Health

High cholesterol: Three heart-healthy desserts to help keep cholesterol levels in check

Public Health England reported six in 10 British adults have high cholesterol. This can be down to too much saturated fat in the diet – found in the likes of butter and cream. But this doesn’t have to mean dessert is off the menu.

Top chef Milli Taylor has created cholesterol-friendly desserts you can sink your teeth into.

The first tasty treat is chocolate and pecan banana bread. “This recipe is certainly more of a bread than a cake,” began Taylor.

She added this recipe “benefits from a little extra Benecol spread when serving a slice”.

Taylor continued: “I cut out any refined sugar and just use the natural sweetness of dates, vanilla and the very ripe bananas themselves.”

Chocolate and pecan banana bread

What you need

A 2lb loaf tin140g of pitted and roughly chopped Medjool dates (Approiatel;y eight dates)Two very ripe bananas (160g chopped weight)One tbsp vanilla pastePinch of sea saltTwo medium eggs70g 66 percent cocoa solid chocolate chips80g Pecans170g plain flourOne tsp bicarbonate of sodaTwo tsp baking powder100g Benecol “Buttery” spread, plus extra to servePreheat oven to 160c fan (180c convection oven).

Method

1. Add chopped dates and 150ml of water to a small saucepan and simmer for a few minutes,until the dates soften and become a chunky puree.

2. Blitz the bananas, vanilla paste and the cooled dates in a blender.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the Benecol spread and the eggs, then mix in the flour, baking powder and bicarb.

4. Mix in the date and banana puree.

5. Stir in all but a few pecans and chocolate chips (reserving some for the top of the loaf)

6. Line a loaf tin with lightly greased baking paper and pour in the mix. Sprinkle the nuts and chocolate on the top and bake in the oven for 45mins-1hr or until a skewer comes out clean. Check with a skewer after 45 minutes so that you know where you are.

A two inch scone cutter165g Plain flour, plus more for dusting the boardSmall pinch of fine sea saltOne-and-a-half tsp baking powder50g Benecol Buttery spread from the fridgeOne tbsp + 1 tsp caster sugarTwo Benecol original yoghurt drinksTwo tbsp milk or plant based milkFive strawberries or a few tsp of low sugar jamExtra Benecol Buttery for spreading, or low fat soft cheese/quarkPreheat the oven to 200c fan (220c convection).

Method

1. Mix your flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl and then rub the cold Benecol spread in with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.

2. Start to pour the yogurts in one by one and work each one in with the cutting motion of a dinner knife until it just comes together, it is important not to over mix in order to achieve light scones.

3. Lightly dust your work surface with flour and then turn the dough out over it. Dust a little more flour over the dough and start to flatten it gently with your hand or rolling pin keeping the height to about 2.5cm.

4. Stamp out your scones and lay on a non-stick baking sheet, you can make the last scone with the pieces of dough you have left, pushed together.

5. Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk and then bake in the oven for about 12 minutes.

6. Let to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack and then slice in half and top each scone half with either more benecol buttery, or a low fat soft cheese such as quark or ricotta, and 1/2 tsp of low-sugar jam or a few slices of strawberry.

Taylor has given her cholesterol-friendly way to bake brownies too. “These brownies replace flour with ground almonds for a more nutritious bake,” she said.

“It also allows for the fudge-like texture that you can lose when not using as much sugar or eggs.”

Brownies (makes 20 bite-sized brownies)

You will need

A 20x20cm square cake tin140g 60-70% cocoa solid chocolate plus 50g extra for decoratingpinch of fine sea salt150g soft brown sugar140g Benecol ButteryTwo medium eggsOne tsp vanilla pasteTwo tbsp cocoa200g Ground almondsTwo tbsp milk/plant milkHalf of a tsp baking powderPreheat oven to 160c fan (180c convection oven).

Method

1. Melt 140g of chocolate in a bain marie and let it cool for 5 minutes.

2. Whisk the sugar and Benecol together until flight and fluffy and then add the eggs and whisk again.

3. Stir in the milk, vanilla and ground almonds and then sift over the salt, baking powder and cocoa.

4. Fold in the sieved ingredients and then the melted chocolate and pour into a lined tin and bake on the middle shelf for 22-24 minutes, there should still be a slight wobble in the centre.

5. If you wish, chop the remaining chocolate into small pieces and scatter them on the hot brownie to melt and set.

6. Once out of the oven and cooled in the tin, refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight before slicing and serving.

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