15 Healthier Holiday Dessert Recipes

Christmas and Hanukkah are not the healthiest of holidays (oh hey, Christmas cookies and fried latkes), but a party buffet laden with celery and carrot sticks doesn't exactly feel festive. This year, stock the dessert table with (slightly) healthier options like raw vegan truffles, low-fat cookies, and fruity sweets. These 15 recipes are decadent enough to feel special, but not so indulgent as to make you wish you wore a sweatsuit to the office holiday party.

Christmas Tree Meringue Cookies Photo: Cake and Allie

1.

Deck the halls with these easy (we promise!) tree-shaped meringue cookies. Made with egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, flavoring, and green food coloring, these trees are totally fat-free. Just stick to one if you're watching your sugar intake.

2.

With just a few teaspoons of butter for the whole batch and applesauce in the batter, these cheery men won't have you popping a button anytime soon. Decorate with white icing or go crazy with dried fruits, nuts, and candies.

3.

Yes, you heard that right. This cinnamon-spiced chocolate pudding gets its indulgent texture from tofu, not cream. As long as you've got a food processor or blender, this recipe is as simple as melting chocolate and pressing the "pulse" button.

4.

Fun fact: Sugarplums don't actually contain their namesake purple fruit. These lighter treats are made of dried fruit, nuts, and plenty of holiday spices. They also contain brandy, so keep these sugary treats at the adult table.

Christmas Pudding Photo: The Healthy Chef

5.

Get all Dickensian this holiday season without needing a corset to hold it all in. These Brit-style puddings are made of chopped dried fruit, almond flour, and plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg.

6.

These cookies are plenty rich and indulgent, with nary a hint of butter, cream, or wheat. Crushed candy canes on top make these treats extra festive.

7.

Looking for a vegan, gluten-free candy to serve at the annual holiday party? This recipe gets its oomph from coconut butter. For a more chocolaty version, use the Hot Chocolate Butter on the recipe page.

8.

These festive meringues look complicated, but if you're handy with a pastry bag they're a breeze to make. The secret surprise is a Hershey's Candy Cane Kiss in the middle of each cookie.

9.

When the weather outside is frightful, curl up with a cup of tea and a slice of this vegan bread. With whole cranberries, thyme, crystallized ginger, and whole-wheat flour, this sweet-and-savory bread makes a healthier holiday snack.

Healthier Sugar Cookies Photo: Chocolate and Carrots

10.

It's not Christmas without crunchy sugar cookies slathered in decorative icing. Use this lighter recipe and munch on iced snowflakes, Santas, or jingle bells to your heart's content.

11.

Pop these chewy chocolate cookies into the oven for a super-rich treat that's perfect for partygoers with allergies to gluten or dairy—just make sure to pick up some dairy-free chocolate chips!

12.

These adorable, festive apples would make a great party favor or project for kids. Dip golden crab apples in candy apple mix (available seasonally at most grocery stores) and sprinkle with coconut flakes to resemble snow.

13.

These chewy oatmeal cookies are loaded with antioxidant-rich dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips. Add some whole-wheat flour to the rolled oats for an even healthier version.

14.

Whip up a batch of these seven-ingredient treats to give as a last-minute gift or bring to a holiday party. With no added sugar and plenty of superfoods, these candies are a good way to treat yourself but stay on track.

15.

These DIY candies are totally raw and super easy to make. To make them, blend together coconut, cashews, coconut oil, honey, and (obviously) peppermint oil in a food processor. The tasty chocolate coating is made of coconut oil, cacao powder, and honey.

Originally published December 2013. Updated December 2014.

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