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5 Iconic Holiday Cookies Made Healthier

You may be asking who in their right mind would want to make a cookie healthier? True; it’s a treat, a splurge, an immutable indulgence. However, healthier doesn’t necessarily mean lower in fat or calories or less delicious. It means using wholesome, natural, unrefined foods to create natural treats that work for multiple dietary styles. We’re going to be ditching the refined sweeteners, artificial food colorings, and traditional flours in this list! Whether you enjoy wheat and dairy, avoid grains, or practice veganism, there is a cookie for just about everyone! Santa is going to be very pleased…


Image credit: Fed and Fit

1. Gingerbread people.

Is it possible to be too festive? Absolutely not. Not only is this a grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free recipe for gingerbread men/houses, but the woman behind the recipe at Fed and Fit has also included a recipe for all-natural, fruit- based gumdrops! Talk about the perfect balance between healthy and festive! This gingerbread recipe uses almond meal as a base, so it’s great for those avoiding grains. Quality gelatin can be really beneficial to your joints, so don’t be afraid of giving the gumdrop recipe a try, too!

Paleo Gingerbread Cookies:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup blackstrap molasses, warmed slightly
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup arrowroot flour {for rolling out dough}

Gluten-Free All-Natural Royal Icing:

  • 6 Tbs cage-free egg whites
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Paleo Gingerbread Cookies Instructions:

1. Whisk all dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl, whisk all the wet. Add the wet to the dry and stir until evenly combined. Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper and set in refrigerator to cool and harden for either 4 hours or overnight.

2. On a large piece of parchment paper well dusted with arrowroot flour, start rolling out the dough until it’s ¼” thick. (If you’re making a gingerbread house use gingerbread house stencils on the Fed and Fit website to measure and cut pieces.) Carefully place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Resize with stencils on baking sheet if necessary.

3. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet before moving. When cooled, transfer to a wire baking rack to cool and firm overnight.

Gluten-Free All-Natural Royal Icing:

1. On high speed, whisk the egg whites and lemon juice together until they form a thick foam. On low speed, carefully add spoonfuls of the 3 cups of powdered sugar until all is combined. Turn speed up to high and whisk for 6 minutes.

2. Transfer to piping bag, color in bowls, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Get the recipe for natural gum drops here.


2. Snickerdoodles.

‘Browned butter’ is pretty much another phrase for ‘delicious’. These Browned Butter SnickerDROOLdles from Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind will be adored by the paleo and non-paleo alike. This tasty treat is predicated upon dairy, so be sure to use only grass-fed butter. Otherwise, enjoy this delightful confection made with coconut flour, almond flour, and natural sugars!

Get the recipe here: Paleo SnickerDROOLdles


3. Molasses cookies.

As the only wheat-containing recipe in this list, it is by no means less healthy — unless you cannot eat wheat, of course. With organic whole-wheat pastry flour, grass-fed butter, raw honey, and pastured eggs, there is nothing to feel guilty about when enjoying this subtly sweet, earthy cookie from the Nourished Kitchen.

Get the recipe here: Chewy Spiced molasses cookies.



Image credit: The Kitchn

3. Coconut snowballs.

Vegan and easily adjusted to be 100% raw, these cookies can be enjoyed by most. No nuts, wheat, eggs, dairy, or refined sugar in these balls of delight. It just goes to show that tasty bites of holiday joy come in all flavors and dietary styles! The Kitchn is a great source for traditional cookie recipes as well.

Get the recipe here: No-Bake Coconut Snowballs (Gluten-Free, Nut-Free and Vegan!)


4. Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies are an inescapable necessity for those of us whose lives are fueled by chocolate. If you are paleo or are on a grain/dairy free diet, it may seem as though your cookie days behind you. That doesn’t have to be the case, thanks to Danielle Walker of Against All Grain. Grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free, these cookies are shockingly good. They are my personal go-to cookie, with one small adjustment — hazelnut flour in place of almond meal. Nutella doesn’t even stand a chance.

Get the recipe here: Real-Deal Chocolate Chip cookies.

Don’t let a restricted diet get you down! There are plenty of healthy ways to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. All it takes is a little creativity and some quality ingredients! Happy baking!

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