3 Healthy Baking Recipes

Are you struggling between staying healthy and reaching for a plate of decadent brownies? The battle between sticking to your diet while having a sweet tooth is brutal, but it happens to the best of them. Want to indulge in sweet baked treats without ruining the progress you've made in your healthy eating habits? Have no fear – here are three healthy dessert recipes that won't make you feel guilty.

1. Mini Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Glaze
This sweet and delicious recipe from Food Network uses Greek yogurt and whole wheat flour to add protein and fiber. You'll need:

For the cake:

  • Non-stick spray
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup 2-percent Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups carrot – shredded.

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Then, bake the pecan halves until toasted – this should take about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then place in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

Next, combine the pecans, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the brown sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, lemon zest and eggs together. Once the egg mixture is blended, stir in the shredded carrot. Fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined. Pour mixture into the muffin pan and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.

For your glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Spoon 1 teaspoon onto each cake and spread it evenly. Enjoy one serving for 240 calories!

2. Oatmeal Toffee Cookies
Craving a sweet that's less than 100 calories? This recipe from Cooking Light makes that possible with its 90 calorie oatmeal toffee cookie recipe! You'll need:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 brown sugar – packed
  • 1/4 cup butter – softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup toffee bits.

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare two baking sheets with a coat of non-stick cooking spray.

Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until blended – this should take about five minutes. Add the vanilla and egg to the mixture and beat well. Then, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until combined. Once the combination is mixed well, stir in the toffee pieces.

Drop 2 tablespoons of dough two inches apart on your baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned – this should take about 11 minutes. Let the cookies cool for one minute on the pans and move to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy!

3. Cream Cheese Brownies
This decadent recipe from Health magazine uses calorie-free sweetener as an alternative to avoid overdoing it with the sugar. Enjoy one brownie for only 127 calories! You'll need:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons reduced-calorie margarine – softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 8-ounce block low-fat cream cheese – softened
  • 1/4 cup calorie-free sweetener
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat milk.

First, preheat the oven to 350 and prepare an 8-inch square pan by coating it with non-stick cooking spray.

Then, beat sugar and margarine at medium speed until the consistency becomes light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg white and vanilla to the mixture and beat well. Add flour and cocoa slowly and beat well. Pour mixture into your baking pan.

Next, beat the cream cheese and sweetener at high speed until smooth, and then add the milk. Dollop the cream cheese over the brownie mixture. Using a knife, swirl the two together to create a marble design.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes. Once they're finished, let them cool completely and enjoy!