Christmas is about family, gifts, and spirituality. It’s also about crushing a giant plate of juicy turkey with hot gravy.
Yes, most people let loose during Christmas, indulging in high-fat food. That’s fun and satisfying, but you can still control that weight gain with a healthy dessert.
Since cookies are one of the main Christmas desserts, I decided to teach you how to make Christmas cookies healthier. To cover all grounds, I explore different recipes with different ingredients and preparations.
Let’s get to it!
As most people have watched Shrek 2, the gingerbread man is probably the most famous Christmas cookie recipe on this list. I still get emotional every time I have to eat that delicious character who died to unite two lovers.
Anyway, despite looking complex, the recipe is pretty straightforward.
- ¾ cup whole grain flour
- ⅔ cup hazelnuts
- 6 tbsp coconut sugar
- 5 ½ tbsp hazelnut butter
- 3 ½ tbsp almond milk
First, you need to crush your hazelnuts. Put them in a food processor along with the flour, and grind them until they become powdery.
Don’t worry if you still have a few chunks. They’ll add a nice crispy texture. You don’t have to mix the flour and hazelnuts together, but I’ve come to realize it helps the nuts reach a finer consistency.
Now add the rest of the ingredients: The butter, sugar, and milk. Mix them together until they form a dough. It might be a bit crumbly, but that’s fine.
Take it out of the processor and put it in a new bowl. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 320℉ (160℃). Take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into two parts so it’s easier to work with.
Roll both parts until they become ½ inch thick. I recommend doing it on parchment paper so they don’t stick to the surface you’re working on.
Now it’s time for the artistic part.
Use a cookie cutter to make a stick figure shape. If you use a 2.9-inch cookie cutter, you should be able to cut 30-32 cookies.
Put the cookies on a lined baking sheet and bake them for 9-11 minutes. Et voila!
So you’re not a gingerbread man. Maybe you didn’t even like Shrek 2. I understand it’s not for everybody. In that case, I bring you a classic chocolate chip recipe with a few twists.
Not only is it simple, but it’s also flourless and gluten-free. Let’s get right to it!
- Dates (as many as you want)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups walnuts (or pecans)
- 1 tsp flax seeds
As with the first recipe, start by adding the nuts to the food processor and grind them until they reach a fine consistency. Then, add the vanilla, water, flax seeds, vinegar, dates, and salt.
Blend them together until you get a sticky dough. Then, add the chocolate chips and blend them again.
Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and put it on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350℉ (177℃) and enjoy.
Note: Storing these cookies in an airtight container will cause them to lose their texture. So I recommend keeping them in the freezer or fridge.
Eating a healthy dessert that brings out the best of natural ingredients is great, but boycotting fine sugar altogether would make a noticeable difference in your physique. It’s hard to find a sugar-free dessert that offers a strong flavor and rich texture, though.
Don’t worry. That’s why we’re here.
- 2 cups of flour: I didn’t mention a specific type because it depends on how you like your cookies. If you want low carbs, use low-carb flour. If you want them gluten-free, use gluten-free flour.
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ¼ cups Splenda granulated sugar substitute
- 1 cup and a 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups sugar-free chocolate chips
Before you start your preparations, preheat your oven to 325℉ (163℃). Then, mix your flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
Beat your Splenda, vanilla, eggs, and butter until they’re creamy and fluffy. If you want your cookies to be soft, substitute half the butter with margarine.
The next step is to add your dry ingredients to the bowl. However, don’t dump them all at once.
You want them to mix together evenly. So add small portions of the dry ingredients, mixing the batter between every addition.
Make sure not to over-mix your batter, as that takes away the chewy texture of the cookies. Add the chocolate chips, and your mixture is ready to enter the oven.
Put parchment paper on a baking sheet, then scoop your mixture onto it. Bake your cookies for 10-12 minutes and enjoy.
That’s a tricky question, as the definition of low sugar is subjective. The following recipe doesn’t contain refined sugar, but it uses the sweetness of fruit to make up for that.
If I had to use sugar as a measurement, each cookie contains less than one teaspoon of sugar (4 grams). That’s quite low compared to the 11 grams in the standard chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s see how you can make this.
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 cups plain flour
- 6 dates
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 60 grams of melted butter
First, add the chia seeds and applesauce to the food processor and mix them together well. Then, let that mixture rest for 20 minutes.
While it rests, preheat your oven to 320℉ (160℃), then put your dates in a bowl and pour boiling water on them.
Once the chia seeds have rested in the applesauce, add the dates to the processor, along with the butter and vanilla. Mix them well until they form a paste.
Now, grab a bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients to it. Whisk them together until they’re semi-sifted.
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix them until they form a dough. Sprinkle some flour on a smooth surface, drop the dough on it, and start kneading.
Once the dough becomes smooth, roll it out until it becomes around 5mm thick, then use cookie cutters to make whatever shapes you want.
Put the cookies on a lined baking sheet with baking paper and bake them for 15-25 minutes.
It’s worth noting that 320℉ (160℃) is for fan-forced ovens. If you’re using non-fan-forced, raise the temperature to 360℉ (182℃).
Although Christmas is the season to unapologetically eat as much food as you want, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a healthy dessert.
Not only does learning how to make Christmas cookies healthier benefit your body, but it also promotes positive self-image.
Using natural ingredients and healthy sugar substitutes, you can combine nutritional value, rich textures, and incredible flavors.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.