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Dessert ideas--Vegan AND Sugar Free

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I have a friend with some health problems, including diabetes, who I cook for. I've nailed a very good oatmeal cookie with tons of dried raisins and cherries macerated in cider and a combo of stevia and agave but this is getting boring. Tried some peanut butter cookies which weren't thrilling. Any other interesting ideas? TIA

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  1. If she doesn't have a problem with nuts, a raw vegan "cheesecake" might work.

    1 Reply
    1. re: will47

      great call. low-carb vegan truffles would work too...
      http://www.foodbuzz.com/blogs/us/cali...

    2. I made this blueberry-banana bread and leave out the sugar (or use apple-sauce or honey)..it is spectacular!

      http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2009/06/...

      1. what about a gelatin dessert? I'm thinking more along the lines of Knox unflavored gelatin with juice and fresh fruits. OR you could use some agave/stevia sweetened clear soda to make the gelatin, and then suspend pretty berries/peaches/summer fruits in it. Refreshing, easy, retro, kinda different?

        1 Reply
        1. re: marjoriemargarine

          *Duh* I can't believe I didn't think about gelatin being absolutely not vegan!! Maybe you could try agar-agar? Though I've heard it's trickier than gelatin.

          What about a delicate sandwich cookie type thing? Use margarine, egg replacer powder (have you tried that? It's not bad), Butavan (this is a delicious butter/vanilla/almond flavoring that you can get at some groceries), some stevia- I wouldn't make them too sweet, just a soft dough. Then sandwich with a little raspberry jam?

        2. just a general note about the oatmeal cookies described in the OP and the other suggestions for desserts that contain agave, bananas, and other fruit...these things aren't even remotely sugar-free.

          agave = sugar.
          fruit = sugar.

          3 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Yup... absolutely true. And agave syrup isn't anywhere near as benign as people make it out to be. That said, my understanding is that it is better for diabetics for some reason (low glycemic index?). The OP did mention cider, fruit, and agave, so I was assuming they meant no refined sugar?

            1. re: will47

              Big myth about agave.

              From this site: http://www.susanmitchell.org/blog/200...

              _____________________________

              The reason you hear …theoretically… agave nectar touted as safer for diabetics is that a higher fructose composition typically doesn’t cause dangerous spikes in blood glucose. Currently, we don’t have clinical studies as to agave’s safety in diabetes. Unless there is a label stating the exact percentage of fructose in the agave nectar, it can range as we just talked about from 55% up. So if you are diabetic, your blood glucose may or may not be spiked…all depending on how much fructose is in the particular agave product consumed and your particular case of diabetes. Plus fructose sweeteners may increase blood triglycerides if you have diabetes so be sure and discuss this with your health care provider.
              _______________________________

              Other similar articles/posts on agave:

              http://www.living-foods.com/articles/...
              http://www.glycemic.com/AgaveReport.htm
              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jonn...

              1. re: will47

                agave does have a lower GI due to its high fructose content...so it's a tradeoff - spare the pancreas, tax the liver. not much of a benefit there, and after everything i've learned about it *and* having had my own body respond negatively to it, i stopped using it altogether.

                and yes, the OP must have meant "refined" sugar-free, but the reality is that sugar in ANY form can wreak havoc in a diabetic...and combining agave with fruit (particularly dried fruit) may very well result in something that's even higher in sugar than it would have been if you had left well enough alone.

            2. If bready stuff is Ok, maybe whole wheat cinnamon buns? You can use very little sweetener (brown rice syrup or agave will work), and make a paste of the sweetener, some coconut oil, nuts and spices, which will all provide richness and flavor. It won't be quite as decadent as an all white flour cinnamon bun with tons of brown sugar and butter, but should still be pretty tasty, especially warm out of the oven.

              I also made a pretty good strawberry shortcake recently. Basically, James Beard's cream biscuit recipe, but with homemade cashew cream instead of heavy cream, and dipped in margarine instead of butter. There's a thicker cashew cream on top. It's pretty fattening, but not heavy on added sugar; just the fruit itself, and a little of some kind of sweetener in the biscuit and the "whipped cream". However, the cashew cream is darn near impossible to do without a Vita-mix type blender.

              1. I buy SF honey (malitol syrup) at Target and SF maple syrup (Maplegrove Farms which uses Splenda). Great for cooking and sweetening things. Make a traditional rice pudding using coconut/rice mild instead of cows milk. Spinkle w/walnuts, a few raisins and a little SF maple syrup. Its good.

                Fruit smooties w/ SF honey and plain yogurt. I like Fage non fat -Add a bit of fresh berries. Some times I use the frozen berries from Trader Joes instead of fresh ones. - Stick in the freezer to make pops!

                Make some homemade granola again w/the SF honey. Good to sprinkle on yogurt too!

                I also LOVE KIND bars. You can get at Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Henry's, Clarks. I get the ones w/Low Glycemic Index. I freeze and eat 1/2. Also like Larabar cashew cookie. Only dates and cashews. Eating 1/2 of one is not too bad.

                Here's a really nifty SF chocolate: Amberlyn www.amberlynchocolates.com

                Look on their WS under events. They travel to Costco and you can buy directly at a discount. Their online store is $$$.

                Last, I love Indian carrot halva/halwa. Modify. It's great to eat warm. Carrots, cashews, SF honey, ghee, rice/soy or coconut milk.

                http://indianrecipe.org/carrot-halva/

                :)

                1. It is hard to imagine the cookies you describe as diabetic safe. Forgetting the agave issue for the moment, dried fruit is very intense sugar.
                  How about strawberry shortcake with unsweetened or stevia sweetened ( or coconut palm sugar if your friend tolerates that) biscuits with plain sliced berries?

                  1. Thanks for the great advice. Just for the record, my friend does tolerate agave and dried fruit without a problem if we're strict with portion control. Greater concern is refined sugar. Also, I found some vegan gelatine at Whole Foods that I'm going to play around with. Will keep you posted.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Layne Murphy

                      Whole Foods also has some Raw Desserts (or at least they are supposed to--according to recent initiatives). You might see if they have a raw carrot cake (they are mini sized) or their raw mousse parfait.

                    2. Would panna cotta or artificially sweetened creams work? For myself I like to make pandan flavored agar-agar in sweetened coconut milk or avocado ice cream with Splenda.