December is a month full of delicious temptations! The amount of goodies in my break room at work reaches epic proportions around this time of year, and it’s hard to resist all the treats when you’re tired and hungry. But eating well during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself to a few healthier dessert options! Here are a few treats I’ve made at home for winter nights that need a sweet ending as you watch old Christmas movies by the fireplace…
BAKED APPLE SNOWBALLS:
In place of ice cream (heavy in fat and sugar), yogurt stands in for creamy goodness! Serves 2.
2 large red apples (Gala or Pink Lady)
1/4 cup mixture of golden raisins and chopped pecans
1 cup unsweetened organic Greek vanilla yogurt OR unsweetened vanilla coconut milk yogurt
3 tsp. maple syrup
Core the apples and fill the cavities with raisins and pecan pieces. Dust with cinnamon and bake uncovered at 400 F for about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Put each apple in a serving bowl.
Mix the yogurt and maple syrup together and spoon over the warm apples. Dust with cinnamon.
BLEAK MIDWINTER PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE PUDDING:
Silken tofu gives this pudding a rich, velvety texture without the eggs and dairy of typical puddings. Adapted from Forks Over Knives cookbook. Serves 2.
12 oz. package of firm silken tofu
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 drop peppermint essential oil
Coconut flakes and mint leaves for garnish
Blend the silken tofu, maple syrup, cocoa, vanilla, salt and peppermint oil until lump-free and silky. Place in individual bowls, top with coconut flakes and mint leaves, and chill before eating
CASHEW JINGLE BALLS:
Bring these healthy, no-bake cookies to your holiday party and indulge guilt-free! Makes 12 golf-ball sized cookies.
1 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
4 Tbs. coconut oil
2/3 cup almond flour
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbs. water
2/3 cup dried cranberries
Soak the cashew pieces in a bowl of water for 30 minutes; drain. In a blender, combine cashew pieces and coconut oil, and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the almond flour, shredded coconut, spice, vanilla, water, and cranberries. Mix well. Using your hands, form golf-ball sized balls out of the dough and place on a plate. Chill and store in the refrigerator.
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