Happy Monday! Today marks 1 week until St Patricks Day, do you have your green ready to go? St Patty’s Day is actually one of Dan’s favorite holidays, so I try to go all out for him. That means green beer, stuffed cabbage, and watching Darby O’Gill. Since it’s on a Monday this year, we’ll be celebrating Saturday after my race.
I love family traditions, and there is no way that a week day holiday will take them away.
This weekend, I kicked off the shamrock love with some sweet treats. Most Fridays end with dessert, and this past Friday was no different. These treats are VEGAN, RAW, GLUTEN-FREE and most importantly, AMAZING.
But that got me to thinking, what are the tricks that I follow to keep my desserts “healthy”. Some are definitely better than others, but I can always count on Dan to look at the Friday treat with skepticism as he asks “is this healthy?”.
Desserts don’t always start off healthy in my head. Sometimes I have to write them out and then transform them to meet our nutritional requirements.
And today, I’m sharing some of my crazy methods to make that happen.
5 Tips To Transform Desserts To Healthy Sweet Treats Without Sacrificing Flavor
1. Nuts For Cream Cheese & Sweetness
Cashews and Macadamia nuts both have a great sweetness and an uncany cheese flavor when processed. Soak nuts overnight in water, drain and blend to create a great alternative for cream cheese. Or for those of us that don’t have patience, it also works if you blend them with a little warm water.
2. Use Vegetables For Natural Food Coloring
Artificial dyes have gotten a bad rap over the past few years. I can’t say that they don’t deserve it, with a lack of definite evidence, it’s really unsure to say if food coloring is bad or not. But one thing we do know, it is artificial. We try to create food as natural as possible, so with that being said, it’s possible to color your treats… with bold veggies.
Beets add a a great deep red to cookies, cakes and even pancakes. And spinach… well, you can see for yourself.
By using veggies/fruits for coloring, not only are you able to avoid artificial ingredients, but you’re also adding vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into your sweets! Bonus!
3. Use Real, Fresh Herbs
Herbs have so much power! Many have medicinal benefits on top of their vitamin and mineral profile. Plus, a good herb can actually help to bring out the flavor of other ingredients. For example, add basil to dark chocolate cake and the combined flavors will blow your mind. Lemongrass is a great choice in vanilla cupcakes or shortbread cookies, and mint goes well in just about anything!
Lavender is another great one (though not sure if it’s classified an herb), it’s so much more than just aromatherapy
Did I mention that mint is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and helps strengthen the digestive system?
4. Sweeten Dark Chocolate Naturally
Dark chocolate (anything over 70%) is linked to improved heart health, weight-loss, and even happiness. But like red wine, it’s an aquired taste.
For many people it’s too dry, too tart, too dark. If that’s an issue, then sweeten it! Add some stevia or honey to melted chocolate to help cut that “dark” taste. Another tip, I forgot to mention, adding a pinch of sea salt can also help!
5. Make Candy Chocolate By Adding Coconut Oil
Ever wonder how people get their cake pops or chocolate candies to have a shine to them? For most people, it’s because they use special “candy chocolate” which includes wax. As the chocolate hardens, so does the wax and the result is a beautiful shine.
Get that same shine, minus the wax by adding just a small amount of coconut oil into melted chocolate! The shine will look like a gorgeous waxed car!
I know I said 5 above, but make sure to watch the video as I’ve included a 6th tip!
Now that we’ve talked dessert modifications, let’s actually use them.
The below recipe uses every single tip above! I am in love with this concept. They’re gorgeous, easy, and filled with nutrition (and chocolate).
Taylors Mints Ice Cream Cups
As soon as Dan bit in, he said it reminded him of an Andes Mint. But better because, bigger is better!
1 Cup Cashews
1/2 Cup Macadamia Nuts
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/4 Cup Water + 1 Tbsp
Handful Fresh Mint
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 – 1 Tsp Peppermint Extract (to taste)
10 Drops Stevia
70% or Higher Dark Chocolate Bar
1 Tsp Coconut Oil
1. In a blender, blend together everything except chocolate and 1 tsp coconut oil.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate by cooking in 30-second intervals until completely melted. Stir in 1 tsp coconut oil.
3. Pour 1 tbsp melted chocolate into silicon muffin molds to cover the bottom completely. Pour in the mint mixture 3/4ths of the way up and finish off with another tbsp of chocolate.
4. Place in freezer for 30+ minutes until solid.
5. Peel out of molds and enjoy!
I am going to play around with more flavors next weekend. I would love your opinion on my next attempt (see below)!
I see these being a hit with my almost 3-year old niece this summer!
–> Would you like to see Basil Berry Ice Cream Cups OR Salted Caramel Chocolate Ice Cream Cups?
–> Are you a St Patty’s Day fan? What’s your favorite green treat?