Safely sweet

Desserts with­out sugar can be guilt­less, tasty, let di­a­bet­ics in­dulge.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Yo­gurt and Jam Par­faits DANIEL NEMAN

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

to leave.

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’

sugar

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.

St. Louis Post-Dis­patch/TNS/HIL­LARY LEVIN

St. Louis Post-Dis­patch/TNS/HIL­LARY LEVIN

Crispy Peanut But­ter­scotch Pie

St. Louis Post-Dis­patch/TNS/HIL­LARY LEVIN

Bites of Choco­late Bliss Recipe from di­a­bet­i­clivin­gonline. com

St. Louis Post-Dis­patch/TNS/HIL­LARY LEVIN

Dou­ble Berry Pie Squares

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