Cleaning Up Holiday Faves: Desserts

Wanna know how to remember to spell"desserts" versus "desert"? You always want two desserts and only one desert ( in regards to the number of  "'s" in each word).

Oh, the desserts are always the tricky ones to navigate during the holidays! They're so tasty yet can also, if you're not careful, leave you in an insulin coma afterwards. (Note: I'm NOT saying you CAN'T have dessert. Desserts are awesome and can be enjoyed in MODERATION during special occasions, such as a holiday. However, it's that whole "moderation" thing is usually the portion of that advice that is ignored.)

Today's post is a two-fold of excellence: 1. two quick dessert recipes that are for "oh crap, I was supposed to bring something!" moments and 2. links to recipes of delicious and healthier versions of desserts. Baking is really not my strong point, mainly because baking requires the cook to follow the recipe to a T. I do not do such things; I prefer just to throw stuff haphazardly around in my mixing bowls and see what happens. Baking like this generally results in disastrous, inedible food.

First quick recipe:

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter (or any nut butter) Cups  (adapted from Joshua Weissman over at

Ingredients - 7-8 ounces high quality dark chocolate - note: Do NOT use this. It was a messy disaster.

- ½ cup peanut butter (or any nut butter you prefer) - 1 tablespoon honey (you can also use stevia if you prefer, but honey gives it a gooey and delightful texture) - 1 tablespoon coconut flour (or regular flour. Actually, depending on the PB, if it's a thicker consistency, you probably won't need it.) - smoked sea salt for sprinkling (I skipped this, and it still tasted great. However, if you like the sweet-salty contrast, this will be fabulous) 1. Line a mini muffin tin with mini muffin cups.

2. In a small bowl add peanut butter, honey or stevia, coconut flour (if needed) and stir until well combined and place to the side.

3. Chop up the chocolate into pieces and melt it in a double boiler or place it in a bowl and microwave at 10 second intervals stirring in between each interval until melted. Just beware the cheap Trader Joe kind! I used their higher end chocolate, and it worked just find.

4. Using a tablespoon, spoon the melted chocolate carefully into the cupcake cups, enough to line the bottom of the cup and fill it about 1/2 inch.

5. Now scoop a teaspoon-ish size amount of peanut butter into each cup. Also perform this carefully. I had one (maybe two) instances of spilled chocolate... Not good.  6. Using the remaining chocolate, drizzle melted chocolate over peanut butter filled molds with just enough chocolate to cover completely. Or, if you're like me, I didn't seem to have enough chocolate so I had some peanut butter peeking out the top. They were still delicious.

7. Sprinkle smoked sea salt over each finished chocolate (optional)

8. Place lace in the fridge until hard, roughly 30-40 minutes.

Quick Pumpkin Cookies

- 3/4 -1 cup pumpkin puree (should you not have pumpkin on hand, dried fruit works well too. I've experimented with apricots and prunes with tasty success. The latter version was very helpful in the bowel department.)

- 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter

- 3/4 cup oat flour (just pulse oatmeal in a blender and ta-da! You can swap this out for 1/2 cup coconut flour if you need this to be a gluten-free recipe)

- 1 tsp vanila

- 1.5 tsp of pumpkin spice

- 1-2 Tbs honey

- 1-2 handfuls of chocolate chips or raisins (optional)

- Enough milk to thin it out a bit (roughly 1/2 to 1/3 cup)

PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 350 (I always forget this part).

1. Throw all ingredients, except the milk at first, into a food processor and pulse until fairly smooth.

2. Slowly add milk until the consistency is not super, super thick. Just slightly thick and sticky.

3. Toss in the chocolate chips, if you're using them, and scoop tablespoon (or slightly larger) size balls onto a cookie sheet.

4. Bake roughly 10 minutes and enjoy!

Now for some dessert links from ladies who are fantastic and innovative cooks. I hope you enjoy!

Raw Pumpkin Caramel Bars from Cara Lyons at

Gingerbread Cookies (gluten free) from Maggie Savage from

Pumpkin Cake with Maple icing also from Maggie Savage

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp from the Balance Platter

Black Bean Brownies from Yours Truly

Ta-da! I highly recommend trolling around on those blogs too for other dessert ideas (there are a TON). Remember, moderation is key. You can have your cake an eat it too, just don't eat the whole thing. :)