Fat-free ice cream. Sugar free-candy. Low-carb apple pie. Are you salivating yet? Probably not. Manufacturers and weight-conscious home chefs often try to make desserts “healthy” by removing one key unhealthy component. Unfortunately that single ingredient is usually the difference between a completely satisfying, delicious treat and a lackluster, mediocre letdown. Desserts just don’t feel like dessert if they are not able to be dessert, in all of their sugary, fatty, carby goodness. So how can the health conscious among us enjoy dessert responsibly? Just let desserts BE what they are!
What do I mean by this? Desserts that are packed with preservatives (like shelf-stable cookies) or have had the fat or sugar replaced are often just not satisfying. This leads us to eat more of them, hoping to find the satisfaction in the 20th bite that we weren’t able to find in bites 1-19. If we just let desserts BE and make and eat only those with wholesome, natural ingredients (like pure cane sugar, butter, whole grain and regular unbleached flours, high quality chocolate, all natural peanut butter, etc.) and consume no more than 150 calories of the sweet stuff a day we will be satisfied, happy, and believe it or not, probably healthier.
In our culture of instant gratification, convenience is everything, and the constant quest for improvement, kids can often get lost in what they “could” or “should be.” They remove parts of themselves to be more appealing to the masses (just like the low-fat cookies) and can often end up unsatisfied and unhappy, missing the truest version of themselves without even realizing it. One of the greatest values kids can learn at camp is how to just BE what they are. With the array of different activities, different types of staff and campers, and a whole bunch of fresh air, camp helps kids get rid of the preservatives and substitutions and be the truest, most delicious version of themselves. And when they come home, revealing an aspect of themselves you always suspected was there, go ahead and eat them up- no portion size is too big!
For one idea of a wholesome, simple and satisfying dessert, try the recipe for the peanut butter cookies below.
1 cup creamy, all-natural peanut butter
1 cup evaporated pure cane sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies in
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Mix peanut butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until well-blended.
- Beat the egg and add it to the peanut butter, along with the vanilla and the baking powder. Mix well to combine.
- Pour additional sugar onto a plate. Using a tablespoon, scoop balls of dough and lightly roll in the sugar. Place cookies on baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Using a table fork, gently press the tines into each cookie, flattening them. Turn the cookies 90 degrees and press the tines into the cookies again, making a crosshatch pattern.
- Bake the cookies 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets.
- Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.