5 Health(ier) Desserts Just In Time For Cold Weather! 

Cool weather desserts are approaching! Let's make them a little healthier...

One of the best things about the weather turning colder is dessert! The comforting, spicy scents of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove wafting from the kitchen and perfuming the whole house is heavenly.

Now, those of you who read our blog know that we’re all about healthy eating around here, but for many of us, the joy of holiday baking is part of what makes the season so special! Luckily, there are a large number of healthy desert recipes that let us indulge that holiday sweet-tooth without worrying about paying the price in pounds. 

Here are some reipes from Diabetic Living Magazine we thought were so good, we couldn’t wait to share them with you! 

1. Pumpkin Custards With Walnuts And Oats 

(Recipe Courtesy of Diabetic Living Magazine)

At a smidge over 100 calories a serving, these little ramakin custards are perfect for serving at a holiday dinner. 

They’re surprisingly light, and the creaminess of the custard contrasts beautifully with the bite of the walnuts and oats. The spicy depth of nutmeg and allspice round it out beautifully. 


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup evaporated fat-free milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten  
  • ⅔ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup regular rolled oats 
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar substitute 
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat eight 6-ounce ramekins with cooking spray. Place ramekins in two 2-quart square baking dishes.
  • Combine evaporated milk, pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, egg product, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Sift together 1/2 teaspoon of the ground nutmeg, the salt, and allspice in a small bowl. Add spice mixture to the pumpkin mixture; beat with a wire whisk until thoroughly mixed.
  • Combine walnuts, oats, brown sugar, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a small bowl. Add melted butter; mix just until combined.
  • Divide pumpkin mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins. Place baking dishes on the oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into baking dishes to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 15 minutes. Carefully top each with about 1 tablespoon of the nut mixture. Bake 15 to 20 minutes more or until a knife inserted near centers comes out clean.
  • Remove ramekins from water; cool on wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and chill 2 to 8 hours before serving. To serve, top with whipped dessert topping and, if desired, sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg.

2. Warm Fruit Compote With Ginger

(Recipe Courtesy of Diabetic Living Magazine)

Oh-so-cozy. This dessert features a rainbow of fruits warmed in the slow cooker. (Yes, you can put it on low for 6-8 hours and mosey back to the kitchen later when you’re in the mood for something warm, comforting, and sweet!)

Here’s how to make this super easy, melt in your mouth dish:


  • 3 medium pears, peeled if desired, cored and cubed
  • 1 (15 ounces) can 1 (15 1/2 ounce) can pineapple chunks, undrained
  • ¾ cup dried apricots, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups frozen unsweetened pitted dark sweet cherries
  • ¼ cup flaked coconut, toasted 


  • Combine pear, undrained pineapple, dried apricots, orange juice concentrate, tapioca, and ginger In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours or on a high-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. Stir in cherries at the end.
  • To serve, spoon warm compote into dessert dishes. Top with coconut.

3. Pecan Pie Bars

(Recipe Courtesy of Diabetic Living Magazine)

Oh, how we love pecan pie, but if you’ve ever taken a look at the label on a traditional pecan pie, you know why it doesn’t necessarily love us back. 

These guys make pecan pie practically guilt-free at just a smidge over 150 calories per bar. They’re perfect for taking to a holiday party, or just munch on at home with your morning coffee.


  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter  
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten  
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup light-colored corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For the crust, combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pat crumb mixture into an ungreased 11x7x1-1/2-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, for filling, stir together eggs, pecans, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, and vanilla in another bowl. Spread evenly over baked crust.
  • Bake about 20 minutes more or until filling is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 24 bars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

4. Rustic Apple-Sweet Potato Tarts

(Recipe Courtesy of Diabetic Living Magazine)

Seasonal apples and sweet potatoes give this tart that distinctive fall-dessert flavor. Coming in at just over 150 calories per serving, this will be a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table. 

Pastry Dough Ingredients

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

Tart Filling Ingredients

  • 1 medium green-skin apple, cored and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 medium red-skin apple, cored and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 cup sliced, peeled sweet potato (see Tip)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute (see Tip) equivalent to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon  
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons water

Cooking Instructions 

  • Prepare pastry dough: Stir together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in canola oil. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the flour mixture; toss gently with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat with additional cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time until all of the flour mixture is moistened. Shape into a ball. Set aside.
  • Prepare tart: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil; sprinkle foil lightly with flour. Place reserved dough on foil. Flatten slightly. Roll dough from center to edge into a 12-inch circle. Set aside.
  • Combine green-skin apple slices, red-skin apple slices, and sweet potato slices in a large bowl. Add lemon juice; toss gently to coat. Combine sugar, 2 teaspoons flour, cinnamon, and coriander in a small bowl. Add to apple mixture; toss gently to coat.
  • Mound apple mixture in the center of the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border around the edge. Fold pastry up and over filling, pleating dough as necessary. Cover apple mixture only with a double thickness of foil (do not cover dough).
  • Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes more or until apples and sweet potato are tender. Combine honey and the water in a small bowl; brush over apple mixture. Serve warm.

5. Gingerbread Tea Cake Recipe

(Recipe Courtesy of Diabetic Living Magazine)

This tea cake is so delicate and melt-in-your-mouth, you’ll be proud to sprinkle it with a little powdered sugar and serve to guests who stop by for a cup of coffee or tea. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser at holiday pot lucks as well. 


  • 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar or sugar substitute blend equivalent to 1/4 cup sugar (see Tip)
  • 1 ¼ cups cold water  
  • ⅔ cup full-flavor molasses
  • ½ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (16 ounces) package Powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon edible flowers

Cooking Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cloves; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together oil and sugar until combined. Add the cold water, molasses, and eggs; whisk until combined. Add reserved flour mixture all at once to water mixture, whisking just until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with edible flowers.


We hope you’re getting as excited as we are about cooler weather and holiday cheer. Even if we can’t be together for the usual social gatherings, or we can’t attend our usual places of worship- cozy holiday traditions don’t have to be thrown out the window entirely. 

Take a little time to luxuriate in the ritual of creating some cozy holiday dishes, cooking is good for the soul, and we could all sure use the comfort food!