Last Thursday marked my second experience with teaching a Mommy & Me healthy snack class. This time, of course, the theme was Valentine’s Day, and the request in planning was ‘something chocolate.’
Combining ‘healthy’ with ‘chocolate’ in the same dish can be a challenge in itself! But my bigger challenge was creating a recipe that would also be fun for the kids, easily prepared as individual servings, and simple enough to instruct to a group of 3-8 year-olds! I also wanted the snack to be low in fat and sugar so moms could not only feel good about their kids eating it, but also enjoy it themselves guilt-free.
Normally, I try to use only honey or fruit puree to sweeten baked treats, but I’ve not had very good results combining honey and chocolate. So, in this case, I used sugar just in the cakes and still managed to impress with this pretty layered dessert that’s pure creamy, chocolaty decadence, even though it’s low-fat and relatively low-sugar as well. We even slipped in some whole grains, protein, and calcium (but seriously, no one will know if you don’t tell!).
To me, the best part of class (besides all the ‘Mmmm… this is SO good’ comments!) is seeing the moms and kids working together and enjoying each other’s company. Whether you regularly cook with your kiddos or you’ve been nervous about trying, this is a great recipe to make as a family. In our class, the smaller kids had fun scooping, measuring, pouring, and mixing with help and supervision, and all of the kids took turns. The older kids were able to do all those tasks with less supervision and also cracked and added the eggs. Cooking teaches young children about early math concepts, sensory experience, vocabulary, and following directions, and also helps develop fine motor skills. Older kids benefit from learning science concepts, sequencing and more advanced math skills, language and reasoning development, and reading comprehension when they help with the cooking. Being in the kitchen with your children also presents multiple opportunities for bonding, building their confidence, and teaching about nutrition and keeping their bodies healthy!
That said, here’s your family-friendly, sinfully delicious, easy to make dessert for a Happy Healthy Valentine’s Day. I hope you enjoy!
Valentine Trifle Dessert
Ingredients for Each Serving
1 Chocolate Cupcake (prepared as noted below)
1/4 c. Vanilla Yogurt (recipe below)
3-4 fresh strawberries, washed & sliced
Make cupcakes. While cupcakes bake, prepare vanilla yogurt and prep strawberries. Cool baked cupcakes on wire rack 10-15 minutes. Remove cupcakes from liners and cut each into 1/2” cubes.
In a small cup or trifle dish (we used clear plastic cups in class), layer half the cupcake cubes, half the prepared vanilla yogurt, and half the strawberry slices. Repeat layers.
One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes – makes 12 cupcakes
1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. lowfat milk
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in pan.In medium mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.Add milk, applesauce, vanilla, and egg. Mix well, stirring for 3-5 minutes.Pour into prepared cupcake pan & bake 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few cakey crumbs.Vanilla Yogurt – makes 4 trifle dessert portions
1 c. plain nonfat yogurt (Greek or regular)
1 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla
In small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Divide into 1/4 c. portions to make 4 trifle desserts.
What’s your family’s favorite Valentine’s Day treat?