I mentioned before I have sweet tooth the size of the grand canyon, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to manage it without falling off the cliff entirely. I’ve gone over the edge before; I like to think it was a graceful swan dive, but it was more like a belly flop.
Rewind to just shy of a year ago. It was early October, and the Hubby was away for work for an entire week. The only thing with me, in the house, was my two cats (this predates my crazy cat lady days), and some enormous bags of Halloween candy, and when I say enormous I mean over one hundred pieces of candy in a single bag enormous. I’m not just talking big; I’m talking Costco big. The in-laws are very keen on Costco and most weeks I really appreciate it. When they buy lemons or oranges, I usually get half. They also pick up our Halloween candy every year, and I should be grateful. The problem is they deliver it too soon. Yes, they deliver; I know, I’m spoiled.
In my perfect world, the Halloween candy would arrive hours before the trick or treaters do on the 31st and not a minute sooner. The reason: I cannot be trusted alone in a house with that much candy for any period of time. Case in point, last year when this happened, and I was utterly alone for a solid week, I gorged myself on Halloween candy to the point my teeth hurt and smears of chocolate could be found on the furniture.
I felt like crap, I was grumpy, lethargic, and jonesing for sugar; not exactly where I want to be leading up to the holidays where sweets are lurking around every corner. Halloween candy turned to Thanksgiving treats and ultimately into Christmas sweets. I gained weight, I got stressed and I fought like hell all of February to yank myself out of my sugar induced rut. It worked, only because I worked for it (a topic for another day).
Since I’m very aware of my sugar problem (can you say crack head), I really try to indulge in moderation and to make desserts which have some health benefits, yet still satisfy my sweet tooth. Moderation is by far my toughest struggle, but I am getting better at it. It helps to dole the treats out in small quantities so I’m not shoveling them all in my face with one go (like last October – shudder). Sharing with loved ones is another great way to practice restraint
(just in case you maybe need help with that too). I look at it this way: if I have ten cookies and I give five away, it means I only have five left to dump down my throat. Share and you will over-indulge less. See how that works; math is a marvelous thing. Especially since it keeps me from being a raging sugar maniac, which is something we want to avoid at all costs. The Hubby can attest.
The easiest part to curtailing my sweet tooth has been finding desserts with some pretty great nutritional stats, and without too much refined sugar (a.k.a. the White Devil). I have previously shared my love of Katie’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (been there, done that) which I brought into work last week and fooled the masses into thinking it was a sinfully delicious and therefore ridiculously bad for you dessert. Ha, ha, I am tricky like ninja (oh to be a ninja).
Well I’ve got another “snack,” if you will: Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Cups. I wish I could say I was creative enough to put this together on my own, but it wasn’t meant to be, so let me give credit where it’s due. I discovered these fine little specimens on Ksenija’s site Healthy Ninja (more ninjas!!) and decided to make my own with a little bit of a twist and without any real measuring because who wants to dirty another dish. Yes, I own a dishwasher, and I still detest overusing dishes.
The overall concept to these little puppies (puppies are cute, therefore I’m allowed to use them when describing food) is granola, peanut butter and chocolate. It’s a pretty rock solid foundation and a fantastic premise, if you ask me.
You can start by making Ksenija’s granola (which looks very tasty and is chock full of dried fruit), my granola, your own granola, store-bought granola or whatever kind of nuts you want. I stuck with my standard granola recipe with chopped walnuts and pecans less any fruit or coconut (I’m a purist). I added little spoonfuls of granola to each cup in my mini-muffin pan (finally a purpose for this thing, cause it sure as hell ain’t muffins!). Then I topped the granola with a spoonful of melted peanut butter and stuck it in the freezer for twenty minutes. After the time expired, I topped them again, this time with some melted dark and dairy free chocolate. Then I sprinkled some coarse sea salt over them because I like a little salty with my sweet (in life and in food). I popped them back into the freezer for another twenty minutes before storing them in the fridge.
The labor time on this one is under ten minutes, especially when you use your microwave to handle all your melting needs. And if you hate to dirty dishes like me, you’ll use the same coffee mug to melt first your peanut butter and then your chocolate. It really doesn’t get easier. The hard part is showing restraint and only eating a couple at a time. This is also where sharing comes into play, if you can bring yourself to do it.
What are your favorite desserts with amped up nutritional stats? Please share your recipes with me and save me from myself.