Dessert Smoothies to Meet Your Sweet Tooth

By Pat Crocker

Sometimes you may just crave a treat or you want something to mark a special occasion or to celebrate an important event. Dessert smoothies are sweet treats that fit those requirements perfectly — they’re served in tiny portions, once in a while. The reason people love them is that they’re rich in cream, ice cream, sweetened syrups like butterscotch and chocolate, nuts, sweetened dried fruit, and other forbidden ingredients.

You know they aren’t a bit healthy, fresh fruit notwithstanding, but how can you resist these sugary, creamy treats? The answer is to blend your own iced desserts with less sugar (and other sweeteners) without using high-fat cream and ice cream.

The following list details the calories found in three frozen ingredients so that you can make an informed choice of what to use in smoothies meant to be a treat:

  • Frozen yogurt: It’s (just barely) a healthy alternative to ice cream. Consisting of milk solids, sugar (or other sweeteners), milk fat, yogurt culture, flavorings, and sometimes colorants, frozen yogurt is perceived to be healthier, but the sugar and fat still make it a sweet treat. For any probiotic effect, be sure to buy yogurt and frozen yogurt that contains live and active cultures. Freezing doesn’t kill the bacteria, but commercial products that are heat-processed at temperatures over 113 degrees do kill bacteria. One scoop of regular frozen yogurt has about half the calories and fat of ice cream.

  • Ice cream: A custard of eggs, milk, and/or cream is mixed with sugar (or other sweeteners), fruit, or other flavorings and stirred while chilling to incorporate air that prevents large ice crystals from forming. The result is a smooth and creamy semisolid froth that may be scooped and molded. Commercial products have between 10 percent and 16 percent fat, milk solids, sweeteners, stabilizers, and emulsifiers and water (from the milk).

  • Ice milk: Originally, when a frozen dairy product contained less than 10 percent milk fat, it couldn’t be called ice cream, so it was called ice milk. Changes in USDA rules in the 1990s allowed a 10 percent or less milk fat product to be called low-fat ice cream in the United States. The problem with lowering the fat is that usually sugar is increased and the total number of calories is not significantly reduced.

Check out these tasty dessert smoothie recipes:

S’mores-ies

Prep time: About 4 min

Blending time: 1 min

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup skim or 1 percent milk

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

2 scoops chocolate ice cream

2 tablespoons melted dark chocolate

2 tablespoons crushed graham crackers, for garnish

Directions

  1. 1Combine the milk, sweetened condensed milk, yogurt, and ice cream in the blender container.

  2. 2Secure the lid on the container.

  3. 3Starting on a low speed and gradually easing toward high, blend the ingredients for 25 seconds or until smooth.

  4. 4With the motor running on medium speed, add the melted chocolate to the container through the opening in the lid. Blend for 10 seconds or until mixed into the smoothie.

  5. 5Pour the dessert smoothie into 4 glasses, garnish with crushed graham crackers, serve with a spoon, and enjoy!

Per serving: Calories 367 (From Fat 117); Fat 13g (Saturated 8g); Cholesterol 30mg; Sodium 178mg; Carbohydrate 54g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 11g.

You can use hot fudge sauce in place of the melted dark chocolate. Try skipping Step 4 and drizzling the chocolate over the smoothies in the glasses. Serve with a spoon.

Grasshopper Pie

Prep time: About 3 min

Blending time: 1 min

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup milk

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 to 3 drops pure mint extract

2 cups fresh spinach

2 scoops chocolate ice cream

2 tablespoons melted dark chocolate

2 tablespoons crushed chocolate wafers, for garnish

Directions

  1. 1Combine the milk, sweetened condensed milk, mint extract, and spinach in the blender container.

  2. 2Secure the lid on the container.

  3. 3Starting on a low speed and gradually easing toward high, blend the ingredients for 25 seconds or until smooth. Add ice cream and start on a low speed, gradually easing toward high, blend for 10 to 15 seconds or until mixed into milk mixture.

  4. 4With the motor running on medium speed, add the melted chocolate to the container through the opening in the lid. Blend for 10 seconds or until mixed into the shake.

  5. 5Pour the dessert smoothie into 4 glasses, garnish the drinks with crushed wafers, serve with a spoon, and enjoy!

Per serving: Calories 192 (From Fat 76); Fat 8g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 21mg; Sodium 99mg; Carbohydrate 25g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 5g.

You can use fresh mint sprigs to garnish this dessert smoothie.

You can substitute low-fat ice cream (or ice milk) for any of the regular ice cream ingredients called for here. Check the amount of sugar in the lower-fat ice cream to see if you need to reduce the sweetened condensed milk or other sweet ingredients in the recipe.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Prep time: About 3 min

Blending time: 1 min

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vanilla or lemon flavored yogurt

2 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate

2 scoops vanilla or lemon sherbet

4 chunks frozen banana

2 tablespoons crushed ladyfinger or lemon wafer cookies, for garnish

Directions

  1. 1Combine the buttermilk, yogurt, lemonade concentrate, sherbet, and banana chunks in the blender container.

  2. 2Secure the lid on the container.

  3. 3Starting on a low speed and gradually easing toward high, blend the ingredients for 45 seconds or until smooth.

  4. 4With the motor running on medium speed, add the melted chocolate to the container through the opening in the lid. Blend for 10 seconds or until mixed into the shake.

  5. 5Pour the dessert smoothie into 4 glasses, garnish the drinks with crushed wafers, serve with a spoon, and enjoy!

Per serving: Calories 139 (From Fat 17); Fat 2g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 102mg; Carbohydrate 27g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 5g.

Ladyfinger cookies or vanilla cookies are plain vanilla-flavored cookies shaped and baked in a long oval. You can make your own or purchase them.

You can use one fresh banana, cut into chunks in place of the frozen banana.