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A Trio of Sugar-Free Sweets

26 January 2011 25 Comments

Here I am, heading into Day 8 of my sugar-free challenge. How am I doing? I’ve been weak, very weak. But, I’ve stuck with it, am getting a bit stronger by the day … and have even learned a bit about myself.

I’d never thought of myself as an emotional eater in any way. I just loved food (especially sweet food), period. But, this past week I found out that sweets are a crutch for my stress. Day 1 of the sugar-free challenge was hard, of course, but Day 2 was remarkably easy. Sure, a craving here or there, but I breezed by them. Day 3 started out strong … I made it through the whole morning without thinking once about chocolate or candy (yes, this is a big accomplishment for me!) … but then, the stress hit. I looked at my to do list. I was knee deep in work load and I didn’t want to do any of it. I looked at my job and wondered what it had become. Was this even what I wanted to do anymore? Next thing you know, BAMM! I was *this* close to quitting the whole sugar-free challenge. Thank goodness I had already dragged other people into it, otherwise I would have caved. Support kept me strong. I went for some fruit.

Of course, day 3 wasn’t my only hurdle … no, no, no … I seem to have alternating stress days. Day 5 was when I finally had to break down and make some sugar-free sweets. Thanks to Ricki for her Carob Coconut Sweeties (and yes, I ate the whole leaning tower batch, thank God it was a small one!) …

Recipe in Desserts without Compromise, by Ricki Heller


On Day 7, another surge of stress hit, but Katie’s sugar-free Banana Freezer Fudge helped me through the day …

Recipe on Chocolate-Covered Katie (see my notes below for changes that I made)

 This stuff is fortunately sugar-free, even with the stevia I added. I’m going to play with this recipe some more, as the flavor is awesome, but my stomach has trouble handling quite so much fat (considering I could easily eat half a batch!), and all of the coconut oil causes them to freeze very solid (they soften after a few minutes at room temp though). I added 4 (or was it 5?) drops of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia to Katie’s recipe, used just a pinch of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon.

And then, there was one final creation … Sugar-Free & Grain-Free Brownies. Only mine ended up a lot more like Dark Chocolate Fudge

Recipe on The Mommy Bowl by Deanna, you can see below for my changes

 Almonds are out for my husband, and I was short on ideas for the almond flour, so I subbed ground cashews in this recipe. The result refused to set up, but I chilled the whole batch and it made a wonderful dark chocolate fudge. I will have to experiment with this one more, as getting the amount of dates right for our taste was an experiment, and I added about 15 drops of NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia. I’m not typically a big fan of stevia, but in this amount, it didn’t overpower the flavor and did add some sweetness. Deanna’s recipe is a fabulous one to work with, I highly recommend it!

Wish me luck on Days 8 through 10 (and beyond)!

Have you cut back on sugar since the holidays? If you’re doing the sugar-free challenge with me, how’s it going? Also, do you have any sugar-free treat ideas to share?


  • Deanna said:

    I’m so glad you liked the brownies, even if they didn’t set up for you. Cashews are a much softer, fattier nut than almonds, and that’s probably why they didn’t set up for you. (They were moist for me, but definitely more fudgey brownie than actual fudge.) And, if you altered the amount of dates that could do it, too. I’m fairly sure you could probably make them with coconut flour, though the amount would be a bit different.

    Good luck with your sugar-free quest. It’s always good to take a break from sugar.

  • Ricki said:

    I can’t say I’ve cut back on “sugar” since I don’t eat it anyway, but I *have* been trying to eat fewer sweets (not with the greatest success). I commend you on sticking with it! And glad you liked the coconut sweeties. 😀 I think most of us are emotional eaters at some time or another. . .it’s being aware of that so it doesn’t get out of control that’s important.

  • Ricki said:

    Forgot to say that that “fudge” looks AMAZING!

  • Nowheymama said:

    I have gotten my sugar consumption down to its normal, non-holiday level. This would be more impressive if my addiction weren’t *salt*!

