This Italian dessert can be made sweet and creamy, but without the use of fattening dairy nor sugar. Creamy coconut milk and cacao chocolate are the foundation of this guilt-free dessert. Adding cinnamon and stevia make this treat even healthier for diabetics.



Cinnamon is a spice made from the sweet bark of trees. It is dried and sold in sticks or ground for convenience and comes in several varieties. Studies show that cinnamon is beneficial to controlling postprandial blood sugar levels. Stick to Ceylon or Saigon for the best results. Most types of cinnamon served in coffee shops is the sweet Saigon version.


Cacao is the dried fatty seed of the cacao plant, from which chocolate products are made. These highly bitter seeds can be made into cacao powder or cacao nibs. Dark chocolate and cacao offer the highest amount of antioxidants. Studies have proven the power of cacao to increase your body’s immunity and decrease blood pressure. Always seek cacao chocolate or cacao powder, since the similar cocoa powder is heavily processed which removes most of the healing properties. Read the label, you want to find the unsweetened variety, sometimes labeled baking chocolate.


Coconut milk is made from the inner “meat” of the tropical coconut. It is actually a fruit, not a nut like the name implies. The “conventional nutrition” wisdom that claims that coconut milk is unhealthy because it has fat is false. In fact, the coconut has healing properties because of its healthy fat content. Coconut milk and coconut oil are both high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which can lower the risk of heart disease. Studies show that Alzheimer’s patients benefit from the MCT fats. And Alzheimer’s has a strong link to diabetes with some doctors even calling it “Type 3” diabetes.



Follow the instructions below to make this simple treat. It only requires a few high-quality ingredients but does demand some time. These chocolate treats keep well for a week, covered in a refrigerator. We like having one (or maybe two!) after dining on a healthy dinner.

It’s good practice to pull out all the cookware you need before cooking. Likewise, pulling out the ingredients you need to measure or chop beforehand will simplify your cooking. The French call this practice mise en place which translates to “putting in place”. It is practiced in restaurants and taught to chefs in culinary school.

Chop your chocolate into small pieces with a kitchen knife. The traditional method for melting chocolate is done with a double boiler on the stove. You can do this with a large stock pot filled with ~2 inches of almost boiling water. Place a metal mixing bowl over the stock pot and melt chocolate with the coconut milk, then add in the vanilla, cinnamon and stevia. Substitute the optional ripe banana in place of the stevia. Some folks prefer the taste of banana while others like the taste of stevia. To each, his (or her) own. Keep mixing the entire time.

Gelatin can be tricky to work with the first few times. It’s healing properties build healthy skin, hair and bones, so it is worth the effort. In a small bowl add ~1/4 cup of cold water, then sprinkle a packet of gelatin or the powdered gelatin on top of the water. Allow it to stand for about a minute. Then gradually add the hot water 1/4 cup to the bowl with the gelatin. Stir continuously for 1-2 minutes or until the gelatin has completely dissolved. A picture tutorial appears 1/3 of the way down this page.

Side note: Not all gelatin is created equal. Most grocery stores carry the unflavored gelatin in single serve envelopes. You can also buy the powdered version, in bulk. This brand is produced from grass-fed cows, but they cannot advertise as such since the cattle was raised outside of the US. Grass, not corn, is the natural diet of cows, which produces the healthiest meat and gelatin.

Acting quickly, combine the gelatin mix into the double boiler with the chocolate mixture. Mix until it looks even. If it your chocolate mixture has cooled too much, return it to your double boiler for a few minutes to loosen it up.

Again, acting quickly, ladle the panna cotta mixture into small cups or dishes. Optional: sprinkle a bit of quality sea salt on the top of each panna cotta. Place the panna cottas into the refrigerator and allow at least two hours for them to set and become firm.


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This Italian dessert can be made sweet and creamy, but without the use of fattening dairy nor sugar. Creamy coconut milk and cacao chocolate are the foundation of this guilt-free dessert. Adding cinnamon and stevia make this treat even healthier for diabetics.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2.5 cups
  • Dark Chocolate 100% Cacao, 2 oz (57g)
  • Coconut milk, full-fat, 2 cups
  • Gelatin, 1 envelope or 1 tbsp
  • Liquid Stevia or 1X Banana, ripe
  • Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon, 1 tsp
  • Optional: Sea Salt, pinch 4X
  1. Melting chocolate and coconut milk with a double boiler on the stove. Stir constantly.
  2. Then add in the vanilla, cinnamon and stevia or mashed ripe banana. Mix thoroughly until everything has fully blended.
  3. Add ¼ cup cold water to a separate mixing bowl with the gelatin. Allow to stand, untouched, for 1 minute.
  4. Bring ¼ cup water to boil, then pour over the gelatin and cold water. Mix until fully dissolved.
  5. Add the gelatin and water to the chocolate mixture. Stir until fully mixed.
  6. Pour into 4-5 cups or containers. Top with optional pinch of sea salt.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set.


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