Four Healthy Dessert Recipes to Cut Down on Refined Sugar

By Ashley Huffman
There’s no doubt that refined sugar is bad for you. With so many studies and articles out there about the diseases and health issues excessive sugar intake can cause (see this one or this one, for example), it’s best to cut down on it whenever possible. I’ve found some amazing healthy recipes to replace the white flour, cane sugar filled desserts I used to love, and these four are my all-time favorites that prove eating healthy can still be delicious without being boring or restrictive.

Chocolate & Caramel Paleo Cake

(original recipe from Paleo Gluten Free Eats, adapted by me)

For the cake:
1 raw sweet potato
2 eggs
¾ cocoa powder
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup coconut flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
For the frosting:
16 medjool dates, pitted
½-1 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of a cake pan with parchment paper.
2. Mince the sweet potato in a high speed blender, then add all of the ingredients for the cake and blend until smooth.
3. Add to pan and cook for 45-50 minutes.
4. For frosting, soak dates in water for about 30 minutes. Add ingredients for frosting to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Peanut Butter Cups

1 ½ cups 72% dark chocolate
½ cup peanut butter
Pinch of sea salt
1. Double boil chocolate on the stove until smooth. (To do this, boil water in a pot, then add another pot on top with the chocolate, making sure the second pot isn’t touching the water.)
2. Line a cupcake tin with liners and fill 1/4 of the way with chocolate.
3. Add a spoonful of peanut butter on top of melted chocolate.
4. Cover peanut butter with more chocolate and add sea salt on top.
5. Place in the freezer for one hour or until hardened.

Caramel Tahini Bars

(original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, adapted by me)
For the shortbread base:
1 ½ cups oat flour
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
For the salted tahini caramel:
½ cup tahini
⅓ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
For the chocolate layer:
¾ cup dark chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
2. Add oat flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt to a bowl and mix together. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes.
3. Add tahini, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and sea salt to a pot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour over the crust and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Heat water in a pot and add a second pot on top with chocolate in it, making sure the top pot is not touching the water. Cook until chocolate is completely melted. Pour evenly over the caramel layer and place in fridge for one hour until the chocolate is hardened.

Vanilla & Cacao Nib Milkshake

½ cup almond milk
½ cup ice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
⅛ cup cacao nibs
⅛ cup peanut butter
Pinch of sea salt
1. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until combined, and top with more peanut butter and cacao nibs if desired.


Ashley Huffman is a health and fitness enthusiast on a mission to eat well and stay fit. Currently a senior in college, she spends her time pursuing a degree in marketing, working out, or forcing her roommates to try her new recipes. You can follow her on Instagram for daily workouts and lots of food.

@ashhuff.fitt on Instagram


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