It seems like sweets galore show up everywhere one goes this time of year. I say to myself that I’m going to stay away from food with a lot of sugar, but then I spy a plate of homemade cookies and my resolve flies right out the window. Does that happen to you? Thought so. Let’s put a screen on that window. Here’s a baker’s dozen roundup of healthy holiday cookies–treats with a healthier twist!
“Healthier twist” is my very flexible description. It means if maple syrup or coconut sugar or honey is in the recipe, that’s healthier. Then again, if there’s a little cane sugar involved—well the cookie is probably gluten-free or vegan. We all have friends and family who would appreciate some tempting healthy holiday cookies that just happen to be one of those.
In my kitchen, melt in your mouth cookies might be made with coconut oil instead of butter. Then again, the recipe could include butter, with a healthful trade off of oats, rice, buckwheat, almonds, or nut butter. Bottom line—here’s my healthy holiday baking guide to real cookies and bars–many are vegan, most are naturally sweetened, and most are made without wheat!
Off the cookie path–a note for you:
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Pepper Jelly Cornmeal Thumbprints from Letty’s Kitchen.
Made with honey, butter, and whole wheat flour, these are sleigh-bell-ringing favorites. Filled with pepper jelly, they sparkle in your mouth.
Snowmen Meringue Cookies from Vegan Huggs. Are these frosty the snowmen not the cutest ever? Absolutely amazing–the vegan meringue is liquid from a can of chickpeas, whipped with sugar and vanilla. Known as aquafaba, it whips up just like egg whites! Whoever figured that out is a genius!
Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Who likes easy? Then these nut, oat, and dried fruit loaded gluten-free bars, are for you. No baking, no muss—you just press the dough into the pan and chill.
Chocolate Tahini Cookies from Lazy Cat Kitchen. Tahini sesame butter and maple syrup, with walnuts and buckwheat flour–these gluten-free cookies call my name big time!
Chocolate Vegan Truffles from Letty’s Kitchen. I can’t imagine Christmas without chocolate truffles, especially truffles with the healthy twist of coconut oil and a secret ingredient no one will ever guess. These hold well at room temperature. Made in food processor.
Gluten-free Double Chocolate Cookies from Cookie and Kate. A mouthwatering match for chocolate, buckwheat flour brings delightful nutty flavor to these gluten-free gems! Original recipe from The Alternative Baker, a new gluten-free cookbook by Alanna Taylor-Tobin.
Paleo Chai Spiced Cookies from Texanerin. Chai tea, dirty chai espresso coffee, maple chai bubble tea, you name it—I can’t pass up the spicy mix of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves known as chai. Sweet with maple syrup, and gluten-free with almond and coconut flours–chewy chai-spiced cookies—bring ‘em on!
Paleo Fig Newtons from Jays Baking Me Crazy. Store-bought fig newtons don’t even come close to these to-die-for fig-filled bars with an almond flour and applesauce crust.
Gluten-free Chocolate Mint Cookies from Letty’s Kitchen. Here’s a lip-smacking riff on classic chocolate crackle cookies–they’re rolled in almond flour instead of powdered sugar. Honey and plenty of fresh mint seal the gluten-free deal.
Almond Butter Brown Rice Crispy Treats from Love and Lemons. Brown rice syrup sweetens and holds these bars together. With protein-rich hemp seeds, chunky almonds, and chocolate glaze—well hello heaven!
Sticky Toffee Pudding Raw Energy Balls from Tinned Tomatoes. I almost didn’t include these because you need a high speed blender to whip up this nutrition-packed mix of dates, flax, cacao, almonds, sesame, and cinnamon. Except that I absolutely adore gooey rich stick toffee pudding. These no-cook pop-in-your-mouth wonders introduced me to superfruit baobab powder, which, upon discovering this recipe, I promptly ordered!
Vegan Florentines from Oh She Glows. Healthy holidaze spoken here. With gluten-free flour and vegan soy butter taking the place of regular flour and dairy butter, you can’t get any closer to the slim delicate almond lace wafers I remember from growing up.
Puffed Rice and Date Chewies from Letty’s Kitchen. Slice and bakes. Perfectly spiced with cinnamon and a hint of black pepper and cayenne, rolled logs of these easy vegan and gluten-free cookies hang in the freezer until you’re ready to–you got it–slice and bake!
Do these healthy holiday cookies and bars lure you into the kitchen and put you in a baking mood? That’s my goal! For more healthier dessert options check out my Pinterest collection–where I save all the tempting kind of healthy treats that I find on the web. Happy Baking!
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