Healthier dessert recipes: Joy Bauer's brownies, cheesecake and lemon bars

Dig into these lightened-up renditions of fudgy chocolate brownies, lemon bars and creamy cheesecake.

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By Joy Bauer

This week, I baked three seriously decadent delights for those with a serious sweet tooth. It was an insanely fun and delicious few days experimenting in my kitchen and taste-testing along the way. (How much do I love my job?) And as my mama always says, there's always room for dessert. Dig into these lightened-up renditions of fudgy chocolate brownies, lemon bars and creamy cheesecake — and keep your challenges coming!

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Brownie lovers, rejoice! These chocolaty bites of heaven taste so rich and fudgy, you'd never know they contain two heart-healthy ingredients that also bump up the protein and fiber: oats and almond butter. Best of all, these flourless (and gluten-free) treats are a cinch to make and require minimal ingredients, so you can have warm brownies fresh out of the oven in no time. It's a good day to be a chocoholic.

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Get the recipe here.

Lemon Bars

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

When life gives you lemons, whip up a batch of sweet and tart lemon bars for you and your friends. My healthified rendition has an ooey-gooey citrus filling, and a shortbread-like crust that's made from almond flour and ground flaxseeds. The end result is a magical lemon treat that's gluten-free, dairy-free and packed with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per square (not bad for a dish that's typically made with loads of sugar, flour and butter). Squeeze the day and make this recipe!

Get the recipe here.

Joy Bauer's Mini Cheesecakes

These mini (but mighty) treats are rich, creamy and oh-so-satisfying when a cheesecake craving strikes. Feel free to get creative with tasty toppings — my family loves to eat them with fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of crushed graham cracker or aerated whipped cream and dark chocolate chips. Say cheese(cake)!

For delicious recipes, follow Joy on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and check out her new kid's book "Yummy Yoga."

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