prepare pudding mix according to package directions for pudding, using the 2 cups skim milk. Fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spoon pudding mixture into prepared pan. Cover and freeze until firm.
Let pie stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving. Serve topped with remaining ½ cup whipped topping and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon and additional cereal, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with fat-free whipped topping) contains approximately 150 calories, 5 g protein, 5 g fat, 22 g carbohydrate (11 g sugar), 5 mg cholesterol, 302 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1½. Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com
These pie squares are mind-blowingly gorgeous, and they taste almost as good as they look. To be frank, it would be perfect if it used real sugar. Discerning palates (OK, ours) noticed a faint aftertaste, as sugar substitutes are wont
But here is the beautiful part of the Double Berry Pie Squares: They are made with fresh strawberries and frozen raspberries simmered with gelatin. It’s a little sweet, a little tart and a marvelously rich shade of red.
A graham-cracker crust makes the perfect base for the fruity center of the squares, and a dollop of (sugar-free) Cool Whip on top adds just the right amount of creaminess — or whatever Cool Whip is.
Double Berry Pie Squares
⅓ cup PLUS 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or equivalent sugar substitute, divided use
1 envelope unflavored gelatin 1 pound fresh strawberries,
hulled and diced 1 (12-ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed ⅔ cup finely crushed graham crackers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted ⅓ cup frozen sugar-free whipped dessert topping (such as Cool Whip), thawed
For filling: In a large saucepan, combine ⅓ cup of the sugar or sugar substitute and the gelatin; add strawberries and raspberries. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until gelatin is dissolved and mixture is simmering.
Transfer berry mixture to a shallow bowl. Chill 45 minutes or until mixture begins to set around the edges, stirring occasionally.
For crust: Lightly coat a 2-quart square baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together finely crushed graham crackers, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute and the melted butter. Press graham cracker mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Place in freezer while the filling chills.
Carefully pour filling over the chilled crust. Chill 3 hours or until filling is completely set.
Cut into squares to serve topped with a dollop of whipped topping.
Makes 9 servings. Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with real sugar) contains approximately 162 calories, 3 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate (19 g sugar), 7 mg cholesterol, 38 mg sodium and 7 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2.
These are basically chocolate meringues, though they are both more and less than chocolate meringues. More chocolate, less sugar. Technically called Bites of Chocolate Bliss, these meringues aim to satisfy the cravings of a diabetic chocoholic. They do so by increasing the amount of cocoa to compensate for the relative lack of sugar.
But cocoa is bitter, and the cookies it makes are very chocolatey, but not very sweet. They fall somewhere on the scale between chocolate that is bittersweet and unsweetened. It’s all a matter of taste. Half of our tasters loved these. The other half hated them.
Bites of Chocolate Bliss
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt ½ cup granulated sugar, divided use
3 egg whites
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon confectioners’
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Sift together cocoa, salt and ¼ cup of the granulated sugar into a small bowl.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-low speed to beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, ½ tablespoon at a time, until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form. Fold in cocoa mixture and vanilla extract.
Drop by rounded teaspoons about 1 inch apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 25 minutes for chewy cookies or 40 minutes for crisp ones. Cool cookies on wire racks. Dust cooled cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Makes about 20 pieces. Nutrition information: Each two-piece serving contains approximately 58 calories,
1 g protein, 1 g fat, 13 g carbohydrate (11 g sugar), no cholesterol, 33 mg sodium and 1 g fiber. Carbohydrate choices: 1. Recipe adapted from Prevention magazine
This parfait is made entirely without sugar. In place of ice cream, it uses a mixture of Greek yogurt and whipped cream (the cream, of course, is whipped without sugar). For the fruit filling, you simply swirl in some sugar-free jam.
It’s very simple to make, and very satisfying. You don’t have to be diabetic to love it.
Yogurt and Jam Parfaits
½ cup cold heavy cream 1 cup plain Greek yogurt ½ cup sugar-free jam (any flavor)
Whisk cream to soft peaks in a large bowl. Fold in yogurt.
Spoon jam evenly on top and gently swirl in, leaving streaks. Divide mixture evenly among four glasses. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or, covered, for up to 1 day before serving. Makes 4 servings. Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with whole milk yogurt) contains approximately 302 calories,
7 g protein, 25 g fat, 19 g carbohydrate (15 g sugar), 73 mg cholesterol, 44 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1½.
Crispy Peanut Butterscotch Pie
Bites of Chocolate Bliss Recipe from diabeticlivingonline. com
Double Berry Pie Squares