by Angela Pohlman, General Merchandise Category Manager
A lot of folks are looking to reduce their intake of sugar, and for those of us with a sweet tooth, it is a real challenge. With Valentine's Day around the corner, we need a few new tricks. As always, check in with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
There are several ways people are reducing sugar:
• You can replace all refined sugar with an alternative sweetener—like Stevia or Xylitol. This usually provides a similar amount of sweetness as regular sugar, but without the guilt. These alternative sweeteners are often processed. Many times you can find a cup for cup replacement, which is very convenient.
• Focus on natural sweeteners—like maple syrup, coconut sugar, fruit concentrates. These are often less sweet than regular sugar and less processed than alternative sugars. Many recipes need to have the amount of liquid and dry adjusted when substituting with these sweeteners.
• Whole food sweeteners—using dates, bananas, honey. These have nutritional value, and add a small amount of sweetness to a dish. Usually requires a food processor.
• Diet-dictated—some special diets, such as Keto or AIP tell you what sweeteners are okay.
I’ve searched around looking for some fun recipes to try, and I found a few that my family liked. There are so many online, but be sure to read the ingredients first, as the sweetener used may not fall into the diet you are following.
Granny Smith Apple Crumble
Adapted from 21 Day Sugar Detox
Truly sugar-free—relying completely on the sweetness of fruit. I was dubious of the almond meal for the topping, but it adds a richness that really helps feeling sated.
For the filling:
4 green apples, peeled and thinly sliced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the Topping:
1 1/4 c. almond meal or other nut meal
1/4 c. unsalted butter or coconut oil, softened
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1 Tbs. unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted—for the pan
Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Make the filling: toss apples with lemon juice and cinnamon
Make the topping: in a separate bowl, mix together the almond meal, butter, cinnamon, and salt until completely incorporated.
Brush the bottom and sides of a 9x9 pan with the melted butter. Place the apples in the dish and cover evenly with the topping. Bake for 20 minutes covered with foil, then for an additional 25-30 minutes uncovered, until the apples are soft and the topping begins to brown on the edges. Serves 4.
3-ingredient Coconut Cookies
Adapted from: ohthatstasty.com
A great way to use up a very ripe banana! Very yummy. I want to try with a little pineapple juice next time…
1 very ripe banana (almost completely black peel)
2/3 c. finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl combine the banana and vanilla, mash thoroughly. Stir in coconut until combined. Should be about the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Using about 2 tablespoons of batter per cookie, scoop or roll them into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Then, using a fork, gently mash them down crossways.
Place cookie sheet in the middle rack of the oven, and bake for 11 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and nicely brown on the bottom. Then broil for 1-4 minutes, until they are lightly browned on top. Watch carefully so they don’t burn!
Keep in an airtight container and enjoy! Makes 8 cookies.
Paleo Lava Cakes
I loved this recipe—again, the richness of the almond flour really adds to this recipe. This is also a great cake for a dark chocolate fan. My partner doesn’t like dark chocolate, so it didn’t go over as well for him.
1/3 c. refined coconut oil, butter, or ghee
1/2 c. chocolate chips - I used Lily’s Stevia-Sweetened
1 egg yolk
1/4 c. coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 Tbs. tapioca starch
3 Tbs. almond flour
Directions: Preheat oven to 450ºF. Grease two 6 oz. ramekins really well with coconut oil or butter. Place the prepared ramekins on a baking sheet and set aside.
Place the coconut oil (or butter) and chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at half power for 30 seconds, stir well. Continue microwaving at half power in 30 second bursts, stirring in between until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt well.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, then stir in the tapioca starch and almond flour. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared ramekins. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides are firm but the center is very soft. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cook in the ramekins for 1 minute.
Run a very thin knife around the edge of each cake, cover each with an upside down dessert plate, then carefully turn each one over. Let stand for 10 seconds then unmold. Serve immediately!
To make ahead, prepare cakes up until you pour them into the ramekins - then put the full ramekins in the fridge. Add 1-2 minutes of bake time. Makes two servings.