Molded Desserts For Your Low-Cal Holiday Menu

The flavors of the holidays – warm spices, tart cranberry, zesty orange – lend themselves perfectly to sugar free desserts. And what better time to serve a dessert show-stopper, a tall, sparking tower of deliciousness, just waiting for you and your guests to dive in and enjoy. Making sugar free molded holiday desserts couldn’t be easier, more fun, or more rewarding.

A great deal of the fun in making and serving these desserts is the molds themselves. Most require a five cup mold, which come in an endless variety of shapes, styles, and sizes. You’ll find them in Christmas themes, fancy designs, and with ornate details. Of course, you can purchase these molds at cookware shops and in the kitchen gear sections of major retailers, but don’t overlook your local thrift stores. You’ll often find a wide assortment of unique molds in these establishments, at prices so low you won’t be able to resist buying a few. Run them through the dishwasher, and viola – it’s clean, sanitary, and ready for you to make Christmas magic. Fancy molds also look wonderful when hung on the walls of your kitchen, and you’ll find most have hangers attached for just that purpose.

There are several tricks to successfully releasing desserts from their molds. First, make sure the dessert has set completely. Let it refrigerate several hours, or preferably overnight. Place a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap over the dessert while it sets up, shielding it from air exposure. If you skip this step, the bottom of your dessert is likely to be slightly thick and tough. You should also refrigerate the plat you plan to serve the plate on which you plan to serve the dessert.

When it’s time to unmold, moisten the tips of your fingers and gently pull the dessert away from the edge of the mold. You can also carefully run a small, pointed knife which has been dipped in warm water around the edge of the mold to loosen the contents. Fill a large mixing bowl with warm water, and dip the mold in it up to the rim for about 10 seconds. Lift it out and shake it gently to loosen. You may need to gently pull the dessert away from the mold once again.

Lightly moisten the chilled serving plate with cold water to allow the dessert to be moved after it’s unmolded. Place the plate over the mold and invert. Shake it gently, and then carefully lift the mold away. If the dessert doesn’t unmold easily, dip it in warm water again and repeat the process.

Here’s a recipe for a sparkling molded dessert which is easy to prepare, very low in sugar and calories, and makes a stunning presentation on your holiday table.

Sparkling Spiced Cranberry and Orange Dessert

1 12 oz bag cranberries
1/2 cup sucralose (brand name Splenda)
2 small packages sugar free orange gelatin
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 orange, sectioned, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
additional cranberries and orange slices for garnish

Chop the cranberries in a food processor until fine. Mix the cranberries with the 1/2 cup of sucralose and set aside.

Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Add the cup of cold water, the lemon juice and the spices. Chill until mixture is thickened but far from set. Fold in the cranberry mixture and all the remaining ingredients. Chill until firm, several hours or preferably overnight. Unmold and garnish with reserved fruit.

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