Looking for a tasty ketogenic dessert. Difficulty factor: No Dairy
June 26, 2017 6:22 AM   Subscribe

My cousin is eating a ketogenic diet due to a cancer diagnosis. He and his wife and another couple are coming to dinner at my house in a few weeks. To add to the fun, with the exception of butter, my cousin’s wife doesn’t eat dairy.

So, I’m starting to plan the menu. Dinner probably won’t be a problem, but I’m stuck on dessert. I’ve seen lots of recipes online, but I’m skeptical about most of them re: how they will taste. And some are positively horrible to look at, and for company that won't do.

Can you recommend a keto-friendly non-dairy dessert that you’ve actually eaten and liked?
posted by Dolley to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This certainly isn't a show stopper, but I love whipped and chilled coconut cream (not coconut milk and NOT cream of coconut) served with fresh berries. If you're in a warm place like I am right now, it's doubly delicious. You could zest a little lemon or lime on top or garnish with mint to pretty it up a bit.
posted by pecanpies at 6:30 AM on June 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

You can also throw a tiny bit of balsamic on some strawberries and serve with (or without) creme fraiche. (Or that coconut cream!)
posted by functionequalsform at 6:32 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a peanut butter cup recipe I've made, which is delicious, dairy-free, quite easy to make, and you can make it pretty (perhaps fancy molds, and topped with chocolate curls, if you use a non-dairy chocolate bar). You can probably also make it bar-style in a pan and serve slices, if you line the pan carefully with waxed and oiled paper.

Sugar-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (adapted from Thrive Style by An Edible Mosaic)

Bottom Layer:
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 packets stevia

Top Layer:
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 packet stevia

Line a mini muffin tray with 11 paper liners.

Stir all ingredients for the bottom layer together until smooth and divide between the wells (each should be about half full). Put the tray in the freezer on a flat surface and freeze until solid (about 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, stir all ingredients together for the top layer until smooth and divide on top of the set chocolate mixture. Return to the freezer and freeze until solid. Store the treats in the freezer.

Yield: 11 peanut butter cups.

Nutrition Information (per cup): 116 calories; 11.1 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 55 mg. sodium; 3.6 g. carbohydrate; 1.5 g. fiber; 3.2 g. protein
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:33 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Berry selection - as far as I know, berries are allowed on ketogenic diets as long as you don't go overboard. Same day (so they're as fresh as possible) get strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. Lay them out prettily. Serve with a choice of cream, a vegan milk (hemp milk is nice, IMO), and maybe sour cream and brown sugar (for the strawberries - it seems to have been a sixties thing, but that's how we had them when I was growing up, because my parents ate them that way as young artsy people.)

Also, hemp seeds sprinkled on strawberries are nice.

If this were me, I'd offer a choice of dairy/non-dairy, rather than making everyone eat the same thing.
posted by Frowner at 6:35 AM on June 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

Paleo meringues. I use 1/4c maple syrup to about 5 egg whites but you could use less. Make little dollop and bake low and slow. You can add some cinnamon for little kick.
posted by platypus of the universe at 6:46 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You could do keto pavlovas . The lemon curd has dairy in it, but you could sub in coconut whipped cream and put a mix of berries on top. Or skip the meringue and make a parfait.
posted by katie at 6:50 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Chocolate-avocado mousse?
I'm seeing conflicting information about dates on a ketogenic diet (may want to confirm how strictly your cousin is avoiding dried fruits), but Deliciously Ella has a good base recipe. It's also doable with just avocados, banana, and cocoa powder (example here).

Something like avocado smoothies (avocado, ripe bananas, non-dairy milk, and maybe something like fresh ginger to boost the flavor) could also work? Or chia seed pudding - use unsweetened almond milk, sweeten with stevia or another keto-friendly sugar substitute, top with fresh berries, mango, or peach slices?
posted by staraling at 7:09 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Some tasty things that I eat on a nearly zero carbohydrate diet:
  • Sugar free jello (optionally w/ whipped cream with stevia)
  • Frozen berries (optionally w/ cream)
  • Dark chocolate
  • fat bombs (i.e. candy)
You can make all sorts of fat bomb flavors, here's a simple goto example: melt + combine equal parts coconut oil, butter, mix in a bunch of cocoa powder, cinnamon, spices and erythritol or stevia. Pour in muffin tins, put in fridge. You can also cool the mixture until it's a bit thicker and whip it in a mixer until it starts to lighten and form peaks before putting into muffin tins. Tastes as good as actual chocolate candy, zero digestible carbohydrates.
posted by so fucking future at 7:17 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd do berries, angel food cake, and whipped cream. Let them assemble their own. For the dairy free, get a can of nutri-whip spray.
posted by Ftsqg at 7:34 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for the comments so far, lots of good ideas.

