Heat up game with a smokin’ dessert

So, the table is groaning, the beverages of choice are frosty and the tourney is in full swing.

The only thing missing from the Sweet 16 may be a great dessert in your game plan. Sure, you could open a couple of bags of sweet and salty snack mixes, or – if you really, really like your guests – those Girl Scout cookies you’ve been hoarding.

But, in keeping with our theme of lightening things up a little during March Madness, I was going to suggest you make macaroons. After all, the tournament and Passover coincide this year, so macaroons seemed like a totally PC solution. Made with egg whites, macaroons are a little less, um, saturated than most sweets.

However, you do have the pesky problem of coconut, a love-it-or-hate-it food.

So, as always, I fall back on my go-to offense. Chocolate. And this dessert even sounds manly. See what I mean when you pass out Chocolate Chip Raspberry Cigars.

The cigars are made with that exceptionally thin white bread you never buy, even though at 45 calories a slice, it’s a better choice than that hunk of dough you usually use for sandwiches. Sure, there’s butter in the recipe, but it’s just used to brush the cookies before you bake them.

And, you can form the cigars way before tip-off time and store them on the baking sheets in the refrigerator. Skip the butter brushing step until you bring them back up to room temperature – about 30 minutes. Then pop them in the oven.

There. Easy to make. Fun to eat. Score.

Sweet 16 Cigars

16 slices very thin white sandwich bread, crusts removed

1/4 cup raspberry preserves (or seedless raspberry jam)

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 Tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.

On a piece of waxed paper, use a rolling pin to further flatten each piece of bread. Spread each piece thinly with the preserves and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Roll each piece up tightly and place seam side down on the baking sheets. (You can refrigerate them at this point).

Brush each cigar with melted butter and bake 8 minutes. Remove pans from oven and using tongs, flip over each cigar. Bake 4 more minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm and melty.


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