Decadent Diabetic Desserts

No feast is complete without a sweet ending! These low-sugar tarts, cakes, and chocolate desserts will satisfy diabetic and other guests alike.

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    Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake Squares

    These bite-size delights are perfect for parties, as guests can easily enjoy them while mingling (and you’re less likely to go overboard on portions). Adapted from Esther Neustaeter, La Crete, Alberta, Canada

    Makes 49
    Prep time 1 hour
    Bake time 35 minutes plus freezing

    For crust
    • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted

    For filling
    • 2 packages (8 oz. each) fat-free cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup light sour cream
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

    For coating
    • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 3 tbsp. shortening

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. To prepare the crust: Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with foil and grease the foil. Combine the cracker crumbs, pecans, and butter. Press into prepared pan and set aside.
    2. To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream. Add eggs and beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crust.
    3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Freeze overnight.
    4. For the coating, melt chocolate and shortening in a microwave and stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
    5. Remove cheesecake from freezer. Using the edges of the foil, lift cheesecake out of pan. Peel off foil and cut into 49 squares. Refrigerate squares until ready to dip.
    6. Using a toothpick, dip squares, one at a time, in coating. (Reheat if needed.) Place on waxed paper–lined baking sheets; spoon about 1 tsp. coating over each. Let stand 20 minutes or until set. Store in the refrigerator.

    Per square: 118 cal, 7 g fat (3 g sat), 13 g carbs, 3 g protein, 0 g fiber, 11 mg chol, 85 mg sodium, 37 mg calcium

    Mixed-Berry Tart

    Sweet berries and flaky crust make for an irresistible dessert rich in antioxidant and fiber. Use a blend of berries or just one type, whichever you prefer.

    Serves 12
    Prep time 2 hours
    Bake time 40 minutes

    • 1/4 cup ice-cold water (without ice)
    • 3 tbsp. low-fat plain yogurt
    • 1 cup whole-grain pastry flour
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tbsp. plus 1⁄3 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 7 tbsp. nonhydrogenated butter-replacement stick margarine
    • 5 cups mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
    • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

    1. In a measuring cup, whisk together the cold water and yogurt. In a food processor, combine the pastry and all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp. sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the margarine and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the yogurt mixture and process just until the ingredients come together. Gather the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
    2. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the berries, cornstarch, lemon juice, and remaining 1⁄3 cup sugar and toss gently.
    3. Shape dough into 6 small balls. Roll out each ball on a lightly floured work surface to about a 6-inch circle. Using six 4-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms, line the pans with the dough. Evenly distribute the fruit mixture into the pans.
    4. Bake until the filling is bubbling and crust is browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

    Per serving: (1/2 tartlet): 166 cal, 7 g fat (2 g sat), 24 g carbs, 2 g protein, 3 g fiber, 0 mg chol, 125 mg sodium, 22 mg calcium

    Chocolate Ganache Tarts

    These treats feature a chocolate mousse–like filling made with fat-free cream cheese and whipping cream. Adapted from Lorraine Caland, Thunder Bay, Ontario

    Makes 24
    Prep time 30 minutes plus chilling 
    Bake time 20 minutes plus cooling

    • 1/2 cup butter (8 tbsp.), softened
    • 1 package (8 oz.) fat-free cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
    • 2⁄3 cup light whipping cream
    • Whipped cream, fresh raspberries, and confectioners’ sugar, optional

    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth, then beat in flour. Drop dough by scant tablespoonfuls into greased miniature muffin cups; with well-floured hands, press dough onto bottoms and up sides of cups.
    2. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before transferring tart shells to wire racks to cool completely.
    3. In a small saucepan, melt both chocolate chips with cream over low heat, stirring until blended. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until firm.
    4. Beat chocolate mixture until soft peaks form. Pipe or spoon ganache into tart shells. Top with whipped cream, raspberries, and confectioners’ sugar, if using.

    Per tart: 116 cal, 8 g fat (5 g sat), 10 g carbs, 2 g protein, 0 g fiber, 19 mg chol, 63 mg sodium, 20 mg calcium

    Marble Cheesecake

    Here’s a dream makeover of one of the most decadent desserts ever. Just to get an idea of the nutritional difference between our version and a classic cheesecake, check the ingredients in a traditional recipe: a couple of pounds of cream cheese, a stick of butter, and three or more eggs. Now read the ingredients and the numbers on this chocolate-swirled beauty, and get baking!

