Home / Baking / Eating Healthier Doesn’t Mean You Have to Give Up Dessert. Try These Three Lower-Sugar Desserts Instead

Eating Healthier Doesn’t Mean You Have to Give Up Dessert. Try These Three Lower-Sugar Desserts Instead

Hot chocolate “blocks!” All photos and recipes courtesy of Jennifer Tyler Lee.


We’ve told you all about the 7 simple steps to reduce unnecessary sugar in your diet in 2019. Here are a few sweet treats from Jennifer Tyler Lee of 52 New Foods that will help you get even farther down the road of healthfulness without deprivation.

1. Hot Chocolate Blocks

Makes 25 cups 
This low sugar hot chocolate is rich and flavorful thanks to dark chocolate, cream, and a touch of vanilla. Using high quality dark chocolate results in better flavor so that added sugar can be reduced by 50% compared to the leading packaged hot cocoa mixes. Finish off your mug with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream or a few mini marshmallows for an extra special treat. – Jennifer Tyler Lee




  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (63 percent cacao)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Whole milk for serving
  • Unsweetened whipped cream or mini marshmallows for serving (optional)



1. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving the edges about 1 inch above the rim of the pan on two sides so you can pull the chocolate out.


2. In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the cream, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water over medium heat, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Cook until the chocolate is melted and shiny, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.


3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerate until fully set, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.


4. Remove the chocolate block from the refrigerator. Pull the chocolate out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board, then peel off the parchment. Mark the block every 1 1/2 inches and then cut across 5 ways and down 5 ways so you have 25 1 1/2-inch squares. To freeze, wrap each block in plastic wrap then place the blocks in a re-sealable bag and refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for 1 month.


5. To serve: In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of whole milk to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, about 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to scorch the milk. Add the chocolate block and stir until fully melted. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream or mini marshmallows.

2. Zero-Sugar Banana Bread

Serves 10
No Sugar Banana Bread


Ripe bananas, Medjool dates, and Greek yogurt give this no sugar banana bread its tender, moist crumb and delicious, natural sweetness. Waiting for the bananas to fully ripen is critical to ensure their natural sugars have time to develop, so don’t rush this step. Your bananas should be dark and speckled. Toasted pecans add an extra layer of sweetness and texture. – Jennifer Tyler Lee




  • 10 oz Medjool dates, pitted (about 10 to 12 dates)
  • 3/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 3 overripe medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil or unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional



1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on either side, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. If using, add the pecans to a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.


2. Place pitted dates in a medium bowl. Cover the dates with 2 cups of hot water. Set aside until the dates are softened, about 10 minutes. Drain the dates, reserving 2 tablespoons of the liquid.


3. In a food processor, combine the dates, reserved liquid, and yogurt. Process until smooth and no flecks of date remain, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the mashed bananas, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Set aside.


4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until the coconut oil combines with the flour into a mealy powder, about 30 seconds. Add the date and banana mixture and continue mixing only until just combined and no flour remains.


5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, top with nuts if using, and bake until the bread is lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then use the parchment overhang to pull the bread out of the pan. Serve warm. Banana bread will keep wrapped in plastic at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

3. Super-Moist Vegan Chocolate Cake

Serves 12
Super Moist Chocolate Cake


This decadent chocolate cake comes together easily in a food processor and clocks in at half the sugar of a typical chocolate cake. Reducing added sugar in baked goods is challenging because less sugar typically leads to a dry, crumbly cake. To keep the rich moistness without adding loads of saturated fats—egg, butter, oil—I’ve added cooked lentils.


The reserved water from the lentils, called aquafaba, is the secret ingredient. The cooked and pureed lentils in this recipe add a rich, moist texture without adding any discernible flavor which lets the dark chocolate and cocoa powder shine through. Use black lentils for the best color. – Jennifer Tyler Lee




  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the pan
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils (preferably black) + 1/2 cup reserved liquid
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries and blueberries (about ½ pint) to serve



1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan with canola oil and flour.


2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.


3. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave in 20- to 30-second increments until almost fully melted, stirring each time to prevent burning. Allow to finish melting as it sits. Let cool briefly.


4. Place the lentils in a food processor with the reserved water and process for 2 to 3 minutes to make a smooth puree, scraping down the sides as needed.


5. Add the sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and melted chocolate to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients, in three small batches, pulsing each time to just combine and scraping down the sides as needed.


6. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until the top springs back when touched lightly, 28 to 30 minutes.


7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream and fresh raspberries and blueberries.


Tip: To make your own lentils, place 1/4 cup black (Beluga), French green, or green lentils and 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover, and cook until the lentils are tender in the center, 20 to 30 minutes or according to package directions. You can store the lentils in their cooking water, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for several days.

Source link

About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.