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Just Dessert

If I were to attach labels to the dessert described below, these are just some that would apply:

  • No added sugar
  • No added salt
  • Low fat
  • Low cholesterol
  • No hydrogenated fats
  • No trans-fats
  • Low sodium
  • High fibre
  • High raw content
  • Does not contain eggs
  • Does not contain nuts, though processed in an environment where nuts are handled
  • Gluten-free
  • Wheat-free
  • Yeast-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Suitable for vegetarians
  • Suitable for vegans


I could go on – in fact guilt-free would be another good one to add – and I haven’t even told you what it is yet! I’ve applied a ton of descriptive labels without actually describing the “what” of the food.

Certain types of food labelling are clearly very useful if you have any kind of food allergy or other personal reasons for wanting or needing to avoid certain ingredients. Other labels amount to just so much marketing hype and are often deployed as a diversionary tactic, drawing your attention away from the less appealling additions to certain food products. By extension, other foods that lack those marketing labels can seem somehow guilt-edged. If it’s not low fat, then it must be full fat and, therefore, somehow bad, and so on. It would be nice if we could be less driven by labels and more focused on the real “what” of the food (which is just one of the many points made by Michael Pollan in his excellent book In Defence Of Food).

So, what was it I was actually describing up there…?

cocoa powder

Just the cocoa ma'am, just the cocoa

…actually just cocoa powder, with some mashed banana and tahini. That’s it. This no-added-sugar dessert (there I go with the labels again) was just one of many developed by our friend Yvonne and which came up in a food-filled conversation when she and David visited recently. The basic formula was just too simple not to at least give it a whirl (and if any of you out there should decide likewise, I’d be interested to hear what you make of it!).

Meanwhile, without further ado, here, finally, at last, is the dessert…

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Yvonne’s Cocoa Banana Dessert

Yvonne didn’t give any exact quantities, so I just experimented with those myself. If nothing else, it makes eating a banana that little bit more interesting. Plus it certainly counts as one of the most guilt-free experiences that I have had involving something chocolate-based in a long time. Maybe ever.

Per person, you’ll need:
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 0.5-1 tsp tahini
The Steps:
  • Whiz the ingredients in a blender or liquidiser or just mash well by hand. Taste and adjust, you may well want to experiment with the amounts of cocoa and tahini. The cocoa will cut some of the sweetness of the banana (which should be well ripe and sweet to begin with) and you want enough tahini so that you add a creaminess to the texture without the dish tasting overtly of tahini (the tastes here are the cocoa and banana).
  • Chill well or freeze for a while (I just put it in the freezer compartment for an hour or so).
  • That’s it (well, apart from the eating bit)
The Variations:
  • This is a simple and pleasant little thing as is, but could also be the jumping off point for any number of variations, depending on where your tastebuds and humour take you.
  • I did think that a swirl of whipped cream through this would be good, but then you’d lose the guilt-free credentials (plus a couple of other labels) right there…
  • You could have a few spoons of this in its frozen form along with some other complementary fresh fruit and feel just terribly virtuous altogether!


  1. gastroanthropologist

    Interesting…anything with tahini is always good though this is one combination I have yet to try. I love the label…you have six times as many “label’s” than ingredients!

  2. Tangled Noodle

    Could it be . . . ? Why, yes it is: the perfect dessert! I would never have thought of tahini and adding the frozen mix to another fruit (strawberries!) makes it even better. With regard to the influence of marketing labels and other tactics, you might be interested in a recent post by Taste Odyssey (http://www.tasteodyssey.com/are-you-sure-you-are-choosing-what-you-eat/). In the meantime, there’s a banana in the kitchen begging for a cocoa bath . . .

  3. Danielle

    This sounds just odd enough to be good. I’m gonna give it a try tomorrow and let you know how I feel about it then.

  4. Jenni

    Purely brilliant idea! I’m not a banana fan, so I’m already trying to choose my fruit of choice, although I bet the banana would add an extra-creamy mouthfeel.

    How’s this for an odd spin? Avacado blended up w/agave nectar. That could be pretty good, huh? Just thought of that one. Thanks for getting me to think in a much-healthier-than-usual way:)

  5. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    This is a wonderful idea for a perfectly healthy and light dessert! Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Daily Spud

    gastroanthropologist: a daunting set of labels indeed – it’s nice to finally get down to the simplicity of the 3 actual ingredients!

    Tangled Noodle: strawberries – great choice! And that was indeed an interesting article at Taste Odyssey – most of us are only aware of a fraction of the manipulation that goes on in the name of getting us to spend our consumer euros (or dollars) on particular food products. Talk of labels only scratches the surface.

    Danielle: Welcome! I must admit I was kindof sceptical when I heard it described first too, but it was so simple that I thought it was worth giving it a shot.

    Jenni: You’re welcome :) As for avocado and agave nectar, well why not? I might give that a little trial run (though it’s more likely to be avocado and honey ‘cos I’m not sure if I can get the other) – in any case, there are all sorts of possibilities!

    Natasha: glad you liked it!

  7. The Duo Dishes

    Tahini in a dessert is a first. Never seen that before! We need to file away these healthy options. :)

  8. Joie de vivre

    Wonderful! A healthy chocolate fix! Thank so much for visiting my blog. :)

  9. Lick My Spoon

    BRILLIANT! i’ve always loved the texture and taste of frozen bananas…but never thought of blending it first. so smahhht. and with the new year’s resolution and all, this sounds like the perfect sweet treat :) i’m gonna whir me up some bananachocotahini goodness right now!

  10. greg

    I don’t know why one could not replace the Tahini with a little mashed potato! It reminds me that I once gave a birthday party for a Great Brittainer Friend here in L.A. who is a bit of a potato fiend. I called the dinner “the feast of the 7 potatoes” and it featured 7 courses of potato. Well dessert was the tough part. I did a “cheese cake” only I replaced the cream cheese with mashed potatoes. It was spectacular! So you Mr. Spud could try the same thing here. GREG

  11. Lori

    Love this post! I’m reading the Omnivore’s Dilemma right now and I’ve got In Defense of Food up next. This sounds simple and delicious. The tahini probably gives it a unique nutty taste. I love mixing cocoa with ricotta cheese then adding a little sweetner like honey.

  12. Daily Spud

    Duo Dishes: it was certainly a first for me too!

    Joie de Vivre: you’re welcome, I’m sure I’ll be visiting again

    Lick My Spoon: bananachocotahini – should trademark that :)

    Greg: good god man, is there anything you won’t do with mashed potatoes?!

    Lori: Thanks! I haven’t read the Omnivore’s dilemma but it’s on the list. Love the sound of your cocoa, ricotta and honey combo… Mmmm

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