Indulge Your Sweet Tooth for Less Than 150 Calories
Sometimes indulging your sweet tooth with a smart choice saves you from impulsively diving into that leftover candy in the break room. We’ve collected our most delicious low-calorie desserts—cookies, desserts, bars, and brownies—all that ring in at 150 calories or less. Take care to watch for serving size, stick to that, and you’re ready to enjoy dessert.
Cookies are usually the culprits to poor eating choices. Try a healthier recipe like these Chocolate-Cherry Cookies and pack one to go. It’s your own little 100-calorie snack, homemade in your kitchen (these ring in at just under 100 calories each).
Warmed Berries with Honey and Fresh Cheese
You may adapt this dessert to your taste by adjusting the blend of berries, the amount of honey, or even the amount of cheese. The idea is luxury in the amount of berries. Fromage blanc is wonderfully subtle; you can sub Greek yogurt, which is tangier.
Sweet cherries and robust merlot make for a colorful, refreshing chilled dessert. Because the granita requires at least 8 hours to freeze, add this to your list of smart entertaining recipes. Or have it on hand for a low-calorie mid-week dessert.
Think of these tasty little tassies as your own personal pecan pie. They're both salty and sweet, with a hit of oaky bourbon. Whole-grain rye flour adds the perfect touch of sour to the shortbread-like crust, while toasted pecans do double duty in the crust and in the maple-splashed filling. As if that weren't enough to jingle your bell, we drizzle warm bittersweet chocolate over each bite to ensure maximum satisfaction.
Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies
With dried apples and caramel candies in every bite, our less-than-100-calorie oatmeal cookies give you the flavors of fall year-round. The recipe makes 4-dozen cookies, so freeze the dough or make them all for a smart bake-sale addition.
Iced Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies
Whole-wheat flour adds a layer of complexity to these cookies that all-purpose flour can't achieve; the wheat in the whole grain actually enhances the flavors of butter and vanilla. Unlike classic royal icing, which starts with a pound of powdered sugar, we use just 1/2 cup and thicken it with Greek yogurt. Looking for festive colors without the chemicals? Try naturally colored sparkling sugars (such as those from India Tree), which use colorants derived from plants.
Because macaroons are made with egg whites and no fat, they are naturally low-calorie without having to add any artificial ingredients (2 of our macaroons have only 86 calories!). This rendition also features intensely sweet dried figs. Be sure to remove and discard the hard stems of the figs before chopping them.
This brittle is sweet and mildly bitter all at once—owing to the caramel flavor of the cooked sugar. We added everything you’d find on the iconic bagel of the same name except garlic and onion flakes for a nutty-savory-sweet treat. Brittle is very susceptible to moisture, so wrap it up in parchment paper and pack into an airtight container. Store the container in a cool, dry place. This is a decidedly grown-up sweet treat, but you can make it kid-friendly by omitting the poppy seeds and black sesame seeds and stirring in a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Adapted from a dessert of peaches filled with amaretti and cocoa powder, our version of this quick dessert uses shaved bittersweet chocolate for added richness. Look for amaretti cookies at specialty or gourmet markets; they have a distinct almond-amaretto flavor and crunchy texture. In a pinch, you can substitute crumbled almond biscotti.
These traditional German Christmas cookies are made with chopped nuts, citrus, and a variety of warm spices, including the pepper that gives the cookies their name. Greenspan provides ingredient weights in grams, an approach we love because it's more precise than using ounces; a scale is key here.
Carrot Cake Gelly Shots
Dessert meets cocktail: Bourbon-y spiced carrot gelatin delivers familiar warming flavors, and creamy vermouth is absolutely the "frosting" on the cake.
Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti
Whole-wheat flour, flaxseed, and almonds add fiber and antioxidants to these delicious biscotti. At under 100 calories each, one biscotti dunked in a cup of hot coffee sounds like the perfect afternoon treat.
Makeover your cheesecake with a no-bake handheld version that makes an easy party treat. Lemon juice and zest blended with raspberries create a fresh summer confection.
Lavender-Scented Strawberries with Honey Cream
Showcase fresh berries in this rich, not-too-sweet dessert. Be sure to use Greek yogurt, which has been strained and is very thick and creamy. Serve in a pretty stemmed dish for a special touch.
Our version of this quick dessert uses shaved bittersweet chocolate for added richness. Look for amaretti cookies at specialty or gourmet markets; they have a distinct almond-amaretto flavor and crunchy texture that make this dish memorable. In a pinch, you can substitute crumbled almond biscotti.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
Dip the pretzels, and store in the fridge on a parchment-lined tray up to five days ahead of your next party. Set out shortly before serving, but not too far ahead, as the chocolate may melt.
We give you fudgy, decadent brownies at less than 150 calories by replacing the typical ton of butter with a combo of low-fat baking tricks. Two kinds of chocolate—cocoa and melted dark chocolate—add deep chocolate flavor.
Whipped Cream Puffs
Potato starch and rice flour make a delightfully tender and flaky, yet chewy, puff pastry. Filled with dollops of creamy whipped filling and topped with powdered sugar, they are a wonderful treat for a shower or party.
Finish off the evening with a spicy-sweet iced dessert featuring cranberry juice, mint, jalapeño pepper, and fresh lime juice. The complex flavors make this an adult favorite that can be enjoyed year round. Use low-calorie cranberry juice to lower the calories and sugar content.
This addictive chocolate confection is a spectacular way to blend cranberries and almonds. You can also vary the recipe with other dried fruits, such as raisins, apricots, figs, or cherries. Wrap in clear plastic and tie with a dark green ribbon for a lovely holiday gift.
