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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Winter Keeping It “Sweet” Without The Sugar Overload

By Sherrie Norris

With so much emphasis in February on all that’s “sweet,”

we need to remember there are many of our friends and family members who can’t tolerate the sugar. In fact, it would serve most of us well if we decreased our sugar intake all together.

Hopefully, these recipes will provide a few ideas for those looking for dietary alternatives without the sugar overload. Be careful with your choice of sweetener, however, as some of today’s popular substitutes are less healthy than the sugar itself.


Simple Chocolate Snacks

1/2 cup almond flour

1 Tbs. dark cocoa powder

1 Tbs. stevia or other sweetener

1 Tbs. softened butter

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Nonstick spray

Preheat oven to 375. Mix almond flour, cocoa powder, sweetener, butter and coconut. Mix egg and vanilla extract; combine with flour/coconut mixture.

Spray pan with nonstick spray. Drop mixture by teaspoon onto prepared pan and bake 12-15 minutes.

Cool and serve.


Easy Cocoa Mousse

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

¼ cup cold water

1¼ cup skim milk

Alternate sweetener equivalent to 1/3-cup sugar

¼ cup baking cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1¾ cups light whipped topping, divided

In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand for 5 minutes. Cook over low heat until gelatin is dissolved. In a blender or food processor, combine milk, sweetener, cocoa and vanilla. Slowly add gelatin mixture. Fold in 1½ cups whipped topping.

Garnish with remaining topping. Cover and chill for at least one hour.


Sugarless Apple Pie

6 cups sliced peeled tart apples (about 4 large)

1/3 cup apple juice concentrate

2 Tbs. quick-cooking tapioca

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients; let stand for 15 minutes. Stir and pour into pastry shell. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until apples are tender. Cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes if necessary to prevent browning.


Banana Graham Dessert

1 pkg. (1.5 oz.) instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix

2¾ cups cold skim milk

8 oz. nonfat sour cream

12 reduced-fat graham crackers

2 large bananas, sliced

In a mixing bowl, beat pudding mix and milk on low speed for 2 minutes. Fold in sour cream. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, layer a third of the graham crackers, bananas and pudding mixture. Repeat layers twice. Refrigerate.


Cherry Apple Salad

1½ cups unsweetened applesauce

1 Tbs. lemon juice

1 small pkg. sugar-free cherry-flavored gelatin

1 (8 oz.) can unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained

¾ cup diet lemon-lime carbonated beverage

Lettuce leaves

Combine applesauce and lemon juice in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Cool. Add pineapple and beverage; spoon into bowl or mold, if desired. Chill until firm. Serve on lettuce leave