Indulge in Valentine's Day Without Regret

Indulge in Valentine’s Day Without Regret

Everyday Food magazine January/February 2012

Everyday Food Jan/Feb 2012

It’s pretty impossible not to crave chocolate on a day like today–the pinnacle of National Chocolate Month–but indulgence doesn’t have to mean guilty regret.

Chocolate tempts us even more than usual this time of year, what with all that Valentine’s Day candy on the shelves since just after Christmas.

With the sweet stuff so prominently featured just about everywhere, it’s no surprise, really, that February is National Chocolate Month. But don’t think that if you’re (still) sticking to your New Year’s resolutions to get fit or if a restricted diet prevents you from indulging that you can’t get in on the celebration.

Three magazines tackled chocolates and other desserts in their February issues, all with the purpose of offering some seasonally appropriate desserts on the lighter side.

Cooking Light magazine’s February issue took some inspiration from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament format and presented a Sweet 16 Bake-Off to find the “best light chocolate recipe ever” that had been published in its pages in the past 25 years.

Sixteen finalists were culled from the last quarter-century of recipes, and the field was eliminated in a head-to-head showdown until only one dessert was left standing. The top four recipes were published in the February issue, and each boasts 10 grams of fat or fewer per serving.

Among double chocolate ice cream, chocolate-frangelico fondue, Texas sheet cake and classic fudge-walnut brownies, the brownies came out on top. (Though none of the other finalists’ recipes were published in the magazine, the issue was noted so devoted readers can consult their archived copies.)

For even lighter chocolate recipes, Food & Wine magazine featured three from Joy the Baker blogger Joy Wilson. Each of these weigh in at 6 grams of fat or fewer per serving, thanks to her use of lighter ingredients like cocoa nibs and Greek yogurt.

Wilson shares her tips for making chocolate frozen yogurt with caramelized bananas, cocoa-pepper waffle cookies and cocoa nib pavlova with raspberries. Each promises maximum chocolate flavor without the guilt.

Finally, Everyday Food magazine lets readers in on some unlikely ingredients that can help trim fat in desserts like brownies and cupcakes. A triple-chocolate brownie recipe uses pureed black beans as a substitute for some of the butter, resulting in four fewer fat grams per serving.

Not a chocolate lover? No problem. The magazine also includes recipes for vanilla cupcakes with fruit glaze, which uses pureed white beans to get its sweetness. Gingerbread mini cakes are moist—and good for you—thanks to pumpkin puree.