Holiday parties usually mean lots of extra calories from pastries, cookies, cakes, chocolate, cocktails and more. But instead of aiding the winter bulge this year, bring along healthier, home-baked goods and drinks to your next holiday party with these three recipes, courtesy of New York City chefs.
Cinnamon chocolate mousse
by Organic Avenue founder Denise Mari
This avocado-based dessert offers a sweet, potentially raw alternative to typical puddings, holiday cakes and tarts, without any heavy cream.
1 ½ cups water
2 tbsp. fine instant espresso powder
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
5 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup maple sugar (or substitute another ½ cup coconut sugar to keep your mousse raw)
2 tsp. vanilla powder
½ tsp. salt
Warm the water in a small bowl or mug; whisk in the espresso powder to dissolve it.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender, add the dissolved espresso, and process for about 2 minutes.
Scrape the sides once or twice, until silky smooth. Transfer to a container and cover. Refrigerate for a couple of hours to firm up.
Spoon into dessert bowls and serve.
by The Park Room Executive Chef Jeff Cristelli
Without any added sweeteners, this holiday classic is a good substitute for caloric soda cocktails with sugary mix-ins.
1 750 ml. bottle of cabernet sauvignon
½ bottle of port wine
½ cup honey
3 star anise
5 cardamom pods
3 cinnamon sticks
Bring cabernet sauvignon and port wine to a simmer and cover.
Add honey to wine. Wrap cloves, star anise and cardamom pods in a cheesecloth and steep in the wine for 30 minutes before serving.
Garnish with orange peel and cinnamon stick.
by Duet Bakery Boutique and Duet Brasserie Executive Pastry Chef Diana Rodov
Without giving up on a holiday staple, indulge in a low calorie treat — each 2-inch cookie has only 33 calories.
Yields 50 cookies
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
½ cup dried pineapple, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, beat butter and sugar together until completely blended. Add two of the eggs and beat blend. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Cover the bowl and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
While dough is chilling, make an egg wash by whisking one egg with the water until well blended.
Remove dough from refrigerator. With moistened hands, halve the dough and form two loaves (two inches wide) on an ungreased large baking sheet. Brush the loaves with egg wash and bake in middle rack until pale gold. Carefully transfer loaves to rack and cool for 15 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, cut loaves into ¼-inch slices. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Arrange the biscotti on a clean baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.