Visions of warm, summer days relaxing at the beach have me counting calories these days. As a nutritionist, I understand that when input (food in my mouth) is more than the output (exercise), my highly efficient body stores the excess (fat) for later use. It’s pretty simple math that most of us don’t like to do.
I have some strategies. The muffin with the morning coffee becomes an apple, lots of leafy greens replace the bread in my sandwich, and carrot sticks provide a satisfying crunch almost like potato chips. But alas, what about dessert?
My palate really enjoys the comforting sensations of a sweet ending to the evening meal. Often, a salad tossed with fruit, nuts and cheese satisfies this primal urge. Then there are the times when I just need chocolate.
The inspiration for Mexican Chocolate Pudding originates from a series of workshops I used to teach on cooking for the fit and healthy lifestyle. When Dinner is Served, the community supper I cook for 300 folks, needed a healthy treat for dessert, this fit the bill.
The intense chocolate bite is from a combination of cocoa powder and coffee, and the spices and cayenne pepper add an exotic flavor to the silky pudding. Replacing the traditional high fat, high-calorie egg yolks with nutrient dense tofu keeps this sinfully rich dessert on my list of “diet” options.
Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected]
Mexican Chocolate Pudding
Makes 8 generous servings
1 lb. silken tofu
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups strong coffee or espresso
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1-tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Puree the tofu with the coffee in a food processor or blender until very smooth, adding the coffee slowly, and scraping down the sides as needed. Add the cocoa powder and sugar, process until smooth.
Add the vanilla extract and spices, pulsing to completely blend. Divide the mixture between wine glasses or dessert bowls.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 120 calories, 4.5 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fat, 6 mg. sodium, 1.5 grams fiber.