Having your treats and eating them too: Healthier brownies, PB cups, and cheesecake

RVANews contributor Abby Waller is consistently unable to indulge in the sweet things that the rest of us take for granted. Then, she got hungry, got annoyed, and made her own.

I suffer from a pesky disease that prevents me from indulging in a lot of life’s most wonderful things: cookies, cake, pie, brownies, and candy. As a result, I have to pretty strictly follow a diet that limits gluten and some complex carbohydrates. So in order to satisfy my sweet tooth, I have to get creative or seek out recipes for desserts that I can actually eat.

Recently, my missus and I went to our super pregnant bestie’s house to hang. We brought dinner and she provided dessert: homemade sweet potato brownies. You guys. Seriously. They are so good. And just like our super pregnant bestie said (like two weeks overdue pregnant!) they’re really pretty healthy. My lady love recreated these brownies, which are packed full of vitamins and potassium thanks to the glorious sweet potato.

Sweet Potato Brownies

This recipe contains a little bit of gluten (1 teaspoon flour for the whole shebang), which you could substitute with gluten-free oat flour or the flour of your choice!


Roast up a big ‘ol sweet potato (we grabbed ours from Lakeside Farmer’s Market) and peel off the skin. Put your mashed-up sweet potato in a stand mixer or bowl with one egg, ¼ cup melted coconut oil, 2 Tbsp. almond milk, 1 tsp. vanilla and ½ cup agave or honey. Mix well and then add in ½ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup gluten-free flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. all-purpose flour. Mix again and then pour into a cupcake pan. Cook at 350°F for 35 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. Let cool and then place in refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. These brownies are best served chilled.

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But, that’s not enough chocolate. While in the grocery store checkout line recently, I longingly gazed at the Reese’s peanut butter cups as my mouth filled with yearnful saliva. I whined for a moment about how much I wanted them but couldn’t have them, and then the best light bulb ever went off in my head. Oh yes, I’d decided right then that I was going to attempt to make homemade peanut butter cups.

Peanut butter cups


These no-refined sugar peanut butter cups are little bites of heaven. For reals.

Melt down some sugar-free dark chocolate with a touch of agave (you can totally use honey if you prefer), pour it into a buttered silicone mini-cupcake pan, and pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Add a little dollop of sugar-free peanut butter onto the now-cooled chocolate bottoms in the cups, and pour more of the chocolate/agave mixture on top.


Pop them back into the freezer for a good hour or so, and holy damn this is what they look like:


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Mini Goat Cheesecakes

If that’s still not enough dessert for you, or you’re not a chocolate fan, how about using that cupcake pan for some super cute mini cheesecakes?


Preheat oven to 350°F. Put about 1/4 cup almond flour and 1/4 cup ground cashews into a food processor and blend. Add 1 Tbsp. honey and 1 Tbsp melted butter or coconut oil and blend again. Throw some cupcake liners in a cupcake pan (you’ll need about eight), spray with your choice of oil and then take out little scoops of the crust mixture and press into the bottom of each cupcake liner.

In a stand mixer or bowl, mix together 1 egg, 1/4 cup honey, 1 cup goat yogurt, and ** 1 tsp. vanilla** until blended. Add 2 Tbsp. almond flour and a pinch of salt. Blend again. Pour filling into the cupcake liners with crust.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick after 20 minutes, and bake longer if needed.

Let cool for a few hours in the fridge or set one aside in the freezer for about 15 minutes to quick cool like I did because I couldn’t wait that long.

Top with sliced strawberries or other favorite fruit.

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Even if you don’t have any limitations, intolerances, or diseases, I sincerely hope you can try out one of these recipes. And if you do, believe me, I know what it’s like to have to turn down a piece of chocolate cake offered up at a party, or to stare longingly while your friends all enjoy a slice of cheesecake or a fudgy brownie. But, with just a little bit of effort, I promise you too can indulge in sweets that, let’s be honest–in the long run, are way better.

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Abby Waller

Abby Waller has lived in Richmond most of her life. She adores the gritty city and through her blog ISpyRVA.com she attempts to capture its quirks and awesomeness.

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