    Serves 12
    Prep time 15 minutes
    Bake time 1 hour 30 minutes plus chilling

    • 3 oz. low-fat honey graham crackers (6 whole crackers)
    • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
    • 1 tbsp. plus 1 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp. extra-light olive oil
    • 1 container (19 oz.) silken tofu, well drained
    • 2 packages (8 oz. each) fat-free cream cheese
    • 3 tbsp. flour
    • 1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine graham crackers, wheat germ, and 1 tbsp. sugar in food processor and process to fine crumbs. Add oil and process until moistened. Place mixture in 9-inch springform pan and press into bottom and partway up sides. Bake until set, 10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, add drained tofu, remaining 1 cup sugar, cream cheese, flour, whole egg and whites, and vanilla to food processor (no need to clean bowl) and process until smooth and well blended.
    3. Measure out 1 cup tofu mixture, place in small bowl, and stir in chocolate syrup. Pour remaining plain tofu mixture into crust in springform pan.
    4. Pour tofu-chocolate mixture in a ring on top of batter and swirl in with a knife for a marbled effect. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven and leave in oven for 45 minutes undisturbed. Cool to room temperature before chilling overnight.

    Per serving: 210 cal, 5 g fat (1 g sat), 31 g carbs, 11 g protein, 1 g fiber, 20 mg chol, 297 mg sodium, 177 mg calcium

    Topsy-Turvy Apple Tart

    This delectable tart is turned upside down to serve and resembles the French tarte tatin. The pastry crust is made with reduced-fat soft cheese to cut down on butter.

    Serves 6
    Prep time 45 minutes
    Bake time 20 minutes

    For the pastry
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
    • 2 tbsp. (1 oz.) reduced-fat cream cheese

    For the filling

    • 5 apples, about 1 lb. total
    • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 3 tbsp. golden raisins
    • 1 tsp. allspice
    • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

    To serve
    • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

    1. Sift flour into a large bowl and mix in butter and cream cheese until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. cold water and cut into flour mixture, forming a soft dough. Gather into a smooth ball.Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Peel and thickly slice the apples. Place sugar and lemon juice in a medium skillet over low heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Add apples; cover and cook over low heat, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is just softening but is not breaking up.
    3. With a slotted spoon, transfer apples to a 9-inch cake pan, slightly overlapping the slices. Stir the raisins, allspice, and lemon zest into the juice in the pan on the stove; simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Pour mixture over the apples and set aside to cool slightly.
    4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to form a 10-inch circle. Place over the apple filling and tuck the edges inside the tin. Bake 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
    5. Leave the tart to cool in the pan, 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a plate. Serve slices of the warm tart with a dollop of yogurt.

    Per serving: 244 cal, 6 g fat (3 g sat), 45 g carbs, 5 g protein, 4 g fiber, 16 mg chol, 57 mg sodium, 95 mg calcium

    Blueberry-Orange Tart

    Don’t be surprised by the small amount of black pepper in this filling—it heightens the blueberry flavor. The dough for the tart shell is made with monounsaturated olive oil instead of butter.

    Serves 10
    Prep time 30 minutes plus chilling
    Bake time 30 minutes

    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 1⁄3 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 2 tsp. grated orange zest
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. plus 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 2 bags (12 oz. each) frozen unsweetened blueberries
    • 6 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
    • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 1⁄8 tsp. nutmeg
    • 3 tbsp. cornstarch

    1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and 2 tbsp. of the orange juice. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead 10 times, or until the dough forms a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
    2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Press the dough onto the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork and line the pan with foil to cover the dough. Fill the foil with pie weights and bake the shell 15 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, and bake the shell 10 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
    3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the blueberries, the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice, 4 tbsp. of the granulated sugar, the pepper, and nutmeg; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.
    4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tbsp. granulated sugar and the cornstarch. Stir the mixture into the berries and cook 2 minutes, or until the berry mixture is thick.
    5. Cool the blueberry mixture to room temperature, then spoon into the baked shell. Chill the tart 1 hour before serving.

