Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 6.07.50 AMAt one of my recent workshops, someone asked me if there was such a thing as a healthy dessert. Sure, there is. You just might not find it in the grocery aisle or on the holiday dessert table.  Desserts tend to go overboard with sugar. We have been trained into thinking the more sugar, the better. Here’s a dessert that will help you re-train your taste buds.  It’s simple to make and really let’s the natural sweetness of the ingredients shine — with no sugar added.    (It’s dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free as well.)

I think the real star in this dish is the Cardamom-Infused Coconut Whipped Cream – quite a mouthful in more ways than one.  Both the cardamom and the coconut cream have a natural sweetness to them. I added only a little bit of liquid stevia concentrate.  So little that, really, you could get away without any. To infuse the cardamom flavor, I added crushed whole leaves to the coconut cream and brought it to a quick boil. This softens the coconut flavor and balances it with the cardamom nicely.

If you haven’t started using coconut milk, cream, oil or water in your daily routine, start now. Coconut has tremendous health benefits. The natural saturated fats in it are good for you! (Contrary to what some of you may think.)  I will write more about coconut and saturated fats in a future post.

The Sautéed Cinnamon Apples are a great compliment for the whipped cream. The cardamom and cinnamon meld together in your mouth for a subtle and delicious flavor. Yum.

I used Gala apples, which is a sweet variety that holds up well to cooking.  I sautéed the apples in a cast-iron skillet with coconut oil. You can easily bake the apples at 350F for 45- 60 min. I find sautéing faster and easier.  Here I did not use any sugar or sweetener of any kind. I let the natural sugars of the apples take center stage. It’s sweet and delicious.

If sugar is an issue for you, you may be better off using a more tart variety like Granny Smith. Again, resist adding sugar and let the natural sweetness and tartness of the apples play with the richness of the whipped cream. If sugar is a major issue for you (i.e. you are diabetic), you should skip the apples and put the coconut whipped cream in your tea. This makes a wonderful latte!! If you are lucky enough to still have some of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos from Halloween, put some in there! It is out of this world delicious! Otherwise, try it in a Rooibos Chai, Roasted Dandelion Root, or Dandy Blend tea for a delicious dessert-like treat.

Cardamom Infused Coconut Whipped Cream

2 cans of coconut milk (Native Trees brand is best)

4-5 cardamom whole green pods, crushed

¼ tsp vanilla

2 drops stevia liquid concentrate

  1. Place coconut milk cans in fridge overnight.
  2. Scoop out the cream that has surfaced to the top of the can. Discard the water or use in another dish/smoothie. You will get roughly ½ cup from each can. Place the cream in a small saucepan.
  3. Crush the pods open with a mortal and pestle, a nut/seed grinder or coffee grinder. Add to saucepan.
  4. Bring to a quick boil and allow to cool completely. I usually put it back in the fridge for an hour or so. If you do not allow it to cool, you will not get a nice thick cream.
  5. Place cream in mixer bowl. Add vanilla and stevia. Whip until small peaks form.
  6. Serve on its own or on top of dessert, tea or coffee. Sprinkle ground cardamom, if desired.

Sautéed Cinnamon Apples

5-6 small apples, sliced

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp coconut oil

  1. Place a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet on medium.
  2. Add the coconut oil and apple slices.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon.
  4. Sauté until apples are tender.