Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
4 Apr

Eat This Today, Feel Better Tomorrow: Dessert Edition!

Don’t worry: we haven’t gone soft. But we do realize that life (or a loved one) calls for a bit of indulgence once in a while. With all of the delectable options out there, why settle for the typical processed and/or sugar-laden desserts?

Think fresh fruit paired with artisan block and mascarpone cheeses, toasted nuts with sweet root vegetables, and ingredients like dark chocolate, cocoa, unsweetened coconut, fresh cream, rich butter, Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey if that’s your thing. The idea here is to favor the least processed, highest benefit treats.

If you’re going to indulge, we suggest you make it something tasty and even reasonably good for you. Look for the richest, best quality ingredients you can get your hands on. (As always we advocate portion control.) But it’s amazing what a single square of really good chocolate can do. Whether it’s for your own indulgence or for sharing with your favorite people, here are a few possibilities you can peruse.

Sweet After-Dinner Salad

Mix some fresh spring greens with slices of pear or sweet apple along with some toasted pecans or walnuts, pine nuts, seeds and sweet vinaigrette made with nut oil and fruit juice.

Figs, Berries, Cheeses, Nuts

Fruit with Honey

Dark Chocolate

(excellent paired with red wine or melted for dipping ripe berries)

Fruit and Nut Crumble

Spread whole pecans or other desired nuts on parchment lined baking pan. Toast in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool. Using food processor, grind 1 cup toasted nuts to approximate size of baby peas. (You can also mince nuts with large knife.) Set aside.

Slice and sauté favorite fruits (apples, pears, plums, peaches are a few that work well) in butter until softened and/or warmed through. Add desired spices (e.g. cinnamon, ginger, allspice, etc.) and mix for additional minute over heat.

Mix toasted nuts with 2 Tbsp. melted but slightly cooled butter. Pour fruit into dish and top with nut crumble and dollop of freshly whipped cream if desired.

Fresh Fruit with Greek Style Yogurt

Sweet Potato with Butter, Cinnamon and Toasted Pecans

Berries with Mascarpone Cheese

Whip a small container of mascarpone with a quarter cup of unsweetened coconut and a splash of cream. Serve with strawberries, cherries or your own favorite fruit.

Almond Macaroons

(Recipe from

1-1/4 cups almonds
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
2 egg whites, beaten
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Grind almonds coarsely. Combine cinnamon and lemon and add. Beat egg whites very stiff, fold in honey and continue beating. Fold in lemon juice with almond mixture and blend. Drop from a teaspoon onto ungreased parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes at 250 degrees F. Remove from paper while still slightly warm. Makes 4 macaroons.

We hope this edition (and the yummy photos) lightened up your day. Do share your comments – and your own favorite MDA-style sweet treats!

Thom, quinn.anya, ulterior epicure, jypsygen, Marvin Kuo, SummerTX, tiny banquet committee, SiFu Renka, matuko amini, stickii, Jen Chan Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Eat This Today, Feel Better Tomorrow: Editions 1, 2, 3, Intermittent Fasting, and Special Occasions

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. With tiny bit reduction in the added sugars (like honey), I can eat just about all of these desserts you posted and not have a high blood glucose reading later. Yum!

    My favorite easy, fast dessert Crema di Mascarpone: 8 oz. of mascarpone cheese beaten a minute or two with two raw egg yolks until well mixed and creamy, with a drizzle of a favorite brandy, cognac, or liqueur, then chilled a couple hours (you could substitute with softened plain cream cheese, but that is saltier, so tends to need too much sweetening). Just a tiny bit does it, as it is so rich and delicious. Excellent with fresh fruit. I serve it in tiny espresso cups with demitasse spoons so it can be savored instead of gobbled up. It’s also and easy make ahead, elegant dessert to serve to company.

    I’m trying to raise my dietary fat consumption % (which is harder than I expected because it is so satisfying) and this is a delicious way.

    Anna wrote on April 4th, 2008
  2. Those almond macaroons look brutally good. I just hope I don’t eat the whole batch all at once!

    Jana wrote on April 4th, 2008
  3. The other day I made this:
    1 jar (8oz) date mango puree
    1/2 c each raisins and crasins
    1/2 c cocoa
    1-2 c walnuts

    Process and form into little balls, freeze and be cautious as I call these choc bombs.

    Sub all dry fruit, add cinn., roll in coconut, sub diff nuts, possibilities are endless!

    sarena wrote on April 4th, 2008
  4. These are great ideas!! Love the greek yogurt one. I have that “dessert” about once a day:) But what’s up with the almond macaroons having no coconut in them? I’m no chef but it seems like macaroons should have a bunch of coconut. Could I use half (unsweetened) coconut with half the almonds? Coconuts totally paleo, right?

    charlotte wrote on April 4th, 2008
  5. I’ve been baking with nut flours more this year, mostly tarts. It works better with small tarts rather than larger ones. Try mixing hazelnut and almond flour with butter, a pinch of salt, cold water, and a dash of vanilla. Press it into the bottom of mini tart pans. Bake it until slightly golden and then either fill with baking fruit (like pear or thinly-sliced apple) mixed with cinnamon and butter and bake more, or simply fill the tart shells with creme fraiche and fresh berries.

