Holiday cookie recipes take unexpected twist with healthy options

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies can be made with healthy substitutions such as coconut sugar and almond flour. Megan Rule | Opinion Editor

By Megan Rule | Opinion Editor

The holidays are a time where baking spirits tend to soar, as the thought of filling the house with fresh-baked cookies while watching “Elf” and drinking hot chocolate next to the decorated Christmas tree warms the festive soul. However, many people want the sugary taste of holiday classics without the calories and guilt. These recipes are a great way to enjoy some of your favorite holiday cookies, with a few ingredient swaps.

1. Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 2 cups almond flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3 ounces dark chocolate chips

Directions: Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine almond flour, coconut sugar, baking soda and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Melt the coconut oil and pour in, mixing with the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs, one at a time. Once ingredients are thick and doughy, pour the dark chocolate chips and mix in well. Line a baking sheet with the dough and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

2. Snickerdoodle

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 2 cups almond flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil

Directions: Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and two teaspoons of cinnamon and mix well. Slowly add in maple syrup and coconut oil. When the ingredients are nice and doughy, scoop out about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball (this can be bigger or smaller depending on the size you want your cookies). Quickly dip the ball in a small bowl of water, then roll in the coconut sugar and cinnamon as a coat. Place the dough on a baking sheet and flatten with your hand. Repeat for all of the dough. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

3. Salted Caramel Cups

Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients: 6 ounces dark chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 ounces caramel, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions: Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Melt chocolate chips in a sauce pan with the coconut oil (1 tablespoon) over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour a small amount of chocolate into each cup (about 1/4 inch). Stick muffin tin into freezer once all cups have chocolate. Melt caramel in a sauce pan with coconut oil (1 tablespoon) over low heat, stirring constantly. Take the muffin tin out of the freezer and pour a small amount (about 1 teaspoon) into each cup. Once each cup has caramel, place the muffin tin back in the freezer for about five minutes. After the caramel has hardened, take the muffin tin out of the freezer and cover each cup with the remaining chocolate. Sprinkle each one with sea salt. Place in the freezer for about 10 more minutes so the cups can harden completely, then store at room temperature.

4. Gingerbread Man

Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients: 3 cups almond flour, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 4 tablespoons coconut sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, 3 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions: Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine almond flour, sea salt, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and coconut sugar in a large bowl. Mix well. Boil molasses and coconut sugar and pour into bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are combined well. Scoop dough out and place on baking sheet. For the gingerbread man shape, purchase a cookie cutter. Bake for about 10 minutes or until brown.

5. Sugar Cookie

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients: 2 cups almond flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 cup coconut sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup coconut oil

Directions: Set the oven for 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine almond flour, baking powder, sea salt and coconut sugar in a large bowl. Mix ingredients well. Slowly add the eggs and mix with a beater. Add vanilla extract. Melt the coconut oil and pour into the bowl, blending while doing so. Scoop dough out in the size you want the cookies and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Once cooled, frost if you desire.

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