Tag Archives: chocolate

3 Mouthwatering Mini Dessert Recipes

They say good things come in small packages, and for me that means mini desserts. There is no way that I’m going to skip sweets, yet I don’t want a huge piece of pie or cake, either.  The first few bites of any food are the most satisfying, so why eat more than you need? Here are three pint-size creations suitable for entertaining, and for every day!

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Brownie Bites with Raspberry Chia Jam

Brownie Bites with Raspberry Chia Jam

Makes 24 brownies.

1 cup fresh or frozen plain raspberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chia seeds

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate mini chips

2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.

Place berries in small saucepan and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the fruit breaks down. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash the berries. Take the berries off the heat. Add the sugar and chia seeds, and let the mixture stand until thickened.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Place the beans and the oil in a food processor. Process on high until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and blend well. Add the baking powder and salt and blend for 10 seconds more. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter by rounded tablespoons into each muffin cup. Bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a brownie bite comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.

Top each brownie with 1 teaspoon jam and a few coconut flakes.

 

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Mini Pumpkin Mousse

Mini Pumpkin Mousse 

Makes 12 servings.

2 cups plain canned pumpkin

1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

8 ounces frozen, thawed light whipped cream (or 1/2 cup heavy cream that’s been whipped, or cashew cream)

2-3 medium gingersnaps, crumbed (optional)

Place pumpkin, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves in a large mixing bowl. Beat on high speed for 1 minute. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the whipped topping or cream, and fold what remains into the pumpkin mixture. Spoon the mousse into 12 small serving dishes. Chill until ready to serve. Top each with a teaspoon of whipped topping and crumbled gingersnap cookies, if desired.

 

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups

Makes 24 cups.

12 ounces dark chocolate

1 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup Greek-style cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

mini chocolate chips or chocolate for shaving, if desired

Cut two clean, one-dozen empty foam egg cartons into separate egg cups to make 24 cups.

Melt the dark chocolate.  Place a heaping teaspoon of melted chocolate in each egg cup and tilt to evenly coat. Put egg cups on a baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.

Place cream in a large mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until cream forms stiff peaks, about one or two minutes. Do not overbeat.  Transfer cream to a medium bowl and set aside.

Add cream cheese, sugar, and peanut butter to the large mixing bowl.  Beat on high speed until smooth. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until completely combined and the mixture is uniform in color and texture. Refrigerate.

Take egg cups out of the freezer. Carefully peel the egg carton from the chocolate, keeping your fingers near the bottom.

To assemble, place a tablespoon or so of the peanut mixture into each chocolate cup and top with shaved chocolate.

 

 

Better-for-You Chocolate Holiday Treats

I love combining chocolate with dried fruit, or nuts, or both! My friends and family seem to like the idea, too.  They’re always so appreciative when I present them with these super simple, better-for-you treats, which make great holiday gifts.

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How to make healthier holiday treats

There’s no formal recipe for my healthier holiday treats. For each batch, melt 10 ounces of dark chocolate (I use dark chocolate chips)  in a double boiler. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Use a large glass bowl to make room for other ingredients.

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When the chocolate has melted, add 2 cups whole or chopped nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut, or a combination directly to the double boiler, mix thoroughly, and drop by large tablespoons onto waxed paper.

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Top with festive sprinkles, if desired!

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My latest obsession is macadamia nuts, dried cranberries, and white chocolate. Yum!

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I prepare several batches of treats with a variety of ingredients.

www.betteristhenewperfect.com

When I need to be mindful of nut allergy, I make the dried fruit treats first and package them up so that they don’t come into contact with nuts. These are a raisin and coconut combo:

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Dip the apricots halfway in the melted chocolate.

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Allow the treats to set for about 2 to 3 hours before packaging.

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Would it be better to forgo the chocolate and eat plain nuts and dried fruit? Yes, that would be perfect, but not nearly as much fun.  I think my friends and family would be disappointed, and so would I!

Happy holidays!

 

Raspberry Fudge Cake

Warning: Rave ahead. As in I can’t stop raving about this rich, flourless chocolate and black bean cake topped with fresh raspberries.  Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the combination of flavors!  Although it contains added sugar, Raspberry Fudge Cake is better for you than typical desserts.  This recipe is a riff on the Black Bean Brownie Bites in my latest book Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy.

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Produce Power 

Fruits and vegetables help to make indulgences healthier. In this case, the raspberries and black beans work together to bump the fiber content to 8 grams (about 25% of the Daily Value) and the protein to 7 grams per serving.

Here’s why I use fruit, and vegetables, including beans, in baked goods and snacks. Beans are brimming with nutrients including protein, fiber, potassium, and phytonutrients, compounds that protect your body. When pureed and used in baked goods, beans are useful as fat replacers, and they enhance the fudge-like texture. Check out the many amazing ways food blogger Catherine Katz at Cuisinicity works magic with lentils in sweet, and savory, dishes.

I cannot get enough raspberries! They’re delicious, beautiful, and powerful little orbs that supply vitamin C, fiber, phytonutrients, and so much more. And raspberries provide natural sweetness so you can use less added sugar when cooking.

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An All-Around Great Cake

I told you I was going to brag.

Raspberry Fudge Cake takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. While it looks special enough for a celebration, it’s so easy to make that you can have it any time.

We are mad for this cake in our house. I hope you like it as much as we do!

Raspberry Fudge Cake

Makes 8 servings.

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola oil

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup + 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (or 1/3 cup white chocolate chips for the topping)

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the beans and 3 tablespoons of oil in a food processor. Process on high until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract and blend well.  Add the baking powder and salt and blend for 10 seconds more. Stir in 1/2 cup of the dark chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes.

Top the cake with the raspberries.  Combine the remaining teaspoon of canola oil and the remaining 1/3 cup dark or white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave until chips are melted, about 20 to 30 seconds, stopping to stir once.  Immediately drizzle the chocolate mixture on top of the raspberries. Allow the chocolate to harden for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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Per serving: 
316 calories; 14 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat); 54 milligrams cholesterol; 271 milligrams sodium; 45 grams carbohydrate; 8 grams fiber; 7 grams protein

 

Better-for-You Chocolate Holiday Treats

I eat dark chocolate nearly every day, and especially during the holidays. Combining chocolate with fruit and nuts satisfies my cravings and improves nutrition. My friends and family seem to like the pairings, too.  They’re always so appreciative when I make these super simple, better-for-you treats as holiday gifts and for when I entertain.

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How to make healthier holiday treats

There’s no formal recipe for my healthier holiday treats. For each batch, melt 10 ounces of dark chocolate (I use dark chocolate chips)  in a double boiler. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Use a large glass bowl to make room for the other ingredients.dsc_0460

When the chocolate has melted, add 2 cups whole or chopped nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut, or a combination directly to the double boiler, mix thoroughly, and drop by large tablespoons onto waxed paper.

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Top with festive sprinkles, if desired! fullsizeoutput_a79

My latest obsession is macadamia nuts, dried cranberries, and white chocolate. Yum!

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I prepare several batches of treats with a variety of ingredients.dsc_0050

When I need to be mindful of nut allergy, I make the dried fruit treats first and package them up so that they don’t come into contact with nuts. These are a raisin and coconut combo:

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For the apricots or other whole fruit, dip them into the chocolate half way.

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Allow the treats to set for about 2 to 3 hours before packaging.

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Would it be better to forgo the chocolate and eat plain nuts and dried fruit? Yes, that would be perfect, but not nearly as much fun.  And I think my friends and family would be disappointed!

Happy holidays!

 

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