    Speaking of berries, that picture of blueberries makes me wish it were blueberry season right now.

    Food Is Love

    Huckleberry wrote on April 4th, 2008
  6. Sarena, have you analyzed the sugar content of your choc ball combo?

    Has anyone made Schwetty Balls?

    Charlotte, I totally agree about the inclusion of coconut in macaroons. I make coconut butter cookies from Bruce Fife’s coconut flour cookbook, sometimes with added almond meal and/or almond slivers. Gluten-free, high in fiber for those who think they need it, lots of great medium chain and saturated fatty acids, and protein/nutrients from eggs. I make a low sugar variation, but it doesn’t taste like a “good for you” cookie.

    Unless I am ravenous, I find it hard to overeat these rich buttery cookies, and 1-3 make a filling, energetic snack without blowing my BG goals. They are a hit at my son’s soccer games, especially with the gluten-free kids (but not with the two coconut-hating kids).

    Anna wrote on April 4th, 2008
  7. Oooh Anna! I’ll have to see if I can get that cookbook from teh library. I’d love to try that recipe! Thanks for the tips.

    PS> I just made the macaroons with my kids – they’re baking so I haven’t tried one yet but they look delish! (And I did add some coconut)

    charlotte wrote on April 4th, 2008
  8. Anna, now why would I analyze the sugar content:)?? I said the are chocolate bombs!! I generally don’t do sweets, so dont get me started!

    sarena wrote on April 4th, 2008
  9. My sweet tooth just keeps getting smaller and smaller. My new favorite dessert is fresh (or at this time of year, frozen) fruit with homemade crème fraîche. Crème fraîche takes some thinking ahead, but it is absolutely the laziest recipe I’ve ever made; Father Time does all the work.

    1 T buttermilk (commercial or homemade)
    1 pint heavy cream

    Mix. Cover. Let sit at room temperature 12 to 24 hours until thick. (Depends on how warm the room is.)

    I got this from one of the Moosewood Cookbooks, which recommends adding maple syrup for dessert uses; I like it plain. It’s not very sour at all, just fresh tasting, as it’s French name implies. And if you don’t sweeten it, you can also use it to garnish savory dishes, like scrambled eggs or soups or stews.

    I also like Greek yogurt with chopped nuts and some cinnamon and maybe a little flax oil or some freshly ground flax seeds.

    Migraineur wrote on April 7th, 2008
  10. Migraineur, thank you for that. I never really knew exactly what crème fraîche was before, just had a vague idea. I’ll have to try that, sounds wonderful.

    Lately my favorite dessert has been frozen blueberries in coconut milk. The coconut milk gets all frozen yogurty & sticks to the berries, it’s unreal. Coconut milk would probably be good in smoothies, but I haven’t tried that yet.

    Heather wrote on April 7th, 2008
  11. Heather,

    Regular heavy cream is good with frozen berries, too. My son *loves* that combo. Coconut milk *is* great in smoothies, as well as baked egg custard, homemade ice cream, and cheesecake. Coconut milk is one of the few canned foods I am happy to buy. I keep my cupboard stocked.

    Anna wrote on April 7th, 2008
  12. I’ve been meaning to try just regular heavy cream, actually bought some recently to put on pears. Then my husband made some asparagus soup (we cook asparagus, save the brothy stuff & make soup with it) and used the tiny container up…

    I don’t know that I’ve ever tried heavy cream before, I came from a 2% milk & Half & Half family, and I’ve cut out nearly all dairy over the past year. But I figure a little of the good quality stuff won’t be too awful for me… Thanks for the suggestion. =)

    Heather wrote on April 7th, 2008
  13. I like the desserts, but my favorite would have to be chocolate! I was wondering, what kind of dark chocolate is best, and is it actually healthy for you to eat some every day? Especially if you are trying to get that last 5 to 10 pounds off :)

    Robert, The Tanning Guy wrote on June 28th, 2008
  14. Where does 30 macaroons come from ? The recipe said course which means grainy and not ground too fine. This recipe yielded 4 macaroons. Am I lost here ?

    Kevin wrote on January 8th, 2009
  15. Kevin – I’m not sure how that one slipped by editorial. To our credit the original recipe does say 30. Of course, those ingredients aren’t making 30 of anything…

    Sorry for the confusion. I’ll update the recipe to include your experience.

    Mark Sisson wrote on January 8th, 2009
  16. Any idea on the kind of almonds ? Slivered or sliced ? Should the almonds generally be ground into a fine rather that course powder ? I always have trouble getting some of these recipes to stick together. What ingredient is the most important for cohesiveness of the item after cooking ?


