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: 4.83 stars
36
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.

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Rating: 4.27 stars
4
Here's a simple recipe for low-fat vanilla ice cream. Our version has all the richness you'll need but about 90 fewer calories than store-bought premium ice cream and a whopping 15 grams less total fat and 10 grams less saturated fat per serving.

Pineapple-Coconut Layer Cake

Rating: 4.14 stars
1
In this stunning dessert recipe, two layers of coconut cake, made with white whole-wheat flour for extra nutrition, are filled with sweet pineapple curd and topped with creamy coconut frosting, chunks of fresh pineapple and toasted coconut.

Fried Apple Pie Rolls

Rating: 4.55 stars
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.

Greek Walnut Spice Cake

Rating: 4.33 stars
1
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.

Creamy Chocolate Gelato

Rating: 4.33 stars
7
This ultra-chocolaty, dairy-free Sicilian-style gelato--made without eggs or cream--is relatively lean but still creamy-smooth and flavorful. The coconut milk used for the base gives it a silky, rich mouthfeel and a subtle coconut flavor.

Pineapple Coffee Cake

Rating: 4.18 stars
4
Nonfat plain yogurt stands in for sour cream to add moisture and tenderness to this lightened-up pineapple coffee cake. Best of all, you can mix the batter and have this wholesome breakfast treat in the oven in under 15 minutes--that's healthy in a hurry.

Chocolate Decadence

Rating: 4.62 stars
11
Inspired by the old-school, ultra-rich, mousselike chocolate cake that usually called for a whole pound of chocolate, half a dozen eggs and lots of butter, this enlightened rendition has deep bittersweet chocolate flavor and dense melt-in-your-mouth texture. No one will guess it's healthier. The secret is excellent natural cocoa powder and good-quality bittersweet chocolate, preferably with 70% cacao. Although the cake can be eaten once it's completely cool, it comes out of the pan much easier and even tastes better if it has been chilled at least overnight.

Caramel Cream Cheese Custard (Flan de Queso)

Rating: 4.33 stars
3
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.

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit

Rating: 5 stars
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.

Apple-Cinnamon Fruit Bars

Rating: 3.57 stars
4
These easy apple-cinnamon fruit bars make a big batch--perfect for fall potlucks and parties.

Buttermilk Oatcakes with Raspberry Compote

Rating: 4 stars
3
These high-fiber oatcakes are made with 100% whole grains and no butter. A quick raspberry compote is a nice change from maple syrup.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Light Lemon Meringue Pie

Rating: Unrated
2
Smooth and soothing; a great classic pie right down to the crust, redefined with a generous amount of lemon and fewer egg yolks in the filling.

Lemon Pudding Cakes

Rating: Unrated
5
These magical little desserts start out as one batter and separate during baking into fluffy cake hiding a creamy layer of lemon pudding.

Brown Sugar & Toasted Almond Ice Cream

Rating: 4.2 stars
4

In a world of designer ice creams, sometimes the simplest can be the best. The full-bodied flavors of brown sugar combined with nutty toasted almonds are all it takes to give this easy-to-make frozen treat a sophisticated distinction. The alcohol in the base mixture acts like an “anti-freeze,” reducing the icy texture sometimes associated with lower-fat ice cream. For a little extra indulgence, try topping a scoop with some crumbled gingersnaps.