Now I’ve never really had much of a sweet tooth, but every now and then, a craving strikes and it strikes hard. However, sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the “buhhh” feeling that comes after cookies and cakes and pies.
Enter better dessert alternatives! These are not only delicious, but they’re all fruit-centric, providing fiber and necessary vitamins without all the unnecessary extras.
But Resa, you’re talking about frozen chunks of water doused in artificial coloring, fake flavors, and all sorts of sweeteners that I may or may not have ever heard of!
Did I say sno-cone?
Nope. I mean shaved ice topped with fresh chunks of fruit and drizzled in sweet condensed milk or honey. Drizzle sparsely and BAM! You have a 1/5 on the dessert guilt scale.
Fresh Fruit Sorbet
Take a cue from your favorite authentic gelato spot and make your own sorbet with fresh fruit and without much more!
Freeze chunks of your favorite fruit (we’ll say 1 entire mango here because I do love me some mango) then throw them in a blender with a teaspoon of water and 1/2 a teaspoon of lemon juice. Blend until it’s smooth and it’s good to go!
If you want to be really creative, keep the fruit shell with about a half inch of fruit still lining the peel. Pack your fresh sorbet into the shell and stick ’em into the freezer together. Delicious AND a really fun treat that’s sure to impress!
Sweet, Sticky Rice & Mango
This one is simple and an absolute favorite of mine.
Prepare Thai Sweet Rice (also known as gelatinous or sticky rice) by first soaking 1 cup of rice in 1 cup of water for about 20-30 minutes. After soaking, add another 3/4 cup of water, plus 1/4 cup of coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Give it a good stir and make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Bring it to a boil, cover it (but leave an opening for steam!) and let it simmer on your stove’s medium setting for about 15 minutes (or until it’s no longer a rice-soup).
In the meantime, simmer 3/4 cup of coconut milk in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of raw sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract, but be careful not to let it boil! Dissolve 2 tbsp of cornstarch in a small bowl and add to the sauce as a thickening agent. Once it’s nice and thick, take it off the stove.
Now either before or after your get started, you can cut up your ripe (and I do mean ripe) mangos into slices or bite sized pieces.
Once the rice is ready, serve it out, laying your mango pieces on top and drizzling your coconut sauce over both.
Tadaaa!! Delicious and simple.
Chocolate Drizzled Fruit Kabobs
Need I say more? Use a double boiler to melt down your chocolate of choice (chopped dark chocolate, chocolate chips, fonduing chocolate chips, etc) and drizzle them over skewered fruits of your choosing. Pineapple, strawberry and – you guessed it – mango, are my favorites but if you think it will go well with chocolate (and what doesn’t?), go for it!
Cheese & Fruits
You can go a wholly different direction with your desserts by trying the savory side of things with a soft or semi-soft cheese plate paired with fruit or chutney. My fave pairings?
Gruyere & Apples
Brie & Melon
Camembert & Pear
Chevre & Kiwi
Gouda & Grape
A Few Quick Tips
Now there are a few desserts that I know we can’t completely healthify, BUT you can try, no?
- Now I’ve never ventured into ice cream maker territory, but if you do, try substituting coconut milk or almond milk for dairy. Both add a subtle but satisfying new layer of flavor while keeping your rich, creamy consistency. The same goes for baking – soy, almond or rice milk will work wherever a recipe calls for milk.
- Infuse your foods with a new level of depth or enhance the flavors you’re already aiming for by using fragrant herbals teas instead of plain water and artificial flavors. Think mint, berry, lemon or interesting florals like lavender and rose!
- Go easy on the sugar – how much do you really need to make it taste good without being overwhelmingly sweet? The whole “sugar is poison” schlock is based not on sugar itself being problematic, but the fact that sugar is HEAVILY overdone. Moderation is key, my friends.
So there you are!
You have a multitude of healthier desserts than the typical cakes, cookies & pies, PLUS they’re (for the most part) quick and easy to make.