    Per serving: 250 cal, 10 g fat (1 g sat), 38 g carbs, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber, 0 mg chol, 145 mg sodium, 16 mg calcium

    Almond Cake with Raspberry Sauce

    The almond paste in this cake delivers flavor without adding carbs. Adapted from Joan Sullivan, Gambrills, Maryland

    Serves 12
    Prep time 30 minutes
    Cook time 45 minutes plus cooling

    • 1 can (8 oz.) almond paste
    • 3/4 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar, divided
    • 6 tbsp. butter, softened
    • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 tbsp. orange liqueur
    • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. plus 1⁄8 tsp. baking powder
    • 3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
    • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-round baking pan with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray and set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the almond paste, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and butter; beat until blended. Beat in the eggs, liqueur, and extract. Mix in flour and baking powder.
    3. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
    4. Invert cake onto cake plate and remove parchment paper. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
    5. Place raspberries in a food processor, cover, and process until pureed. Strain, reserving juice. In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook raspberry juice and the remaining 1 tsp. sugar, 15 to 18 minutes, or until mixture is reduced to cup. Serve cake with sauce.

    Per serving: 237 cal, 12 g fat (4 g sat), 29 g carbs, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber, 60 mg chol, 39 mg sodium, 46 mg calcium

    Bourbon Cake

    The acorn squash in this cake offers essential nutrients, including B vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.

    Serves 16
    Prep time 15 minutes
    Bake time 50 minutes plus cooling

    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 3/4 cups mashed, cooked acorn squash
    • 1/4 cup bourbon
    • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-cup Bundt or tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. In small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
    3. In large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, eggs, and squash until blended. Beat in flour mixture until evenly moistened. Beat in the bourbon. Using a rubber spatula, scrape batter into Bundt pan.
    4. Bake until toothpick inserted into the top comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack. Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Run thin knife around edge and center tube of pan. Turn out cake onto rack. Let cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

    Per serving: 289 cal, 15 g fat (2 g sat), 34 g carbs, 3 g protein, 1 g fiber, 45 mg chol, 312 mg sodium, 28 mg calcium

    Ginger Pear Upside-Down Cake

    Instead of a pineapple upside-down cake, this showstopper uses pears and ginger—and the buttermilk and olive oil add the moistness and richness of butter without the fat.

    Serves 10
    Prep time 15 minutes
    Cook time 35 minutes plus cooling

    • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
    • 3 firm, ripe pears, peeled and cored
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. ground ginger
    • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 cup extra-light olive oil
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest
    • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom of a 9-inch round nonstick cake pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with brown sugar. Shake pan to coat evenly.
    2. Slice pears crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange slices in the pan, making sure the bottom is completely covered.
    3. In a small bowl, sift together flour, ginger, baking powder, and baking soda. With an electric mixer, beat the olive oil, sugar, and lime zest in another mixing bowl. Beat in the whole egg and the egg white until the mixture is thick.
    4. Using a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, alternately fold the flour mixture and the buttermilk into the egg mixture, starting and ending with flour, until just blended.
    5. Pour the batter over the pears and smooth the top, making sure pears are completely covered with batter. Bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer cake pan to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a serving plate and cool completely before slicing.

    Per serving: 214 cal, 6 g fat (1 g sat), 37 g carbs, 3 g protein, 2 g fiber, 19 mg chol, 106 mg sodium, 42 mg calcium

    Orange-Glazed Roasted Plums

    Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in fruits and is a delicious way to prepare fiber-rich desserts. Here, an orange-scented syrup balances the tartness of plums.

    Serves 4
    Prep time 15 minutes
    Bake time 30 to 40 minutes

    • 1 tsp. grated orange zest or grated fresh ginger
    • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
    • 3 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
    • 2 tsp. unsalted butter
    • 4 medium plums or pluots (1 lbs.), halved and pitted
    • 2 tbsp. slivered almonds
    • 1/2 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick spray.
    2. Combine the orange zest or ginger, orange juice, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat, add the butter, and stir until melted.
    3. Place the plums, cut side up,
    in the baking dish. Pour the orange juice mixture over the plums. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the plums are almost tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
    4. Remove dish from oven, baste the plums with the orange syrup from the pan, and sprinkle with the almonds. Bake, uncovered, until
    the plums are tender and glazed, 10 to 15 minutes, basting once or twice. Serve the plums warm or chilled. Drizzle with the syrup, and add a dollop of vanilla yogurt.

    Per serving (2 plum halves, 2 tbsp. syrup, 2 tbsp. yogurt): 169 cal, 4 g fat (1 g sat), 34 g carbs, 3 g protein, 2 g fiber, 6 mg chol, 21 mg sodium, 52 mg calcium

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