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Looking for a guilt-free goody? Try Pear and Dark Chocolate Crumble

Pear and Dark Chocolate Crumble isn’t loaded with empty calories and chock-full of sugar.

Associated Press

Pear and Dark Chocolate Crumble isn’t loaded with empty calories and chock-full of sugar.

My four daughters all have a sweet tooth, and I blame genetics. I can sidestep french fries, chips and salty stuff pretty easily, but chocolate makes me drool. So if you love sweets, at least know you are in good company.

But, healthy-eating friends, let's have some straight talk about dessert: It's full of sugar, which means we can't have dessert every single time we want it.

In our house, we eat (real) dessert only on weekends. During the week, I serve plain fruit or unsweetened yogurt after dinner.

Even weekend desserts, though, are not a free-for-all sugar-fest. I follow one simple guideline to keep my family's sugar consumption in check: I make our desserts.

There are three major advantages to this rule. First, while sugar can wreak havoc on our health, weird chemicals — fake flavors, colors, preservatives — scare me even more. If I make the food myself, I can skip the strange ingredients I can't pronounce.

Second, having to cook my own treats usually stops me from mindlessly eating something I brought home from the store. Permission to eat anything that is homemade is simultaneously enough freedom to indulge our cravings sometimes and enough brakes to keep us from scarfing down a random box of cookies. Lastly, if I make the desserts myself, then I have control over the recipe. Usually, I reduce sugar and simple carbohydrates and add protein and fiber.

For instance, my Pear and Dark Chocolate Crumble turns almond flour and oats into a tasty topping that isn't loaded with empty calories, and a splash of almond extract tricks the palate into thinking this dessert is sweeter than it is. Splurge on high-quality dark chocolate chips, or just chop up a bar, and you'll be amazed how satisfying a small bit of dark chocolate can be.

PEAR AND DARK CHOCOLATE CRUMBLE

For the filling:

2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon almond extract

4 pears, peeled and diced

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced (see note)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the crumble topping:

cup almond flour

½ cup oats

cup dark chocolate chips (recommended: 63% cacao)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the lemon juice and almond extract. Add the fruit and toss to coat. Sprinkle the sugar and cornstarch on the fruit and stir until mixed in.

Spoon the fruit into a 1.5- or 2-quart baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. In a small food processor, place the almond flour, oats, chocolate chips, sugar and salt. Pulse once or twice to mix. Top with the butter and pulse 8 or 9 times until mixture looks like wet sand. (Chocolate chips may still be quite large and that's perfect.)

Spread the oat and almond mixture over the fruit and gently press down into the fruit. Spray the top of the crumble with a little nonstick spray. Bake until fruit is tender and bubbling, and topping is golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Note: One Granny Smith apple is used to add depth of flavor and texture, but another pear can be used instead.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 254 calories (113 calories from fat), 13g fat (6g saturated, 0g trans fats), 13mg cholesterol, 107mg sodium, 37g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 23g sugar, 4g protein.

Looking for a guilt-free goody? Try Pear and Dark Chocolate Crumble 06/23/16 [Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2016 12:41pm]
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