Last Updated on June 24, 2019 by Ellen Christian
Finding healthier desserts means that I can feel a bit better about offering sweets to my family. I don’t make a lot of desserts but I do enjoy them sometimes. One of the kids favorite desserts is Magic Cookie Bars. The traditional recipe is very high in fat and not very healthy. I found a recipe in The Passionate Vegetable by Suzanne Landry, The Fresh Food Chef, that is very similar to the traditional magic cookie bars. By making just a few changes to the recipe, she has turned this into something I can serve as one of my healthier desserts.
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This recipe has eliminated the sweetened condensed milk and replaced the graham cracker crust with a crust made from whole wheat flour and oats that is sweetened with honey. Instead of traditional coconut, unsweetened coconut has been used.
When I was growing up, my Mom always made Magic Cookie Bars. If there was a party or a holiday, you could guarantee that there would be a HUGE platter of Magic Cookie Bars to snack on. As much as I love them, they are definitely NOT a healthy dessert.
Pro tip for making healthier desserts
Healthier desserts tend to be lower in fat and sugar than their traditional counterpart. If you are baking a cake or making cookies, you can often substitute some or all of the oil with apple juice or pureed pumpkin. If you are looking for low sugar desserts, you can substitute the sugar in most recipes with a stevia baking blend for a lower glycemic index.
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Also, if you want to avoid greasing your pan to prevent your baked goods from sticking, you can use parchment paper instead. This will also help to cut down on the fat content of your recipes. I personally find that it is much easier to remove desserts from a pan if I use parchment paper so I rarely use anything else. You can also bake in a silicone pan to prevent sticking. This will work for bread, brownies, cupcakes, and muffins.
There are a lot of healthy fruit dessert recipes out there, but sometimes you just want something different. I love the taste of chocolate but too often the chocolate desserts I find are too high in sugar, fat, and calories for me to justify making them regularly. And, finding low calorie dessert recipes that actually taste good is a challenge.
Hello Dolly Bars
You may have also seen these bars called Hello Dolly Bars if they have added butterscotch chips. You can change the taste of this recipe by adding a few butterscotch chips instead of the chocolate. Just be aware that butterscotch chips will have a higher sugar content than dark chocolate chips. You can also substitute pecans or almonds for the walnuts if you prefer.
A healthier version of the traditional magic cookie bar
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 1 cup quick cooking oats, toasted
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached wheat flour
- 3 tbsp organic butter
- 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp unbleached wheat flour
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" square baking pan with oil or butter.
- Mix rolled oats, oat flour, and wheat flour together. Add butter, breaking it up with a fork so mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour in maple syrup or honey and mix thoroughly. Press mixture evenly over bottom of prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool for ten minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix topping ingredients together. Spread topping evenly over oatmeal crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes or until cooled before cutting into bars.
I used honey in my recipe.
What’s your favorite way to make this healthier dessert?
Ellen is a busy mom of a 22-year-old son and 27-year-old daughter. She owns 5 blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email firstname.lastname@example.org to chat.