5 Irresistibly Delicious (and Surprisingly Wholesome) Baked Treats

Sweet-tooths, take heart. There’s never been a better time to explore the world of low-sugar baking and natural sweeteners. Maple, molasses, honey and more are not only more wholesome alternatives to processed white sugar, but they can also add new dimensions of flavor to cookies, cakes, and other treats. But don’t just take our word for it. Two beautiful and informative new cookbooks by baking pros Joanne Chang (of the beloved Boston bakery Flour) and Shauna Sever (of the popular blog Piece of Cake) demonstrate how cutting back on refined sugar can be an act not of deprivation, but pure deliciousness. Still skeptical? Here are five recipes to prove it.

1

Dark Fudgy Muscovado Brownies

dark-fudgy-muscovado-brownies
Photo by Leigh Beisch

“Dark muscovado sugar pulls double duty in this insanely rich, fudgy brownie—the sugar’s deep molasses flavor marries fabulously with bittersweet chocolate, and its moist quality (along with a gooey hit of brown rice syrup) contributes a chocolate truffle-esque chew. If there ever was a mysterious ‘bad boy’ version of a brownie, this would be it.” -- Shauna Sever, author of Real Sweet (William Morrow, 2015)

Get the recipe.


2

Lemon Polenta Pistachio Buttons

lemon-polenta-pistachio-buttons
Photo by Joseph De Leo

“Full of bright lemon flavor and crunchy with cornmeal and green pistachios, these button cookies are a wonderful pick-me-up treat. Keep the batter on hand for baking up a quick snack, or bake a bunch and pack them in a pretty cellophane bag for a lovely housewarming gift.” -- Joanne Chang, author of Baking with Less Sugar (Chronicle, 2015)

Get the recipe.


3

Honey Almond Snack Cake

honey-almond-snack-cake
Photo by Joseph De Leo

“Here is a cake that you can feel really great about making for your family. It’s sweetened with honey, has a velvety tender crumb, and the frosting is just sweet enough without being over-the-top... For a gluten-free alternative, instead of 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, try substituting 1/2 cup sorghum flour, plus 1/2 cup sweet rice flour, plus 1/2 cup potato starch. [A friend] deemed it the best gluten-free cake she’s ever tasted!” -- Joanne Chang

Get the recipe.



4

Rummy Roasted Pineapple Pudding Cake

rummy-pineapple-pudding-cake
Photo by Leigh Beisch

“From the outset, this appears to be any streusel-topped, brown-sugary crumb cake. But tucked within is a gold mine of caramelized, roasted pineapple chunks. And below that? Well, this cake actually makes its own sauce. True story. It does require a few steps, but the effort is worth it. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ve got dessert dynamite.” -- Shauna Sever

Get the recipe.


5

Spiced Chocolate Molasses Buttons

chocolate-molasses-buttons
Photo by Leigh Beisch

“These make a great holiday cookie—a hit with the chocolate lovers, the spice cookie lovers, and those who are drawn to the prettiest of the cookie tin contenders. This cookie gets a double hit of raw sugars: sticky dark muscovado in the dough and a roll through turbinado sugar that adds crunch and a naturally glittering finish around a puddle of bittersweet chocolate ganache.” -- Shauna Sever

Get the recipe.