diabetic recipes - where's the REAL food?
My boyfriend, a fellow chowhound, was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and it's come as a bit of a cooking blow to me! Savoury food isn't going to be the challenge - I already cook mainly healthy, high fibre, low(ish) GI foods. Dessert is the big cut that he's really feeling at the moment.
Research online has been a bit of a dead end - recipes either based around half a cup of splendor, or a packet of sugarfree instant vanilla pudding! Aren't there any recipes which naturally lend themselves to low sugar?
So what I'm looking for are any recipes that diabetic hounds, or hounds with diabetic loved ones, would like to share, specifically dessert recipes.
I've been fooling around with recipes I already like, using fruit puree, cinnamon, unsweetened cocoa powder (he really loves chocolate!), etc. with varying success. He is actually underweight at the moment, so I'm not worried about fat content.
I am not planning on feeding him 'special' diabetic food; I know that he should budget for dessert if he wants it. I'm not asking for miracle recipes - just slightly less sugary options so that he can have a bit of dessert more often than not. Any chocolatey recipes (ok, not naturally low-sugar!) would be lifesavers.
There have to be some special desserts out there!Please share them...
I have been using The New Diabetes Cookbook, which is available at most bookstores, I think.
However, I've also been going to a diabetes nutrition/education center and what I have taken away is that most foods are edible, provided they are within my carbohydrate/exchange and portion guidelines. (I stress the "my" part of that, because it may not hold true for everyone and I strongly suggest you find a diabetes educator who can help you define what you do and don't need.)
One other thing I'll stress: it is amazing to me how much better I feel when I get the carb/protein/calorie balance right.
As a newly diagnosed Type 2, let me offer two ideas:
First, ASK him. Some folks, as one poster noted, 'budget' for the occasional indulgence. If he's really a T1, he may simply shoot more insulin to cover these occasions. Some people like/get used to artificial sweeteners. Some prefer to avoid sweets altogether. Remember, it's not the sugar, it's the carbs. Fruit is by NO means "free". An orange or a peach may have as many carbs as a small cookie.
Second, if this fellow is an important part of your life, go with him to his Nutrition class. I always thougth I was pretty savvy about nutrition, but nutrition for diabetics has its own little quirks, namely the importance of understanding where carbs are to be found (just about everywhere, actually) and the importance of re-orienting your ideas of what's "healthy". My husband does much of our grocery shopping and cooking, and he went with me. He's also not afraid to ask me. I remember my first week when he kept pushing oranges on me as a snack (NO) and now he "gets" it. I'm really fortunate. Your BF is fortunate that you care to ask, and you're fortunate that he's taking this very seriously.
I eat lower-carb, and avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs. I budget for desserts with the rest of my carb intake. The suggestion about having protein with a higher carb dessert is a good one-- unsweetened whipped cream, mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and cheeses with poached and baked fruits, and creme fraiche are all good.
I poach fruits in water and spices all the time. I add a bit more vanilla or other spice to offset the lack of sugar, and add a bit more acid to the poaching liquid-- wine, balsamic vinegar, citrus juice, etc. A favorite in our house is poached dried apricots, slit and stuffed with ricotta and almonds. Any cheese or nut will do, and you can play around with all sorts of fruit and cheese combos.
Dried fruits, nuts, and cheese make a nice dessert.
I would suggest the following options:
Polaner makes fruit sweetened jams and jellies that are tasty and have no added sugar. You can use them as tart and cookie fillings, and swirl it into plain full fat yogurt for a quick sweet fix. (The low carb yogurt is nasty, and there's research out there to show that the carb count listed on the side of the yogurt isn't accurate, due to the way the lactobaccilli digest the lactose and create the yogurty flavor.)
I bake with nut flours all the time, since the flours are lower carb, and higher protein. There is a cookbook called Flourless and Fabulous (or Fabulous and Flourless?-- available on Amazon) that has recipes of all sorts, made with nut flours, and they've all worked like a charm. Many of the desserts, especially the chocolate almond cakes, have comparatively little added sugar, usually less than a cup for the whole recipe. I have sometimes made the recipes half sugar, half splenda, but find it's not worth it. The chocolate hazelnut cake and the carrot cake are also good.
