Have Your Cake and Don't Eat It

Just about a week ago I had a revelation when I ate some cookies and felt the sugar burn my mouth. That experience inspired me to stop eating sugar for a while. Yes, just a while. I'm not so foolish as to commit to forever. Isn't the 12-step motto "One day at a time?" If it's worked for millions of addicted people, there must be something to it.

The first ten minutes were the most difficult. A parade of mouth-watering images meandered through my mind, probably every delicious dessert I ever tasted. But then, of course, I had to get back to work, and my mind couldn't be in two places at once.

What happened after that was that I kind of forgot about it. It helps that I work at home and don't keep too many treats in the house... though butter, flour, sugar and chocolate bars - key ingredients for a myriad of tasty treats - are always on hand. But when I'd be out doing errands and consider stopping for a treat, I'd choose to drive on by. There's that crucial moment when I'm deciding whether or not to put on my turn signal and pull over. If I can just get past that moment, it's over. Easy peasy.

Last week I suggested letting yourself really taste and feel the sugar if you want to give it up. Now I have a new suggestion: window shop. If you're a sucker for a bakery, look in the window and imagine what some of those goodies might taste like. The mind is a powerful tool, and you can have your cake and not eat it, too.

Having something cake-like and reasonably healthful takes the edge off. Morning is great for that. I've never been a bacon and eggs kind of woman - a continental breakfast is perfect for me.

I make my own scones - usually chocolate chip. I use buttermilk for the liquid - it has fewer calories than skim milk and all the benefits of yogurt - but you could probably substitute plain soy yogurt. Flax seeds add EFAs and a delightful chewiness. And I chop about two-thirds of a very dark chocolate bar into chips; the darker the chocolate, the lower the sugar content. I use a tiny bit of sugar in the dough (think of it as an innoculation), though I'm hoping I can substitute stevia, But I also have some maple sugar in my cabinet, so maybe I'll use that and switch out the chocolate chips for raisins and walnuts this week.

Almost Sugar-Free Scones:

Makes 12

Whisk together in a bowl:

1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup raw, ground flax seed, or combination of flax seed and wheat germ

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1-2 tbsp. sugar or other dry sweetener

Instructions:

1 stick cold unsalted butter and work it into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter (for best results) or your fingers. The less you handle the butter, the lighter your scones will be.

Whisk together and stir into the mixture:

1 egg yolk

3/4 cup buttermilk

Stir in while the mix is still a little moist and the bits can move around:

About 3/4 of a dark chocolate bar, chopped

Stir and then knead all ingredients together first in the bowl, and then on a lightly floured surface. Shape into two 6-inch circles and cut each into 6 wedges.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 380 degrees for 20-22 minutes, until light golden.

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You can make a zillion variations on this recipe, with bits of fresh or dried fruit, grated ginger, nuts, or whatever else strikes your fancy. It may not be cookies, but it's guaranteed to satisfy that sweet carb craving. At least for a little while.

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