When I think of diabetic desserts, not very many things come to mind. Most homemade treats are either not an option or can only be eaten on a restricted basis. Most storebought desserts are poor substitutes for the “real” thing. But when I first came across The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts, I was impressed and as I read through it, I liked the book even more because – diabetic or not – it is a well put-together cookbook with lots of appealing recipes.
The book is divided into chapters and includes sections on cakes, quick breads, tarts, cookies, custards and pies. There is a tremendous amount of variety in the flavors used – from familiar chocolate cake to a more tropical mango lime tart – and it’s nice to see a cookbook that spends so much time on non-cookie recipes. I also want to note that the cookbook is not just packed with recipes that replace sugar with an artificial sweetener. Some do call for a sugar substitute, but the 150 or so recipes in the book seem to have had their nutritional data carefully looked at and deemed to be in a healthy/acceptable range. What this basically means is that many of the recipes in the book use real sugar, just in limited amounts. Sugar is such a crucial ingredient in baking and can affect the texture and moisture levels of baked goods to such an extent that most recipes made with a substitute can’t quite compare to one that actually uses sugar.
The book was put out by the American Diabetes Association (but written by Jackie Mills) and includes all of the relevant nutritional information with every recipe, including nutritional exchanges, to make incorporating the snacks into a diabetic diet as easy as possible. Many of the recipes are low in fat, so the nutritional info also comes in handy for other people who are watching their weight or for those who just like to keep an eye on what they’re eating in general.
My only complaint (as usual) is that I wish there were more pictures – not just because I enjoy pictures, but because the photos included make the foods look great and I think that a few more pictures would go a long way in dispelling any doubts reluctant cooks might have about trying a recipe formulated to fit a specific diet plan.