If you can get him used to the taste of 56% or 70% dark chocolate, a little square will cost him hardly anything, sugar-wise. Trader Joe's sells all sorts of dark chocolates, and Lindt (which has stores at malls all over the Northeast) has a 70% dark bar. I buy a few at a time and keep one in my desk for once-a-week chocolate cravings.
You may want to try using stevia, an herbal non-glycemic sweetener, and see if he can stand the herbal taste. I think it tastes horrible with chocolate and coffee flavors, but it tastes fine added to the finished dish of a fruity or yogurty dessert, or to a cup of tea. It doesn't cook well, and should be added only just before serving. Mostly, I stir it into yogurt.
Finally, a fruity cup of herbal tea after dinner can help satisfy sweet cravings. Yogi Teas makes a "Cocoa Spice" tea that is very tasty and (I think) needs no sugar. With cream, it's (almost) like hot cocoa. Most natural foods stores, incl. Whole Foods (and TJ's) carry this brand.
I agree - look into low carb recipe sites. TONS of great dessert ideas. One of my favorites is a 3 Minute Chocolate Cake (made in the micro, no less). Great texture, chocolate-y and doesn't spike my blood sugar. I use Bob's Red Mill flour or make my own using the food processor.
3 Minute Chocolate Cake
1/4C Almond flour
1 T Cocoa Power
1/4 t Baking Power
5 packets of Splenda
2 T Melted Butter
1 T Water
In a 2 Cup Pyrex measuring cup,blend all dry ingredients. Add water, melted butter and egg...mix throughly. Cover with plastic wrap (To vent, cut small slit in center of plastic wrap.) Microwave on high for 1 minute 10 seconds
Cool a bit, eat warm with whipped cream or cool completely to ice cake. This could serve at least 2 people, maybe three. When this comes out of the microwave, it looks a bit wet but drys as it cools.
Its not terribly decadent but helps with a chocolate craving
Funny coincidence - I actually bookmarked the recipe last night! After you mentioned it here, I had to try it of course. I don't have a microwave, so I cooked it at 350F/180C for 20 mins. I was very pleasantly surprised, as were my flatmates, who finished it in about ten seconds. It was less stodgy than I expected. It has a texture reminiscent of malva pudding, a South African dessert.
However, it did taste vaguely eggy - something I also noticed with a South Beach custard recipe. Is there some way to combat this? Since the recipe calls for a whole egg, should I just remove a bit of the albumen? Will this adversely affect the texture?
Also, have you experimented baking (in general) with fruit purees and juices instead of splenda? Thanks!
Hmmmm...a conundrum to be sure...as a Type II, it's all about moderation and planning and I suspect that will be the case for your boyfriend. It just takes experience to know what sets you off...for instance some people react differently to brown sugar than to white. The only thing I can suggest outside of the obvious sugar free substitutes is to go with things that are naturally low sugar like baked fruits...I do a thing with peaches - works with canned, just less cooking time...In the center of each half I put a crushed up amaretti cookie and drizzle with amaretto or wine or whatever and heat it in the oven. I serve it with a little whipping cream poured over. Also, don't be afraid to simply cut the sugar in a recipe. There are lots of cookies that aren't harmed by hacking out a third of the sugar. Pies can be sweetened with apple juice or pineapple juice. Sugar free syrups - ED Smith makes one from concentrated grape juice - are a good option. But really, when you get right down to it, sugar is a carbohydrate just like flour is...a carb is a carb is a carb, and any carb is going to affect your sugar whether it came from a piece of cake or a sandwich, if you see where I am going here. If he wants a cookie, have him eat a protein with it...a slice of cheese or some nuts...that will help balance it out. Sadly chocolate probably isn't going to be something he is going to get to eat a whole lot of, but things made with cocoa an excellent option...and remember, just because some chocolate says sugar free, it's still got just as many carbs as regular chocolate, sometimes more. Have a look at some low carb sites...you might have some good luck there with a few things he will like.
I'm glad you posted this because my boyfriend also has diabetes and I'm trying to adjust my cooking as well. I also don't like artificial flavors and sweeteners although he does. I've made him baked apples using a melted mixture of butter, sugarfree jam and a little water and sprinkled with cinnamon. I'll be interested to see what others post.