7 Skinny/Clean Desserts That Won’t Derail Your Diet (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

I don’t care if I’m on a diet or not. Just because I might choose to restrict myself to an assortment of leaves and other boring food items does not mean that my sweet tooth is going to magically ride off into the sunset without me.

If anything, it’s going to taunt me, vengefully reminding me of all the sweet things I’m not supposed to be eating.

Fortunately, there are a ton of absolutely magical desserts out there that are healthy and/or low calorie enough that you can sneak them into the self-imposed suffering that is food restriction, and they will save you.

Let’s live it up with these diet-friendly delights:

1. The Best Healthier Brownies

You might think that brownies are absolutely not clean-eating friendly, but you’ll be surprised how tasty these are, considering that they are devoid of flour, refined white sugar, butter and eggs. Alternately, you can also give these black bean brownies a try.

2. Spicy Ginger Watermelon Pops

These popsicles are pretty much magic, considering that they have nothing but watermelon and ginger in them, plus a little bit of booze if you’re in the mood to spike them. Ideally, you’ll want to make these with pretty sweet watermelon, but if your melon is lacking or you just like it a bit less tart, you’re welcome to add in your favorite sweetener.

3. Pumpkin Butter Cups

With almond butter, pumpkin puree and a bit of honey, this sweet treat is as good as it gets. If pumpkin isn’t your thing, you can nix it in favor of extra nut butter like almond, hazelnut or peanut. You’ll have a bit more calories this way, but the added dose of healthy fat and protein will keep you full for a good while.

4. Skinny Edible Monster Cookie Dough

This eggless, flourless delight only has 80 calories per serving, but the oats and peanut butter powder keep it nice and gooey while still providing a fair bit of nutrition. If you prefer your cookie dough inside of a cupcake, try this recipe instead.

5. Skinny Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Zucchini for dessert? Are you joking?? Surprisingly, the squash is a fabulous filler for tender whole wheat chocolate cupcakes, as it ensures that they stay nice and moist while not betraying any type of vegetable flavor. No one has to know …

6. Skinny Cake Batter Blondies

If you use light butter, each serving of this colorful treat is only 159 calories — not bad for a white chocolate blondie!

7. Skinny Cheesecake Brownies

You wouldn’t think that cheesecake and brownies would somehow be low-cal, but with applesauce, egg whites and wheat flour, you don’t need to feel guilty about eating this wildly delicious dessert.

Featured Image: Anne Meadows/Flickr

Tags: diet dessert, healthy dessert, low calorie dessert, skinny sweets, weekend dessert recipe
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7 Sneaky Yogurt Desserts That Are Surprisingly Tasty (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Whether you love the tangy richness that yogurt brings, appreciate making healthier substitutions in your desserts or just happen to have a big tub of the stuff at home and don’t know what to do with it, the versatile, creamy food lends itself particularly well to dessert-making.

From cheesecake to cookies, you’d be amazed at all the things you can make with a spoonful of plain yogurt!

Note: For the most part, you can swap Greek yogurt for regular and vice versa. But keep in mind that the Greek stuff tends to be a lot thicker, so you’ll probably want to use full-fat in place of Greek, even if the recipe calls for nonfat Greek yogurt.

Happy snacking!

1. Baked Gingerbread Donuts with Lemon Yogurt Glaze

Sure, it’s a little early in the year for gingerbread, but who cares? These are yummy!

2. Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

Who would have thought you can do so much with yogurt? Depending on the crust you use, you can make this ridiculously low-calorie without sacrificing taste. So if you’re like me and cheesecake is a major reason why dieting is hard, this is the dessert recipe for you.

3. Cantaloupe and Greek Yogurt Tart with Mint Sugar

WOW. How gorgeous is that? Good news: This stunning no-bake treat is every bit as delicious and refreshing as it is pretty. Make it the day before and serve it to wildly impressed guests — brunch, maybe?

4. Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies

With protein-packed, thick Greek yogurt, coconut oil, whole wheat flour and sumptuous dark chocolate chips, this is definitely a healthier spin on the classic cookie recipe. You can totally use all-purpose/white flour instead of wheat, but if you do you’ll want to decrease the yogurt by around two tablespoons, since the dense wheat flour tends to soak up moisture.

5. Yogurt Vanilla Bean Flan

Yep, that’s right — you can even make FLAN out of that magical mixture known as yogurt, and it’s dang good too. Who would have thought?

6. Skinny Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Popsicles

With only 128 calories and six ingredients per creamy pop, you’ll come for the nutrition but stay for the amazingly not-skinny taste you get with the light cream cheese, light milk and yogurt.

