One Lent, maybe a year or two ago, I decided to "give up" sugar.
When Protestants give something up for Lent, it always sort of feels like Paris Hilton, putting out a hip-hop cd, where she raps about the hardship of livin' her gangsta life. Or Donald Trump telling me he "understands." Or Sarah Palin running for President. Or, for that matter, Donald Trump running for President. (Um, Canada? You got room for one more?)
In other words... a tiny bit disingenuous.
But I was living in an Anglican world at the time, and it felt like the thing to do.
So I gave up sugar. For six weeks. Minus Feast Days. And not a day more.
During my time in this sugar free world, like any good addict, I found myself needing a fix... and thus, I was drawn to Sugar Free Candy.
The interesting thing about sugar free products, is that they are almost always prominently labeled with a statement that reads, "Not a Low-Fat Food." I found this curious. I'm generally not a package reader beyond a quick glance to see how many ingredients are listed. I know what's good for me... and if I know something is not, I prefer to live in ignorance. But this bold statement had me stcratchin' my noggin, and I decided to investigate.
I mean, is the package bragging? Confessing? Trying to stir up controversy? Wanting it's own reality t.v. show? Who knew?
Except... it was none of those things.
This sugar free candy... a presumably healthy option, if only by virtue of being made with one less ingredient that 60% of all American's are addicted too... is holy-smokes-I-went-up-a-pant-size-full-of-fat!!!
We're not talking a gram or two of "fat differential" here... more like 10-20 GRAMS!
Apparently, when you take the sweet goodness of white sugar and corn syrup out of something... you must plump it up (What? No pun intended.) with fat so that it will satiate in a similar sugar-induced-coma sort of way.
So, needless to say, by Easter Sunday I was ready to celebrate our Risen Lord and Saviour with chocolate bunnies and handfuls of jelly beans. If only so I could button my blouses again.
So here's a little something to get you through the long Lenten days... and I promise, it's totally packed with fat and sugar.
What you'll need:
White chocolate chips or bark (I use Ghirardelli)
Mini (2 inch) foil muffin liners
2 Oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 Cup pumpkin puree
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 Cup powdered sugar
1 Cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs (a food processor works best here)
Recipe adapted from What Megan's Making.
Line a small muffin tin with 12 mini muffin paper liners. Throw this in the freezer.
Melt the chocolate in increments in the microwave. Make sure not to overheat. White chocolate can scorch pretty quickly, if not watched.
Pull out your cooled muffin tin, and using a small spoon, paint the melted chocolate all over the insides of your mini foil muffin liners. Allow chocolate cups to harden completely by placing muffin tin back in the fridge or freezer while you do the next bit.
In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, puree, spices, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth, then stir in the graham cracker crumbs. Spoon the pumpkin mixture into your hardened chocolate cups and smooth the top to create an even surface. There's a lot of smoothness going on here.
Re-melt the remaining chocolate if needed and top off your filled cups, smoothing the tops and making sure the chocolate reaches all the way to the edges in order to seal the goodness in. Chill in the fridge until set, about 1-2 hours.
(Not recommended for dogs. Though they might try to convince you otherwise).
Totally genuine. And not lookin' for it's own reality t.v. show. Which means, it might be the only thing in the world, not looking for a reality show.