One of my dearest friends, Francesco Clark, is a skincare guru. So when he says something, I tend to lean in close and lissen up. Recently, though, he said something kind of shocking, especially for a person who loves chocolate as much as I do: He said sugar is bad for the skin.

Shut. The. Heck. Up.

You can read more of his sacreligious statements here in this column. Initially, I thought, Blasphemer! How many pounds of sugar have you and I ingested together?! But I was a little hyper from eating about 12 macaroons at the time. (Macaroon recipe coming soon.) When I calmed down a bit and re-read the article, I thought, Well…


Maybe–MAYBE–there’s something to this. It wouldn’t hurt to try, would it?

Yes. Yes it would, I thought. Giving up sugar would hurt a lot. I love my sugar. But does it love me back? Not really, when I look closely at my skin, which looks okay but certainly doesn’t get the compliments it used to. Or when I look at my thighs. And let’s not drag my butt into this conversation, because it’s just too heavy to be dragged.

So Fran didn’t exactly lay down a challenge when he gently suggested cutting refined sugar intake down. Diane Chang, the author of the article, is going for two weeks without sugar. WOAH. That sounds like an awful lot of days without a reason to live.

But I do love a challenge. I don’t know why, because I often fail these challenges miserably–stay tuned for my wretched results at the More Magazine Half-Marathon. But I like to try. It’s that darn indomitable spirit of mine. Please remind me to have a doctor take a look at removing that at my next checkup.

So, here I am on Day 1 of not eating refined sugar. How far will I get? And will you join me? Stop laughing, I’m serious…


My friend Emily had me at “chocolate.” Describing these morsels as chewy definitely lends something extra, but being a chocoholic (I’m woman enough to admit that), I was predisposed to liking these before I had them. Then I tried one, and then another to make sure that the first wasn’t a too-good-to-be-true fluke. It wasn’t. The addition of slightly salty peanut butter chips makes these, in my estimation, a durn fine baked good.

Ingredients (to make about 4 1/2 dozen cookies):
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together dry ingredients and set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix again. Add flour mixture in stages, stirring well after each addition.
Stir in peanut butter chips.
Use a teaspoon to drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, but no longer; cookies should be soft.
Let cool, then savor.