Healthier Holiday Cookies
Halloween 2018 at the Rosenthal house should be re-named Sugar Apocalypse 2018 due to the terrifying aftermath of our 2 ½ year old consuming 4-5 mini candies from his trick or treat bag. That’s the most sugar he’s ever consumed in one sitting. Every year the night of Halloween, my now 5 year old gets to eat 3 small pieces of candy and after she goes to bed I throw away the rest of her bounty. Yes, that’s right… I may have a piece that suits my fancy, but afterwards it disappears.
This year was no different, however, we decided since this was our son’s first year actually understanding the holiday, not to mention he actually got some good stuff, we figured- he’s going to bed afterwards, what’s the harm in a few extras? Famous last words…Within 15 minutes he was out of control energy wise. After running too many laps around the house to count, we wrangled him into his jammies and painstakingly completed our nightly bedtime routine. It was probably the biggest struggle we’ve ever faced actually getting him to the point where he was in his bed. All I can say is thank the Lord he’s still in a crib cause this kid screamed bloody murder from 8pm to after 1am. Yes, that’s right.
It was a nightmare and further affirmed our strong personal views that limiting the refined sugar levels being consumed in our home is imperative.
All that being said, as someone who is passionate about cooking and baking, being a health nut can present a bit of a problem during the holidays. With so many wonderful heavy carb and refined sugar packed treats and cozy foods to make, not to mention filling up my IG feed, I’m constantly on the look out for healthier alternatives. -Especially after the Halloween fiasco. Treats that will appease my kids’ sweet tooth, are refined sugar free or very low sugar, actually have nutrients and if possible, a bit of protein so they will actually fill up.
In my quest to save our family from another holiday sugar-pocalypse, I’ve rounded up some flavorful and extremely satisfying cookie recipes that are sure to put smiles on everyone’s face, not just the kids!
TRIPLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES Sara Forte – The Sprouted Kitchen
The first time I made these I knew I had found my go to rich, chocolatey cookie for life. I think I made them at least 3 times within a few weeks of making them initially. What I love the most is that they are gluten free, made with a mix of almond flour, flax meal and brown rice flour- rather than plain gluten free flour. There is a little sugar, but if you want to cut down on it even more you can sub out regular chocolate chips for paleo.
PEPPERMINT MARSHMALLOW CRUNCH COOKIES Danielle Walker – Against All Grain
Danielle Walker’s adorably festive meringue cookies can be made into various shapes and decorated with red stripes for extra holiday fun! If you love a good crunchy meringue and the idea of them being sweetened solely with honey then these are a great fit for you.
SUGAR COOKIES Molly Yeh – My Name is Yeh
These are my go to sugar cookies for numerous reasons. First off the dough does not require refrigeration prior to cutting out and cooking. Second, even though they do have a cup of sugar you can use organic cane sugar and it makes so many cookies that there is only a small amount in each serving. I sub out the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour for a little added nutrients, but note that the dough will be more crumbly when rolling out, but works just fine. Lastly, they taste so good- and I don’t even like sugar cookies!
*I’ve never made the icing so I cannot attest to that or the amount of sugar included, however, I can recommend making dye free icing using frozen fruit. Do know that this will give your cookies a “fruity” flavor, in case “raspberry” sugar cookie isn’t your jam! Just make your favorite icing recipe and purchase frozen fruit in the color you need. Follow your recipe, but before mixing, thaw your fruit and push through a fine mesh sieve into your bowl. Add the fruit slowly so as to achieve the right color tone. You may need to add more sugar/liquid for appropriate consistency.
GINGERBREAD COOKIES Heidi Swanson – 101 Cookbooks
These are fantastic because they are incredibly gingerbread spicy, have a low sugar content and are made with white whole wheat flour. Her recipe has the option to cook the gingerbread men on popsicle sticks, which would be an added treat for any child or adult alike!
OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES WITH DRIED CHERRIES Julie Novak
This is actually my Mom’s recipe. They really aren’t a holiday cookie per se, but given their rich flavor, texture and festive exterior I’d say they definitely pull it off! I love that this makes a ton of cookies, which is great if you’re having a large party or baking for a school function. Also, you can choose to swap out butter for coconut oil, coconut sugar for brown and/or all purpose rather than whole wheat pastry flour in a bind.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1 CUP BUTTER (or solid coconut oil)
3/4 CUP FIRMLY PACKED BROWN SUGAR (or coconut sugar)
1/2 CUP CANE SUGAR
1 TEASPOON VANILLA
1 CUP ORGANIC WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY FLOUR (or all purpose)
1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA
½ TEASPOON SALT
1 TEASPOON CINNAMON
3 CUPS ROLLED OATS
2 CUPS DARK CHOCOLATE CHIPS
1 CUP OF CHOPPED WALNUTS OR PECANS (I like to toast mine first)
1/2 CUP OF DRIED CHERRIES
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375.
IN A LARGE BOWL, CREAM THE COCONUT OIL WITH SUGARS USING AN ELECTRIC MIXER AT MEDIUM SPEED, UNTIL LIGHTENED IN COLOR-ABOUT FOUR MINUTES. ADD THE EGG AND VANILLA AND MIX ON LOW SPEED UNTIL INCORPORATED.
IN A SMALL BOWL, STIR TOGETHER THE FLOUR, SODA, SALT, AND CINNAMON. ADD TO THE CREAMED MIXTURE, MIXING WELL. STIR IN OATS. THEN CHIPS. FOLD IN NUTS AND CHERRIES.
DROP BY ROUNDED TABLESPOONS OR COOKIE SCOOP ONTO UNGREASED COOKIE SHEETS ABOUT 2 INCHES APART.
BAKE 9-1O MINUTES. COOL FOR 1 MINUTE ON COOKIE SHEETS. REMOVE TO WIRE RACKS TO COOL. STORE IN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER FOR UP TO A WEEK.
What are your favorite healthy-ish cookies to bake during the holidays? Share in the comments!
Happy Holiday baking mamas!