Eating healthier isn't about ignoring your sweet tooth and denying yourself the occasional treat, it's about looking for delicious alternatives that satisfy your craving, allowing you to fuel your body the right way. Fruit and dark chocolate are both heart-healthy and sweet, but when you're heart's set on cake or cookies, try whipping up one of these heart-healthy recipes provided by Nature's Path Foods.
SmartBran Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
Nature's Path SmartBran cereal offers 13 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup serving, and considering the fact that this recipe calls for two whole cups, that brings the total up to 52 grams of fiber packed into 12 cupcakes! But that's only part of what makes the SmartBran Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes so good - they're also vegan, chocolaty and delicious! Consider replacing the milk chocolate chips with dark chocolate ones for an added boost of antioxidants.
Recipe by Lorna Sass for Nature's Path Foods. Makes 12 cupcakes.
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus 1/2 tbs.p for greasing muffin liners
- 1 cup vanilla soy milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cup SmartBran™ cereal
- 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 12 walnut halves
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Place paper liners in 12 muffin cups and brush liners with oil.
- Combine soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
- Grind the SmartBran™ cereal into flour in a food processor or spice grinder. (You should have a scant cup)
- In a large bowl, mix the ground cereal, flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using), baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in 1/2 cup chips.
- In a bowl, beat sugar and 1/3 cup oil together for 2 minutes. Add the soy milk/vinegar mixture, and beat until well combined.
- Fold liquid into the dry ingredients just until blended. Do no over-mix.
- Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Gently pat tops with fingers to smooth off. Distribute remaining chips on top.
- Bake for 10 minutes on the center rack. Rotate pans back to front and continue baking approximately 8 to 10 minutes longer, until a fork, toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Pop cup cakes out of pan and set on a cooling rack.
- Working quickly, use a spatula to spread melted chips into an even frosting on top of each cake. Gently press a walnut half into middle.
- Cool to room temperature. Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool place for up to 3 days.
SmartBran Apple-Cranberry Crumble
Between the fiber found in SmartBran cereal, the vitamins, healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants found in fruit and nuts, and the heart-healthy benefits of spices like cinnamon, this dessert is a true heart-health winner! Whip it up the next time you're hosting a crowd, or enjoy it as a Saturday morning treat in place of your usual pancake breakfast.
Recipe by Lorna Sass for Nature's Path Foods. Serves 6 to 8.
- 2-1/2 pounds apples, cored and sliced (about 5 cups)
- 1/3 cup cranberries, dried
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 5 tablespoons maple or agave syrup
- 1-1/4 cups SmartBran™ cereal
- Ice cream or vanilla soy, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a large bowl, toss together apples, cranberries, walnuts, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and 2 tablespoons syrup.
- Transfer mixture to a rectangular baking dish about 8" x 11" x 2".
- Distribute SmartBran™ on top and drizzle on remaining syrup.
- Bake until apples are easily pierced with a knife and top is lightly browned. If top browns before apples are tender, cover pan lightly with foil.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. If you wish, top with a scoop of ice cream or pour about 1/4 cups soy milk over each portion.
Love Crunch Almond Bon-Bons
When you first taste Nature's Path Love Crunch cereals (particularly the Dark Chocolate & Red Berries or the Aloha Blend), you'll probably assume you're already indulging in dessert; but, the cereal is only part of the fun when you whip up a batch of the Love Crunch Almond Bon-Bons. Fix them for your next date night & you'll be sure to win over your guy's heart...while keeping it healthy, too!
Recipe by Lorna Sass for Nature's Path Foods. Makes 20 bon-bons.
- 1/2 cup unsalted almond butter (preferably crunchy), at room temperature
- 1/2 cup pourable honey
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 cup Nature’s Path Love Crunch - Dark Chocolate & Red Berries (have more on hand if you need it!)
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds, finely chopped
- Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper or plastic wrap and set it aside.
- Place almond butter in the bowl of your food processor. Pour honey on top and sprinkle with the spice. Blend the mixture until smooth.
- Add Love Crunch cereal. Process until the mixture begins to form a mass, about 30 seconds. If mixture doesn’t form a mass, add about 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons Love Crunch cereal to the mix and process a few seconds longer. Stir in cherries.
- Spread chopped almonds on a plate. Place a heaping tablespoon of granola mixture in your palm and roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the chopped almonds to coat. Proceed with remaining mixture, setting balls about 1/2 inch apart on waxed paper as you go.
- Refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes. If not using immediately, refrigerate in a closed container in layers divided by waxed paper for up to 1 week.
Love Crunch Chocolate Hazelnut Clusters
Filled with fiber and antioxidants, the Chocolate Hazelnut Clusters are reminiscent of popular "turtle" chocolate treats, but with a heart-healthy vibe. We suggest making these super-easy, no-bake cookies with dark chocolate, but if you're not a fan of dark chocolate, go ahead and enjoy the milk chocolate version guilt-free!
Recipe by Lorna Sass for Nature's Path Foods. Makes 16 clusters.
- 8 ounces dark or milk chocolate (you can use bars, chunks, or chips)
- 1 cup Nature’s Path Love Crunch - Dark Chocolate & Red Berries
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Set a sheet of baking parchment on a cookie sheet.
- If using chocolate bars, break them up into smaller chunks. Put chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
- Stir Love Crunch, hazelnuts, and raisins into chocolate until thoroughly coated.
- Drop mixture by heaping tablespoons onto parchment.
- Refrigerate clusters until firm, about 1 hour.
- Gently peel clusters off parchment. Store in a covered container in a cool place for up to 3 weeks.
More heart-healthy dessert ideas:
You don't need to spend hours in the kitchen cooking up delicious and healthy desserts. Here are a few easy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth in a matter of minutes:
- Melt dark chocolate and use it as a dip for strawberries, blueberries and even orange slices!
- Top a cup of Greek vanilla yogurt with any of the Love Crunch cereals (seriously, they are like an instant-dessert!) and add fresh fruit of your choice
- Heat up fresh or frozen berries in the microwave until their juices start to flow, then top a store bought Angel Food cake with the juicy berries, chocolate chips and a dollop of whipped cream
Header image credit: The_Smiths, http://www.flickr.com/photos/heather_joy/3748708276/sizes/z/in/photostream/