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5 naturally sweetened desserts

Stumped by white sugar alternatives? Check out our substitution and cooking tips chart!

If you’ve been tempted by alternative sweeteners lately but don’t know how to use them, these recipes are for you. New ingredients like stevia are calorie free; other options, such as brown-rice syrup, date sugar, and coconut sugar, are less processed and add interesting flavors to desserts, sauces, and marinades. Keep in mind that not every substitute works as a one-to-one replacement for white sugar. For example, liquid sweeteners may require that you reduce other recipe liquids to compensate (see chart, left). Xylitol can replace all of the sugar in a recipe but might cause minor digestive discomfort, so start by replacing just a portion of the sugar. Calorie-free but highly concentrated stevia works best in recipes that don’t hinge on sugar’s ability to provide browning, bulk, and structure to cakes, muffins, and sweet breads (our creamy Lemon Pot de Crème is an excellent platform for its unique qualities). Reduce calories and blood-sugar shock by giving these sweet options a try.

Orange Pound Cake

Serves 12 / With a light crumb and beautiful texture, this delicious cake contains far fewer calories than a typical pound cake. View recipe.

Lemon Pot de Crème

Serves 6 / A pot de crème usually contains heavy cream and sugar; in this healthy, light version, thick Greek yogurt replaces the cream and zero-calorie stevia sweetens. View recipe.

Almond-Cherry Rice Treats

Makes 25 squares / These cereal bars go together in minutes and replace traditional gooey white marshmallow cream with agave nectar. Chewy and crunchy, they’ll become a family favorite. View recipe.

Coconut Caramel Sauce

Makes 1 cup / Ingredient tip: This rich sauce features coconut-palm sugar, a sweetener with a long history in Southeast Asia. View recipe.

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Cookies

Makes about 24 / Because there’s no white sugar, these cookies have a gooey, fudgelike texture. View recipe.

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