8 Delicious Healthy Desserts ...


8 Delicious Healthy Desserts ...
8 Delicious Healthy Desserts ...

Healthy desserts are just as delicious as their more fattening, calorie packed counterparts – if not more so. Trust me, as a girl who shamelessly loves pastries and sweet things, I've really researched this topic to dessert heaven and back. The result? So many healthy treats that you won't know what to make first! If you have a favorite dessert, I promise you that there's a healthier alternative that will taste just as scrumptious. Start out by drooling over these healthy dessert recipes and see what you think.

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Decadent Chocolate Cake

Decadent Chocolate Cake You'd be surprised at the number of healthy desserts that incorporate chocolate. Dark chocolate is actually a forerunner in the health food world, thanks to all its amazing antioxidants. This recipe features a lighter take on a classic chocolate cake, but trust me, the results really are decadent. The addition of luscious chocolate powder and cardamom, of all things, gives it a really incredible taste that you have to try to believe.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup lowfat (2 percent) Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup 1 percent lowfat milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/3 cup currants, soaked in hot water for 1 minute, drained
1/2 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the cocoa and espresso powder in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over the cocoa mixture, whisking until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Whisk together the yogurt, milk, oil, egg, and egg white in a large bowl; stir in the cocoa mixture until blended. Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Stir in the currants and chopped chocolate.

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake in the center of the oven until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a baking rack to cool completely. Dust generously with confectioners' sugar just before serving.



Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry Shortcakes Strawberry shortcake is probably my favorite healthy dessert. I love when summer comes around and you can buy really fresh, ripe strawberries, because this recipe works best with the freshest ingredients. It's a great treat any time of year, though. This version is really easy, since it involves pre-made cakes, and the good news is that the spongecake you use is really low in fat. With this recipe, the fat per serving is miniscule, and you only take in 113 calories!

1 tablespoon calorie-free sweetener
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (about 1 pint)
6 spongecake dessert shells (5-ounce package)

Combine sweetener and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Stir in orange juice. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, and stir in extract. Cool completely.

Combine orange juice mixture and strawberries in a bowl; stir gently. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

To serve, spoon sauce over dessert shells.

Tip: This luscious sauce is also good spooned over no-sugar-added ice cream, angel food cake, or fat-free pound cake.


Low-Fat Cheesecake

Low-Fat Cheesecake Okay, I die for cheesecake. I like every possible kind, except for chocolate, strangely enough. This recipe uses strawberries – or, really, any topping you like. There are many ways to make cheesecake low fat, from the use of reduced fat graham crackers to fat-free cream cheese. With the addition of sour cream and Neufchatel, this version is creamy, dreamy, wonderfully thick, and still low in fat! Yay!

9 whole low-fat cinnamon graham crackers, broken in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cooking spray
2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
2 8-ounce packages fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 large eggs plus 3 egg whites
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Assorted toppings

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until crumbled. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water and the butter; pulse until moistened. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil to prevent leaks. Coat the inside of the pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs onto the bottom. Bake until browned, about 8 minutes. Let cool, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat both cream cheeses and the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, 5 minutes, then beat in the sour cream on low. Lightly whisk the 3 egg whites in a bowl, then add to the cheese mixture along with the 2 whole eggs, flour, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Pour over the crust.

Place the cheesecake in a roasting pan and add enough warm water to come one-quarter of the way up the sides of the springform. Bake until the cake is set but the center still jiggles, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Turn off the oven; keep the cheesecake inside with the door closed for 20 minutes.

Remove the cake from the water bath and transfer to a rack. Run a knife around the edge, then cool completely. Chill until firm, at least 8 hours. Top as desired.



Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie You can also make a lot of healthy desserts that include peanut butter, which pleases me to no end because I love peanut butter. As a matter of fact, this just happens to be one of my favorite healthy recipes. This pie is just to die for, and it's really not that fattening, especially if you keep your pieces properly sized. You can further decrease the fat content by using alternative ingredients, like lower fat graham crackers – but make sure you still use the chocolate ones!

1 2/3 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 8 1/2 cookie sheets)
7 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
2/3 cup reduced-fat crunchy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup(4 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) container frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
3 tablespoons finely chopped salted, dry-roasted peanuts
1/4 cup shaved milk chocolate (about 1 ounce)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and egg whites; toss with a fork until moist. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Prick crust with a fork before baking. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; cool on a wire rack.

