The holiday entertaining season has arrived! One of the greatest challenges of living a healthy lifestyle is getting through the holidays without compromising your best intentions. Everywhere you turn there are decadent treats to temp you. And to make matters worse, we are programmed through years of tradition to indulge at this time of year. It is important to allow yourself the joy of the season, while balancing your desire for a healthy lifestyle.
With that in mind, I offer you this luscious holiday dessert to impress your guests, satisfy your craving for holiday treats, while at the same time offering a healthier choice. With many guests requiring special dietary restrictions, it is also a perfect option for serving those who need a gluten free, and or sugar free menu. You can serve this dark and delicious dessert without reservations.
Everyone loves chocolate. Revered for thousands of years, the Latin word for cocoa is Theobroma meaning “Food of the Gods”, and it’s not hard to tell why. Cocoa is rich in antioxidants, and one of the highest natural foods in flavonoids, making it a free radical busting superhero. Add the fact that it is a source of iron and magnesium and you are in superfood territory. The serotonin boost may provide a welcome calming effect as well.
Raspberries also rank high on the antioxidant scale. Their bright red, jewel like appearance make them a perfect holiday pairing for chocolate.
Next for the cream, while high in calories, it delivers a high impact as well. The fat content is what delivers the flavor and makes a small quantity rich and satisfying. Cream is a natural whole food that packs a punch in satiety and flavor enhancement, as well as luxurious silky texture.
When it comes to sweetening, I aspire to a low carbohydrate, low glycemic lifestyle and prefer Splenda or a combination of Splenda and Stevia, keeping sugars of any kind out of the equation. Depending on personal preferences, you may prefer all Stevia or the natural qualities of honey. If you do use honey, you might want to increase the cocoa a bit or it will produce a slightly softer mousse with less structure. You can select the option that works best for your dietary needs and your own beliefs on healthy eating.
As if the healthy appeal and gorgeous appearance isn’t enough, this dessert whips up in less than 5 minutes with no cooking necessary. With so much to do at this time of year, that alone is a stress relief.
Whether you are entertaining or just treating yourself, you can feel good about this indulgence, without feeling deprived. Even if you make this just for you, serve it in a beautiful dish ensuring that you slow down to appreciate its bold flavor and rich texture. Allow yourself to feel special, because you are, and you deserve to feel spoiled. It is the holidays after all.
1 tbsp cocoa powder
¼ cup whipping cream
3 packets Splenda (or drops of liquid stevia)
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ cup whole fresh raspberries
In a small deep container, combine cocoa, cream, vanilla and sweetener. Mix vigorously with a spoon until the mixture becomes smooth and thickens to hard peaks. Spoon into a serving dish and top with raspberries. A sprig of fresh mint can also be added for a more festive look.
This quantity will produce one perfect serving with 233 calories. If you wish to make more than one serving, just increase the quantities accordingly. If you need to make more than four servings, I suggest making a separate batch, because too large of a quantity becomes difficult to mix effectively.
Indulge and enjoy this healthy holiday treat!
All Photography by Amy Muschik