Sugar seems to have found itself at the centre of a food storm; sitting there, quietly, while people throw rocks and stones and stevia at it. But really, we can’t blame sugar for all our woes, we’re the ones that process the hell out of it, add it to everything that looks remotely edible, and succumb to our constant urge for sweeeeeets.
My take on sugar is still evolving. I understand why the over-consumption of sugar is harmful to our bodies, and I also know that the brain doesn’t take fructose into account when it’s adding up your ‘full ratio’. I also refrain from adding sugar to anything I make, but do enjoy the benefits of pure maple syrup, agave, raw honey and other sugar alternatives, and can never say no to a piece of dark chocolate. As for fruit, well, for me, that’s a necessity and a non-negotiable when it comes to food consumption.
But no matter what your take on sugar, or sweet treats in general, these ‘healthy’ dessert-y recipes will be far better for you than a Mars Bar or Chocolate Sundae. Enjoy!
Sweet Treat #1: The ‘I Can’t Be Bothered’ Non-Dessert Dessert
Chilled Brazil Nuts and Raisins!
This is the simplest sweet treat going but it does quash the cravings when they strike. When my sister popped around recently and requested something sweet, I presented her with the idea of nuts and raisins and she looked at me with curious disbelief.
Seriously! Nuts that have been left in the freezer (my pick is Brazil Nuts) and a handful of raisins is a quick idea that totally hits the spot. Trust me! It sounds like trail mix, and well, I guess it is, but honestly it hits those dessert cravings in the tooth.
Sweet Treat #2: The Winter Warmer
My dad is Turkish and puts anyone I’ve ever known to shame in the kitchen. Yep, even you Matt Moran. Rice pudding has always been something he whipped up from time to time as a treat, and now I’ve evolved it into a healthier version that works wonders on sugar cravings. Make a massive pot and keep it for the week ahead.
2 1/2 cups of brown rice
1 cup of rice, coconut or almond milk
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of pure rose water
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
1/4 cup of pistachio nuts
1. Cook your brown rice as per the instructions but add the cardamom pods in with the water while you’re cooking. Once cooked, discard cardamom.
2. Now, add the milk, vanilla, syrups and spices to the rice and gently simmer until all the ingredients are nicely mixed.
3. If you want to eat it warm, serve in small ramekins with sprinkled nuts and a little added cinnamon on top, and if need be, add a dash more milk or natural yoghurt for added flavour. Or if you prefer your rice pudding cold, store in the fridge for a few hours before serving as above.
4. Eat, enjoy, be happy!
Sweet Treat #3: The Bakers Dream
Banana, Coconut and Choc Chip Cookies!
Need I say more? No, but I probably should. This recipe appears in one of my favourite cookbooks, Clean Food by Terry Walters, and is a delicious option when you A) love to bake and B) have ripe bananas sitting in the fruit bowl that are brown and not all that yummy-looking. The best part is that these are also gluten free. Yippppeee!
2 mashed bananas
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of rolled oats
2/3 cup of brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened dried coconut
pinch of salt
1/4 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
2. Now, throw the banana, oil, syrup, and vanilla in a medium sized bowl and gently mix together.
3. Next, toss the oats, flour, baking soda, coconut and salt into another bowl and gently mix together.
4. Add the banana mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine all ingredients. Be gentle here, please.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Line a baking tray with baking paper and drop the batter by the heaped teaspoon onto the sheet. Don’t bother rolling or flattening the mixture, just toss it on.
7. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes or until lightly browned.
8. Allow to cool. Then eat 1. And another. And another.
Also, don’t forget to check out my amazing chocolate mousse with no sugar or cream. It’s a delight and a real crowd pleaser.
What do you think of these sweet treats?