If you’re into healthy eating, even the word “dessert” can fill you with conflict.
You want it…sometimes you REALLY want it!
But you’re always trying to resist it.
Well, here’s a confession: I can’t resist dessert. For me, life just isn’t as much fun if I can’t indulge my sweet tooth sometimes!
From Craving to Creative
When I realized that resistance to dessert was futile, I knew I had to come up with a trick.
Thus was born a strategy I call “indulge without damage.”
That means finding ways to create the familiar dessert flavors I love without using the sugar, dairy, and flour that makes me feel lousy.
Let’s Be “Bad”
Now, one of my favorite “bad for you” desserts is ice cream, especially chocolate ice cream.
So one day, in the spirit of indulging without damage, I created this amazing dairy- and sugar-free chocolate shake that I’d like to share with you.
It’s sweetened with bananas and dates, and almond milk replaces the dairy.
Even more exciting is that this shake lets you get the goodness of raw chocolate, with all its antioxidant and mood-enhancing effects.
Usually, we eat chocolate that’s processed, weak, and filled with dairy and sugar. But raw chocolate is a whole different thing—a superfood you need to try!
Trust me: this recipe tastes just like a milkshake (or even like slightly melted ice cream), but it makes you feel GOOD, not gross.
Even my husband Mark, who LOVES chocolate ice cream, asks for this shake instead.
Here’s the recipe:
Jenny’s Chocolate Shake
Yield: 2 servings
NOTE: Do NOT skip the nibs (which are simply broken up raw cacao beans, which you can get at most health food stores)—they’re the key to the flavorful goodness of this shake, and add a super subtle crunch that reminds me of finely ground espresso beans.
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk(see note)
- 2 large or 4 small pitted dates (see note)
- 2 small frozen bananas (or 1 1/2 large frozen bananas, see note)
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
Put all the ingredients in a blender and process on high speed until smooth.
1. For convenience, I often use store-bought unsweetened almond milk (Pacific or Califia Farms). But you can certainly make your own, which makes the shake even more delicious (see below for the recipe).
2. When making your own almond milk, OMIT the dates from the shake, since the almond milk is already sweetened with dates.
3. Don’t have frozen bananas on hand? Use fresh ones, and replace 1/2 cup of the almond milk with 6 ice cubes. I always freeze my bananas when they’re getting really ripe, so I have them on hand for this shake. To do so, put the bananas on a plate and set in the freezer for one hour. (This will prevent them from sticking together.) Transfer to a ziplock bag and press out as much air as possible before sealing the bag and returning the bananas to the freezer. Frozen bananas will keep for one month.
Homemade Almond Milk
Yield: 3 cups, 4 servings
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup almonds, soaked for 8 hours in water, drained, and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups after soaking)
- 3 pitted medjool dates
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Put 1 1/2 cups of the water and the almonds in a blender. Blend on high speed until very smooth. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water and blend until smooth.
Put a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the almond mixture through it. Using a rubber spatula, stir and press the pulp that is caught in the strainer to extract as much milk as possible. Alternatively, use a mesh bag to strain the milk.
Discard the pulp left in the strainer and rinse out the blender. Put 3/4 cup of the milk back in the blender along with the dates, salt, and optional vanilla and/or almond extract, and blend on high speed until smooth. Add the remaining milk and blend until smooth. Transfer the milk to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator. Almond Milk will keep for five days. It will separate, so shake well before using.
Almost always when I hand someone a glass of this shake, I hear a lot of mmm’s, ahhh’s, and “that’s amazing”!
And I want to hear from you. I want to know how you like this and whether you get that delicious, raw chocolate uplift!
Hearing your reactions, suggestions, and questions is what makes my job worthwhile and keeps me creative.
So please write!