How Sweet It Is! Delightful Holiday Desserts

Ingredients for baking flour, eggs, milk, butter, sugar, cinnamon, anise

The holidays always call for plenty of desserts. Whether I’m throwing a party, giving gifts of food, or reliving holidays past through sweet treats, desserts are integral to my life this month. I’ll share a few of my favorite recipes with you.


Brazil Nut Tarts

Every year I host a Christmas caroling party at my home. Choirs from churches all over the area stop by to sing in my living room. Sometimes a Filipino celebrity or two will perform. My guests just love it. I like to put out a dinner buffet so that the choirs have something to eat before they go home. The buffet always includes pretty bite-size desserts. My Brazil Nut Tarts are dainty, healthy and delicious. Brazil nuts provide selenium, vitamin E, and omega 3 fatty acids. All of these FoodTrients keep your skin healthy, revitalized, and elastic. The singers gobble them up.

Pear and Apple Tart

Pear and Apple Tart

My Pear Apple Tart is another crowd pleaser. For this recipe, I like to start with the classic French dessert tarte tatin recipe – with its quercetin-containing apples – and add pears for their copper content and pecans and cinnamon, which are high in antioxidants. It is worth noting that when used in sufficient amounts, cinnamon also has anti-blood-clotting agents and anti-inflammatory properties and may help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Baobab Butter Squares

Baobab Butter Squares

Another sweet surprise to serve at parties or to give as a holiday gift is my Baobab Butter Squares. These squares are like lemon bars but made with antioxidant-rich baobab. You can use fresh lemon juice or lemon zest instead of the baobab powder and substitute gluten-free flour for the wheat-based flour, but if you up for something deliciously different use baobab powder. It’s available at Whole Foods and on Amazon. Baobab is a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that appears to guard against heart disease and stroke and also protects the skin from the aging effects of ultraviolet rays. It contains fiber, which helps with digestion and gut health.

I do love to give food as Christmas presents, so one year I made batches and batches of my Prune and Walnut Bars as gifts. I cut them in pretty triangles, set them on decorated plates, and wrapped them up with cellophane and ribbon. Prunes and walnuts are loaded with antioxidants, so these bars are a holiday treat that come with age-defying side effects. Prunes also are a great source of vitamin C. I’ve combined these two age-defying powerhouses into one great dessert.

Prune and Walnut Bars


Prune and Walnut Bars


3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped prunes
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup Smart Balance or butter, softened
2 Tbs. coconut butter
1 1/4 cup organic sugar or xylitol
2 large eggs
1/2 cup egg substitute

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a bowl, combine the white rice flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the prunes and walnuts. Mix well and set aside.
3. In a stand mixer or using beaters, cream the butter substitute until fluffy. Add the coconut butter and sugar a little at a time.
4. Separately combine the eggs and egg substitute and whisk until smooth. Add to the creamed butter mixture.
5. Combine the creamed butter-egg mixture with the dry flour mixture.
6. Spread into greased and floured 8″ X 8″ baking pan and bake at 325 degrees until the center is firm, about 40-45 minutes.
7. Cool for 15-20 minutes before cutting and serving.


Cranberry Bread Pudding

Cranberry Bread Pudding

Cranberry Bread Pudding

Cranberries don’t grow in the subtropical climate of Southeast Asia, so when my mother and I wanted to make this dessert, we had to use a local red-colored berry as a substitute. I like this recipe better with cranberries, which are high in vitamin C. They also rank very high on the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scale. Use my Cranberry Compote on the bottom layer (it becomes the top layer when you turn out the dessert). To serve this dessert cold, place the pudding in the refrigerator overnight before turning upside down.

Serves 6-8

2 large beaten eggs
3 cups cubed whole-wheat bread
1 can (12 oz.) fat-free evaporated milk
¼ cup melted Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend
¼ cup organic sugar or xylitol
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ tsp. lemon zest
1 recipe Cranberry Compote

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a bowl, combine the eggs, the cubed bread, and the milk. Mix well and soak for 10 minutes
  3. Fold in the melted butter substitute, sugar substitute, walnuts, cranberries, and lemon zest.
  4. Grease the sides of a loaf pan and spoon 1 cup of Cranberry Compote into the pan. Spoon the bread mixture over the compote.
  5. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in a larger roasting pan halfway with water. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil and bake until top is golden brown and center is set, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Turn the pudding out onto a serving platter for slicing. The compote will be on top, glistening and warm.


About Grace O

GRACE O is the creator of FoodTrients®, a unique program for optimizing wellness and longevity. She is the author of two award-winning cookbooks – The Age Gracefully Cookbook and The Age Beautifully Cookbook, which recently won the National award for Innovation from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. She is a fusion chef with a mission to deliver delicious recipes built on a foundation of anti-aging science and her 20 years in the healthcare industry. Visit to learn more. Email us at
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.