Healthy Dessert Recipes
By Chandler Henry
Time to start the new year with these Healthy Dessert Recipes!
Date Tahini Balls – The On The Go One
These power balls will keep you satisfied throughout the day, when you’re running out the door, or when you want a guiltless late night nibble. We’ve all been there – this healthy dessert recipe will always be in the fridge waiting for you.
With so many health trends and supplements floating around out there, it’s hard to keep up. We’ve found that introducing one at a time helps us get a grip on what each one is all about. So here begins the play by play:
Maca, a Peruvian root, can be found in powder form from your local health food store/organic grocery store. At first whiff, it smells of a peanut butter jelly sandwich. We’ve experienced maca ghee, which tastes like buttered popcorn. Point being, maca can offer a brand new flavor to your taste buds, enhancing everyday recipes. It has powerful, natural properties that can boost your mood, increase libido, harshen the blow of menopause in women, enhance physical performance, and offer an overall energy boost. Maca is an adaptogen herb, meaning it helps the body better adapt to certain stressors and balance hormone levels, helping to keep stress levels at bay. With the addition of maca to this healthy dessert recipe, it will give you the energy boost you need to keep you trucking through those Tuesdays you wish were Fridays. Check out this video for a more in depth nutrition assessment of maca.
Dates are natures natural, gooey sweetener. They grow in clusters high in the sky on date palm trees and can be used in lieu of sugary substitutes. Dates offer slight flavor, subtle sweetness, and tacky texture that helps keep bliss balls like these together. Always buy dates with the pit still intact. If you go for pitless, the dates will be twice as dried out since they’ve been processed an extra step. We’re looking for the most robust looking dates as these will offer the most appropriate texture. Cutting the pit out is simple: make a vertical slit along the date and pop that pit right out; discard.
When it comes to making the date tahini balls, combining the dates, tahini, and coconut oil will ensure that these little suckers hold together when chilled. We like rolling them in ground almonds and sesame seeds, but you could switch it up by adding more maca, cacao powder, chia seeds, flax seeds – up to you!
Another favorite healthy dessert recipe, aside from these date tahini balls, is simply dipping dates into tahini! A traditional nibble of the middle east will give you the ultimate, clean bite your sweet tooth needs. Dates are very versatile and a life saver when it comes to making healthy dessert recipes. Start snacking and get used to these goo bombs, you’ll be putting them in everything soon enough.
And now for the main attraction: Date Tahini Balls comin’ right up!
Date Tahini Balls
Makes 20 balls
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread almonds out on a baking sheet and bake for ~12 minutes until toasted and fragrant.
- In a food processor, blitz 3 tbsp almonds into a fine powder. In a small bowl, mix ground almonds and sesame seeds. Set aside for later.
- Combine remaining ingredients into food processor. Blend until the mixture sticks together when pressed between your fingers, keeping some chunks of almonds for texture. Too crumbly? More tahini. Too mushy? More almonds.
- Pinch about a tablespoon off and roll into a ball. Use a touch of water on your hands if the mixture is sticking to your fingers.
- Roll around in the ground almond/sesame mixture for a nice finish. Let chill and firm up in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
- Keep in an airtight container and enjoy as you please!
Real Fruit Popsicles – The Fruity One
Flashback to the glorious moment as a child when you were allowed the holy grail of all sweet treats: a popsicle. Cherry, blue raspberry (whatever that actually is), orange creamsicle – the sugary, cold ice on a stick made any day the best day. Who could deny such a timeless treat? Flashforward to today, guiltily shuffling to the freezer, drawn to the late night ice cream rendezvous. Let’s take the excess sugar and guilt out of the equation with these healthy dessert recipes for popsicles.
What an underrated treat these are! It’s as simple as combining the right ingredients, the right flavors and pouring it into a mold. Get the kids involved! Prepare a simple orange or raspberry popsicle to make right alongside our “adult” scicles, but no booze here – remember these are healthy dessert recipes! Goes to show just how easy these can be.
