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
(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.
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!