7. Tart Cherry Frozen Yogurt

This light and fresh dessert is the perfect snack to make on a warm day, and it provides a great excuse to use that ice cream maker, even if you’re trying to eat a little healthier these days.

Featured Image: Max Pixel

Tags: healthy dessert, healthy dessert recipe, low calorie dessert, weekend desserts, yogurt dessert
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Step Up Your Snacking With 8 Sweet Popcorn Upgrades

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By Cooking Panda

Buttered, salted popcorn is a classic, and it will always have a place in our hearts. Seriously, it’s always so hard to pass up splurging on movie theater popcorn; the buttery, savory aroma hits you all at once.

But don’t let that limit you! Popcorn is not only super delicious, but it’s also incredibly versatile and lends itself amazingly to a bunch of desserts that are pretty easy to make and will challenge you not to eat the whole dang bowl by yourself.

Kick your feet up this weekend and lay off the extensive baking — instead, drizzle some goodness right on top of your favorite popped snack and go to town.

1. Cookies and Cream Popcorn

This recipe uses melted white vanilla almond bark to bind the crushed cookies to the popcorn, but feel free to use your favorite fudgy flavor.

2. Pumpkin Pie Spice White Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

Can’t get enough pumpkin spice in your life? Make sure it’s not for lack of trying.

3. Red Velvet Popcorn

This craveworthy recipe is the perfect use for the unprecedented event that you ever have a couple slices of leftover red velvet cake…though we aren’t totally sure that “leftover red velvet cake” is actually a real thing that exists. Let us know if you get to the bottom of this mystery.

4. Spicy Caramel Bacon Popcorn

Ohhh yeah… It’s every bit as good as it sounds, too. Plus, there’s a pretty easy basic caramel recipe on here that you might want to keep around for other purposes.

5. Maple Walnut Popcorn Balls

We’d never dream of badmouthing Rice Crispy Treats, but we do have to admit that it’s nice to have a change of pace. Plus, the earthy chopped walnuts and smooth, deep sweetness of maple syrup are a divine combination with butter and marshmallows, and they are super cute, too!

6. Caramel Nutella Popcorn

We love caramel, we love hazelnut chocolate spread, and just like that, they were married.

7. Popcorn Cake

Yes, this is real, and it’s no bake! Just mix up popcorn, candy, pretzels and melted marshmallows and mold it into your favorite cakey shape.

8. Buttered Caramel Popcorn Cake

If you are in the mood for a little more intensive baking, try this yellow cake topped with SALTED CARAMEL ITALIAN MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM (yes, that needed to be SHOUTED in all caps because it is THAT GOOD) and salted caramel corn. Feeling lazy? Just make the salted caramel corn and skip the middle man. No judgment here.

Featured Photo Credit: Cookies and Cups

Tags: easy dessert, healthy dessert, National Popcorn Month, Popcorn, weekend dessert recipe
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This Is A Raindrop Cake, And It Is Beautiful

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By Cooking Panda

If you’ve ever wanted to take a bite out of a raindrop, you are in luck. Take a look at this thing that people are calling a cake:

We admit, it looks an awful lot like a glass paperweight, but we promise that it’s edible. This Japanese dessert called the “Raindrop Cake” is quickly going viral, even if it’s more fancy Jell-O than fluffy cake. People are spreading it like wildfire on social media, and it has gained widespread acclaim as one of the most sought-after desserts in the country, sort of like Japan’s version of the Cronut.

Now, it’s headed to America. The Raindrop Cake has just made its debut at Darren Wong’s Smorgasburg food market in Brooklyn, New York. If you live in the area, give it a try and let us know what you think.

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But what’s this thing made out of anyway? Glass? A big bubble? Not quite. It’s actually pretty simple. The dish, called mizu shingen mochi in Japan, only uses two ingredients: mineral water and agar, a vegan ingredient similar to gelatin. Once it is well-mixed in a saucepan, it simmers on the stove for a little while before pouring it into spherical molds, where it sets in the refrigerator. Once it’s ready to serve, it gets plopped onto a plate and topped with a thick, molasses-type syrup and roasted soybean flour, called kinako. These two toppings provide the dessert’s only flavoring.

The end result looks like some type of perfect, huge dew drop floating on the syrup. There must be a certain satisfaction that comes with eating something so perfect.

So how does it taste to take a bite of this dish?

“Like a raindrop, duh!” Wong says on his website. “The cake itself is very mild and very much about the delicate texture the melts in your mouth.”

In the event that you don’t live in New York or Japan, here’s how you make it:

Sources: Delish, Raindrop Cake / Photo Credit: YouTube, Instagram (2) (3)

Tags: dessert, healthy dessert, Raindrop Cake
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