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Seasonal Treats on a College Budget

Baby Tiramisu

If you love sweets raise your hand! As the cold crisp air creeps through the University of Massachusetts campus and midterms roll around, everyone could use a healthy indulgence alongside a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Not only is this treat only 100 calories, it’s also college-budget friendly and can be made in less than an hour.

Another benefit of this delectable dessert is there is no need for an oven, which is convenient for students who live in dorms. It also has a shot of espresso mixed inside, which creates a perfect midnight midterm treat to boost your energy and satisfy your stressed-out sweet tooth. Grab a few friends and take a trip to any local supermarket to buy the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 ladyfingers (about 1 3/4 ounces soft or crunchy)
  • 4 tablespoons brewed espresso or strong coffee divided (Tip: Fill up your UMass mug at the dining hall to save money)
  • 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips (melted).

To make the cooking process easier, measure each ingredient into a separate bowl so each component is ready for you throw in as you read the following directions.

Combine ricotta, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Place six ladyfingers in a 9-by-5-inch (or similar size) loaf pan. Drizzle with two tablespoons of espresso (or coffee). Spread the ricotta mixture over the ladyfingers. Place another layer of ladyfingers over the ricotta and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of espresso (or coffee). Finally, drizzle with melted chocolate.

To give this treat a professional facade, drape the chocolate over the dessert in a zigzag shape either diagonally or horizontally. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, which should take about 30 minutes.

Tip: To melt the chocolate, microwave on medium for 1 minute. Stir, and then continue microwaving on medium in 20-second intervals, stirring after each interval until the chocolate is melted. Once you have finished your baby tiramisu, wrap up in your warmest blanket, put on a scary movie, and grab a cup of hot chocolate and a few friends to enjoy this delicious treat. By the time the movie is over, you’ll be ready to hit the books again.

Feeling guilty about indulging in this treat? Don’t! A baby tiramisu has only 107 calories, two grams of fat, three milligrams of cholesterol, three grams of protein, 125 milligrams of sodium and 29 milligrams of potassium. Other desserts, like muffins or cakes, consist of 300 calories or more, but baby tiramisu tastes great and is a healthy choice.

No Bake Cookie

 If you’re not a coffee lover, don’t feel left out – there’s a healthy dessert out there for you, too. Ever hear of a cookie you don’t need to bake? Well, here is an irresistible and incredibly inexpensive cookie recipe that requires no oven.

When the combination of chocolate and peanut butter come together in any recipe, it is guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds and satisfy your strongest chocolate craving. With chucks of graham crackers laced in gooey peanut butter rolled through a bed of coconut, there is no way you’ll be able to turn down a second helping.

What do you need to make the salivating snack? Grab:

  • 8 whole-wheat cracker squares
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons shredded unsweetened coconut

The best part of this dessert is the time it takes to make – only 10 minutes! First, finely chop the graham crackers and throw them in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients (excluding the coconut). Mix all of the contents together and divide, molding each tablespoon-sized heap into a circular ball.

Roll each sphere in the unsweetened coconut, and press down gently on each ball to give a fully cooked cookie shape effect.

For two of these cookies, the nutritional facts are as follows: 301 calories, 14 grams of fat, 41 grams of carbohydrates, two grams of protein, four grams of fiber, 284 milligrams of sodium and 82 milligrams of potassium.

Feel like indulging? Replace the whole-wheat cracker with honey graham crackers, the milk chocolate chips with dark chocolate, the natural peanut butter with chunky peanut butter and the unsweetened coconut with sweetened coconut. Simply substitute each ingredient and follow the same directions for a sweeter and more indulgent treat. Although the sugar content may be through the roof, you won’t regret indulging in this easy, quick and delectable dessert.

Kaitlyn Bigica can be reached at kbigica@student.umass.edu.

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