December 18, 2022/Recipes

Recipe Adventure: Holiday Desserts

Make this season a little sweeter (and healthier!) with these cookies, cakes, pies and more

Basket of holiday desserts.

It can be hard not to overindulge during the holiday season. Everywhere you turn, there’s another festive cupcake or fancy macaron calling your name.


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But just because you want to celebrate with treats like cakes, cookies and pies doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about the choices you make.

By making healthy ingredient swaps (goodbye heavy cream and butter, hello cottage cheese, avocados and black beans), you can still feel good about the way you feel.

Here are a few sweet ways to enjoy a healthy (yet delicious) holiday season.

Smart cookies

Flourless chocolate chip cookies

Your stand mixer stands at the ready. With cookie-making at an all-time high during the holiday season, recipes that boast healthy substitutions like chickpea puree in these Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies or the use of dates (and no white sugar) in these Double Chocolate Icebox Cookies will quickly become the stars of your holiday (baking) celebration.


More holiday cookie recipes

Spice of life

gingersnap cookies on a plate

We’re all about building a gingerbread house or sipping on a gingerbread latte during this time of year, but don’t forget that ginger also spices up desserts like these Chewy Gingerbread Cookies or Holiday Gingersnaps.

Berry much

A portion of apple crisp with crumble top and baked apples on a white plate.

The bounty of delicious fruits available this season shines bright. And when you make desserts like the Slow-Cooker Apple Crisp, Poached Pomegranate Pears and Kumquats or No Bake Berry Bread Pudding, they’re not only full of wonderful flavors, but also come with easy instructions for no-fuss treats.

More fruit-based dessert recipes

In pie we crust

slice of pumpkin pie on a plate with a fork

Get ready to roll out healthier versions of your favorite holiday pies by starting off with a Whole Wheat Pie Crust, which cuts down on the amount of saturated fats. A Low-Fat Crunchy Pumpkin Pie utilizes skim milk in the filling and ground almonds and cooking oats in the crust. The Skinny Chocolate Cream Pie, though made with fat-free half-and-half and dark cocoa, is a rich, decadent treat.

More pie recipes

Before you cocoa

Pieces of chocolate bark made with espresso and toasted nuts

What are the holidays without some chocolate? If you’re looking for a tasty, healthy homemade gift, look no further than Chocolate Bark with Espresso and Toasted Nuts, which are only 70 calories per serving. And these Fudgy Black Bean Brownies are great for anyone who is gluten-free. Made with dark chocolate and silken tofu, the Velvety Mint Chocolate Mousse is not only easy to make, but will also look elegant on your dessert table.


More chocolate recipes

Top of the morning

cranberry scones on a plate

Who says you can’t have dessert for breakfast? Pour a cup of coffee or tea and start your day with these Whole-Wheat Cranberry Scones or Low-Cal Chocolate-Walnut Biscotti, which are only 60 calories per serving. And if you’re looking for something fun for the kiddos (or the kids in all of us), try the Homemade Pop Tarts.

More breakfast treat recipes

Say cheese

a slice of cheesecake with cherry topping on a plate with a fork

Is there anything more decadent than cheesecake? These lightened-up versions mean you can indulge without worry. The French Vanilla Cheesecake Topped With Cherries and the Lighter New York Style Cheese are both made with cottage cheese and light cream cheese for a lighter, airy take on the classic.

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