Healthy Christmas desserts
Though the holiday season is an eat-fest of fudge, cookies, pies and cakes, you can still fit into your little black dress while indulging in the sweets with these healthy holiday dessert recipes.
Spiced honey pear crisp
Put this festive fruit dessert on your Christmas table and even your hardcore dessert eaters will dig in. How does it taste so good yet is still good for you? The secret in the dessert recipe: Ripe sweet pears, bold spices, honey, whole grains and toasted heart-healthy nuts.
- 6 ripe pears, cored, sliced
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1/4 firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine pears, lemon zest and juice, cinnamon and honey. Spread pears in the prepared baking dish.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add butter and, with a fork, work it into dry ingredients until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle topping evenly over pears.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, and then serve warm with a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream or dollop of Greek honey-flavored yogurt.
Low-sugar Christmas biscotti
Photo credit: Mike McCune via Flickr
Studded with green pistachios and dark red cherries, these colorful cookies embody the holiday spirit. They are perfect for gifts, to ship to loved ones and for munching with tea while you make holiday plans. And no one will ever guess they are sweetened with stevia.
- 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup Stevia In The Raw Baker's Bag
- 2/3 cup shelled pistachios
- 2/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer on medium speed to beat the eggs with the sugar for three minutes. Add the stevia and beat for 30 seconds.
- Using the lowest speed, mix in the dry ingredients until the dough looks moist. Finish mixing the dough by hand, using a flexible spatula. Mix in the nuts and cherries. The dough will be thick and sticky.
- Shape half the dough into a log about eight inches long and place it on one side of the baking sheet, moistening your hands lightly with cold water to help smooth and shape it. Shape the dough into a rectangular, flat 9-inch by 3-inch strip. Repeat, shaping the remaining dough on the other side of the baking sheet.
- Bake the logs for 15 minutes or until the logs are rounded on top and golden with slight browning along the sides. Remove and cool the biscotti on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Transfer logs to a cutting board and cut each log diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Return the slices to the lined baking sheet, arranging them in rows with the edges touching.
- Bake for eight minutes or until the biscotti are lightly colored and feel dry to the touch. Cool the biscotti on baking racks. These biscotti keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Fig-filled phyllo pouches
Photo credit: Hedonistin via Flickr
This dessert combines sweet and savory for a delish portion-controlled Christmas treat. Fresh figs add natural sweetness while the phyllo makes a flaky pouch that is lower in fat compared to pie dough or puff pastry. Sometimes the best way to curb a sweet binge is by eating something savory. This Christmas dessert recipe gives you both.
- 8 ounces soft mild goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 20 sheets Athens Fillo Dough (9 x 14-inch), thawed
- 15 fresh figs, cut in half lengthwise
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese and walnuts, mixing well.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter with oil over medium heat. Layer four phyllo sheets, brushing each with the butter–oil mixture.
- Cut six (4-inch) squares from phyllo stack. Place one fig half in the center of each square. Squeeze figs open and stuff with two teaspoons of goat cheese filling. Drizzle lightly with vinegar.
- Brush phyllo from edge of filling to each point of square lightly with water. Gather points of square and pinch together just above filling. Brush pouch with butter–oil mixture.
- Place pouches on a large ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.