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Three Guilt-Free Fall Dessert Recipes

Indulge in these delicious, lower-fat treats this season

Better-for-you Fall treats, chocolate linzer cookies

Chocolate wafers store well in a tin, but topped with nut butters and spreads, jams or marmalade, they disappear quickly. —

Chocolate Wafers

Makes about 4 dozen 2-inch cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Whisk flour and cocoa together in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, vanilla and salt together in a small bowl. Cream coconut oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg mixture; continue beating until well incorporated. Add flour mixture; beat over low speed to form a dark, smooth dough. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated up to two days or double wrapped and frozen for one month.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Working one disc at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured work surface to a scant 1/4th-inch thick, sprinkling surface with flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut dough into desired shape. Place dough shapes 1/2-inch apart on a Silpat- or parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Use a thin-bladed spatula to immediately transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature. Repeat rolling, cutting and baking remaining dough, rolling scraps to create as many cookies as possible. Can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 weeks or frozen for several months.

Pumpkin bread. Three better-for-you fall treats. (

Coconut milk and coconut oil replace the eggs and butter in this vegan-friendly oatmeal pumpkin bread. —

Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 large loaves

White whole-wheat flour looks and tastes almost like white flour but offers the health benefits of whole wheat. If you can't find it, substitute an equal amount of all-purpose flour.

  • 3-1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon each: baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) regular coconut milk
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups brown sugar

Grease two 9x5-inch loaf pans. Adjust over rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, oats, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves in a large bowl. Meanwhile, whisk coconut milk, pure pumpkin, coconut oil and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Beat wet ingredients into dry ingredients until smooth; divide evenly between prepared pans. Bake until golden brown and a cake taster comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen the bread and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve. (Loaves can be wrapped and refrigerated for several days or frozen for a couple of months.)

AARP food expert Pam Anderson is a best-selling cookbook author and blogger at

Originally published Oct. 8, 2013

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