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Low fat, low carb desserts should also taste good, too

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

There are lots of lot fat, low carb dessert recipes out there, but few really meet the standards of good taste as well. That is a hard task to meet. When you lower fat content, you usually compensate with sugar. To offset this, use more natural sugars and fruits.

Desserts can easily become an obsession when trying to change lifestyle patterns. Don’t over-do. Enjoy small portions and you will stay on track.

Most dessert recipes would not qualify as a health food because they use too much fat and sugar and very little cocoa solids. This can become a huge problem for diabetics or those on a diet. It is important to keep your sweet tooth satisfied. But it is equally important to count the calories and cut out the fat.

Most low-carb recipes simply use a sugar substitute, which contains aspartame. One method is to use soya flour or a protein mixture and soya cream instead of refined flour and milk or cream. You can use peanut butter, which is a healthier option. Use Rice Krispies instead of dry fruits. Use fruits in their natural form, which will bring sweetness and non-chemical flavor. Use more oatmeal and less refined grains. Dark chocolate is preferable to milky ones. Do not use sweetened fruit preserves but fresh or frozen fruits.

Orange Dream Cheesecake

1 pre-made graham cracker piecrust

2/3 cup boiling water

1-4-serving size pkg. sugar-free orange flavored gelatin

1 cup low fat cottage cheese

8 oz. fat free cream cheese, cubed

2 cups thawed non-fat whipped topping

In large bowl, stir boiling water into gelatin at least two minutes until gelatin is completely dissolved; cool for five minutes. Pour into blender container. Add cheeses; cover. Blend on medium speed until well blended, occasionally scraping down side of blender container; pour into large bowl. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into piecrust; smooth top with spatula. Refrigerate four hours or until set. Makes eight servings.

Note: Optional garnishing with orange slices will add calories and carbs

Low Fat Tiramisu

8 oz. semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 cup fat free egg substitute

1 cup sugar

1-1/2 tsps. vanilla

1 8-oz. pkg. fat free cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1 8-oz. frozen light whipped topping, thawed

1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder

1/4 cup hot water

1 cup cold water

1 fat free pound cake, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Using a food processor, process egg substitute and sugar for 30 seconds. Add vanilla; blend for one-minute or until pale yellow. Add cream cheese pieces, a few at a time, processing until smooth.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; cover; refrigerate one hour. Fold whipped topping into cream cheese mixture; set aside. In a large shallow dish, dissolve espresso powder in the hot water; add the cold water. Quickly dip cake slices into espresso, turning to coat all sides. Arrange slices in bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish or 12 cup shallow dish, smoothing with fingers to mold cake slices together. Sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate. Top with chilled cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate. Cover; refrigerate at least three hours or overnight before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Apple and Rice Pudding

2 cups cooked brown rice (can use leftover rice)

1/4 cup raisins, unpacked

1-1/2 Tbsps. honey

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 Tbsp. lemon rind

4 Tbsps. low-fat cottage cheese

1 jar or can (14 oz.) apple pie slices, no added sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine rice, raisins, honey, lemon juice, lemon rind, cottage cheese and apple slices. Spoon mixture into serving dishes and chill well before serving. Serves six to eight.

Variations: Top with a dollop of low-fat whipped cream and/or sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Note: You can replace jarred/canned apples with stewed apples, sugar-free apple pie filling, or if preferred, you can peel and slice fresh apples (optional: blanch apples and lightly sprinkle them with cinnamon).

Coconut Macaroons

Always a favorite and very low in fat

3 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup shredded coconut

2 Tbsps. nonfat condensed milk

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Add the sugar and lemon juice and beat until blended. Stir in the coconut and milk. Spoon the dough by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Let the dough stand several hours to dry out. Bake the macaroons at 350-degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 48 cookies.

Almond Joy Pudding Cup

This dessert combines sugar-free instant chocolate pudding with light coconut milk and skim milk. Almond extract adds extra flavor to the pudding, which may be garnished with nonfat whipped topping.

1 can light unsweetened coconut milk

2 1/2 cups skim milk

1 tsp. almond extract

2 pkgs. sugar-free instant chocolate fudge pudding mix

Fat-free whipped topping

In a bowl, combine coconut milk, skim milk and almond extract; add pudding mix all at once. Beat with wire whisk until creamy and begins to thicken, about two minutes. Refrigerate; top with whipped topping (optional). Makes six to eight servings.

Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.