I’ll admit, as much as I focus on delicious, healthy food, I do get a hankering to end my meals periodically with something decadent. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with periodic indulgences, as long as they are just that, periodic! As an alternative to the super sweet, sugar-laden, carby desserts, with a little creative thinking, there are some really great alternatives to traditional sweets.
I’m of the belief that all sugar is pretty unhealthy, however that doesn’t mean we have to give it up all the time to be healthy. In addition to finding ways to cut refined sugar out of our diets (why do we need it in our salad dressings?!?!?!?) there are some better options than conventional, refined sugar. Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that copious amounts of Maple syrup is healthy, but as long as we reserve it as a treat, there’s no problem with a little moderation.
I generally look to swap out refined cane sugar with less refined options, like maple syrup which actually has some nutritional value, or raw honey which is good for allergies, sleep and the immune system. One of favorite ways to add sweetness to a treat is to use dried fruit like pineapples, mango or dates and puree them into the sweets. While it’s not to say that doing this turns an unhealthy dessert into a healthy one, but it does use unrefined, natural ingredients to make a delicious, decadent dessert that you can feel good about eating!
I’m a chocolate fanatic and I love a good chocolate tart, especially if it involves some healthy nuts! This is one of my favorite desserts that combines chocolate, macadamia nuts, almonds, coconut and dates. I fold cocoa nibs into the ganache for a surprising little crunch. I can’t think of a better way to end a meal! Try serving it with whipped kefir for a little more indulgence without any guilt!
Dark chocolate and date ganache with coconut-macadamia crust and whipped kefir
For the tart shell
- ¼ cup desiccated, unsweetened coconut
- 2 TBSP melted coconut oil
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ½ cup macadamia nuts, finely ground
- 4 TBSP dates, pitted and pureed with 1 TBSP water
- pinch of sea salt
For the ganache
- 2 cups unsweetened dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 TBSP dates, pureed with 1 TBSP water
- 4 TBSP cocoa nibs
- ¼ cup toasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
- Sprinkle of coarse sea salt
- 1 cup whipped kefir
For the whipped kefir
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup Lifeway Farmer cheese
- 2 TBSP raw honey
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a standing mixer, whip to stiff peaks.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- Pulse together all dry ingredients until fully incorporated.
- In a small pan, melt date puree and coconut oil together and whisk until incorporated. Drizzle this mixture into the dry ingredients a little at a time, pulsing until it becomes clumpy and can be easily worked by hand.
- Grease a 9” tart pan with a removeable bottom and fluted edges with coconut oil. Roll dough into a ball, then carefully place in the tart pan and tamp down with your hand or a measuring cup until it evenly covers the bottom and up the rim of the pan.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until fully set and golden brown. Then remove and set aside to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, bring the coconut milk and date puree to a boil and pour over the chocolate in a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into the the chocolate and stir until completely melted. Sprinkle in the cocoa nibs and fold together.
- Pour the chocolate ganache while warm into the mold, then set aside to cool. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts and sea salt and serve with whipped kefir.