7 Healthy Christmas Desserts You Can Serve And Share- There’s nothing better than spending a cold winter day inside by the fire, whipping up delicious holiday treats for your friends and family. But all those baked goods you indulge in during the month of December can take a toll on your waistline; according to recent research from Cornell University, the average weight gain for Americans during the Christmas-New Year’s season is 1.3 pounds. (What’s more, it took half the participants in the study five months to shed the weight they’d gained during the holidays.)
The best way to improve on the classics of the season is to switch out plain, refined flours and artificial ingredients in favor of nutty, toasty, richer whole grains and natural food colorings. The following desserts also has lowered sugar, fat, and calories. That’s right. Your holiday dessert just got a little bit healthier. Plus, these better-for-you desserts still boast the irresistible flavors of the season, so save the best for last with these incredible sweet treats.
Our 100% whole-grain pie shaves more than one-third of the sugar and calories off the classic, and it cuts saturated fat in half. Toasting the pecans intensifies their flavor and adds notes of caramel.
Parsnip Spice Cake with Caramel Icing
We took a look at the original recipe published in 2003 and decided to update it with less sugar and more whole grains. Instead of boiling the parsnips, we roast them to concentrate their sweetness; this allows us to use less added sugar. We also switched from refined all-purpose flour to whole-wheat pastry flour, and simplified the format to a sheet cake. A few tweaks later, we had a moist, tender, tastier spice cake capped with an indulgent caramel-flavored cream cheese icing.
Molasses Crinkle Cookies
These soft, chewy, beautifully spiced gingerbread cookies look like they just took a romp in fresh snow a holiday look that saves you the trouble of having to ice each one. A dual coat of granulated and powdered sugar will help the slightly sticky dough balls hold their shape and get that crinkled texture.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
A quick homemade caramel sauce that’s folded into fresh apple slices and baked in a whole-grain crust takes this classic holiday pie to the next level. A hint of salt in the sauce intensifies the apple flavor and balances the sweetness. Apples contain a natural thickener called pectin; grating some of the fruit will ensure a gooey, cohesive mixture once baked. Crisp, sweet Fuji apples bake beautifully and will contrast the salty caramel. You can also use Cripps Pink or Honeycrisp apples.
Apple Spice Bundt Cake with Cider Glaze
Don’t be afraid to go 100% whole-grain with desserts; we use all spelt flour here with amazing results. The nutty flour boosts the taste of the butter, spices, and vanilla, unlike all-purpose flour, whose bland nature would dilute those flavors. Be sure to weigh the flour for accuracy; using too much will make the cake dry.
Pumpkin Spice Fudge
We turned the classic pumpkin pie (and the trendiest of fall spice blends) into a tasty confection. Fudge doesn’t require the tempering, rolling, and shaping of other made-from-scratch candies. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, do the cold water test: Drop a small amount of the cooked sugar mixture in cold water. If it forms a soft ball, the mixture is ready for pouring into the prepared pan.
Brown Butter Cake with Cocoa
This impressive-looking dessert takes only 15 minutes to throw together, making it a great last-minute dessert for entertaining. There’s no need to pull out the stand mixer either. A whisk is all you’ll need to mix ingredients. A good bit of salt enhances all the flavors here.