There aren’t many things in the world that beat the taste of chocolate. Whether we’re mourning a breakup or celebrating a birthday, it can make just about anything better. And now, with research telling us that the flavanols in cocoa help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow, chocolate just got even more irresistible. It’s actually good for us? Hello, chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
But let’s not go buying every tempting candy bar in the checkout aisle just yet. The extra fats, sugars, and additives you’ll find in store-bought sweets and conventional baked goods can quickly cancel out any of cocoa’s heart-healthy benefits. Next time your sweet tooth is aching, step away from the packaged stuff and try one of these 25 healthier, homemade treats instead.
Cookies, Doughnuts, and Brownies
Peanut butter + chocolate is arguably the best combination ever, so there’s no way you’re going wrong with these brownies. Greek yogurt and honey lighten up the batter, and the nut butter is swirled on top for a marble-like effect—y’know, just in case the melty chocolate from the semisweet chips isn’t drool-worthy enough.
Put rainbow sprinkles on chopped liver, and we’ll happily chow down. But when the multicolored pellets are topping whole-wheat, ultra-chocolaty glazed doughnuts, fuggedaboutit. These won’t last long, no matter who’s eating them.
Out of flour but craving cookies? Cutting down on sugar but need something sweet, stat? Try these gluten-free, six-ingredient treats. They swap out wheat for avocado and use dark chocolate chunks for sweetness that doesn’t go overboard. You can even use a banana instead of the coconut sugar. This is the best kind of healthy: the undetectable kind.
They look and taste like doughnuts, but these cakey disks don’t go anywhere near a deep fryer. Instead, all they need are 13 minutes in the oven before they come out all ready for their chocolate drizzle. Dunkin’s got competition—we may just start running on these instead.
Since their initial gasp-worthy introduction, black bean brownie recipes have been all the rage among healthy dessert eaters. But there aren’t many that really hit the spot. Consider this one of the few that do; with a dash of cinnamon to kick up the flavor and plenty of chocolate chips, it’s a keeper.
You can give up dairy, eggs, and wheat, but if you draw the line at cookies, this recipe is for you. Using gluten-free flour, nut butter, and just a touch of honey, it guarantees you’re getting your chocolate fix, no matter what dietary restrictions you face.
Cakes, Cupcakes, and Pies
The name of this recipe may sound like you’re in for a coma-inducing treat loaded with butter and sugar, but it’s the opposite. With a crust made out of rolled oats and applesauce, and a silken tofu filling, the only thing over-the-top about this pie is how healthy it is—and at the same time, how insanely good.
It’s a retro flavor, but the black forest fad of the 1970s gets a 21st century update here. Coconut flour, olive oil, and coconut milk add plenty of healthy fat and moisture to get that spongy effect in the cakes, while even more coconut milk is used to blend up a nondairy version of the all-important whipped cream. Don’t forget the cherry on top!
It’s whole wheat. It’s vegan. Its filling is made with dates. Its icing is based in avocado. And there’s still plenty of chocolate goodness from the generous doses of cacao powder. We’d say this cake has earned its “healthy” badge with flying colors.
You’d never guess it from the fudgy frosting and rich batter, but these perfectly portioned treats come with extra fiber from the whole-wheat flour and manage to pack in a full cup of zucchini. Anyone who has a thing for dark, bitter chocolate will go crazy for these gems.
No need to wait until Thanksgiving to make this healthy holiday favorite. This recipe uses a prepared graham cracker crust for ultimate convenience, but the tofu-based filling really steals the show. It’s blended with maple syrup and cocoa powder, topped with pecan halves, and baked to gooey perfection.
If black bean brownies are a thing, why not put legumes in other chocolate desserts too? This recipe uses garbanzo beans to give the cake a surprising source of protein while keeping it entirely free of flour. Also packing in a good dose of applesauce, it’s basically one of your daily servings of fiber wearing a chocolate costume.
A lower fat cupcake that combines chocolate and beer—can it get any better? A healthy slosh of Negro Modelo in the batter gives these treats a depth of flavor and gives you that delicious satisfaction of doing something rebellious. They’re boozy, but the only thing you’ll be drunk on afterward is happiness.
With a silky chocolate layer over the peanut butter filling and cocoa powder in the crust, this recipe takes chocolate seriously. But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to make. In fact, the hardest thing about it is waiting the one hour for all that silken chocolate to set until it’s ready for that first, squeal-worthy slice.
You can custom-order chocolate bark, but frankly, making your own is so much cheaper—not to mention way more fun. Just melt a bag of chocolate chips, spread onto a sheet pan, and top with your favorite dried fruit and nuts. Pop in the freezer, then 15 minutes later your homemade chocolate bark is ready for devouring.
Yup, healthy can come with a thick top layer of creamy chocolate. These chilled slices aren’t just ridiculously easy to make, they’re also incredibly fast to prepare. Fifteen minutes from start to finish and you’re biting into chewy heaven.
Walnuts make up most of the crust, while cashews step in for the dairy in these adorable, mini vegan cheesecakes. This might be one time where a (literally) nutty idea is also really smart.
If your chocolate addiction extends to needing the stuff as early as breakfast time, try this recipe. Coconut milk and chia seeds provide healthy fat to get you through the morning, while the cocoa powder makes a spoonful of this pudding a bit more special than your average bowl of oats.
Truffle-making is so much easier than you think. All this recipe requires is a bit of microwave-melting and stirring, and it’s ready in 30 minutes. Best of all, it produces a small batch, making for the perfectly portion-controlled, melt-in-your-mouth morsels (but we won’t tell anyone if you double the recipe).
Frozen Treats and Beverages
By now, many of us have heard of “nothing but bananas” soft-serve. But add some chocolate and nondairy milk to the mix and throw it back in the freezer after blending, and you have a scoopable treat that can legitimately pass for ice cream the next time a craving strikes.
Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, this mocha hot chocolate might win you over—after all, anything is better when Nutella’s involved. This recipe calls for the blogger’s super-easy homemade spread, although you can simply use the jarred stuff if time is short and the need for chocolate is overwhelming.
Reese’s chocolate peanut butter cups have the right idea—we just wish corn syrup and random added coloring agents didn’t get added to the ingredient list. We’ll be making these all-natural (but just-as-addictive) alternatives instead.
The secret to making this dairy-free take on Serendipity’s iconic beverage? Frozen chocolate almond milk ice cubes! They’re blended with even more almond milk and some cocoa powder; the result is like a big chocolate daiquiri, garnished with something even better than a lime wedge: coconut whipped cream. Here’s a napkin to wipe that drool from your chin.
The amount of sugar crammed into one measly store-bought popsicle can be surprising, and kind of scary. Who needs all that when you can make these lower-sugar, but just as decadent, versions at home in 15 minutes? And did we mention for a fraction of the cost with additional protein from the Greek yogurt?
This liquid version of a favorite childhood candy isn’t so much sweet as it is refreshing since there’s no sugar in it. It’s also unexpectedly filling, thanks to protein from the cottage cheese hidden inside. Sure, it’s a great dessert, but we’re thinking you could knock back one of these for the tastiest post-workout shake too.
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