Best Heart-Healthy Desserts

In the past, nutrition and public health experts believed too much fat in Americans’ diets was a root cause of heart disease. Butter was vilified, and cake frosting was suspect. But things have changed. Butter is back in fashion. And extra virgin olive oil is emerging as a true health food. But ready-made frosting, featuring trans fats, is definitely not healthful.

Artificial trans fats are essentially toxic. Although still available in our food supply in limited instances, pressure from the FDA and the public has largely worked to banish these synthetic fats from store shelves. Most people will remember shortening in a can. This was the purest form of these synthetic fats. Given that some baked packaged goods still contain trans fats, it’s more important than ever to consider what you are serving to your family.

Beware Synthetic “Frankenfats”

Isn’t That Sweet

Bountiful Berry Parfaits

• 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

• 1 pint raspberries

• 1 pint blueberries

• 1 pint blackberries

• Several graham crackers and gingersnaps, crushed to a powder in a heavy-duty 1-gallon plastic bag

• 1 tsp sugar

• 1 cup whole-fat or reduced-fat Greek-style plain yogurt

• 2 Tbsp honey

• 1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon


Pick over berries, removing any that have spoiled. Rinse and dry. In a large bowl, toss berries with sugar. Sprinkle a layer of cookie crumbs in the bottom of each of 4 parfait glasses; about 1/4-1/2-inch deep. Top with berry mixture. Mix yogurt with honey and cinnamon (pinch of nutmeg, optional) and spoon equal portions over berries. Serve chilled.

Chocolate/Hazelnut Cookies

• 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil

• 1/2 cup butter, room temperature

• 1/4 cup powdered sugar (plus 1 cup for rolling dough)

• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

• 1/2 tsp almond extract

• 2 cups flour

• 1/2 cup chocolate/hazelnut spread (e.g. Nutella) at room temperature


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter/coconut oil with 1/4 cup sugar, until light and well mixed (about 3 minutes on high). Add vanilla and almond extracts; beat in. Continue mixing, as you gradually add in flour. Beat in chocolate/hazelnut spread.

Working one tbsp at a time, drop dough on cookie sheets and bake for approximately 11 minutes. Cool on wire rack, then roll cookies in remaining powdered sugar. Knock off excess and serve, or store in an airtight container