In the weeks leading up to the end of the year, I had my fill of sweets. Snacking on chocolate and cookies was a several-times-a-day habit, beginning with cookies and coffee for breakfast. Starting January 1 (though not an official Resolution), I took white, refined sugar off my list of acceptable things to eat*. It actually took no willpower at all; I was glad to be done with it. Now, a few weeks in, I’ve just been to a birthday party where delicious-looking cake and ice cream was served. I survived, though not without some longing.

I prepared and brought a little no-sugar dessert for myself. I’m not trying to deprive myself, after all. I just think that there are lots of interesting foods and flavors out there. White sugar, while certainly enjoyable, isn’t the end-all, and I’m glad for the opportunity to experiment with new recipes.


I am a huge fan of simple recipes, with few ingredients. This one has five: cacao, walnuts, almonds, Medjool dates and sea salt. It can be made raw, by using raw nuts, but I used what I had on hand, which happened to include roasted almonds. I pressed the “batter” into mini cupcake cups and sprinkled the top (just before serving) with some cacao, cayenne and sea salt. Delicious!

It’s sweet, to be sure, but the flavor is very different from a white flour, white sugar, chocolate brownie. I hesitate to call it a substitute for cake. It’s rich and earthy and dense. It has the quality of food, rather than dessert. And since there is no flour, it is naturally gluten-free. Nice!


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*Natural sugars found in fruit are totally acceptable to me. Sugar substitutes, however, are not. I haven’t yet decided about honey or maple syrup. Nor have I decided how long the sugar prohibition will last.