7 Delightful Desserts Under 300 Calories

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

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

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked cakes, cookies, and confections to ruin a person’s diet. Many resolutions and fitness plans have been derailed at the sight of a piece of pie or a warm plate full of cookies. A way around banning a food outright is to look for modified recipes that lower the calorie count or incorporate better ingredients. To keep your health goals in sight, here are seven scrumptious desserts under 300 calories.

1. Paleo coconut macaroons

Trying out the ever-popular Paleo diet this year? With boundless communities online, creative chefs, bloggers, and bakers have created recipes so that even desserts aren’t eliminated. Even if you aren’t on the “caveman diet,” at only 160 calories and 12 grams of fat per cookie, this recipe is well worth trying. It yields approximately eight cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, preferably Celtic
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut flakes

Directions: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg whites and honey with a fork. Briefly whisk in the salt, then stir in the coconut flakes. Place the bowl in refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fill a 2-tablespoon scoop with batter, heaping full. Using your hand, firmly pack the batter into the scoop so it is level. Release the batter onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until the macaroons are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour and serve.

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

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

2. Deep dark chocolate biscotti

Each piece of biscotti weighs in at 94 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, so you could indulge in three of these sweet Italian cookies and stay under 300 calories for your dessert. The recipe yields 30 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 9.5 ounces whole wheat flour (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup unsalted almonds

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, flaxseed, soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Combine sugars, egg whites, and egg in a bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed for two minutes. Add vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir until combined. Fold in chocolate and almonds. Divide dough into three equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6-inch-long roll. Arrange rolls three inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pat to a 1-inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 28 minutes or until firm.

Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut rolls diagonally into 30 (1/2-inch) slices. Place, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit; bake seven minutes. Turn cookies over; bake seven minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet to cool on wire rack.

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

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

3. Deep dish brownies

The team at the Food Network test kitchens went to work making over a traditional deep dish brownie recipe into a healthier version. More than half the butter from the original was taken out, along with half the eggs and sugar. Coffee and a little extra vanilla extract were added to enrich the taste. As a result, each serving has 158 calories and 7 grams of fat. The serving size is based on 16 pieces from an 8-by-8-inch pan.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral tasting oil
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1 tablespoon cold-brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions: Position rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an 8-by-8 silicon baking pan or line a similar-size metal or glass baking dish with foil or parchment paper so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch. Spray the prepared pan completely.

Put the butter, oil, and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 75 percent power for two minutes. Stir and microwave again until completely melted, about two minutes more. (Alternatively, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over — not touching — the water and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)

Stir the brown and white sugars, vanilla, and salt into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and coffee and beat vigorously until fully incorporated and the batter is thick and glossy. Add the cocoa, flour and baking soda and stir just until it disappears.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if not using silicon). Cool the brownies in the pan on the counter. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil, if needed. Peel off the foil and cut into 2-inch squares. Serve. Store extra brownies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to three days.

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

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

4. Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Neufchatel cheese has a similar flavor profile to regular cream cheese but contains fewer calories and less fat. A 100-gram serving of regular cream is about 342 calories and has 34 grams of fat while 100 grams of Neufchatel cheese has 253 calories and 23 grams of fat. The recipe yields 12 cupcakes, which once frosted have 277 calories and 12 grams of fat per cupcake.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots, peeled)
  • 1/2 cup natural applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
  • 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese, such as Neufchatel, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.

Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, oil, and eggs until well combined. Add the carrots, applesauce, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining two tablespoons of chopped walnuts. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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

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

5. Oatmeal-flax chocolate chip cookies

Sometimes going low-calorie just isn’t enough, and a dessert is desire that incorporates ingredients that are good for you, too. Flaxseed contains both soluble and insoluble fiber: One ground tablespoon contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s, the good, heart-healthy type of fat. So if you’re looking for health benefits in a cookie-size package, this is the dessert for you. The recipe yields about 32 cookies, and each has 151 calories and 7 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed, finely ground in a spice grinder, or pre-ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, oats, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

Beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about four minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about two inches apart. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool three minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

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

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

6. Bobby’s lighter frozen chocolate mousse pie

The notion that every Paula Deen dish includes a couple of sticks of butter and way more sugar than the average person needs has been so cemented in our minds, that one of her sons — Bobby — is making his name by giving her dishes a healthy makeover. His lighter chocolate mousse pie yields 10 servings, with 244 calories and 12 grams of fat apiece.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate-flavored liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • One 9-inch pre-made rolled pie crust, baked according to directions on box and cooled
  • Semisweet chocolate, grated, for garnish

Directions: Melt both chocolates and the milk in a double boiler over low heat. Remove from the heat and add in the corn syrup, chocolate-flavored liqueur, and vanilla extract. Mix together and allow to cool completely. 

With an electric mixer on high speed, beat the meringue powder with six tablespoons water in a medium bowl until glossy peaks form, two to three minutes. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten meringue and the whipped topping into the cooled chocolate mixture until no streaks of white remain. Spoon into the prepared crust and spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until frozen for a couple of hours. Garnish with grated chocolate and serve.

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

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

7. Peach and blueberry cobbler

Simply adding fresh fruits doesn’t necessarily make a dessert healthy, but this one at least won’t send your caloric intake skyrocketing. When cut into 10 pieces, each serving has 182 calories and 8 grams of fat. The only facet some reviewers took issue with was that this recipe was not as sweet as traditional peach cobbler.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe but firm peaches (about 1 pound), pitted and sliced into eighths, or 3 1/2 cups frozen
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place butter and oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Heat in the oven until melted and fragrant, five to seven minutes.

Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk, sugar, and vanilla; stir to combine. Add the melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Spoon peaches and blueberries evenly over the batter. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top of the cobbler is browned and the batter around the fruit is completely set, 50 minutes to one hour. Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.

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