Please, though, no more suggestions to serve my dairy-free guest something different from what I serve the others. I won't serve her anything that I wouldn't serve everyone else.
posted by Dolley at 7:41 AM on June 26, 2017

You are a doll for asking this question. Anything resembling something sweet or containing actual sugars (even natural fruit sugars) can be tricky and sometimes triggering for those doing keto. Are you opposed to asking your cousin for suggestions? Are you completely opposed to letting them bring the dessert in place of a hostess gift? That might be a good work around for everyone.

(Protip, if your cousin & the gf drink; the most common alcoholic beverage that keto followers drink is vodka with soda water and a splash of lime. If you're one of those people who is interested in essential oils or who can borrow from a friend, you can offer lime oil in place of actual lime, to further reduce the sugar content of the drink.)
posted by vignettist at 7:48 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This chocolate cake is keto and dairy-free - I like it cold, it's got a denser texture that way.

It wants some kind of topping and you could do the whipped coconut cream (tip: Trader Joe's reliably has canned coconut cream, it can be hit-or-miss to find in grocery stores, and sometimes it's in the alcohol mixer aisle), but a thin skim of low-sugar or no-sugar-added raspberry or strawberry preserves, or even NSA ice cream/coffee syrup would sophisticate the flavor some. (So would a little espresso powder dissolved in the almond milk, which is a thing I always do with chocolate cake.)
posted by Lyn Never at 8:08 AM on June 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Chia Seed Pudding (I liked to add chocolate powder and berries for fiber) is great -- you can sub a keto-friendly sweetener that agrees with friend's restrictions, but I didn't really think it needed it.
posted by *s at 8:09 AM on June 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seems like you could muck with the sweeteners in the various Cafe Gratitude desserts (see I Am Grateful: Recipes and Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude or Sweet Gratitude: A New World of Raw Desserts).

A few of those recipes have shown up on the web: I Am Awakening: Key Lime Pie, and it looks like The Bojon Gourmet: Raw vegan chocolate cheesecakes is a take-off on one of theirs too. That second one could probably be easily made with very little sweetener, or with something keto compatible.
posted by straw at 8:48 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

You could make a reasonable approximation of a chocolate Swiss roll (cocoa instead of flour, and using the bake-able sugar substitute of your choice) with that coconut cream above (+- berries) as a filling.
posted by janell at 8:59 AM on June 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

As someone with the same dietary restriction of no-dairy-except butter, I was going to comment to recommend against the dairy/non-dairy double option (where the non-dairy choice is inevitably not as good and makes me feel like a second-class citizen)--but I see you've already decided against that, so thank you!

I don't know keto restrictions well enough to give you specific advice, but you could also ask about whether your cousin's wife would be able to eat lactose-free "real dairy" products, which may give you more options (there's lactose-free sour cream and cream cheese and yogurt these days, if you have access to a Whole Foods or similar store). The very low lactose level of butter is why I can eat it despite being pretty sensitive to lactose, so I'm guessing that her food restriction might be due to lactose intolerance rather than dairy allergy. However, note that even lactose-free dairy has a decent amount of sugar in it; I don't know how much is OK for keto.
posted by serelliya at 9:09 AM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Looking for some more options for you, I was reminded that most keto dessert recipes are basically variations on heavy whipping cream or cream cheese.

This recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie is the recipe for chocolate whipped coconut milk/cream frosting/mousse that I remember. She's also got a strawberry version.

Here's a decent and more specific primer with photos and video on Whipping Coconut Milk/Cream

Elana's Pantry has good restricted diet recipes. 2 Ingredient Chocolate Pudding. This is a good one if you really want to go with chocolate. Add some raspberries on top or a raspberry puree swirl for more fancy.

This is a bit more carby, but sounds fantastic: Strawberry Dole Whips. But might be carby enough to

While I Breathe I'm Hungry has some good recipes, IIRC, just say no to the Pavlova. Merangues and the like do not do well without real sugar. Also, her sweetener choices are sometimes not great. That chocolate snack cake linked above might work, but all that granular erythritol is going to give a crunchy result and a lot of cooling sensation. If you really want to try and need a better option for baking, use powdered erythritol. But if you do not have gluten free and low carb baking experience, this is not the time to try.

But generally, unless you are used to it after years of not eating sugar, chocolate does not taste good without real sugar.

As pecanpies answer states: Fruit and coconut cream are your best bet here. Keep it simple.
posted by monopas at 12:31 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

gah. Seems like I'm typing poorly today.

From earlier: the Strawberry Dole Whip, especially if dinner had anything carb in it, might be carby enough to kick keto person out of ketosis. At least for a few days. So if that's where you're thinking of going, ask about their carb limits. Most keto diets have a max of around 30 g per day, sometimes people can do up to 50 g.
posted by monopas at 1:50 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Coffee granita is a beautiful summer dessert and incredibly low carb and low calorie when sweetened with stevia. I sub straight vodka for the liqueur, use decaf espresso, and add a few drops of almond or vanilla extract. Serve with whipped coconut cream on the side.
posted by timeo danaos at 5:40 PM on June 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

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