Whether prompted by a New Year’s Resolution or a more permanent lifestyle change, you may find yourself cutting out dessert to be a healthier version of you. But if you’re like us, that sweet tooth doesn’t ever go away no matter how hard you try. We found that making healthier alternatives to our favorite sweets suits our needs much better than cutting them out completely, and we scoured the world wide web in search of some new favorites to share with you. This way you can bake your cake and eat it too, no matter what dietary restrictions you may face!
Yogurt and Honey Olive Oil Cake
The rustic appearance of this tender cake belies its complex flavor profile. Sheela Prakash of Kitchn offers a panoply of Mediterranean flavors – honey, Greek yogurt, olive oil, thyme and lemon – that combine to create a perfectly balanced, moist cake with an earthy sweetness and slight tang. It’s a guilt-free dessert to start off the new year right.
Whole Grain Brownies
While it’s hard to imagine not feeling a tad guilty about eating a brownie, this whole-grain version of the classic treat from the experts at King Arthur Flour will get you one step closer to that goal. Despite being made with whole wheat flour, these beauties are moist, indulgent and extra chocolaty.
Baked Whole Grain Donuts
Ashton from Something Swanky was determined to create a donut that she could feed to her family without remorse, and she did just that. Made with whole wheat flour and applesauce, these baked donuts are a relatively healthy indulgence; they also happen to be moist and tender, with a sticky maple glaze that is downright addictive.
We love this vegan take on tiramisu created by Ania of Lazy Cat Kitchen. Anchored by a coffee-soaked vegan sponge cake, this coffee-charged parfait is topped with a layer of vegan ganache and a foamy, whipped coconut cream. The flavors are deep, rich and satisfying, while remaining true to a vegan lifestyle.
Vegan Chocolate Espresso Gelato
Fran Costigan is called the Queen of Vegan Desserts for many reasons, and this chocolate espresso gelato is a decadent example. Relying on coconut milk as a just-as-creamy substitute for dairy and arrowroot as a thickener instead of eggs, you get all the best features of gelato without the animal-based products. So get your scoop ready and dig in!
Healthy Blueberry Muffins
Is there any better reason to wake up in the morning than a tasty muffin for breakfast? Blogger Kate of Cookie and Kate gives a healthier spin on the classic blueberry muffin, using whole wheat flour, honey or maple syrup to sweeten and thick greek yogurt for moisture. You can use fresh or frozen blueberries, so this is a great recipe for any time of year!
Healthy Baked Pears with Cinnamon
Sometimes, the simplest recipes are the best and thanks to Deryn from Running on Real Food, we found a great one! These baked pears have just three ingredients – pears, maple syrup and cinnamon – to make a sweet yet healthy dessert with very little effort. Top with non-dairy yogurt, nuts or nothing at all and you’ve got the perfect snack in less than 30 minutes!
Healthy “Snickers” Bars
Friend and contributor to Pastry at Home, Shannon Feulner of Shannon’s Clean Sweets knows how to satisfy cravings without heavily processed ingredients. Relying on the natural sweetness of medjool dates instead of granulated sugar to create the caramel and nougat layers, she creates a healthier version of the candybar we all know and love.
Pecan Pie Bars
If sweet, gooey and satisfying is what you’re craving, Natalie from Feasting on Fruit has got you covered with these pecan bars. Vegan and paleo-friendly, you can get a taste of a holiday classic without the holiday guilt any time of year. Chock full of pecans, dates and unsweetened coconut, these tasty bars don’t skimp on flavor just because they eliminate processed ingredients.
Chocolate Beet Quickbread with Cream Cheese Frosting
Though not commonly used in desserts, beets have a natural, earthy sweetness that work well in baked goods, and in this dessert, Tish from Pastry at Home adds raw grated beets (can you say superfood?) to a chocolate-based quickbread. The bread/cake is very moist, with a deep chocolate flavor and slightly musky undertones. For the finishing touch, the cake is topped it with a generous layer of sweet cream cheese frosting and a light sprinkling of organic beet root powder. Guilt-free deliciousness — a good way to start the new year.