  • Chocolate-Covered Katie said:

    Dear Alisa,
    I think you are absolutely amazing. I wish you would come make food for me. I’d say more, but I have to go click on that brownie link right now.
    (But I’ll be sending you an email later today)


  • Sara said:

    I’m doing OK so far, on Day 9! Like I mentioned in my post from yesterday, I did have some ketchup with agave, but that’s it! haha. I have been turning my back to the sweets, but I hadn’t even thought of making stuff like this! Hmmmmmm 🙂

  • lindsay said:

    I could go sugar free with these amazing treats. Thanks for sharing!

  • Katie said:

    The coconut! You’re killing me posting these great looking treats that are ruined with the coconut!

    I made a date sweetened brownie really similar to that. I think I sent it to you actually? I also made sugar free banana donuts today! I’ve mostly been eating unsweetened bakers chocolate when I get a sweets craving though.

    It’s the home stretch….

  • Wendy @ Celiacs in the House said:

    What gorgeous goodies you have, my dear. Oh, that probably didn’t sound clean or nice, but when we’re talking dessert, I lose control. I admire this new path you’re on and the ways you are finding to stay on track. You certainly have found some great recipes and cooks to help you.

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  • Johanna B said:

    This was a good post. I’m doing a no-sugar thing too. Can’t wait to try some of the sugar-free goodies you posted about.

  • Gaby said:

    Yum! Katie is crazy, those coconut sweeties look incredible. If anything, I could go without the carob and just do coconut. I think I do a lot of sugar free baking (thanks to some of your lovely recipes!) and don’t eat much added sugar anyways, but a full on sugar free challenge would be hard! You’re super strong! I’d have trouble taking out all the added sugars to foods I already have, like cereals. Maybe I’ll do a challenge when I get rid of all my cereal because I’m a cereal monster and even though I don’t like the sweet stuff, it seems everything has added sugar in it!

  • alisa (author) said:

    Sara – You are my idol – 28 days sugar-free! I’m tempted to keep going and join you, but I don’t know, 10 days may be all I can take!

    Katie – Yeah, home stretch! Two days to go!!

    Gaby – I agree, Katie is crazy 🙂 Coconut is the best!

  • alisa (author) said:

    We are really going to have to do something about these food aversions! Omit the coconut for now … we will baby step you into it 🙂


  • alisa (author) said:


  • glutenfreeforgood said:

    Great post and I love the series of recipes. Those dark chocolate fudge treats of yours look amazing. Giving up sugar is not easy and you’re so right — it is a crutch when you’re under stress and there are physiological reasons for that. Same when you haven’t slept well. We evolutionarily crave sugar in times of stress. It’s just that what we should do (and you did, which is PERFECT) is have a piece of fruit, not a box of cookies. =) I’ve never used vanilla stevia, but I’ll have to give it a try.
    Loved this post!

  • alisa (author) said:

    Thanks for the encouragement Melissa, and the sugar cravings actually do make sense in terms of stress … since our bodies go into that “fight or flight” mode, quick energy is probably something we do crave. Only problem is, stress these days is sooo unnecessary! Working on that 🙂

  • Lori said:

    As if I wasn’t craving dessert bad enough, I look at this post! At least they’re all sugar free! YUM. I need those brownies…

  • alisa (author) said:

    Yeah, I’m so going to be experimenting more with those brownies – they are yummy!

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  • Naturally Savvy said:

    If you can’t have coconut, try subbing it with cacao butter. This is the fatty part of the cacao plant, so it has a rich creamy texture like coconut would give you. Let us know how it works out 🙂

  • Mike said:

    As long as your using Stevia you should be fine. Stevia is harmless. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself you need to eat some fruit. The sugar in fruit is good for you. Fructose helps regulate blood sugar. It’s the high fructose corn syrup we have to avoid.

  • alisa (author) said:

    No worries, never stopped eating fruit Mike. Was just cutting out added sweeteners for a little while.