I was chatting with a friend recently who is trying a new diet and she was talking about how difficult it is to satisfy a sweet tooth if you’re used to store-bought cakes and cookies.

It can be a struggle; sugary foods are all around us. I went in to grab a bottled water at a gas station convenience store the other day and it seemed that nearly every food product, with the exception of some packaged nuts, was full of sugar.

I have a sweet tooth, too. When my boys were younger, I was always making cookies and other after-school snacks. I hadn’t figured out yet how to make sweets that were good for you — with some nutrition and not so much sugar. Also, there are more sugar alternatives now from Stevia to coconut sugar and sugars made from beets; white processed sugar has plenty of competition.

A couple of weeks ago I heard that you can make chocolate pudding by blending silken tofu and cocoa powder with some sweetener. I had to try this for myself since I love chocolate. I was amazed; it was creamier and smoother than pudding from a box and it was delicious.

No one at my house realized they were having chocolate pudding made from tofu, so I felt a little victorious in moving them toward a chocolate dessert that is good for you. It was the first time I used tofu to make something sweet and I could easily see using it in smoothies.

I also made chocolate cookies using oat flour and bananas; these were soft and chewy and melted chocolate chunks made those cookies irresistible right out of the oven.

I also threw together an easy cherry and pineapple upside down cake. Just mix the fruit in the bottom of a cake pan and pour the batter over the top, and bake. This recipe satisfies a sweet tooth while providing a little nutrition from the fruit.

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The secret ingredient in dark chocolate pudding is silken tofu.

Dark Chocolate Pudding

12 oz. container silken tofu

3/4 c. dark cocoa powder

1/2 c. cane sugar (or other sweetener)

Almond milk, if desired

Add the tofu, cocoa powder and sugar to a food processor and process until smooth. If you prefer a thinner pudding, add a 2 or 3 tablespoons of almond milk and process; continue adding small amounts of milk until you reach the desired consistency. Refrigerate until it’s time to serve.

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Easy pineapple cherry cake is made with whole wheat flour, almond milk and Greek yogurt.

Easy Pineapple Cherry Cake

20 oz. can crushed pineapple

2 (14.5 oz.) cans pitted cherries or low sugar pie filling

1 1/2 c. shredded coconut

1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. oat flour

1 c. unbleached all purpose flour

1 tsp. vanilla powder

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 c. almond milk

1/2 c. cane sugar

1/4 c. coconut sugar

1/2 c. Greek yogurt

1 egg

Add the cherries and crushed pineapple to the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle the coconut over the fruit and set aside. In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients and beat with an electric mixer. Pour the batter over the fruit, spreading evenly. Set in an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

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Chocolate banana cookies feature oats, bananas and chocolate.

Chocolate Banana Cookies

1 1/2 c. quick oats

1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 c. dark cocoa powder

2 tsp. vanilla paste

1 1/2 tsp. baking power

2 eggs

1/2 c. cane sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 c. chocolate chunks

In a medium bowl, add the mashed banana, vanilla paste, sugar and eggs and beat with an electric mixture until well combines. Add the oats to a food processor and pulse several times. Add the oats, flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder to a separate bowl and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir together. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then drop the cookie batter by the heaping teaspoonful onto the parchment paper. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the dough has set. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.