In case you missed the memo, refined sugar is really, really bad for you.
This post from yesterday’s Lifehacker does a pretty good job of explaining the basics of how sugar reacts in the body and brain. If you’re up for an even deeper look, read the killer (pun intended!) New York Times Magazine cover story from last month, and check out this video of Dr. Lustig—who Siobhan saw speak last month at the Dr. Weil conference in SF—and see for yourself that it’s the devil.
But man does it taste good. Sweets are also tied into all kinds of comfort-and-reward-do-my-parents-love-me stuff left over from childhood. Of course, it’s ok to splurge on a sugary treat here and there, but I’m gonna get bold and say that I’ve concocted a dessert you could enjoy every day if you’d like to. And, by total happy accident, it tastes a lot like a grownup version of a McDonald’s Sundae.
In fact, if I was Bethenny Frankel I’d be calling this the Skinny Sundae and selling it to someone for a cool 100 mill. But what makes this treat so amazing is not its lack of calories (we know better than to equate low calorie with healthy, right?) but its significant lack of sugar along with its surprising nutritional density.
Here’s how you make it.
—3/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt (I used the Fage 2% — feel free to try a sugar-free vegan alternative but make sure that its THICK.)
—1 tbsp vanilla extract
—Stevia to taste (Stevia is a natural sweetener made from a plant. You can get it anywhere now, and it has no glycemic impact and no creepy chems.)
—Stir in 1 tsp of organic crunchy salted peanut butter (I used one from Trader Joe’s—whatever you use, it’s gotta be crunchy and salty. I know you can’t see them in the picture—I’m not going to win any food photography awards—but those little crunches are the best part.)
—1 tsp of maple syrup (I’m using a can I smuggled home from my last visit to Quebec. It’s been in my fridge for a while and it’s nice and thick.)
To do the chocolate version drizzle instead with a melted square or two of high-quality dark chocolate. I bet raw honey would be yummy too, but not any kind of McDonald’s equivalent.
I just can’t tell you how delicious this is!
Here’s why it works: Stevia on its own has a bit of an aftertaste that takes getting used to, but that’s fully masked by the delicious flavors of vanilla, peanuts and maple syrup. And even though it’s only a teaspoon of syrup, it feels like plenty (look at the picture!) and having that real sugar in there is key to making the experience satisfying—that, along with the salty crunch of the peanut butter and the creaminess of the yogurt make it hit all of the right dessert notes.
Now let’s do a health comparison!
McDonald’s Caramel Sundae with Peanuts: 385 calories, 11.5 grams of fat, 9 grams of protein, 160mg sodium, 62 carbs, and…. 44 GRAMS OF SUGAR.
Our Sundae (roughly the same size): 177 calories, 8.5 grams of fat, 19.5 grams of protein (!!), 67.5mg of sodium, 12 carbs and… 11 GRAMS OF SUGAR.
Ow math—but clearly worth it! That’s a lot of protein, and not a lot of sugar, for something that tastes a little bit like heaven. K, this post is officially as random as my vegan cappucino one (btw, I still use coconut milk in my coffee).
Do you have any amazing lower-sugar dessert recipes to share? Bring it!