Chocolate desserts are fattening--face it. But when compared to the average slice of basic yellow or white cake, plain unadulterated chocolate or devil's food cake isn't that much of an insult to the diet--especially when one considers some of the more gooey, sugary-sweet confections produced by cooks to satisfy a starving sweet tooth.
But just mention the word chocolate and the average dieter winces, for chocolate has long been at the top of the list of no-nos for those people who are watching their weight. It's not that the chocolate is so bad, it's the ingredients we combine with it that wreak havoc.
Rich fudge brownies, depending upon the recipe, can tally as many as 360 calories each; and for the average person two is a serving. Cookies are another culprit. Macaroons or plain sugar cookies are the best bet from a homemade recipe, averaging between 40 and 55 calories per cookie. Stir a few nuts or semisweet chocolate pieces into the recipe and you add another 30 to 40 calories each.
Reasonably Low in Calories
Of the store-bought varieties graham crackers can satisfy the taste for something sweet while being reasonably low in calories--two squares (or one whole cracker) total 55 calories--but add a chocolate coating and the same portion jumps to 124.
Instead, indulge a chocolate craving with desserts that appeal both to the taste buds and to the eye, but are calorie-controlled, opting for homemade recipes that call for cocoa powder instead of bar chocolate or pieces. Since a portion of the cocoa butter has been removed, the resulting powder has a medium fat content varying from 10% to 21% fat.
Another way to trim calories from homemade treats, such as the chocolate souffle suggested here, is to substitute part-skim ricotta cheese for the egg yolks and whipping cream called for in the traditional recipe. Fresh fruit adds natural sweetness and beauty to each dish.
FRUIT CREPE CORNUCOPIAS
1 (4-ounce) package sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup whipping cream
6 packaged ready to eat crepes
1 (8-ounce) container frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
3 cups whole or sliced fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or orange sections
Melt chocolate in saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly. Blend in corn syrup. Gradually blend in cream. Set aside.
Fold each crepe into quarters and secure with wood picks, if necessary. Lift 1 section of crepe, spoon in whipped topping and fruit. Top with chocolate sauce. Makes 6 servings.
CHOCOLATE MARBLE CHIFFON CAKE
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup very hot water
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Fresh fruit garnish
Remove top oven rack and move other rack to lowest position.
Combine cocoa and water in medium mixing bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons sugar until smooth. Set aside.
In separate bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. Add oil, egg yolks, water and vanilla, then beat with spoon until smooth. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar in large mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into batter.
Measure about 1/3 batter and add to chocolate mixture. Gently fold until well blended. Pour half light batter into ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spoon in chocolate batter and top with remaining light batter. Do not stir. Bake on low oven rack at 325 degrees 55 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Invert cake in pan and cool completely. Loosen cake from pan and invert onto serving plate. Serve with desired fruit. Makes 14 servings.
COLD CHOCO-LITE SOUFFLE
1 envelope plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup skim milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (15-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
7 egg whites
Fresh fruit garnish
Sprinkle gelatin onto cold water and let stand 2 minutes to soften. Combine dry milk powder in medium saucepan with 1/3 cup powdered sugar, skim milk and gelatin. Stir until blended. Place over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved and mixture is very hot. Remove from heat immediately and add chocolate pieces and vanilla. Stir or whisk until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into large bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches room temperature.
Puree ricotta in food processor or blender until smooth. Gradually blend in chocolate mixture. Chill just until mixture begins to set.
Meanwhile, measure length of foil to fit around 1-quart souffle dish or 10 individual ramekins. Fold in half lengthwise. Lightly oil 1 side of collar and tape securely to outside of dish, oiled side in, allowing collar to extend 2 inches above rim. Set aside.