Five Healthy Valentine’s Day Desserts

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on February 14, 2014

Valentine’s Day is like the holiday of dessert. Candy, chocolates, romantic decadent dinners, all of it screams indulgence.

And there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence!

My husband and I went on our second date ever on Valentine’s Day in 2004 (our first date was the week before, on February 7th, 2004 – when I was still in college). And last night, we went on our first date night since our little Layla was born 1 month ago! It was amazing celebrating 10 years of being together + 1 month of being parents — we felt so lucky :)

Obviously, Valentine’s Day has a special meaning for us, like it probably does for many people. And for us, celebrating often has a grand finale of amazing desserts since we both have huge sweet tooths.

If we’re at a restaurant, I’ll take the evening to go a little crazy, and then I’ll detox a bit the next day. But if we’re at home, I’ll usually cook up one of my healthy desserts, because they are delicious, totally guilt-free, but they don’t taste like they’re healthy! Here are my five favorite healthy desserts, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Guilt-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

These cupcakes are full of chocolatey goodness, but are only ~120 calories per cupcake with 13g sugar and 2g fat. They really are guilt-free, but they’re moist and delicious, and the frosting is the best! Try the recipe here.

Secretly Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The secret swap in these cookies is the lentil flour, which adds a nice boost of protein and fiber to the cookies! You can also replace some of the fat by adding in applesauce for half the butter. Begin baking these cookies with the recipe here!

Chocolate Almond Date Balls

This recipe is 100% raw – there’s no baking at all, and these are so healthy they could even be used as a snack instead of dessert!

The Ingredients

  • 20 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • Finely shredded coconut flakes
The Directions: Mix all ingredients in food processor except the coconut flakes.  Roll into small balls, then roll in the shredded coconut to coat.
Enjoy!
.

These individual servings of apple pies are absolutely amazing. With a few healthy swaps and a minimal amount of added sugar, these treats have only ~110 calories per mini-pie! I like eating them with 1/2 cup of Dryer’s Slow Churned Vanilla Ice Cream, which puts this dessert at only 160 calories (with the ice cream!) Try the recipe here.

And now, for my last healthy dessert…

Healthy Chocolate Brownies

Each of these brownies is only 100 calories! How is that possible? Here is the recipe:

The Ingredients

  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained (yes, black beans!)
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup of liquid egg substitute
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup of agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A couple tbsp chopped walnuts (for topping)

The Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients for a couple minutes in a food processor or blender, except the walnuts. Pour the mix into an 8×8 pan sprayed with cooking spray, and sprinkle the walnuts on top.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  3. Bake at 300 degrees for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool before cutting.

So that’s it! My five favorite decadent but healthy desserts. I hope you have fun making these recipes, and I hope they make your Valentine’s Day that much sweeter. Enjoy!

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne February 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Brownies made with black beans and a little agave? I’m saved! If I use rice flour instead of wheat, do you think that will work? Cutting down on sugar and staying relatively gluten-free (I’m not a perfectionist!)

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Hehe yeah! And they taste amazing – you won’t believe black beans are the base of this recipe! As for using rice flour, I would think it would work, but I’ve never tried it myself. If you do end up using rice flour and it works well, definitely let me know!

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Suzanne February 27, 2012 at 9:56 am

Baked these brownies yesterday for my sons and their friends and used rice flour instead of wheat and 2 real eggs instead of an egg substitute (I keep chickens, so love the eggs).

It took almost no time to throw them together in a food processor and get them baked. They were incredibly delicious and didn’t last long. More like a velvety chocolate treat than a traditional brownie – none of the kids turned them down. Yum. We’ll definitely bake these again.

Not vegan, but dairy and gluten free, which is what our family needs. Thanks again for the recipe.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 27, 2012 at 11:54 am

That’s awesome!! I’m so glad it turned out well using the rice flour and that your kids loved it! Thanks for letting me know :)

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Donna January 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

Hi
to these black bean brownies: I will try them only because of the ‘reviewers’ responses. I have tried them before from a friend and they were horrible. Had to throw all away. But maybe one more try because they sound rediciulously good. Thanks.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Sorry to hear your first try with black bean brownies wasn’t good! Let me know if you like this version!

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The Duo Dishes February 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm

The mini pies win. Hands down! No one says no to apple pie. Nice, well rounded list of desserts.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Haha! That is totally true – I mean how can you turn it down? So glad you like the list! :)

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Happy When Not Hungry February 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm

All of these recipes look amazing especially those almond date balls. Yum!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 8, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Thanks!! And omg yes – the almond date balls are one of my favorite snacks (as well as desserts!)

