Week two on the diet went really great. In the first two weeks of the South Beach diet you can eat no sugar and no carbs including potatoes, carrots, and most prepackaged condiments (I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately.). The purpose is so that your body can detox and end its addiction to sugar and carbs. It is amazing how much better I feel on this diet and how sharp my mind is. As for the cravings, well, I don’t really crave warm from the oven bread or cupcakes, or chocolate chip cookie dough, or buttery croissants or waffles with butter and syrup filling each tiny square. But my cravings for chocolate have gone through the roof!
Lucky for me I can have unsweetened cocoa. I’ve been mixing cocoa into all sorts of things to try and ease my cravings. Lucky for you I’ve come up with a couple of pretty great recipes that are low carb, low sugar, and flavored with chocolate; all just in time to begin your preparation for a healthy Valentine’s meal (don’t you start a month early).
Today’s chocolate delight is a take on one of my favorite desserts, tiramisu. Instead of making it the traditional way with ladyfingers I made Tiramisu Meringue Sandwich Cookies. They are light and crisp little treats made by sandwiching cream cheese almond filling between two coffee meringues that have been dipped in bittersweet chocolate. Sound good?
To make the meringue cookies you simply whisk egg whites until they form medium peaks. Then add in your Splenda or sugar and whish on high until stiff peaks form. Your egg whites should be thick and your sugar completely dissolved. When you reach this point slowly fold in vanilla and instant espresso powder. If you can’t find instant espresso powder you can use instant coffee granules but add in slowly and taste as you go.
Pipe your meringues onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I do not have a piping bag with a star tip so I put my mixture into a Ziploc baggie and cut a tip off. You can also drop spoonfuls onto your cookie sheet. It’s all up to you and how fancy you want to be (and how many dishes you want to wash.). I piped mine into larger flat cookies and small pointy cookies. Bake these at 200 for 1-1.5 hours. When they are ready they will be crisp and easy move from the parchment paper. Just a warning, these do not bake up well on a rainy or humid day.
While the cookies cool you can prepare the filling. Typical tiramisu has mascarpone cheese in it. It is hard to come by in my area and when I can find it it’s very expensive. So we are going to make it cheaper and healthier. Bring four ounces of fat free cream cheese to room temperature. Beat it on medium until smooth. Add in sugar and beat until well combined. Add in milk, almond extract and sour cream until well combined. If you are not watching your weight, feel free to use full fat cream cheese and sugar.
When cookies are cool melt chocolate in microwave by microwaving for 30 seconds, stirring, and repeating until smooth. Meringues can be kind of fragile so it is easier to spread the melted chocolate onto to bottoms of the cookies. Place cookies chocolate side down onto wax paper to harden. Using too much chocolate will out weigh the delicate flavors of the coffee and cream filling.
When chocolate has hardened place about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture onto the bottom of one cookie and top it with another cookie. You may need more or less filling depending on the size of your cookies.
These cookies are a nice little treat. They are not too sweet as many can be. Instead they are light and delicate with bold hints from the coffee and chocolate. These really tamed my taste for something sweet and chocolaty. And, if you’re wondering, I ate six before bed and the caffeine didn’t keep me up one bit.
Do you have a favorite diet time healthy dessert? Leave me a comment and let me know what it is. And come back Wednesday for my next chocolate recipe.
Tiramisu Meringue Sandwich Cookies
3 egg whites
¾ Cup Splenda
1 Tablespon + 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
¼ Cup Splenda
2 Tablespoons skim milk
1 Tablespoon fat free sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
½ Cup bittersweet chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 200 and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Beat egg whites on medium until medium peaks form. Add in sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form. This should be a very thick consistency. Fold in vanilla and espresso powder. Fill piping bags and pipe cookies to their desired size onto parchment paper. You can also place spoonfuls onto paper if you don’t want to pipe them. Bake for 1-1.5 hours or until firm and easily move from parchment paper. When ready let cool completely
2. While cookies cool prepare the filling by beating cream cheese on medium until smooth. Pour in sugar and beat again until well combined. Add milk, almond extract, and sour cream and mix until well combined.
3. Melt chocolate by microwaving in a bowl for 30 seconds, stirring, and repeating until smooth. Spread a small amount of chocolate onto bottoms of cookies and place cookies onto wax paper. When chocolate hardens, place one teaspoon of filling onto one cookie and top with another cookie. Dig in!
FYI: Only fill these rights before serving or they get sticky. Store unfilled meringues in an airtight container for up to five days.