Love a Christmas cookie as much as the next guy but know you need to watch your sugar intake over the next month? Here are 3 of our all time favorite traditional Christmas cookies with a healthy twist (but they’re so delicious you wouldn’t even know it!).
First, what IS a healthy cookie?
Honestly, there should be a better word than healthy since cookies in themselves are not and will never be a health food! Instead, these cookie recipes are full of important information and substitutions to help make this delicious holiday treat a bit healthier. Before we dive into the recipes, here are some generic tips to consider.
- Use nutrient dense real food ingredients! Incorporating nutrient dense ingredients that can substitute for the typical loads of butter, white flour and refined sugar. These ingredients are almond butter, peanut butter, oats, almond flour, coconut sugar, and maple syrup.
- Natural flavors! Spices and other natural flavors (fruit juices, food grade essential oils, etc) bring in big flavor, instead of relying just on sugar. Ginger, Chai, Cinnamon are just a few really good examples of spices. Using nuts, fruits, fruit juices are some more ideas!
- There IS such a thing as too much! Too much sugar is not only bad for you but also hides the other flavors in a cookie. Try using less than your typical recipe calls for and that’s a great start!
Even though these recipes are healthier, they’re just as delicious and packed with an abundance of flavor! Check them out here:
The bakers @acouplecooks, say these use almond butter to replace most of the butter, wheat flour for a few extra nutrients, and applesauce to keep them soft.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons applesauce
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons allspice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup wheat flour
- Turbinado sugar (for garnish)
- In a medium bowl, add 1 egg, ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup molasses, ¼ cup almond butter, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 2 tablespoons applesauce; vigorously whisk to thoroughly combine.
- To the wet ingredients, stir in 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons allspice, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour, and ½ cup wheat flour until well combined. Turn out onto plastic wrap and form into a rough ball; cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour, or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Flour a flat surface and a rolling pin, then roll out the dough ¼-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread men, about 25-35 total. Place gingerbread men on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake about 8 minutes, until puffed and slightly firmed. Let rest on the pan for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store covered at room temperature for several days or freeze for several months.
The baker @detoxinista, says these are sweet and buttery, with a hint of almond flavor.
For the cookies:
2 cups Honeyville blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened (or use butter instead)
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the frosting:
2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
2 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of fine sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, mix together the cookie ingredients until a thick, creamy batter is formed.
2. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.
3. Bake for about 8 minutes at 350F, or until the edges turn golden brown.
Note: To make cut-out cookies, it helps to chill the batter in the fridge for 30 minutes first!
4. While the cookies are baking and cooling, make the frosting:
5. Simply cream together the coconut oil, honey, almond extract and salt, until well combined. If the coconut oil starts to get too melted, briefly place the mixture in the fridge to help it set.
6. Frost the cooled cookies, and let them set in the fridge for a more solid-frosting.
The bakers @acouplecooks, says they’re perfectly chewy, made with almond flour and featuring a homemade jam and easy icing drizzle!
For the jam filling
- 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries or mixed berries
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the almond cookies
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup all purpose or 1-for-1 gluten free flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 5 tablespoons melted butter (sub coconut oil or vegan butter for vegan)
- Make the homemade jam: Add the berries, maple syrup, and cinnamon to a small saucepan. Cook on low heat for 10 to 12 minutes until the berries break down. Run the mixture through a mesh strainer into a clean bowl, mashing the berries with a spatula. Return the sauce to the same saucepan, then add the cornstarch and heat on low 2 more minutes until bubbly and thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while making the cookies. (This step can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week before making the cookies.)
- Bake the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, all purpose flour, baking powder and kosher salt in medium bowl.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter and maple syrup. Mix in the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until well combined.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Take about 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll it into small balls, about 12 for one tray, 24 in all. Start with one tray only, then refrigerate the dough for the second tray. Gently press your thumb into the center of the ball. (You can re-form the cookie with your fingers if it cracks a little.) Then add about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each cookie.
- Bake the first tray 13 to 15 minutes until browned on the bottom. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes, then place on a baking rack to cool. Meanwhile, prepare and bake the second tray and allow it to cool (baking the trays separately allows for the most even bake)
- Store at room temperature for 3 days or refrigerated for 1 week. To freeze, place baked cookies without icing in an airtight container and freeze for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the icing after thawing to room temperature.