Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Healthy" Desserts

No, I haven't gone completely mad. I still love butter and cream, and you won't see recipes for tofu cheesecakes or fat-free brownies any time soon. It just happened that I made some desserts this weekend that might seem healthy at first glance: banana coconut chocolate chip cookies and plain frozen yogurt.  

I read about these "healthy" cookies on Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks blog and was immediately seized with a morbid curiosity to make some for myself. This is possibly the strangest cookie recipe I've ever seen.

Here are the things this cookie does NOT contain:
- butter
- sugar
- eggs
- flour

Is this possible? Yes. Does it taste good? You bet.

To be fair, this isn't so much of a cookie in the conventional sense as a baked ball of banana coconut oatmeal stuffed with chocolate chips. I bet the dough would make fantastic fritters when deep fried!

I did use one trick to up the tastiness factor. Instead of just mashing the bananas, I first roasted the bananas in a foil pouch in a 350F oven. (You'll know the bananas are done when the kitchen starts smelling like banana bread stands in Maui). Pre-roasting bananas is a trick I had learned from Cooks Illustrated's banana muffins. The heat caramelizes the sugars in the bananas, revealing the headily fragrant, intensely flavorful tropical goodness inside.

I wasn't a huge fan of the chocolate chips. Next time, I'll use cranberries and walnuts and call it breakfast. 

The other recipe I tried this weekend was David Lebovitz's plain frozen yogurt. It's so easy that I shouldn't even call it a recipe: take 3 cups of Greek yogurt*, stir in 150 grams of sugar, chill in the fridge for an hour, then churn in an ice cream machine. Done. I added some lemon zest and lemon juice because I like my frozen yogurt quite tart. This makes delicious frozen yogurt, the only caveat is that it freezes up pretty solid, so some patience is required before it becomes soft enough to scoop.

In any case, I don't think I'll ever buy frozen yogurt again.

* Before anyone accuses me of making "skinny" food, I used full-fat Greek yogurt, thank you very much. 18 grams of delicious milk fat per serving :)

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