After a busy weekend of paddle skiing, swimming, running and mountain biking in preparation for my next adventure race (plus a few red wines with my sister on Saturday night), I felt like I deserved a tasty treat on Sunday night. However, I didn’t want to make myself feel bloated and unhealthy by loading up on sugar combined with fat. Instead I created this healthy dessert consisting of Chocolate, peanut butter and cinnamon ‘soft serve’ with Chocolate cookie dough. How could a dessert with such a title be healthy? Allow me to share. The soft serve is made with frozen low-fat Greek yoghurt, coconut milk, peanut butter (made with peanuts and a little salt only – I used Mayvers crunchy peanut butter which is really good), cocoa powder and sweetened with stevia. The Chocolate cookie dough is made with dates, walnuts, coconut and vanilla whey protein powder. All this is topped with shredded coconut, strawberries and some more walnuts.
It was delicious and provided me with protein from the yoghurt and whey protein powder. Walnuts are unique among nuts as they are a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as α-linolenic acid and linoleic acid (1), which are converted to the essential PUFAs EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA play an important role in brain health via multiple mechanisms, including the reduction of inflammation and oxidative stress. In fact, studies have shown that supplementation with walnuts can improve memory, cognition and motor function in aged animals (2). Furthermore, human clinical walnut intervention studies and several large human observational studies suggest that walnut consumption reduces the risk of coronary heart disease (1). The coconut is a source of medium-chain triglycerides, which are more rapidly metabolized than long-chain triglycerides (3), and is a source of fiber along with the dates. Although the peanut butter, coconut and walnuts bring up the calorie count, overall I would say that this dessert is lower in calories than any traditional ice cream with cookie dough, and you are getting nutrients and fibre along with those calories. So enjoy.
Chocolate, peanut butter and cinnamon ‘soft serve’ with Chocolate cookie dough
Makes 2 serves
Chocolate, peanut butter and cinnamon ‘soft serve’
1 cup low-fat Greek yoghurt
250ml coconut milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon stevia
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate cookie dough
½ cup pitted dates soaked in ¼ cup hot water
½ cup walnuts
½ desiccated coconut
1 scoop of a good quality vanilla whey protein powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Walnuts, strawberries and shredded coconut to serve
Small containers or ice cube trays
Measuring cups and spoons
- Pour the coconut milk and Greek yoghurt into small containers or ice cube trays. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
- Remove the frozen coconut milk and yoghurt from the containers by running hot water over the bottom of the containers. Chop the frozen coconut milk and yoghurt into chunks with a sharp knife and gradually add the chunks to the food processor. Alternatively, freeze the coconut milk and Greek yoghurt for only 2 hours so that the middle is still slightly unfrozen. Add the full frozen containers to the food processor. The containers that are not quite frozen will process easily in the food processor.
- Process the frozen coconut milk and Greek yoghurt until it resembles the texture of soft serve. Add in the remaining ingredients and process until they are all mixed evenly through.
- Divide the soft serve between two bowls and freeze the soft serve for a further 30 minutes.
- To make the Chocolate cookie dough, firstly add the dates along with the water they were soaking in, into the food processor. Process until the dates are almost pulverized.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and continue processing until the dough forms a sticky, large ball. Form the cookie dough into rough balls and chop the balls into chunks.
- After 30 minutes of freezing the soft serve, top it with chunks of the Chocolate cookie dough, sliced strawberries, walnuts and shredded coconut.
- Feldman, E. B. (2002). The Scientific Evidence for a Beneficial Health Relationship Between Walnuts and Coronary Heart Disease. The Journal of Nutrition. 132: 1062S-1101S.
- Poulose, S., Miller, M. and Shukitt-Hale, B. (2014). Role of Walnuts in Maintaining Brain Health with Age. The Journal of Nutrition. 144: 5615-5665.
- Babayan, V. K. (1987). Medium-chain triglycerides and structured lipids. Lipids. 22:417-420