“Healthy dessert makeovers”…
I read Avery’s post on the subject, and wanted to put in my two cents.
It’s a big “thing” among bloggers, where the idea is to take generic desserts recipe (like ones with butter and sugar) and make them “guilt-free”. Some people love it, and others people think it’s a waste of time.
Dessert is dessert, they’ll say, it’s not supposed to be healthy, it’s supposed to be delicious!
Though not all black-and-white, there is a bit of side taking that happens. There’s the “no-way-in-hell-am-I-putting-beans-in-my-dessert” camp and the group whose gun ho for the unsweetened chocolate, and garbanzo bean dips that are cropping up like wild-fire on the internet.
Though I am one of those completely gun ho folks who are eager to try the “healthy” version of everything (I’ll explain why I put “healthy” in quotes below), I take a slightly different point of view.
First, if you look up “dessert” in the online dictionary, you’ll find something like this:
Definition of DESSERT1: a usually sweet course or dish (as of pastry or ice cream) usually served at the end of a meal2British : a fresh fruit served after a sweet course
Examples of DESSERT
- She doesn’t care for rich desserts.
- Coffee and tea will be served with dessert.
- We had ice cream and apple pie for dessert.
Origin of DESSERTMiddle French, from desservir to clear the table, from des- de- + servir to serve, from Latin servireFirst Known Use: 1600
I don’t see anything specific in there about butter, sugar, eggs, etc. being unique to only desserts. Though those ingredients do create a rather delicious, and addictive, result. Just because that is the way dessert is traditionally made does not mean it’s the only way to have dessert!
My apple pie is stevia-sweetened. And low-fat. And whole-grain. And delicious.
Beans, stevia, and whole grains can be a delicious part or whole of a yummy dessert. I mean, why not? You says that doesn’t constitute a dessert? Besides, there are plenty of people who don’t ordinarily care for traditional, rich desserts, or those who physically cannot eat them without being sick, in the case of allergies.
Desserts are made different all over the world– using differing ingredients and recipes, that reflect the culture. Who can’t add to these repertoires? People get really excited when pastry chefs try a new flavor combination and put spins on old classics… yet for some reason, the toils of us “health-nuts” (as we are so off-hand-idly, and in my opinion rudely, dubbed) are to be brushed aside. “Beans in desserts? Silly health nuts!”.
I think that a whole new repertoire of recipes have yet to be discovered– and they involve all sorts of ingredients that haven’t been used in that way before. But the reason they are unfamiliar to certain recipes is not because they are “wrong” or not meant for that pastry, dip, brownie, cookie, etc.. It’s simply that no one has just figured it out yet! There is a whole world of ingredient combinations and applications that have never been used before. And people are starting to figure them out.
They aren’t “healthy”. They aren’t “weird”. They aren’t “stand-ins” for the “real thing”.
They’re just a new dessert.
If you think I’m being a bit whimsical, you could be right. But I think I’m on to something. In a way, being of these “healthy” people (with allergies, conditions, or just plain old interest) who want to recreate their old favorites, are the ones making so much headway on this new dessert revolution! We all grew up on the “traditional” stuff (butter, sugar, gluten, meat, dairy– whatever your case may be) and whether we like it or not, those are foods we have a taste for! But with out new-found knowledge of our health, we want to have our favorites and eat them, too.
Although, sometimes you just need a big-ole slab of oily, sugary, decadent cake– slathered in frosting! Courtesy of my fave Babycakes cookbook.
Unfortunately, ‘healthy’, as a label for people or food, has become a highly charged word. I prefer to put it in quotes, because for me, “healthy” does not have to be silly, obsessive, or feared. It should mean that one has found their balance and that they know how to take care of themselves.
But wait! I need to clarify something! Just because there is a whole new class of “healthy” desserts does not mean that the traditional rich ones have to be discarded. If that’s your thing, go for it. I know that in my case, I can practice ‘moderation’ for only so long before I lose it with the sugar and my digestion pays big time (like crampy, painful, big time). For me, stevia is a godsend, and I enjoy the flavor and sweetness. However, sugar is sugar and delicious, and I use it for special occasions (and I sometimes make up an occasion to be special. Like Tuesdays.)
If sugar is your thing, enjoy it. Don’t like unsweetened chocolate? Fine.
On the other hand, give the new dessert revolution a try. Beans in cookie dip? Whole grains as flour?
Sometimes they taste like the original they’re modeled after. Sometimes they carve out a new category of their own.
But give it a try.
You may be pleasantly surprised.
What are your thoughts on “healthy” desserts? I’m open to all views.