You’ll notice we’ve incorporated yuzu into one mix. Never heard of it? It’s a Japanese citrus, tasting of grapefruit, lemon, and lime all together to create a unique citrus baby. Feel free to shave a little zest into the popsicle mix in addition to the juice. You’ll soon be zesting it into everything; the aroma itself will have you rubbing it on your wrists as an ‘au natural perfume.’ It’s that good. You may be able to find the fresh fruit at your local Asian grocery store. If not, look for the packaged juice in a regular grocery store. Still no luck? Don’t sweat it – just use lemon, meyer lemon if you can swing it.
Fruit and yogurt based popsicles can be so simple and use up items you probably already have in your fridge. Essentially, a ‘kitchen sink’ dessert that can be adapted according to what needs to be eaten. For example, here we’ve used leftover cranberries from holiday recipes and fruits that didn’t get eaten at breakfast time when the family was in town. No waste in our kitchen! You’ll need to hunt down popsicle molds – an inexpensive tool worth having around for these healthy dessert recipes. We used these but really like these. A quick blend and pour action and you’ll be set! (popsicle pun intended)
Cranberry Popsicles with a Kick
Makes 6 popsicles
- 1 ¼ cup cranberries
- 3 cara cara oranges
- 1 yuzu
- ½ cup water
- 3 tsp jalapeño honey
- In a food processor, blitz cranberries, cara cara juice, yuzu juice, and water until smooth. Add jalepeño honey and blend again.
- Pour tangy mixture into popsicle molds and finish with a popsicle stick. Pop in the freezer overnight and enjoy this healthy dessert recipe by tomorrow.
Black and Blue Yogurt for You
Makes 6 popsicles
- 1 ½ cup of Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla almond butter, Rx brand
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ½ cup blackberries
- ¼ cup blueberries, halved
- 10 grapes, halved
- 3 tbsp Super Seed and Ancient Grain Blend from Trader Joes
- Blend yogurt, lemon juice, almond butter, honey, and blackberries until combined a light purple color is achieved. Fold in 1 tbsp of the seed blend.
- Arrange grapes and blueberries in the popsicle molds. Spoon the yogurt into the molds and insert popsicle sticks.
- To finish, sprinkle the seed blend on the bottoms of the pops around the stick. Pop in the freezer overnight and wha lah! Healthy dessert recipe complete.
Thai Peanut Butter Cups – The One with a Kick
Peanut butter and chocolate: we’ve all had it, we all love it. The most beautiful savory sweet combo out there if you ask us. But sometimes even the classics need a touch of jazz. We’ve taken the illustrious pair and pumped it with Thai flavors of coconut, ginger, lime, basil, and chili. We know, you wish you thought of it first.
In this healthy dessert recipe, we’ve used coconut butter. Coconut butter, not oil! Don’t bother trying to hunt it down in the grocery store and instead make it yourself. All this process requires is a food processor and coconut shreds – process the shreds for 10-15 minutes until a butter forms. You’ll have to scrape down the sides occasionally, but that’s it! It’ll save you some money by making it at home and offer the satisfaction of making an ingredient yourself that can be used across the board for many healthy dessert recipes.
The safest, most effective way to melt chocolate/oil/butter is in a double broiler. To make such, simply boil a medium pot of water and place a metal or glass bowl over the pot. Add what you wish to melt to the bowl and let it melt slowly without any risk of burning. No lingering burnt chocolate smells sticking to our walls!
The mold you choose to use is up to you. We used one side of a cake pop mold, but feel free to use a mini cupcake pan or any other seasonal shape you have stored away where you’ll need a stool to reach. It’ll be worth the reach for this healthy dessert recipe, don’t worry. No need to coat the mold/pan in oil as these will be frozen, freezing the oil with it preventing them from slipping right out like we’d hope. Prepare to have a knife nearby to assist with the release of the cups, and a friend close by to help you eat these Thai cups before you down them all yourself!
Thai Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 24 cups
- 1 cup fresh ground peanut butter
- ½ cup coconut butter
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 drops of basil extract
- A pinch of sea salt
- ¾ cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid
- 1 cup cacao powder
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp chili oil
- a pinch of sea salt
- Mix peanut butter, coconut butter, vanilla, lime juice, ginger, maple syrup, basil extract, and salt until well combined.
- Press mixture into pan of choice (we used 1 side of a cake pop mold) and freeze for 15 minutes or so for it to firm up.
- In the meantime, melt the coconut oil in a double broiler until runny. Sift in the cacao powder and add maple syrup, chili oil, and salt.