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lynn @ the actor's diet February 8, 2012 at 8:33 pm

i love adding black beans to brownies! though i must say i’m uber lazy and use a box mix…

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Haha – sometimes I use a box mix too! But you can actually make a box mix super healthy by using 1 box of Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake Mix, and 1 15oz can of pure pumpkin. All you need is those two ingredients, combine them in a bowl, and evenly distribute into a 12 cup muffin pan lined with foil baking cups or sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 min, until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Each brownie/muffin will only have 180 calories and 3.5g fat!

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Parita @ myinnershakti February 9, 2012 at 5:57 am

I am definitely making the brownies! They sound delicious. I use the black bean trick too but only with boxed mixes.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 9, 2012 at 9:40 am

Yay! I’ve never used the black bean trick with boxed brownies, but I have used canned pumpkin with boxed brownies and it tastes delicious!

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Aya B. August 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

The Brownie recipe with the beans in it is very unusual to me
This is an absolutely amazing idea
Ill try it very soon

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 25, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Thanks Aya! Enjoy! :)

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Megha Desai October 5, 2012 at 5:11 am

Hi Anjali ,

I love your blog. Amazing. I am a picky eater too :) I loved your Healthy Chocolate Brownies recipe. But I have a question for you. Instead of the black beans , would it make a difference if I use black eyed pea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-eyed_pea
Awaiting your reply,
Thanks
Megha

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater October 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Hi Megha! Thank you so much – it’s always fun to meet fellow Picky Eaters :) So, for the brownies, I wouldn’t recommend using black eyed peas instead of black beans. Black beans are starchier and they are also black so they blend in well to the brownie batter. The black eyed peas are more watery and I’m worried that they might make the batter too runny. So stick to black beans if you can! Let me know how they turn out for you!

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Meika Glossop April 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm

This information is great. Has made me realise that I don’t need to eat bad on Valentine ’s Day. I can still enjoy the desserts but they can still be good for me. I absolutely love the recipes you have posted and can’t wait to try them out. If you have any more healthy dessert recipes I would love to look at them as I am a “sweet tooth.”

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Thanks so much Meika! I’m so happy you enjoyed this post – and yes! You absolutely can still enjoy sweet treats on Valentine’s Day without eating totally unhealthily. All of my dessert recipes are healthy/healthier than the original version – and you can find them all here: http://pickyeaterblog.com/recipes-and-health-archive/#dessert
Enjoy!

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Megha December 6, 2013 at 8:37 am

Hi Anjali ,
Am all set to make the brownie with black beans but if I try to substitute agave nectar for honey, should I be using the same quantity of honey ? Also, should I increase the cooking time to 25 minutes ?
As always , I appreciate all your effort in posting these wonderful recipes.

Thanks
Megha

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 8, 2013 at 12:27 am

Hi Megha! So yes – you should be using the same quantity of agave as you would honey (it’s a 1:1 replacement ratio). For the cooking time — it’s already 25 minutes total (20 min at 350, 5 min at 300). But you should also calibrate depending on how hot your oven gets, etc. Test it after 20 minutes and depending on how cooked through they are, you can stick to the recipe, add less time or add more time. Hope that helps, let me know how they turn out!!

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Kammie @ Sensual Appea February 14, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Oh glory – these are just too amazing. Loving those healthy brownies too… Perfect V-Day treats!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 14, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Thanks Kammie!! I’m sure you will love them if you try them!

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Debbie February 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Those brownies look awesome! I am really excited to make this but was wondering if you could substitute the espresso powder with something else? We don’t drink coffee and I wouldn’t want to add espresso powder to the recipe. Any suggestions? :)

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 18, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Thanks Debbie! Actually I think you can probably omit the espresso powder and maybe just add a bit more cocoa powder (like 1-2 tsp). The espresso powder just brings out the chocolate flavor a bit more, but leaving it out won’t change the recipe * too * drastically. Let me know how it turns out!!

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Erika February 16, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Lentil flour! I’m floored! I love lentils, but never knew about lentil flour. Do you buy it or can you grind it in a Nutrimill?

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 18, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Yes!! Lentil flour is amazing — such a great substitute and it doesn’t change the flavor of the cookies too much! You can buy it or grind it yourself — whatever you prefer :) Enjoy!

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Shari - Simply Shari's Gluten Free February 17, 2014 at 11:38 am

Yummy treats. Chocolate is always my fave, and just a little marshmallow on top versus tons of buttercream frosting, definitely makes it less of a guilty pleasure. Thanks.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Thanks Shari!! I’m a huge chocolate fan too :) These cupcakes are absolutely amazing — you will love them!

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Gail {A Healthy Hunger} February 18, 2014 at 4:24 am

Congratulations on ten years and one month of being a Mom. You are indeed very lucky- how wonderful. Love this round up. Any way to eat chocolate in a healthier way is right up my alley!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Awww thank you so much Gail!! We feel very fortunate indeed :) I can’t wait for you to try some of these recipes – I’m sure you will love them!

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