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Chocolate dessert recipes for healthy living

I have been debating with the chef about adding desserts such as chocolate desserts to a "wellness/spa menu" at a restaurant. Chef says chocolate is not healthy so the dessert menu includes a selection of grilled fruit, yogurt drizzles and granola toppings. Can someone please recommend some spa friendly desserts that might be a little more decadent but still healthy?

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  1. What is the definition of healthy? Low calorie, low fat, balanced fat?

    For instance, I like to make cakes with ground nuts and you can use mostly egg whites, low sugar, cocoa. Not particularly low in calories, but it is all about serving size. No unnecessary saturated fats, and good nutrients. But perhaps that doesn't quite count.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jsaimd

      Healthy, as in holistic as opposed to low calorie. Natural and good ingredients but trying to be reasonably low-calorie.

    2. - chocolate sorbet (good paired with coconut sorbet)
      - chocolate dipped strawberries (or other fruit)
      - a single small square of dark chocolate
      - hot cocoa made with skim milk and only a little sugar or sugar substitute

      1. I just posted this for another topic, but tofu chocolate mousse fools everyone every time.

        I use extract instead of liquor and don't use the crust - just put into individual glasses which makes it look cute.

        1 Reply
        1. re: laurendlewis

          I also posted a tofu chocolate mousse (with grated orange zest) and it's quite spectac.
          You can probably search for it on this board.

        2. How about chocolate meringues? The chocolate flavor would be coming from cocoa powder which is defatted.

          1 Reply
          1. re: 4Snisl

            Along the same lines, I was thinking of chocolate pavlova, like Nigella's recipe (whithout the double cream):


          2. Rachel Ray's chocolate cups are incredibly easy and chocolatey. I've made it with 2% milk and they turn out great.


            1. what about just a small plate with a bit of dark chocolate, some fresh fruit, and perhaps a few nuts. simple but satisfying.

              or chocolate -dipped fruit and/or nuts.

              1 Reply
              1. re: fern

                I think that's an excellent idea. Perhaps even some mousse (tofu like laurendlewis suggested), a truffle?? made with natural chocolate, 70% and some nuts or fruit. A trio of sorts. Great!

              2. Your chef is behind the times. Dark chocolate is very healthy and good for you. It is full of anti-oxidants and is a mood elevator making you feel better. When I was sick last summer and in a lot of pain dark chocolate was my best friend. Now I still have a square or two every day.

                1. Your chef is misinformed. I make a wonderful fat-free chocolate cake thing:

                  Use a springform pan lightly oiled and dusted with flour, and preheat oven to 350.

                  Combine these things in a small pan and warm over low heat until it steams, then turn off heat and let the fruits soak up the liquid a bit:

                  2 T. dried apricots, finely minced
                  1/4 C finely chopped raisins
                  2 T brandy
                  2 T water
                  1/2 tsp almond extract

                  Sift together:

                  1 C white flour
                  2/3 C Dutch process cocoa
                  2 t. instant coffee or espresso powder
                  1 t. baking powder
                  1 t. baking soda
                  1/2 t. cinnamon
                  pinch of cream of tartar

                  In a big mixing bowl beat the following:
                  1 C plain nonfat yogurt
                  1 13 C packed light brown sugar

                  In another mixing bowl, beat up 6 large egg whites to glossy peak stage.

                  Stir the fruit mixture into the yogurt-sugar mixture. Stir in dry ingredients. Add about a third of egg whites to this stiff batter and mix thoroughly to loosen the batter. Fold in remaining whites.

                  Put batter in pan and bake 35 minutes. Cool 10-15 minutes and remove from pan. Dust with powdered sugar.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Marsha

                    fat free doesn't necessarily mean light, low-cal, or 'healthy,' and unfortunately this recipe is no exception with all that refined white flour and a lot of sugar.

                    a little fat is healthy, and it actually helps keep your blood sugar from spiking so much in the presence of sugar & refined carbs. we NEED to eat fat, just from the right sources. the recipe also contains very little fiber, which would also help the nutritional profile. unfortunately, white flour has had all the fiber procesed right out of it.

                    at the very least, you'd be better off subbing some whole wheat pastry flour, oat flour, and/or almond meal for at least a portion of the white flour.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      The word "healthy" has lost all meaning anymore and should be dropped. It means so many different things to different people that it just gets confusing anymore.

                      1. re: Candy

                        agreed, which is infuriating and frustrating for us nutrition professionals. i try to avoid using that particular qualifier with my clients. i prefer educating them about making 'nutritious,' 'smarter' or 'more beneficial' choices instead of defaulting to the now meaningless 'healthy' catchall.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Yes, as a Home Ec ED major with lots of nutrition classes I just sometimes get totally wired when I see "healthy". Lets qualify that. Healthy for whom?

                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        exactly what I am trying to accomplish here - not just low-fat but using holistic ingredients, yogurt, honey, nuts, chocolate! Thank you

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I wasn't suggesting this as an especially 'healthy' (whatever that means) recipe, and I agree that we do need to eat some fat. I just know that this recipe has chocolate in it, is relatively low in calories compared with other chocolate recipes that call for lots of butter, and tastes really good -- I was surprised that I liked the fruit in it. Maybe it would be just as good with different flours, but since I'm not much of a baker I would worry about how that would affect the texture, rising, etc. Might be worth experimenting!

                      3. fruit dipped in dark chocolate
                        chocolate pudding made with low- or nonfat milk
                        low- or nonfat ricotta whipped with cocoa powder, a pinch of instant espresso powder and a hint of vanilla, and sweetened with agave nectar
                        chocolate/cocoa meringues

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          yes, but for a restaurant, I need to go one step further than pudding but essentially you're on the right track. Our menu has 3 parts - a vegan section, a raw section and a spa section. We want to take a nod towards the alkaline diet but make it as friendly as possibly to our guests.

                        2. You can make a raw/vegan chocolate sorbet by puréeing frozen bananas with cocoa powder and agave syrup.

                          I second the tofu mousse idea.

                          I've made healthy chocolate bread or muffins by taking a recipe for fat-free, whole-grain banana bread and subbing cocoa powder for 1/3 cup of flour.