Want to reduce your sugar intake, but still satisfy a sweet craving? These low-sugar desserts will satisfy
1 of 11Erin Kunkel
The most recent USDA dietary guidelines, released in early 2016, urge us to cut down on added sugars—not the ones naturally present in fruits and milk, but the sweeteners you see on ingredient labels, ranging from plain white sugar to healthier-seeming sweeteners like agave nectar and honey. Added sugars are linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, and we Americans eat a whopping 5 1/2 tablespoons a day, on average. The recommendation is 2 tablespoons a day for women and 3 for men.
So what to do when you want dessert, yet care about your health? Try one (or more!) from our collection of not-too-sweets that fall within the USDA guidelines and are still incredibly satisfying, culled from the Sunset recipe treasury. None of them were created to be low-sugar desserts, we must tell you. They just naturally are that way.
2 of 11Thomas J. Story
Buckwheat Gingerbread Muffins
Baked goods often hide the most sugar. But these miraculous muffins, developed for Sunset by legendary baker Alice Medrich, have less than a tablespoon of sugar per serving. They rely instead on the earthiness of buckwheat and a swirl of spices for flavor.
Usually rhubarb, one of the sourest plants in the natural world, requires tons of sugar to be palatable. In this genius recipe, it doesn’t—just a few tablespoons, plus a warm, sweet-seeming sprinkle of ground cardamom.
Chef Maria Hines, of the enduringly popular restaurant Tilth, in Seattle, created this dense, mysterious, delicious tart for us several years ago, and it’s still one of our favorites. Much of the sweetness comes from the figs themselves.
Dark Chocolate Tart with Cherries and Almond Whipped Cream
Q: Can you really have chocolate if you’re cutting down on sugar? A: Yes! In fact, only the crust and the topping are (lightly) sweetened in this masterful, easy recipe from Canadian pastry chef Dana Ewart.
Honey Custards with Blood Oranges and Candied Lemon
When you want a rich, satisfying dessert that is probably not too high in sugar, think custards. They rely more on eggs and cream for their wonderfulness, and this one—from Yigit Pura, owner and chef of Tout Sweet pastry shops in the San Francisco Bay Area—is a case in point.
Impossible, you’re thinking. How can chocolate mousse be low in sugar? Well, this recipe—from author Isabel Allende—is over-the-top delicious, a paragon of mousse-dom, and it has only ½ tablespoon of sugar per serving.