Healthier Holiday Dessert Recipes

Aubrey Vaughn
December/January 2007
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The holidays are notorious for overindulgence, including noshing on the rich, fat- and calorie-laden desserts that appear each year along with the eggnog and honey-baked ham. But you don't have to choose between health and flavor. Celebrate great health and enjoy delicious desserts with these simple and nutritious dessert recipes.

Gingerbread Yummies (from The Sweet Potato Cookbook, by Lyniece North Talmadge)

1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp applesauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cholesterol-free egg substitute
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup sweet potatoes, cooked and pureed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine milk and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add applesauce, brown sugar and egg substitute, mixing well. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine water, molasses and sweet potatoes. Alternate adding the flour and sweet potato mixtures to the applesauce mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. The batter will be lumpy. Do not over mix.

Spray a 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into the pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes 8 servings.

Indian Pudding (from Eating Well for Optimum Health, by Andrew Weil, M.D.)

4 cups vanilla-flavored soy milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp yellow cornmeal (nondegerminated)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses or pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring soy milk to a boil. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle in the cornmeal while stirring. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour into a lightly oiled ovenproof dish. Bake pudding 45 to 60 minutes until browned and set. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Lemon Curd (from The Essential EATINGWELL Cookbook, edited by Patsy Jamieson)

1 large egg
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest, preferably organic

Whisk egg, egg whites, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy nonreactive saucepan. Add butter and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Do not simmer.

Pour sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Makes 1 1/3 cups.

Bev's Chocolate Chip Cookies (from The Essential EATINGWELL Cookbook)

3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup organic canola oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Grind oats in a blender, food processor or coffee grinder. Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls, at least 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until firm around the edges and golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool cookies for 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.


You can find more yummy holiday recipes (healthy and otherwise) in Holiday Heirlooms, plus recipes and instructions for making great gingerbread houses in Holiday Homestead.

Share your favorite holiday recipes in the comments section below.







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