Naturally Sweet Treats, 3 Ways!

Naturally Sweet Treats, 3 Ways!

A key takeaway from the latest Dietary Guidelines (released earlier this month) is to limit the intake of added sugars, or the sugars and syrups added to foods or beverages when they are prepared. Luckily, when you are cooking for yourself and your family, you have a lot more control over how much sugar goes into your foods. Today's recipes from our friend Jennifer Tyler Lee are all made without any added sugars and instead rely on the natural sweetness of their ingredients, like apples and dates. So, you can stick to your new year's resolutions and satisfy your sweet tooth!



Strawberry jam, toasted walnuts, and dried currants are all rolled up in a simple pastry to create a quick and easy cookie without any added sugars.

Strawberry Rugelach

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 22 minutes | Makes 16 cookies


1 9” pre-made pastry crust*

1/3 cup no sugar added strawberry jam

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon dried currants

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon water

*NOTE: Choose a crust with only three ingredients: flour, butter, and salt.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
  2. Place the pastry crust on a floured wooden cutting board, then spread the jam evenly onto the crust. Sprinkle with the walnuts, currants, and cinnamon.
  3. Cut the pastry round into 16 equal slices. Roll each cookie starting from the wide side of the triangle. Place the cookies with the tips down on the lined baking sheet.
  4. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the water.
  5. Using a pastry brush, add a little bit of egg wash to the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  6. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Cool completely, then serve.


easy apple tart

Crisp apples, cozy spices, unsweetened apple sauce, and fresh lemon juice give this rustic apple tart a naturally sweet flavor with no added sugars. If you’re feeling fancy, you can layer the apple slices in a beautiful pattern like a French tart. Or if you’re pressed for time, you can just toss the apple mixture into the pastry shell and call it dessert.

Apple Tart

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Serves 8


1 9-inch pre-made pastry crust*

4 cups thinly sliced sweet apples (like Honeycrisp), skins removed (about 5 medium apples)

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

*Note: choose a crust with only three ingredients: flour, butter, salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9.5-inch round tart pan with oil.
  2. Press the pastry crust into the pan, folding down the edges and pressing into the sides of the pan to create the crust. Place in refrigerator while you’re preparing the apples.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the sliced apples, cinnamon, lemon juice, apple sauce, and cornstarch. Toss gently to coat the apples evenly.
  4. Place the smaller slices of apples into the prepared pan to form the base of the tart. Layer the larger slices on top to create a beautiful spiral pattern.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges of the tart are golden brown.
  6. Cool completely, then serve.


easy raspberry bars

Raspberry bar cookies are perfect for breakfast or a late afternoon snack. The combination of dates, oats, pecans, and raspberries satisfies your sweet tooth without any added sugars.

Raspberry Bars

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes | Makes 25 bars


8oz pitted dates

1 tablespoon lemon juice

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg, beaten

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 ¼ cups oats

½ cup finely chopped pecans

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup all natural raspberry jam, no sugar added


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Using a food processor, combine the dates and lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture comes together into a heavy paste, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
  4. Add the date paste and egg to the butter and beat on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until thoroughly combined.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, baking soda, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and salt. Whisk gently to combine. Add the flour mixture to the date mixture, mixing on low speed until the dough is just combined.
  6. Transfer ¾ of the dough to the prepared pan. Press the dough firmly into the pan to create the crust. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
  7. Add the jam, spreading evenly with a knife to cover the entire crust. Using your fingers, evenly distribute the remaining crumbs of dough onto the jam. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
  8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes more, or until the crust is golden brown.
  9. Cool completely. Remove from the pan, then cut into bars.

~Jennifer Tyler Lee, The 52 New Foods Challenge

An Honest mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game, Crunch a Color®. Follow Jennifer on Facebook and Instagram for more tasty recipes and tips on cooking with kids!

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.