Sugar Demons

It was birthday season here in February and March, and my sugar consumption got a bit out of control.  It’s all relative, as I’m not consuming food dye infused high fructose corn syrup containing packaged treats, but still. . .   I can do better.

So I will – in coming weeks I’ll document why we should all eat less sugar and detail my experience of cutting out sugar.  You can likely find a study or two justifying why moderate sugar consumption isn’t harmful, seeing as how you can find a study conducted by the meat industry arguing that meat consumption reduces cholesterol levels.  But my guess is that deep down, each of us knows that we would be better off without sugar – or with a lot less of it.  Although I’m well below the average American daily consumption of 22.7 teaspoons (National Geographic, August 2013), I can still feel the negative impact that sugar has on me.

Unless you are already convinced of the evils of sugar, check out the treats we’ve been eating too much of around here lately.

Black and Whites (adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)

Preheat oven to 350˚

Mix 1 c unsweetened vanilla non-dairy milk with 2 t lemon juice

Once that has curdled, addBlack&White

1/4 c oil

1/4 c applesauce

1 1/4 c sugar

1 1/2 t vanilla

2 t lemon zest

In a large bowl add

1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour

1 c unbleached white flour

1/3 c potato starch

1 1/4 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

3/4 t salt

Stir the dry ingredients then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Add the liquid mixture and stir until almost all the lumps are gone.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop 1/4 c batter onto the parchment paper, leaving about 3 inches between cookies.  Bake 18 to 20 min or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 2 min then remove from the parchment paper and flip upside down onto a cooling rack.

For the icing, you’ll need

4 c powdered sugar

1/4 c boiling water

few drops of vanilla extract

2/3 c non-dairy chocolate chips (ex Ghiradelli semi sweet or Enjoy Life)

Put the powdered sugar in a metal bowl, add the boiling water, and whisk vigorously to combine.  Add a couple of drops of vanilla extract.  Add more hot water (does not have to be boiling), 1 T at a time until you get a glossy spreadable icing of the desired consistency.  Dust crumbs from the bottoms of the cookies, and spread a thin layer of vanilla icing over the entire flat side of the cookie.  Let dry.  Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or the microwave and whisk into the leftover vanilla icing, which should be at least 1/2 c.  Thin with 1T of hot water at a time if needed.  Ice half of the cookies and let dry.  Enjoy!!!

Better Butterfingers (see Chocolate Covered Katie)

I follow Katie’s recipe for these except I use a crispy rice or wheat cereal that doesn’t contain corn.  I also prefer to make these in a 9×11 pan or two pie plates lined with wax paper, as I prefer the bars to be thinner – the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate is just right to me that way!!

Peanut Butter Cups

1 c non-dairy chocolate chips

1/2 T coconut oil

1/4 c natural peanut butter + dash of salt if salt-free or low salt peanut butter

1/4 c powdered sugar

~20 Mini muffin cups and mini muffin pan

Melt the chocolate chips and stir in the coconut oil.  Add a small amount (~1/2 teaspoon) of chocolate to the bottom of each mini muffin cup, and use a chopstick to spread the chocolate around and up the sides a bit.  Allow the chocolate to harden (use fridge or freezer if necessary).  Mix the peanut butter and powdered sugar together.  Roll the peanut butter mixture into about 20 small balls and then flatten into discs that are smaller than the width of the mini muffin cups.  Add a peanut butter disc to each chocolate cup.  Remelt the chocolate and pour ~3/4 teaspoon over each peanut butter disc.  Use a toothpick to spread the chocolate around the peanut butter and to the sides.  Allow chocolate to harden and enjoy!  These store well in the refrigerator or freezer.

Pomegranate Bark