As I have said before, my mother is diabetic. But with our mentality of using whole or natural foods as much as possible, that does not mean that it is now ok with her (or me for that matter) to use artificial completely synthesized sweeteners like aspartame, saccharine, or sucralose. Instead, when/if my mom needs a sweetener (it’s rare that she eats things that need sweet flavors), the one calorie-free sweetener we will use is Stevia rebaudiana, or sweetleaf. You have to watch the labels, because some are blended with those artificial sweeteners, so make sure it is 100% pure. Stevia, unlike those others, is completely natural. It is not synthesized in a lab but extracted directly from the stevia plant (steviol glycoside is responsible for the sweet flavor), which grows natively in S. America. It was originally called ka’a he’ê by the Guaraní tribes of Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil, and the plant been used for centuries as a sweetener (wikipedia).
It’s not perfect (there is evidence that eating zero calorie sweeteners breaks your body’s link between taste and calories which can negatively affect your metabolism) , but it’s fine for someone who already manually restricts their calorie count and cannot have even low carb sweeteners like agave.
So, to create this tasty dessert, I used stevia. Stevia does have a different taste from sugar. But it easily blends into a number of different foods and flavors. The total carb count was 10 g of carbs per serving (7 g of which was the dark choc. cup). That’s a bit high depending on her dinner, but with a virtually carbless dinner, and making sure to put in 2 hr of exercise that day, this dessert worked. Though the second time we had it she felt more comfortable not having it in the chocolate cup and just having it in a bowl w/ fresh fruit. I am not claiming to know or gaurantee what is and isn’t appropriate for diabetics. It seems like there is a lot of variability in the needs/requirements, and so I would say that those judgements are best left between a person and their doctor. But this worked for my mom. And she liked it. So did my husband, sister, sister’s boyfriend, dad, and I.
2 cups ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
3 tbs. dutch processed cocoa
1/2 capful orange extract
13 packets pure stevia
dark chocolate cups (or you can make your own in molds)
1. In a medium bowl, stir ricotta until it smoothes out a bit. Then gradually add in the cocoa, making sure to blend in all of it so no clumps remain.
2. Add orange extract to taste – don’t add in too much, or it will be overpowering.
3. Blend in your sweetener – I used stevia, 13 packets. If you want to use real sugar, use powdered sugar (definitely not granular), though I do not have a measurement amount here for it. I would guess about 1 cup of powdered sugar.
4. Add ricotta mixture to a piping bag, or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off. Pipe about 1/3 cup amount into chocolate cups, and top with lots of fresh fruit. Serve! Garnish with some fresh mint if you like.