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Healthy holiday cookie recipes

Gayle Trent is a full-time freelance writer, author and editor. Visit her online at gayletrent.com.

Guilt-free holiday cookies

Who doesn't enjoy cookies during the holidays? Whether you're baking them to give to friends or munching happily on the receiving end, cookies are a quintessential holiday delight. However, holiday cookies can pose a real challenge if you're diabetic, trying to watch your weight, or have a child with food allergies. Instead of nix cookies altogether, bake up a tasty batch of one of the following holiday cookie recipes. Each has been healthfully modified so everyone can join in the cookie nibbling fun.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Potato Chip Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

 

For moms looking for nut- and egg-free recipes, these potato chip cookies – a favorite in Barbara Grunes' The Best Bake Sale Ever Cookbook– are a hit.

 

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup crushed plain potato chips (check the label to make sure they have not been processed in a plant that processes nuts)

 

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes. Mix in the flour, vanilla and crushed potato chips. The dough will be soft.

 

2. Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls about 1-inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten the dough mounds slightly with the back of a spoon. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden on the bottom and firm to the touch.

 

3. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheets, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

Recipe reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books

Egg-Free Pumpkin Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

 

Perfect for the holidays, these warmly-spiced pumpkin cookies – courtesy of the website KidsWithFoodAllergies.com– are egg-free and extra easy to make.

 

Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups flour of your choice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1-1/2 cups dried cranberries (optional)

 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cream together, sugar and margarine, then gradually add and beat in maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin. Add and beat in flour mixture. Add walnuts and cranberries, if desired. Drop onto baking sheets and bake 8 minutes.

 

Cranberry and White Chocolate Treats

Makes 4 dozen

 

People with diabetes and the diet-conscious often share an inability to eat sugar and carbohydrates. These sweet-tart cookies, which have about 67 calories each, are a diet-friendly sweet from Holly Clegg, author of the Trim & Terrific cookbook series and Eating Well Through Cancer. They are festive enough for a holiday treat, and fantastic enough to enjoy all year long.

 

Ingredients:
1-1/3 cups reduced-fat graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup natural wheat and barley nut-type cereal
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

 

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a 13x9x2-inch baking pan, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter and press along the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle cranberries, white chocolate chips, walnuts and cereal evenly over the graham cracker crust. Pour the condensed milk over the top and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Cut into squares to serve.

 

Peanut Butter Cookies in Minutes

Makes 2-1/2 dozen

 

Another Holly Clegg favorite, five ingredients are all you need for an easy peanut butter treat that is gluten-free.

 

Ingredients:
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

 

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, egg and baking soda until well combined. Stir in the peanuts.

 

2. Place dough by teaspoonfuls on a nonstick baking sheet and press down with a fork to form ridges. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

White Chocolate and Apricot Oatmeal Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

 

An incredible lacey oatmeal cookie – courtesy of Holly Clegg – that delectably melds the sweetness of white chocolate and the tartness of dried apricots. Each cookie has a mere 3 grams of fat and only 84 calories.

 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped dried apricots

 

Ingredients:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In mixing bowl, beat margarine sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg until fluffy.

 

2. In separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda. Gradually add the flour to the sugar mixture, and mix just until combined. Stir in oatmeal, white chocolate chips and apricots.

 

3. Drop dough by teaspoons on prepared pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned on bottoms.

 

More healthy holiday recipes


Pumpkin pie and other holiday recipes with superfoods
Low-carb sauces to go with your holiday dishes
Vegetarian holiday dishes

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