SAN DIEGO, December 23, 2013 — The holidays are an exciting time of fun, food, and celebrations.
For those who are weight-conscious or managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, food allergies and more, the usual holiday fare is often in conflict with the ability to make healthy food choices.
According to Ann Taylor Pittman in Cooking Light, “Portion control is perhaps the hardest thing about eating healthfully in the holiday season.”
A scrumptious yet relatively healthy dessert, Salted Caramel Cheesecakes, just might provide the inspiration for placing healthy choices at the fore of celebratory food preparation and joyous consumption.
This fabulous dessert recipe by Julianna Grimes, published in cookinglight.com, provides portion-controlled pleasure certain to satisfy the most discriminating sweet tooth, and is simple and easy to prepare.
Salted Caramel Cheesecakes
30 Vanilla wafers
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2/3 Cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 Cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
12 Ounces of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
2 Large eggs
1/2 Cup Granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Cup evaporated milk
3/8 Teaspoon flake salt
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2. Place cookies in a food processor; process until finely ground crumbs measure about 1 cup. Add oil; pulse to combine. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin well with cooking spray. Spoon about 1 packed tablespoon crumb mixture into each muffin cup; press crumbs firmly into bottom. Bake at 300 degrees for 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; cool.
3. Wipe food processor clean. Place brown sugar, yogurt, and cream cheese in processor; process until smooth. Add vanilla, table salt, and eggs; process until smooth. Spoon about 3 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup. Bake at 300 degrees for 18 minutes or until centers of cheesecakes barely move when pan is touched. Remove pan from oven; cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Cover pan; refrigerate cheesecakes 3 hours or until well chilled.
4. Run a thin knife around the outside edge of each cheesecake. Carefully remove cheesecakes from pan; place on a platter. Chill cheesecakes until ready to serve.
5. Combine granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium, heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring gently as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 3 minutes). Continue cooking 12 minutes or until the color of light brown sugar (do not stir).
6. Remove from heat; carefully stir in butter and milk (caramelized sugar will harden and stick to spoon). Place pan over medium-high heat until caramelized sugar melts. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; cool caramel to room temperature. Cover and chill 1 hour or until slightly thickened. Spoon abut 1 tablespoon caramel over each cheesecake. Sprinkle cheesecakes evenly with flake salt.
A lovely dessert tray filled with individual Salted Caramel Cheesecakes is sure to be a holiday crowd pleaser.
Guests will be surprised to discover that such a delightful dessert could be low in calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol.
Experiencing the epicurean joys of feasting upon healthy holiday fare could spark a New Year’s Resolution leading to healthier eating, cooking, and well-being.
For more healthy dietary tips for the holiday season, the following resources could be helpful:
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.