Sweet But Not Sinful

DID YOU LEAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT? It's a question that's so tough to say no to. Dessert can be our downfall at the end of a good day of healthy eating, when our sweet tooth yearns for mile-high cakes and pies, whipped frostings, and ooey-gooey cookies. And why wouldn’t it? Desserts are delicious! In fact, if you ask me, they may be the answer to why we’re all here on this great Earth! Marie Antoinette may have been more enlightened than we thought. Sure, one alternative is to quit desserts forever. But any nutritionist will tell you this: Deprivation leads to overindulgence. The good news is that healthy dessert isn’t an oxymoron. When I sat down to come up with some ideas, two things were important to me. First, the recipes must deliver some real nutritional goodness. Second, and just as important, I wanted them to be true desserts. Rich. Creamy. Crunchy. Sweet. Turn the page to check out the irresistible results.


Easy Blueberry-Mascarpone Galette



2 cups blueberries
1⁄4 cup plus 3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
1 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1⁄2 lemon)
1 refrigerated pie crust 3⁄4 cup finely chopped raw almonds 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten


1. In a large bowl, combine the blueberries with 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup. In a second bowl, combine the mascarpone, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1⁄4 cup of the maple syrup.

2. Cover your work surface with a large piece of parchment paper. Unfold the pie dough into a 12-inch circle.

3. Spread the mascarpone filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the almonds over the filling, covering it evenly. Spoon the blueberries atop the mascarpone and almond mixture.

4. Using a paring knife, cut eight, 1-inch slits around the edge of the dough. (Think of it as a clock and put slits at 12:00, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30, 6:00, 7:30, 9:00, and 10:30.) Fold the edge all around toward the center. Brush the edge with egg yolk and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup.

5. Carefully transfer the parchment paper with the galette onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.

6. Bake the galette for 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the blueberry filling has softened to syrup.

No-Bake Coconut-Acai Macaroons



1⁄2 cup gluten-free rolled oats 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1⁄2 cup organic maple syrup 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted 2 tablespoons acai powder 1 teaspooon vanilla extract 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a food processor, grind the oats to a flour-like texture. Add the coconut, maple syrup, coconut oil, acai powder, vanilla, and salt; pulse to combine.

3. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the dough and place on the prepared baking sheet. Roll the dough into balls, then refrigerate until firm.


If you can’t find acai powder, throw a few blueberries into the food processor instead.

Nutty Biscotti and Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches



1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 cup) 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk 1⁄2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk 1⁄3 cup organic maple syrup 1⁄2  teaspoon ground cinnamon 1⁄2  teaspoon ground ginger 1⁄2  teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch of ground cloves 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg 3⁄4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted 1 large package store-bought almond biscotti (40 cookies)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 ̊F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the carrot chunks on the prepared baking sheet, and toss with the coconut oil. Roast until the carrot pieces can be pierced easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, cloves, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk until no lumps remain. Place over low heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Combine the roasted carrots and milk mixture in a blender; puree until smooth. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes, then stir in the walnuts.

5. Pour the cooled mixture into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions, about 20 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze until the ice cream sets, about 1 hour.

6. To assemble the sandwiches, spread a generous dollop of ice cream on one cookie and top with a second cookie. Continue to make remaining sandwiches. Serve immediately.


Instead of biscotti, these sandwiches would also work great on pizzelles.

Coconut Black Rice Pudding



1 cup black “forbidden” rice, soaked overnight in cold water to cover (We like Lundberg Farms Black Japonica Rice.) 1  (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk 2  teaspoons vanilla extract 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt 1  cup water 2  tablespoons grade B organic maple syrup 1⁄2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups chopped seasonal fruit of your choice


1. Drain the soaked rice in a strainer and rinse with fresh water. Drain again. Transfer the rice to a large pot and add the coconut milk, vanilla, salt, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is creamy and tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

2. Stir in the maple syrup.

3. In a small dry skillet, toast the coconut over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Divide the pudding among the serving dishes; top each serving with some fruit and the toasted coconut.


This pudding can be topped with any of your favorite seasonal fruits, including citrus, berries, or stone fruits.

Raw Coconut-Maca Power Poppers



1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut flour 2  tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon maca powder 3  tablespoons cacao powder 1⁄2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 3 tablespoons chia seeds 2⁄3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
11⁄3 cups raw almond, peanut, or cashew butter, at room temperature
1⁄3 cup organic maple syrup


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, maca powder, cacao powder, most of the shredded coconut (reserving a small amount for rolling the balls), the chia seeds, and oats.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the nut butter and maple syrup.

4. Add the syrup mixture to the flour mixture, and using your hands, mix until thoroughly combined. You should get a firm dough.

5. Scoop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your hands to roll each scoop into a ball.

6. Spread the remaining coconut on the baking sheet and roll the balls in the coconut. Transfer to an airtight container or enjoy at once.


These are a fantastic healthy snack to have as a pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

Raw Coconut-Mango Parfait



1 cup packed coconut pulp and 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup coconut water (from 1 young coconut) 1 teaspoon organic maple syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh lime juice (from 1⁄2 lime)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1-inch cubes


1. In a blender, combine the coconut pulp and water, maple syrup, vanilla, and lime juice. Blend until smooth and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small dry skillet, toast the shredded coconut over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

3. To serve, divide the chilled coconut mixture among the serving dishes; top each with some mango and coconut.


Unprocessed coconut meat is a pure source of energy. When you eat it, the medium-chain triglyceride fats (the good kind) almost immediately get turned into fuel for your body.

Celery-Cucumber Mint Granita



For the Celery Syrup

1 celery stalk, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces 1⁄3 cup organic maple syrup or coconut sugar 1⁄2 teaspoon ground celery seed

For the Granita

4 celery stalks, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced 10 fresh mint leaves, cut into thin ribbons, plus extra for garnish
Pinch of salt


1. To make the syrup: Combine the celery, sugar, and celery seed in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool
to room temperature, then refrigerate until cool.

2. Strain the syrup and discard the solids. Measure 1⁄3 cup of the syrup for the granita.

3. To make the granita: On a parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange the celery in a single layer. Freeze until solid, about 30 minutes. (Alternatively, you can place the celery loosely into a freezer bag.)

4. In a blender or food processor, combine the frozen celery, cucumbers, mint, reserved celery syrup, and salt. Puree until smooth.

5. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe 9- by 12-inch dish. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer to harden.

6. After 30 minutes, use a fork to scrape the granita, forming rough crystals. Return the pan to the freezer, and continue freezing and scraping every 30 minutes until the granita is frozen, about 4 hours. Serve the granita garnished with the remaining mint.


Be sure the pan you use to make the granita is tempered glass or marked “freezer safe,” as a regular glass dish can crack in the freezer.