While the old adage “everything in moderation” certainly rings true for your favorite desserts, sometimes you just want an opportunity to indulge guilt-free. That’s where healthy dessert recipes come in big time.
Most desserts contain some combination of two of the most toxic substances out there – gluten and sugar. The good news is, with the popularity of paleo and keto diets, healthy options that are 100% gluten-free and sugar-free are popping up everywhere. But here’s the kicker – just because the ingredients are healthy, it doesn’t mean the end product actually tastes good.
Luckily for you, I’ve done due diligence and played around with several recipes to provide you with six delicious, satisfying, gluten and sugar-free options for that sweet tooth of yours.
Why Avoid Gluten and Sugar?
If you’re new to clean eating, you may still be in the dark as to why avoiding sugar and gluten are crucial for optimal health. While sugar can be found naturally in fruits and sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, excess amounts of sugar are associated with weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and increased cellular aging – to name a few.
Meanwhile, gluten (which is found in grains such as wheat, barley, and spelt) is almost always GMO and has emerged as one of the most prominent food intolerances in the last several decades. While some people seem to have no reaction to gluten, others may experience bloat, nausea, cramping, skin issues, and even anxiety or depression when they consume gluten-containing foods.
Even if you are asymptomatic to the effects of gluten, there is still concern that this protein may impact the health of your gut and could lead to issues like autoimmunity. In general, I always advise people to avoid gluten, even if it doesn’t appear to bother them.
6 Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free Dessert Recipes
#1 Fudgy Gluten-Free Brownies
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- ¼ cup monkfruit sweetener
- 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, monk fruit sweetener, cacao, eggs, oil, baking soda, vanilla, and salt, and stir well to form a thick batter.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared 8-inch pan, then use a spatula to press the batter evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake at 350ºF for about 25 to 30 minutes until the edges of the brownies look dry and the center of the pan doesn’t jiggle too much. Brownies may puff up slightly in the oven and then deflate slightly as they cool.
- Let the brownies cool for 30 minutes before enjoying.
#2 Creamy Chocolate Avocado Pudding
- 1 avocado medium-sized, ripe
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 Tablespoons monk fruit maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut or almond milk
- Coconut shavings, fresh berries, or chopped nuts for topping
- Cut open the avocado and scoop out the pit, chop into chunks and add to the blender.
- Add the cocoa, monk fruit maple syrup, and coconut milk to the blender and start on low and then move to high speed until smooth.
- If the consistency is too thick, add in a bit more coconut milk.
- Refrigerate the pudding and serve cold. Top with coconut shavings, berries, or nuts.
#3 Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter, room temperature but not melted (if the oil or butter is too melted, the cookies will come out greasy).
- 3 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener or stevia
- 6 tablespoons natural almond butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large organic egg
- 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (Lilly’s is an excellent sugar-free brand of chocolate chips)
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer, beat together the coconut oil or butter, monk fruit, almond butter, and vanilla extract at medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Beat in the egg on low and mix until well incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture until well combined. Then stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into 8 balls, or 16 smaller balls
- Place 4″ apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the cookies down lightly with the palm of your hand.
- Bake for 11-14 minutes or until the surface of the center of the cookies no longer appears uncooked. They’ll be very soft but will continue to cook as they sit on the cookie sheet.
- Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
#4 Vanilla Cupcakes
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup monk fruit sweetener
- ⅓ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- 2 ½ cups almond flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 ounces softened grass-fed butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla stevia liquid drops
- ¼ cup monk fruit sweetener or stevia
- 1-2 tablespoons canned coconut cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake paper cases or grease with coconut oil.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar-free sweetener of your choice, unsweetened almond milk, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature.
- Stir in baking powder and almond flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring gently to incorporate the flour to avoid lumps.
- Transfer the cupcake batter evenly into the cupcake pan.
- Bake for 22–25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean or with few to no crumbs on it.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the cupcake pan, then gently transfer onto a cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour before eating.
- In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat softened butter until creamy.
- Stir in stevia drops and powdered sweetener, and add cream gradually until the frosting reaches your favorite texture.
- Taste and add more sweetener if needed.
- Pipe on top of the cooled cupcakes and decorate with sugar-free sprinkles.
#5 Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- 3 overripe small bananas or 2 larger ones, mashed
- 3 large organic eggs
- 1 Tablespoon stevia and monk fruit
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk room temp, blend first if separated
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut flour sifted
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 6 Tbsp raw cacao powder sifted
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup Lily’s dark chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a medium loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Gently whisk together all dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a mixing bowl – make sure to sift the coconut flour and cacao powder prior to mixing since they can be lumpy.
- In a separate larger mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas with the eggs, coconut milk, sweetener, and vanilla. Wet ingredients should be as close to room temp as possible before starting.
- Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet using a spatula or wooden spoon – no need to mix too much, or it will impact the batter rising. Batter should be relatively thick and lumpy once combined.
- Stir in about ⅓ cup of sugar-free chocolate chips, then transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean of batter, allow the loaf to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then carefully transfer it to a wire rack.
- Allow bread to cool to room temp before slicing.
#6 Flourless Chocolate Cake
- 1 ½ cup grass-fed unsalted butter
- 24 oz sugar-free dark chocolate (Lily’s)
- 1 ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 6 large organic eggs
- 1/2 cup powdered monk fruit sweetener
- Handful of raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the bottom and sides.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler on the stove, stirring occasionally. Do not overheat to avoid splitting.
- Remove from heat and pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat in the vanilla and sea salt at low speed.
- Beat in the eggs at low speed, one at a time, then add in the powdered sweetener.
- Pour the batter into the lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Place the springform pan onto a baking sheet to catch any leaks.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until the top just starts to form a very thin crust on the edges and the internal temperature in the center reaches 140 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer try sticking a toothpick through, it may come out with some chocolate, but it shouldn’t appear runny.
- Cool to room temperature in the pan, then refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours), keeping the cake in the pan.
- Remove the pan from the fridge 1 hour before serving and allow it to reach room temperature before serving. Dust with additional powdered sweetener or garnish with a small handful of raspberries to finish.
Treating yourself to a delicious dessert doesn’t always have to throw your diet off track. These tasty recipes offer a loophole in the desert game, giving you everything you’re craving in terms of flavor without any of the unwanted side effects of overconsuming sugar or gluten.
You can play with the sweeteners in these recipes, opting for honey or maple syrup in place of monk fruit or stevia. Either way, you’ll be doing your body a favor.
Click Here for References+
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- Wu, Yanling, et al. “Risk factors contributing to type 2 diabetes and recent advances in the treatment and prevention.” International journal of medical sciences 11.11 (2014): 1185.
- Isasi, Carlos, Eva Tejerina, and Luz M. Morán. “Non-celiac gluten sensitivity and rheumatic diseases.” Reumatología Clínica (English Edition) 12.1 (2016): 4-10.