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So GoodApril/May 2008 Issue

Sugar-Free Dessert Recipes You Will Love!

Sugar-free recipes you’ll love, guilt free.

Dessert can be just as scrumptious—and a whole lot healthier—when it’s made without white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Try using wholesome alternatives, like agave, maple syrup, or tapioca syrup. You'll find that these natural sweeteners bake up treats that are rich, flavorful and satisfying. So go ahead and indulge. These recipes are also deliciously free of gluten and dairy.

Spring Crêpes

SERVES 4 to 6

Crêpes are very versatile. Load them with fresh fruit or a variety of sweet or savory fillings. This recipe is perfect when teamed with lemon pudding (recipe follows).

    ½  cup gluten-free flour blend
    ½  cup nondairy rice or almond milk
    ¼  cup warm water
    1 ½  tablespoons agave syrup
    ¼  teaspoon salt
    2  large eggs
    2  tablespoons grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
        Additional oil for cooking

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour batter into a pitcher, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes to three hours.

2. Using a paper towel, wipe the inside of an 8-inch cast iron, non-stick skillet or crepe pan with a small amount of oil. Place pan over medium heat.

3. Stir the batter. Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons into the pan, tilting to coat the bottom. The batter should form a very thin layer. Cook just until the top is set and the edges are slightly browned. Turn the crepe over and cook the other side until it is lightly browned. Continue cooking remaining crêpes, stirring the batter before making each one.

4.  Place finished crêpes between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Serve immediately or refrigerate or freeze for later use. Reheat wrapped crêpes in a preheated 325-degree oven for 10 minutes.

TIP  Make a crêpe cake by stacking crêpes in a spring-form cake pan lined with plastic wrap. Spread each crêpe with fresh fruit as pictured or use the lemon pudding recipe below. Stack layers to desired height.

Luscious Lemon Pudding

SERVES 4 to 6

Pucker up! Lemons are a nutritional powerhouse with antioxidant and antibiotic properties. Beth Van De Boom, director of holistic health at Pathways Medical and Holistic Health Center, shares this favorite recipe.

    ¾  cup maple syrup, preferably organic grade B
    2/3  cup tapioca starch
    2  cups water
    3  large egg yolks, slightly beaten
    1  cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, preferably organic*
       Zest of 1 lemon

1. Combine maple syrup and tapioca starch in a heavy, non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a slight boil.  

2. Add water, stirring briskly and constantly with a whisk to prevent lumping until mixture has thickened and is smooth. Turn heat to low.

3. Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding about ¼ cup of the hot mixture by the spoonful to the yolks while beating with a whisk so the yolks don’t scramble.

4. Add the tempered egg yolks to the saucepan, stirring into the pudding mixture. Turn off heat.

5. Add lemon juice and zest and briskly mix.

6. Remove from heat. Pudding will thicken as it cools. Serve hot or cold.

*TIP This recipe calls for the juice of about six lemons. Add or subtract lemon juice to suit your taste.

TIP For variation, substitute key lime juice and zest for
the lemons.

Chocolate Peppermint Frozen Delight

MAKES 2 CUPS

This creamy, nondairy “ice cream,” with a taste similar to Chicago’s famous frango mints, will satisfy even the fussiest sweet tooth. You’ll need to use an ice cream maker for this dessert.

1  (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (not lite)
¼  cup melted coconut oil
¼  cup agave syrup
¼  cup cocoa powder
1/8  teaspoon salt
1  egg, slightly beaten
1  teaspoon vanilla extract
1  teaspoon peppermint extract
2  tablespoons crushed gluten-free peppermint candies, optional

1. Combine coconut milk, coconut oil and agave syrup in a medium-sized heavy non-aluminum saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and mix in cocoa and salt. Whisk until no lumps appear. Remove from heat.

2. Temper the egg by slowly adding about ½ cup of hot mixture by the spoonful to the egg while quickly beating with a whisk so that the egg doesn’t scramble. Then add tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir until well blended. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened, about 2 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peppermint extract. Add crushed peppermint candies, if using.

4. Thoroughly cool mixture in the refrigerator before making “ice cream.” Follow manufacturer’s directions to make ice cream. Serve immediately or store in the freezer until ready to serve. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

TIP You can make peppermint pie by serving this recipe in a prepared gluten-free pie shell.

How (Sugar-Free) Sweet It Is!

Looking for a sweet something that’s better for you than refined white sugar? Try these alternatives.

Maple Syrup or Sugar
Maple syrup contains beneficial enzymes. Choose 100 percent pure maple syrup, preferably organic. It’s available in grocery and natural food stores. Maple sugar can be used in place of refined white sugar in most recipes. It’s available online at www.authenticfoods.com.  

Agave Syrup
Agave syrup (also called agave nectar) is a honey-like substance cultivated in Mexico from the agave plant. It has a lower glycemic index than processed sugar, better for blood sugar levels. It’s sweeter than table sugar, so less is needed in recipes. Once a favorite food of the Aztecs, agave syrup easily dissolves in cold and hot liquids and works well in modern-day cooking and baking. It’s available in grocery and natural food stores.

Tapioca Syrup
Available as organic, tapioca syrup has a low glycemic index that’s healthier for blood sugar levels. Its neutral flavor makes it a good replacement for corn syrup in baking. It’s available online at www.amazon.com or purchase John Mountain Organic Tapioca Syrup at
www.mel-o.com.  

Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup, an amber-colored syrup with mild flavor, is half as sweet as white sugar. A complex carbohydrate, it contains beneficial enzymes. It’s available in the baking section in grocery and natural food stores. Check the label to confirm that the brown rice syrup you choose is gluten free.

Sucanet®
Sucanet is a branded organic sweetener made from evaporated sugar cane juice with no added preservatives or additives. Similar to raw sugar in appearance and taste although slightly less sweet, Sucanet is less refined than raw sugar. Sucanet is sugar—but it’s a healthier alternative to processed, bleached white sugar. It’s available in
grocery and natural food stores. LW

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