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 The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine  
    June 2005    Page 1       > About LCL Magazine     > Cover Page      > Inside Cover    Feature Pages:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11  12  13  14     


Feature Articles
 Make it Low Carb!
 The Benefits of White Tea
 Top 12 Foods for Weight Loss
 The Benefits of Chocolate
 Father's Day Memories
 Fitness: Strength Training
 Grooming Tips for Men
 Becoming Real
 Recipes from Dreamfields!
 The Bear Facts
 The Joy of Hazelnuts
 Low Carb Baking Fun
 Mineral Makeup: A Report
 PMS: Is it Real?



Expert Foods from The Low Carb Connoisseur

                 Make it Low Carb! by Joan Hedman

When I was a little girl, my family had a summer time tradition. Once every summer, we'd skip dinner altogether and just have banana splits. Back in those days, we never paid attention to fat or carbs. We just dug into huge concoctions of bananas, ice cream, chocolate and strawberry toppings, and mounds of whipped cream. It was only once a year, and it was so nutritionally irresponsible that we always enjoyed it much more than we would have if we just had ice cream for dessert.

After you've already eaten dinner, what kid would have room for a whole banana split anyway? (We'll just leave my hollow-legged teenaged brother out of this!)

As the summer heat creeps up on us here in the South West, we've been eating more ice cream. One day my daughter asked, "Mom, can we have banana splits?" and I thought, "Why not?"

It only took about a half an hour to assemble the required ingredients: diced banana, chocolate ganache, raspberry sauce from frozen raspberries, whipped heavy cream. (We already had the low carb ice cream in the freezer; there are many delicious choices available now.)

Since this was an indulgence for the kids, I made a simple ganache with chopped bittersweet chocolate and heavy cream. Using the microwave, the entire process took less than 5 minutes. But then I realized that I?d like some, too! I wondered if I could make a good sugar-free ganache, which seemed to hinge on some magical balance of sugar, cream, fat, and chocolate.

So I hit the books, and armed with my trusty table of "chocolate equivalents," I mixed and microwaved and stirred. And stirred. And stirred. I looked at the gloopy mess in my mixing bowl and thought, "This will never come together," but on the very next round out of the microwave — magic! It only took a few tweaks before I was satisfied with both taste and texture.

This shiny, dark sauce is one I can proudly serve to anyone. I hope you'll give it a try, because once you master it, you'll find it has so many uses. You can use it to frost cakes, or marble it into a vanilla cheesecake. How about making some low carb crepes, filling them with raspberries or strawberries, and then drizzling some ganache over them for a truly decadent dessert? And you can always do what I do — just eat it out of the refrigerator when you need a little chocolate fix.

Makes 6 servings

  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 4 T cocoa
  • 1/4 C xylitol or erythritol
  • 1/8 C granular Splenda
  • 3 T non-hydrogenated shortening or coconut oil (do not use butter or vegetable oil)
  • 3-4 drops sugar free vanilla extract
  • additional Splenda or Sweet-n-Low packets (optional)

Place the cocoa, sweeteners, and shortening or coconut oil in a 2-cup capacity microwave safe container. Microwave for 30 seconds to one minute, depending on the power of your microwave, until the shortening is melted.

Stir well to combine. The mixture will resemble very wet, gritty, dark mud, but just keep on stirring until there is no dry cocoa or sweetener still visible.

Add the heavy cream and the vanilla extract, and stir briefly. Microwave for another 30 seconds, remove from the microwave, and stir. Now the mixture will resemble a glass of milk that has had way too many Oreo cookies dunked into it — lots of little chocolate bits suspended in the cream. Don?t worry!

Microwave for another 30 seconds; remove and stir thoroughly, for at least 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat this step until the cocoa has melted into the cream, and your ganache has achieved a nice, thick, glossy texture. I can?t tell you exactly how many trips into the microwave you?ll need, because that depends on your microwave. With my high-powered one, it usually takes only 3 or 4 rounds.

Do not attempt to microwave for 2 minutes and be done with it. The secret to this recipe is gentle heating and near-constant stirring. If you apply too much heat at once, the chocolate will ?seize? and the sauce won?t come together.

Now, taste it. If it does not seem sweet enough to you, add a packet of Splenda or Sweet-n-Low and stir well; taste again. Typically ganaches are made with bittersweet chocolate, a taste which this recipe duplicates well. If you like sweet dark chocolate, you may need to add more than one packet.

As the ganache cools, it thickens. If you pour it on ice cream, you'll get a bit of "magic shell" effect. If you're using it to frost or fill a cake, cool it until it thickens enough to stay where you put it, but not so much that you can?t handle it. After you've put it on the cake, you'll want to refrigerate the cake to let it set up completely.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, where it will harden to a delicious, eat-it-with-a-spoon consistency. Reheat very gently using a low-power setting in your microwave or a double-boiler, stirring constantly. If you heat it too quickly, the sauce may "break," but it will still taste good. You may be able to repair it by stirring in another teaspoon of shortening to restore the smooth, glassy texture.

Approximate nutrition information using Hershey's cocoa, xylitol, and Splenda, with no additional packets added, for a one-sixth serving: 158 calories; 14 g fat; 3 g carbs; 0.7 g fiber; 1 g protein; 5 g sugar alcohols.

Note: I can't vouch for the success of this recipe using Splenda alone, or using a liquid sweetener like DaVinci or Torani syrups. It's important that the ganache not get wet at all, as that can cause the chocolate to seize.

As always, I love to get mail, so if you have comments or questions, or if there is a recipe you'd like to see converted to low carb, please drop me a line.


Copyright © June 2005  Joan O'Connell Hedman and Low Carb Luxury



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