5 Iconic Holiday Cookies Made Healthier

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…

Gingerbread people illustration for the recipe

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 it a try!

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. 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

2. 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.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour, measure after sifting
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups butter, at room temperature, (2 1/2 sticks)
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses


Preparation:
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat sheets.
Combine the first 6 ingredients, mixing to thorouthly blend.
Add the remaining ingredients; beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times.
Wrap the dough in waxed paper and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350° with the rack in the center position.
Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake until the tops are set, 12 to 15 minutes.
Cool on wire racks.

Coconut snowballs illustration for the recipe

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!

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon pure coconut extract or vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut Parchment paper 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped and melted according to package directions Garnish: shaved coconut

4. Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ingredients

Makes 12 cookies

200 g (2 cups /7 oz) organic rolled oats
50 g (1 ¾ oz) flaked or desiccated coconut
60 g (2 oz) macadamia nut oil or your choice cold pressed coconut oil or melted butter
60 g (2 oz) raw honey, organic maple syrup or rice syrup
1 organic egg
100 g (3 ½ oz) block good quality 70% dark chocolate (see notes)

Preheat your oven to 150°C / 300*F.
Combine oats, coconut, oil or melted butter, honey and egg into a mixing bowl.
Mix through with your hands for a few minutes – squishing the ingredients together until the cookie starts to come together.
I often like to rest the mixture for 5 minutes after mixing – so the oats soften a little more and hold together when squished.
Chop up the chocolate with a large knife.
Add chocolate to the oats and mix through.
Form into 12 cookies… I love using a small ice cream scoop for this – so easy that way.
Place onto a lined baking tray and flatten slightly.
Bake for approx 20 minutes or until golden. Check half way through the cooking… they are delicate so you need to watch them.
Remove from the oven and cool completely. Enjoy.

5. Sugar-Free Chocolate

Ingredients

Serves 20 small portions
120g (4 oz/1/2 cup) cacao butter or cold-pressed coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rice malt syrup or alternatively raw honey or maple syrup. (optional)
110 g (4 oz / 1/2 cup) almond butter, peanut butter, hazelnut butter, cashew butter or tahini
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
120 g (4 oz / 1 cup) Naked Chocolate (for this recipe I used Healthy Chef Naked Chocolat Mylk)

Melt cacao butter or coconut oil in a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water.
Remove the bowl from the heat and add Naked Chocolate and mix through using a small whisk until smooth.
Add nut butter and a pinch of sea salt then mix through. Taste your chocolate creation….you may find you don’t need to add any sweetener whatsoever. If you do, just add 1 tablespoon at a time.
Pour chocolate into a small glass container lined with non-stick baking paper or cling film.
Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.
Cut into bite-size pieces and enjoy.
Store in the fridge, covered for up to 4 weeks.

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