    Kevin wrote on January 10th, 2009
  17. Figs… those took me a while to get used to. Now I love em. Big ups for mentioning this fruit, it doesn’t get enough exposure.

    FitJerks Fitness Blog wrote on November 18th, 2009
  18. You can make a low sugar whipped cream to spoon over pumpkin pudding, custard, pie, or fresh fruit.

    Stevia-Sweetened Whip Cream:
    Beat a 16-oz container of heavy cream into soft peaks. Next add 1/4 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder (a brand with nothing added to it, no starch or fillers). Beat again, adding 1 to 3 tablespoons raw honey, then 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (double if desired. Keeps in the fridge for 4 days.

    Sprinkle w/cacoa nibs if you like!

    Chef Rachel

    Chef Rachel Albert wrote on November 4th, 2010
  19. How often is healthy to indulge in some healthy dessert like homemade dark chocolate or coconut cupcakes, or chocolate smoothies (with avocado) /paleo pudding… is a few times a week going to hinder weight loss/management goals?

    Jenni wrote on March 30th, 2011
  20. How healthy is milk in general? Even organic milk. A lot of the ingredients here call for cream or some sort of milk-based product, but to my knowledge, most milk products are bad for the body. Not only because they’re pasteurized and therefore, all of the essential nutrients have been destroyed in the process, but in itself, milk is just not very digestible by the human body.

    I know PB doesn’t really mention dairy as an issue, but if you think back to our ancestors…how many of them actually ingest pasteurized cow milk on a daily basis?

    If anyone can provide any feedback on this, it’d be much appreciated.

    Tikkitumble wrote on August 10th, 2011
  21. You can make a chocolate mousse with dark chocolate and eggs : you melt the chocolate, than mix it with the yolks. You whip the whites until they’re firm, than fold them into the chocolate mixture. Let cool for 3 to 4 hours (but not overnight, since the yolks are raw, better eat it quick!)
    200 g of chocolate and 6 eggs make a good 6-8 servings

    Ophelie wrote on August 31st, 2011
  22. dairy is a tricky beast. It is an entirely personal choice. Some folks digest nearly all kinds of dairy just fine. In an ideal world if you were to consume milk than you would try and look for raw, organic, grass-fed, a2, etc.

    the ancestral arguments against it are weaker than with grains. We currently think that agriculture started about 10k ago but we really have no idea how long ago people started herding animals. Some say that is was at least as early as 9000bc but it could have been far earlier. humans were herds after they were hunter gathers but before agriculture.

    n4than wrote on November 7th, 2011
  23. Does anyone have any idea how to curb sweet cravings? I just have such a sweet tooth! I don’t eat junk, but too much of the good stuff – once I start, I just can’t stop myself until I had way too much. The same goes for nuts, dry or roasted. Should I maybe just try complete abstinence for a while? Any suggestions most welcome!

    Foxygee wrote on January 29th, 2012
    • Go completely cold turkey (the first 72 hours are the most difficult!) eat regularly to prevent desire to cure hunger with spike of sugary, fatty food.

      Another option you could try “Don’t break the chain” a motivation technique that uses a calendar.

      You pick a goal (i.e don’t eat sweets for 21 days)
      Mark off the days on which you work toward that goal.
      Use your chain of marked off days as a motivator.

      I find the chain method highly motivating when I personally want to instill habits.

      After 30 days it becomes natural. Good luck :)

      Sean @GetBodyHack wrote on February 15th, 2012
    • I found before I went paleo, if I eat fruit for 3-5 days whenever i get a sweet craving, it seems to help reduce the cravings. I’ve been paleo since the beginning of this year and have just started getting sweet cravings and am trying these paleo desserts…I guess its getting cold here down under so salads aren’t as satisfying. I am making soups and want the occassional warm desserts around 9pm.

      Shoobidooo wrote on April 21st, 2012
  24. The most delicious organic dessert I’ve ever had while eating primal:

    – 1 banana, sliced into discs
    – 1 tbs. virgin coconut oil
    – 1 tbs. raw honey
    – 1 tsp. cinnamon

    Put the oil in a stainless steel pan and melt it down over low, low heat. Slice the banana into a bowl. Plop the honey on top of the bananas, pour in the oil when it’s melted, top with cinnamon, stir, enjoy.

    Matt wrote on March 6th, 2012
  25. I love chocolate with wine. Also fruit with honey. Thxs for reminding me.

    Julius wrote on November 14th, 2012
  26. Question about chocolate mousse….Can I use cacao, or do I really need to melt some chocolate . My kids would die for Nutella spread, I don’t want to band it , so how can I substitute it with a healthier choice? :)

    Hilola wrote on March 6th, 2013

    secret ingredient, one word… AVOCADO! run, do not walk to the grocery store with this ingredients list in hand. You will not be disappointed. For those of you who do not eat raw Cacao i look forward to hearing how your Mint or Pistachio versions turn out.

    -GF Gus

    Nate Wellin wrote on February 12th, 2015

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