All-organic recipes that make for guilt-free, delicious holiday treats

07 Hazelnut Brownies with Chocolate Chips is Gluten-Free

When Christmas is calling – or Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Boxing Day, for that matter – our thoughts turn to sweets and they’re a lot more racy than dreams of mere sugarplums.

Chocolate. Cheesecake. Multi-ingredient cookies. Mile-high pie. And, let’s dust it all with sugar and spice.

Our diets will suffer surely. And, heart disease, obesity and diabetes won’t take a holiday.

But, you don’t have to forgo the indulgences of the season if you make a few minor tweaks to your recipes, or try out some new ones from Leslie Cerier, the “Organic Gourmet” chef, cookbook author, recipe developer, and cooking instructor, of Amherst.

“This time of year, like everyday, I like to cook with the seasons, and always eat healthy organic treats, especially with very dark chocolate, and my cacao truffles are a daily pleasure for health and vitality,” Cerier said in an email conversation with The Herald News.

Cerier said she likes to celebrate life with organic vegetarian food. She often brings a healthy dish to parties and pot lucks, and guests love it.

Her recipes, available on her website lesliecerier.com, include everything from appetizers to soups. Being the holiday season, the desserts certainly stand out.

Who doesn’t want to eat ginger and spice cookies or hazelnut brownies with chocolate chips? How about those cacao truffles?

Cerier’s recipes use all organic ingredients, and often substitute items like chia seeds, coconut sugar, alternative flours, and apple or pear juice in place of their less healthy counterparts. Many are gluten-free.

Another way to stay healthy is to follow the local harvest (and stick some of that produce in the freezer for later months) which Cerier said “inspires me year round to mix and match the produce in season with a variety of vegetarian proteins, and healthy fats.”

“Eating for health and pleasure all year round is my way to stay healthy and celebrate,” Cerier said.
Leslie Cerier recipes

 Photos by Tracey Eller

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