- Pull the molded peanut butter mixture out of the freezer and pour the chocolate on top. Freeze again for 15 minutes.
- Store in the fridge and enjoy when that sweet tooth starts yelling!
Dreamy Chocolate Ghee Popcorn – The Sweet & Salty One
If you’re like us, you too favor more savory than sweet notes when it comes to guilty pleasures. Craving something salty with maybe a few bites of chocolate in between? We’ve made your movie theater popcorn dreams come true with this chocolatey dessert popcorn.
When popping the corn, be sure the swivel the kernels around in the oil to avoid burning. Nothing is worse than the smell of burnt popcorn! Well, other than burnt chocolate like we’ve learned from above. And let’s do neither here, k?!
For this finger-licking worthy healthy dessert recipe, we’ve used vanilla bean ghee, cacao powder, and maca powder.
Ghee, remains the real star of this healthy dessert recipe. The base of this decadent drizzle, ghee, is a kind of clarified butter. To make such, butter is heated, allowing liquids to evaporate and the milk solids to seperate. Clarified butter and ghee are almost the same thing, but not quite. Both involve the same process: heat golden bars of butter, skim off milk foam that floats to the top, but ghee requires that the milk solids toast and caramelize before straining giving a nuttier, buttier finish than its sister Butter. Ghee is even lactose free since the milk solids are strained out, so it’s a fat that your lactose-intolerant friends already use religiously or need to get on the bandwagon stat. A butter for all! Added bonus, it has a higher smoking point allowing you perform high heat cooking without having to worry about the butter separating or burning. Sauté this, sauté that – all with the ghee fat.
Ghee is THE ideal fat for making healthy dessert recipes as it is packed with vitamins A, D, E, K and aids in gastrointestinal balance. Check out this article on the health benefits gifted from golden ghee. Still not convinced? Ask the doctors.
Cacao powder is raw chocolate. We’re talking cacao, not cocoa. A difference in processing separates the two, cacao being minimally processed and therefore richer in nutrients and minerals. Studies show it’s calming and good to eat before bed. Say no more, we’re in. Oh, and it has a bunch of other important health benefits that keeps us looking forward to our beds twice as much. You’ll find yourself sprinkling this into future baking projects, smoothies, and bliss ball concoctions we see right on the horizon.
Maca you’ve already learned about; hopefully those Date Tahini Balls are rolling around making marks on your next mental grocery list. Since you’ll already have it on your shelf, we’ll show you how versatile it can be by adding a spoonful into this chocolate dream sauce. Now let’s get to poppin’ as the last healthy dessert recipe comes into play!
Dreamy Chocolate Ghee Popcorn
Makes 2 qts
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- ⅓ cup popcorn kernels
- ⅓ cup Madagascar vanilla bean ghee
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp maca powder
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp Sesame seeds
- Grab a small saucepan and melt the ghee. Once liquid, sift the maca and cacao powder in and give it a stir. Add maple syrup and salt. Keep on the lowest heat until the popcorn is popped.
- Heat coconut oil in a medium pot until liquid, about medium heat. Add kernels, cover, and wait for the first pop. Start swirling the pot around to prevent the kernels from burning, then let it do its thing.
- Once popped, add popcorn to a large bowl. Drizzle in the chocolate ghee until coasts the popcorn. Pop into the fridge for 10 minutes to give the chocolate a chance to firm up and leave you without brown ridden fingertips.
- Proceed to lick the chocolate swipes left in the bowl once the popcorn is eaten (see, now that the recipe says so, you have every reason to 🙂 )
Desserts are always tricky when trying to eat healthier. Do you go for half the amount of dessert you normally would and let the other half taunt you? Do you try to cross sweets out of your diet altogether? We don’t think you have to do either. With these healthy dessert recipes, you have the opportunity to make quick and easy satisfying bites you can guiltlessly sink your teeth into any time of day. Learning new ideas and techniques reveals the beauty of cooking for yourself. Everything is adaptable to you! Want to learn how to do even more in your own kitchen? Check out these Cooking Classes with Stretchy Pants and you’ll be a master chef soon enough.
Now get to cooking – we’re anxious to try your first concoction!
~Created and written by Chandler Henry
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