Here comes Halloween, and you know what that means: it's going to start raining candy. Your kids are going to come home with candy, your neighbors are going to be handing out candy, there will be parties with candy. Candy, candy, CANDY!
We love candy, yes. But maybe you're looking for a little sanity this Halloween. Maybe you want a, dare I say, vaguely healthy Halloween dessert, something that still makes you feel like you're celebrating but doesn't send you into diabetic shock.
I am usually anti-healthy desserts. I believe dessert should be dessert, and healthy food should be healthy, and never the two should meet. But this time of the year it makes sense to enjoy a few desserts that are yummy and a little decadent but that also deliver some nutrients. After all, healthy food is as much about including the good stuff as about avoiding the bad stuff. Here are our top 10 picks for Halloween sanity desserts that won't make you feel deprived.
Apples are loaded with vitamins and fiber. You could melt some caramels, but this recipe from healthy living website 101 Cookbooks includes a homemade caramel sauce made with honey, and it looks amazing.
Vanilla Poached Pears
Another great autumn dessert fruit is the pear. This recipe for poached pears uses just a bit of sugar but lets pears' own crisp, sweet flavor and the vanilla beans do most of the work.
This recipe for red wine poached pears with marscapone filling delivers calcium and antioxidants. You can use low-fat cream cheese instead of mascarpone.
Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene and alpha-carotene as well as potassium and zinc. Try Martha's pumpkin cupcakes.
Know what else is really good for you? Eggs! Really, they are most efficient form of protein for the human body as long as you don't have high cholesterol. Try these spiced pumpkin souffles from Gourmet Magazine.
Grownup mulled cider
Usually mulled cider has added sugar, making it sickly sweet. Try a no-sugar-added version in the slow cooker with apple cider, a cinnamon stick, a few orange slices, and about five cloves. Pour an ounce of brandy into each serving. Or, for another recipe try this Hot Spiced Drunken Apple Cider.
Grape Harvest Cake
This not-too-sweet grape cake has fresh grapes, olive oil, and sea salt.
Savory Plum Tart with Mascarpone
I love this savory plum tart. The flavors are so unexpected, but they really work well together. This recipe also uses mascarpone, but again you can swap in low-fat cream cheese.
Damp Gingerbread Cake
This gingerbread cake is not too sweet, but it's so rich you don't need frosting! Enjoy it with some cold milk.
Zombie Eyeball Crispies
These eyeball crispies are basically decorated rice crispie treats, and if you use unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal they will taste pretty much the same, I promise! I know because I've made "healthy" crisp rice squares for my son and he doesn't even notice.
Popcorn Ball Creatures
Anne Strawberry's popcorn ball recipe recommends using kettle-popped corn instead of microwave popcorn. I have to agree. It's not that hard, either, and you'll skip all the creepy (eek!) chemicals in the microwave stuff. Don't forget to decorate your popcorn balls -- more eyeballs, mwa ha ha ha ha!
Images via NorwichNuts/Flickr, Joyosity/Flickr (caramel apple and poached pears), Shimelle/Flickr, carabou/Flickr, NatalieMaynor/Flickr, Whole Foods, Adriana Velez (savory plum tart and spiced ginger cake), NorwichNuts/Flickr, Cloodlebing and Great Kindness/Flickr.