Pink Grapefruit Sorbet
Two ingredients—freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice and sugar—prove that simple, natural ingredients offer great results. A serving delivers about two-thirds of your RDA for vitamin C, and at only 145 calories you can enjoy every bite.
Chilled Peaches in Orange Flower Water
This dish is all about the fragrant orange flower water. Look for it in Mediterranean markets or speciality supermarkets. At farmers' markets, you can find peaches whose flesh is nearly red, their skin fragile and lightly furred, their flavor intensely perfumed and deep. This recipe, which couldn't be simpler, exemplifies the most important tenet of all French coking—when you have fabulous ingredients, get out of the way and let them speak for themselves. Chilling the peaches makes them easier to slice nicely and gives a refreshing edge to their flavor.
A small square of these rich bars is enough to satisfy a dessert craving. The flour and oats mixture is somewhat dry after combining, but it serves as both a solid base for the soft butterscotch chip layer and a crumbly, streusel-like topping.
A simple mixture of powdered sugar, cream cheese, and amaretto transforms hollowed out strawberries into an ultra simple dessert or appetizer—perfect for spring gatherings.
Crema Catalana is a Spanish version of the favorite, crème brulée, and is every bit as rich and decadent. Who would think this crunchy-sugar coated custard could be low-cal? Believe it. Each serving has only 142 calories.
Minted Watermelon and Lemon Ice Pops
Boasting just 82 calories and a boatload of vitamin C, these double-decker popsicles feature a sweet-tart lemon layer topped with a minty watermelon layer. If you prefer one flavor over the other, double the amount of ingredients required for each layer and make single flavored pops.
Marshmallow Popcorn Treats with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
Reminiscent of classic popcorn balls, these salty-sweet treats make for awesome low-fat snacking. Make a batch to enjoy throughout the week.
Extremely healthy and naturally fat-free, sweet mango ice provides both vitamins A and C from the mangoes and orange juice. Enjoy this simple, make-ahead dish as a warm weather dessert or afternoon snack.
Quick Banana and Milk Chocolate S'mores
Who says s'mores are just for the campfire? At only 140 calories per serving, feel free to indulge from home.
Lavender-Scented Strawberries with Honey Cream
Showcase the season's first berries in this rich, not-too-sweet dessert. Be sure to use Greek yogurt, which has been strained and is thus very thick and creamy.
Marcona almonds are blanched and roasted—you won't need to toast them. You can also substitute regular whole almonds. For the best texture, use whole pitted dates, not chopped; you need the sticky texture of the whole fruit.
Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Cream
Dress up scoops of tangy buttermilk ice cream with in-season berries, sliced stone fruit, or lemon rind strips. Waffle bowls make a fun way to serve dessert, too.
Chocolate-Granola Apple Wedges
This recipe takes a classic and ups the ante with the addition of granola. If you can't find Braeburn apples, Gala or Fuji varieties also stand up to dipping and add a touch more sweetness.
The chocolate and hazelnut coating adds textural interest to these airy, sweet treats.
Summer Berry Medley with Limoncello and Mint
Limoncello is a lemon-flavored liqueur from Italy's Amalfi coast. It's often savored after a meal. Store it in the freezer, and serve over ice. If you have trouble finding it, substitute an orange-flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier. This recipe earned our Test Kitchens' highest rating.
Chewy Molasses Cookies
Perfectly spiced and wonderfully tender, these molasses cookies were a staff fave at tasting.
HOW TO DOUBLE UP: Double the dough and bake these cookies without a hitch. To mail, wrap small stacks together using plastic wrap. Nestle the stacks in a box with plenty of padding, or stack in a wide-mouth canning jar with crumpled parchment or wax paper in the headspace under the lid. Place the jar in a box with padding for mailing overnight.
Cinnamon Crisps with Blackberries and Yogurt
This recipe is just as tasty with fresh blueberries or strawberries. If you can't find wonton wrappers, egg roll wrappers work equally well—just cut them into 3 1/2-inch squares.
The secret to these rich chocolate cookies is not to overbake them. For a gooey, creamy cookie center, pull them out of the oven when they are still a bit glossy.
Watermelon-Jalapeño Ice Pops
The ice pop gets a decidedly grown-up spin: It’s made from fresh melon, chile, and lime—both juice and rind. A bit of pectin helps keep all the ingredients incorporated evenly; without it, they tend to separate.
Oatmeal, Chocolate, and Walnut Cookies
Classic Vanilla Pudding
For a quick and elegant dessert, serve the pudding topped with fresh berries, crumbled pistachio brittle, or chopped toffee candy and a pretty mint leaf. Substitute 4 teaspoons vanilla extract for the vanilla bean, if you like. Add it with the butter.
Lighter Lemon Squares
Refreshingly tangy and buttery-crisp ... somehow the puckery citrus makes a good lemon square seem lighter than it really is. Typical recipes call for a full cup of butter and 1½ pounds of sugar—adding up to more than 300 calories in one little square.
Lightening was tricky but, luckily, our mission was accomplished. We created a healthier, lighter lemon square that retains the flavor and soul of the original.
Lemon Verbena-Buttermilk Sherbet
OK, so lemon verbena isn't a fruit—but it does add fruity flavor to this lovely dessert. Its floral aroma and taste soften the tang of the buttermilk.
Cream Cheese Meltaways with Lemon Glaze
When shaping these buttery cookies, do not try to form perfectly smooth balls. If the dough is handled too much, the cookies will become heavy and dense.
Almond Lace pairs deliciously with an afternoon cup of tea. These crisp, crunchy cookies will leave you pining for more.
Caramel Popcorn Cookies
Experimenting with unusual ingredients can produce an irresistible batch of cookies. In this recipe, caramel and popcorn pieces create the ultimate combination of salty-and-sweet—in cookie form!