4th of July Grilled Desserts

The 4th of July means picnics and fireworks. Children out of school equals less time for cooking and more time for family. Don’t shut down the grill until you’ve grilled the desserts.

Try grilling pineapple for a healthy way to end your summer evening and serve it over coconut ice-cream for a Piña Colada Sunday, or a Grilled Banana Split. If you don’t want to use the grill, broiling brings out fruit’s inherent sweetness. A squeeze of tart limejuice balances it out.

Cinnamon and nutmeg are natural anti-oxidants and a welcomed addition to all my desserts, especially grilled fruit. I often serve them with honey drizzled yoghurt to aid in digestion after a heavy meal.

Love cheesecake but not the fat and calories? Smear ricotta cheese and your favorite jam on graham crackers for instant “cheesecake.” Grilled them with an inserted piece of organic bittersweet chocolate for a Chocolate Cheesecake or organic marshmallow for a new twist on the ol’ Smore. They’re so easy to prepare a child could do it, so let them while you supervise. At 250 calories they’ll satisfy your sweet tooth, and your waistline, so celebrate.

Here is an easy recipe that can be prepared outside on the grill during sunny days or inside on the stove on rainy days.

Grilled Dark Chocolate Sandwich (can be served ala-mode)
Both simpler and more decadent than a chocolate croissant, a grilled chocolate sandwich is a surprisingly delicious marriage of whole grain bread and organic dark chocolate for a desert that is out of this world in taste. Sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg for added healthy flavor.

Ingredients: Serves: 8
1/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 ounces organic bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg
8 slices thin whole-wheat (or substitute white sandwich bread)
3 tablespoons bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts (optional)

Preparation: 15 minutes

1. Heat evaporated milk just until boiling. Add chocolate, let stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly.

2. Butter both sides of each slice of bread. Divide the chocolate mixture on the unbuttered side of 4 slices, leaving a little border. Press chocolate chips and nuts, if using, into the chocolate. Cover with the remaining slices of bread, buttered-side up, and press lightly.

3. Cook sandwiches in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Turn over, press with a spatula, and cook until nicely browned and the chocolate is barely melted, 30 seconds-1 minute. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve warm.

Nutrition- Per serving: 151 calories, 7 g fat, 6 mg cholesterol, 21 g carbohydrate
4 g protein, 2 g fiber, 131 mg sodium

About the author- Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos is a two- time breast cancer survivor who penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND. www.survivingcancerland.com & is represented by Devra Jacobs- Dancing Word Group Literary Agency & Steve Allen PR Media. Follow her on FB@ http://t.co/aD3Zo3q

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