To eat sweets or not to eat sweets: That is the question. We could painfully avoid our sweet tooth’s most coveted treats, or indulge in them and suffer the pangs of guilt that are sure to follow. With the widespread concern of obesity and diabetes, there is plenty reason to approach sweets with caution. But the truth of the matter is, sweet foods can be nutritious and incorporated into a healthy diet.

A Sweet Dash Of Aloha informs us that there are different types of sugars. Simple sugars, which include refined white sugar, are digested very quickly and rush into your blood stream, causing spikes of energy. In response to this sharp increase in blood sugar, the body over-compensates by producing more insulin (which lowers blood glucose levels) than is actually needed, resulting in what we familiarly refer to as a sugar crash. However, the complex sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables take longer to digest while keeping your blood sugar at a normal level, providing you with an evenly spaced supply of energy.

Within these pages you will find nearly 100 recipes for great-tasting desserts and snacks that will quell your cravings without the voltage spikes and subsequent lethargy associated with “bad” sugars. A Sweet Dash of Aloha also offers some tips on how to incorporate alternate sweeteners like fruit juices, natural honey, applesauce, and date sugar into some of the recipes currently in your repertoire. Another added bonus are the seasonality charts, located in the back of the book, indicating the peak availability of Hawaii’s fruits and vegetables.

If your cooking vocabulary only extends as far as pouring milk on cereal, don’t be afraid! Most of these recipes are extremely easy to follow and usually take less than an hour to complete. The instructions are well-written and all the ingredients you’ll need for each recipe are clearly listed along with a special note on where to find some of the more obscure ingredients. I recommend the quick morning glory muffins and the no-bake cheesecake–sweet, sweet aloha indeed.

Winner of the 2012 Ka Palapala Pookela Award
A Sweet Dash of Aloha

Kapiolani Community College

Watermark Publishing

190 pages