Combine milk and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly; transfer mixture to a bowl. Add peanut butter and vanilla, stirring with a whisk until combined. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

Place cream cheese in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk mixture, beating on low speed until combined. Fold in whipped topping; pour mixture into prepared piecrust. Freeze, uncovered, 8 hours or overnight or until hard. Sprinkle with peanuts and shaved chocolate. Transfer pie to refrigerator 30 minutes before slicing.



Made-over Deep Dish Brownies

Made-over Deep Dish Brownies Who doesn't love brownies? This is one of the tastiest healthy treats you'll find, based on a classic favorite. It's endlessly adaptable as well, so you can add different ingredients if you like. Additions like nuts or dried fruits are delicious! Again, don't fear the chocolate, especially when it's dark. That plus the addition of brewed coffee, cold, combine to make these brownies rich and decadent but totally guilt free!

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral tasting oil
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 large eggs, cold
1 tablespoon cold brewed coffee
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Position rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Use an 8 by 8 silicon baking pan or line a similar sized metal or glass baking dish with foil or parchment paper so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch. Spray the prepared pan completely.

Put the butter, oil and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat at 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. (Alternatively put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, not touching, the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)

Stir the brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and coffee and beat vigorously until fully incorporated and the batter is thick and glossy. Add the cocoa, flour and baking soda and stir just until it disappears.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if not using silicon).

Cool the brownies in the pan on the counter. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil, if needed. Peel off the foil and cut into 2-inch squares. Serve. Store extra brownies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days.



Vanilla-Lemon Berry Parfaits

Vanilla-Lemon Berry Parfaits If you're more into cooler treats that feature lots of fruits, this parfait is a sweet, creamy delight. Again, it's incredibly adaptable, since you can really incorporate whatever fruits are in season, or your favorites. It's also very easy to make, which is always a plus, but the results will taste like you spent all day on it. The mixture of yogurt and pudding, by the way, is absolutely amazing!

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 (3.5-ounce) containers fat-free vanilla pudding
2 tablespoons bottled lemon curd (such as Dickinson's)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups mixed berries (such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries)
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, pudding, lemon curd, and vanilla extract; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir the honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined. Add the mixed berries, and gently stir with a rubber spatula to coat them with the honey mixture.

Assemble the parfaits in four 8-ounce glasses. Using measuring spoons, scoop 3 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture into each glass. Top with 1/4 cup of the berries, then another 3 tablespoons yogurt, and another 1/4 cup berries. Garnish each yogurt parfait with fresh mint, if desired. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.



Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake No list of healthy desserts would be complete without a fantastic recipe for Angel Food cake. My man Alton Brown is responsible for this one, and it is light, fluffy, and so tasty! Angel Food cake works so well with so many other things as well, from puddings or yogurts to fresh fruits and homemade (and thus healthier) whipped cream, you can make any number of really stunning desserts with this recipe. Enjoy!

1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.

In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, orange extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).

Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

Cook's Note: Since they're easier to separate use the freshest eggs you can get.


Lemon Icebox Bars

Lemon Icebox Bars As a Southerner, I grew up adoring icebox cake. These incredible lemon bars are honestly just as good as anything I ever had back home. I mean, you will fall in love with this recipe even as you compile the ingredients. It's kind of involved, but trust me when I tell you that this cool, lemony healthy treat is definitely worth the effort. It makes an especially ideal summer dessert, and you don't have to feel guilty about enjoying them.

14 whole-grain graham cracker squares (7 full sheets)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

1 (8-ounce) package 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup pasteurized egg product (such as egg beaters)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons boiling water

Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbs are formed. Add butter, brown sugar and salt and pulse to incorporate, until crumbs resemble wet sand. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and pack crumbs firmly into the bottom of it. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, condensed milk and pasteurized egg product and beat on high with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice and beat until fully incorporated, another 30 seconds. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and boiling water and whisk until gelatin is entirely dissolved; let cool 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the gelatin into the cream cheese-lemon mixture until well incorporated. Pour the filling over the crust. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, until filling is firm. Slice into 2-inch squares using a chilled knife coated with cooking spray.


From chocolatey heaven to divine, fruity treats, these healthy desserts give you all the pleasure without any of the guilt. Feel free to indulge your sweet tooth and to treat your friends and family as well, without worrying about high calories and fat content. Remember to experiment as well – that makes baking fun, and so many of these recipes lend themselves well to experimentation. Do you have any healthy dessert recipes you'd be willing to share?

Top Image Source: weheartit.com

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