Healthy New Year's Dessert Recipes

Ring in the New Year with these lightened-up versions of your favorite party dessert recipes.

Staff Picks

Banana-Bran Muffins

Rating: Unrated
99
By the end of the week, any bananas left in the fruit bowl are past their prime--just right for these moist bran muffins. Add a handful of dark chocolate chips to entice children to enjoy a fiber-rich treat.

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit

Rating: Unrated
1
Grapefruit for dessert? Why not! In this broiled grapefruit recipe, grapefruit halves are topped with spiced brown sugar, caramelized under the broiler then topped with a dollop of vanilla-infused whipped cream.

Fried Apple Pie Rolls

Rating: Unrated
10
In this healthy take on apple pie, wonton wrappers stand in for pie crust, saving you calories and the headache of rolling out dough. We like to use Granny Smith apples because they hold their shape and provide tart balance to the sweet filling. Try dipping these handheld crispy treats in whipped cream.

Fig 'n' Flax Thumbprint Cookies

Rating: Unrated
13
We love how the ground flax adds a nutty flavor and the brown sugar caramelizes on the outside of these thumbprint cookies. Fig preserves make this cookie special; other fruit preserves could be used as well.

Greek Walnut Spice Cake

Rating: Unrated
2
A rich, flavorful syrup infuses this Mediterranean-inspired walnut coffee cake with the bright aroma of oranges and cloves. Heart-healthy olive oil and whole-grain barley flour add subtle complexity and texture to this nutty treat.

Banoffee Pie

Rating: Unrated
3
Love bananas, toffee and whipped cream? Then you've got to try this healthy Banoffee Pie recipe--a healthier version of one of Great Britain's sweetest desserts. It is made with layers of toffee, bananas and whipped cream. Our healthier Banoffee Pie recipe has half the calories, over 65 percent less saturated fat and 40 percent less sugar than the original--but all of the amazing flavor.

Cranberry Bundt Cake

Rating: Unrated
6
In this healthy cranberry-walnut Bundt cake recipe, Greek yogurt and shredded apple or pear keep the cake moist and are a healthy substitute for extra butter. If you want to use something other than allspice, try pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon in the filling. For a nut-free variation, omit the walnuts in the cake or use chopped dried cranberries in their place.

Vanilla Marshmallows

Rating: Unrated
1
You won't believe how much better homemade marshmallows are than traditional store-bought ones until you taste one. They're amazing sandwiched between graham crackers for s'mores or as a topper for hot chocolate. You'll seem like a cooking genius with this easy marshmallow recipe, but rely on the horsepower of a stand mixer to make them--hand mixers typically aren't powerful enough to get the job done.

Thick & Rich Drinking Chocolate

Rating: Unrated
21
Rich, creamy and thick enough that you may want to scoop it with a spoon, this European-style drinking chocolate is something different from the usual hot cocoa. Serve it in a demitasse or espresso cup for an elegant treat.

Riesling Baked Pears

Rating: Unrated
12
Here's an elegant yet simple twist on the autumn classic. Pears are oven-poached in Riesling wine, which is known for its floral accents and aromas and hints of honey and pear. Serve this dessert with lightly sweetened ricotta cheese. Delicious hot, room temperature or chilled.

Caramel Cream Cheese Custard (Flan de Queso)

Rating: Unrated
12
Every panaderia (bakery) in Puerto Rico has many flavors of flan, from vanilla to guava. Reduced-fat cream cheese gives this version a rich, comforting texture.

Coconut-Dark Chocolate Truffles

Rating: Unrated
4
Coconut macaroons meet dark chocolate truffles in these little treats. Inside the snap of the dark chocolate shell lies the tender coconut-cocoa filling: a mix of naturally sweet dates, cocoa and coconut flour. Coconut flour is a healthy way to add decadent coconut flavor to this coconut-dark chocolate truffle recipe and other baked goods. It packs a whopping 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons (with only 2 grams of total and saturated fat). Look for coconut flour near other gluten-free flours.

Inspiration and Ideas

Caramelized Spiced Pears

Rating: Unrated
1
Serve these caramelized pear slices over ice cream, stir into plain yogurt or enjoy as a topping for pancakes or waffles. Brown-skinned Bosc pears hold their shape during cooking, but any variety of pears tastes delicious.

Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles

Rating: Unrated
42
These peanut butter-pretzel truffles satisfy your craving for something sweet and salty.

Apple-Cinnamon Fruit Bars

Rating: Unrated
7

These easy apple-cinnamon fruit bars make a big batch--perfect for fall potlucks and parties.