6 Sweet Recipes That Cut Back on Granulated Sugar

As the evidence showing sugar’s dark side grows, you may be reevaluating that bag of Dixie Crystals sitting in your cupboard. But in the battle between logic and a person’s sweet tooth, logic doesn’t always win. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways to cut down on added sugars in recipes.

When you have a variety of other sweet ingredients, like bananas, honey, and cinnamon, you can skip out on the granulated sugar in recipes. To prove you don’t need a cup full of white sugar every time you want something sweet, here are 6 sensational recipes.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Banana Bread

When you use naturally sweet ingredients like bananas, cutting out granulated sugar is a cinch. Cooks.com’s banana bread recipe is easy to bake, and makes for a delicious snack or breakfast.


  • ¾ cup mashed bananas
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Directions: Beat together mashed banana, oil, eggs, and water until creamy. Add vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Beat well. Stir in nuts. Spoon batter into oiled and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Spread batter evenly. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock


2. Almond and Honey Butter Cookies

One easy swap for granulated sugar is honey, an ingredient Eating Well uses in this cookie recipe. It yields about 3½ dozen cookies, with each cookie containing about 94 calories.


  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted
  • 1¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup plus ¼ cup honey, divided
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

Directions: Process whole almonds in a food processor or blender until finely ground (you will have about 1¼ cups ground). Transfer to a large bowl and add whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt; stir until just combined. Beat ⅔ cup honey, oil and 3 tablespoons butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir to combine. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Roll tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Press the tip of your index finger in the center of each cookie to make an indentation. Bake the cookies, in batches, until set and barely golden on the bottom, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 30 minutes.

Combine the remaining ¼ cup honey and 1 tablespoon butter in a small bowl until creamy. Use about ¼ teaspoon to fill each cookie and top with 2 sliced almonds, if desired.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/epw/

3. Healthier Carrot Cake

With all the powdered sugar that goes into cream cheese frosting, you may want a carrot cake that doesn’t call for the usual two cups of sugar. If that is the case, Natasha’s Kitchen has you covered with a healthier carrot cake recipe which uses applesauce and honey instead. Another option is to follow Simple Foody’s recipe for a refined sugar-free cream cheese frosting.



  • 3 cups carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup canola oil, or extra light olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts, toasted on a skillet (optional)


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two round cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt and 1½ teaspoon cinnamon.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed until foamy, add 1 cup honey and beat on high another 4 minutes. Blend in ½ cup canola oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and applesauce. Add in the flour mixture a 1/2 cup at a time and mix until it is just incorporated into the batter. Use a spatula to fold in the grated carrots and walnuts (if using) just until combined.

Divide the batter equally among the two cake pans and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes; a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. While cakes are in the oven, make your frosting and refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

Frosting directions: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the 2 sticks of butter with 2 cups powdered sugar on low speed or until combined. Don’t start on high speed or you will be surrounded in a cloud of powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add cream cheese 1 piece at a time and mix until combined. Once all of the cream cheese is incorporated, continue to beat 1 more minute. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla and mix until combined. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

Remove cakes from the oven, and once they are cool enough to handle, remove from cake molds and let them cool completely to room temp before assembling and frosting your cake.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimberlykv/

4. Vanilla bean ice cream

If you don’t own an ice cream maker, it’s time to buddy up to someone who does. Not only does this recipe from Live Simply not use any refined sugars, it doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners either, unlike store-bought, no sugar added ice cream contains. Further avoid artificial enhancers by topping with fresh fruit.


  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅔ cup raw honey
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • pinch good quality salt
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod 

Directions: Combine milk and honey. Use a whisk to dissolve the honey completely into milk. Add vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Then vanilla seeds. Lastly, add cream to mixture and mix well.

Chill mixture in a bowl for an hour. Process your ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. About 20 minutes later, scoop soft ice cream into a plastic or glass container and tap to remove air bubbles.

Eat soft serve or refrigerate overnight. Scoop and enjoy!

Source: iStock

Source: iStock


5. Kate’s Light n’ Fluffy Buttermilk and Chocolate Chip Waffles

AllRecipes.com will have you whipping up a stack of  10, light and fluffy waffles. Ideal for breakfast, brunch, or dessert, you won’t want to pass over this recipe. Try it with blueberries instead of chocolate chips, or topped with fresh fruit.


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: In a large bowl, mix the flour, powdered buttermilk, baking powder, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whip the cream using an electric mixer; stir in milk, egg yolks, and melted butter. Stir the milk mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth. In a clean glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites and chocolate chips into the batter using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

Preheat a waffle iron and coat with cooking spray. Spoon batter onto the hot iron and cook until there is no longer steam coming out and the waffles are light brown.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock


6. Apple oatmeal cookies

With chunks of apple, a few dashes of cinnamon, and a bit of honey, you won’t miss granulated sugar when you make these Apple Oatmeal Cookies from AllRecipes.com. Fold in raisins for even more sweet, chewy texture, if desired. It yields about 4 dozen cookies.


  • ½ cup margarine, softened
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup stone ground whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, honey, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Combine the whole wheat flour, baking soda, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats and apple. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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