I love the holiday season- having the family over, catching up with old friends, reminiscing about the year bygone. Every thing looks and feels beautiful during this time of the year. But along with the beautiful moments comes a trepidation- a fear that I believe is common to all my friends and I alike- the fear of packing on the extra unwanted pounds.
Fortunately, I have always gotten the support of my family and friends in my decision to have healthy holidays, especially when I promise them that it wont be at the cost of taste So in this post, I will talk about a couple of winners in the dessert category when it comes to guilt free holiday treats that taste nothing less than heavenly.
The chocolate almond cookies recipe that I am about to share is inspired by a recipe I once read about in a Marylin Smith cookbook. The reason why I am not providing the exact recipe is because the original requires a trip to specialty store, and the whole idea is that the recipes I share must be easy and accessible for a home cook.
Chocolate Almond Cookies-
(Yields about 12 small cookies)
6 tbsp Canola Oil
3/4 cup Honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup chocolate chips
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp flax
10 almonds finely chopped
Preheat the oven at 375 degrees
In a bowl sift the remaining dry ingredients together.
In another bowl, mix the canola oil, honey, egg and vanilla extract. Beat until the mixture is fluffy.
Little by little at a time, start adding the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. When all ingredients are completely mixed, add almonds and chocolate chips to the mix.
Spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until completely cooked
Except the fact that we are replacing the flour in this cookie with whole grain, you will also benefit from the omega 3s from flax and almonds. Today, I didn’t have the almonds, so I went with walnuts and the cookies were just equally satisfying and great for health! Additionally, we are using honey instead of regular white sugar. Honey has healthier glycemic index. Honey also has many nutrients, enzymes and antioxidants that are otherwise missing in sugar. So all-in-all, these cookies are not just good, but also good for you.
Enough about chocolate. Now for an off the beaten path, light and delightful dessert that melts my heart and satisfies my craving every time. I remember making this dessert for the first time, when we decided to have some friends over for dinner on whim without any planning or advanced notice. I needed to whip something up quick and using only the ingredients I had in my refrigerator. This dessert literally took me 10 minutes to put together and was admired by all. I don’t really have a name for this one, so I will continue with the obvious name-
Grilled Peaches with Bourbon cream-
1 peach sliced and peeled
4 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp Bourbon
Honey to taste
Grill the sliced peaches on your indoor grill. I just used my tiny George foreman grill. The aim is to just get enough grill marks on the peach.
While, the peaches are grilling, whip the cream, honey and Bourbon.
In a mini dessert bowl add the cream, Bourbon mixture, place a peach over it. Drizzle some honey, and garnish with some lemon zest. The result you have is a surprisingly delicious and sophisticated dessert.
Now don’t get me wrong, the cream and bourbon aren’t the healthiest ingredients, but your palate will really just need very little cream mixture to complement the sweetness of the peach. I say honey to taste, because the sweetness in the peach is enhanced after grilling, and a little honey will go a long way.
I used bourbon because I had some on hand at the time. But if you would like to experiment with some other alchohol or replace alchohol with espresso powder or instant coffee- that would work really really well also.
I hope you and your families/ friends enjoy these recipes. Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a Happy & Prosperous New Year!