Healthier Holiday Cookies
I enjoy doing in my kitchen is creating healthy recipes out of not-so-healthy ones.
One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is make cookies. I try to find an available kid to join me, but if I can’t, I go it alone. I turn on an old-fashioned Pandora station or NPR and revel in the fun of cookie making alone. As you may have noticed, something I really enjoy doing in my kitchen is creating healthy recipes out of not-so-healthy ones. It is really fun to come up with a substitute ingredient that doesn’t change the texture or flavor much, but will enable me to make a recipe without compromising my standards or health. Also, at the end of today’s post there is a link to see a couple of recipes for Healthier Holiday Cookies so don’t forget to check it out.
Let’s get started
As you know, a good tasting cookie needs some basic ingredients. You have to have fat, a sweetener, a rising agent and a binder. Typically, I substitute the fat, flour and sweetener with my preferred varieties, and use eggs (free range and organic) or baking powder and apple cider vinegar as rising agents.
Let’s talk about some of the substitutes for fat that we can all feel good about. I usually stick to two types in cookie making – butter and coconut oil. My all time favorite is good old fashioned butter! Yet, not all butter is made equally. If you use organic butter from grass-fed cows, you will get a good quality, useable fat source that will not pack on the pounds. If you can get a hold of some raw butter, even better! Coconut oil is another good baking fat, and actually pairs better than butter with certain ingredients.
Now for the binder: Instead of regular wheat flour, I use spelt flour. It is a cousin of wheat, but an ancient grain that hasn’t been overused. Many people with wheat intolerances have no problem with spelt. Spelt flour has a sort of rich pretzel flavor that I really enjoy. Unbleached white spelt makes a good substitute for white wheat flour. You can also use ground almonds, coconut flour and now even quinoa flour is available. If you use any of these heavier nut or seed flours, mix some arrowroot with it to get a better and lighter consistency.
Now let’s talk about sugar. Most people know by now that white cane sugar is the cause of many health problems. Not that a couple of cookies made with it are going to kill you, but why be part of the problem when you have better options? Try sucanat or rapadura – both dehydrated cane juices that are full of minerals and minimally processed. Dehydrated cane juice has a richer flavor than white refined sugar, but is still mild and delicious. Maple syrup and maple sugar are also nutritious and delicious and create a wonderful, old-fashioned flavor in cookies.
Experiment and try these ingredients out in your cookie recipes and feel good about sharing holiday sweetness with your friends and family. Visit my website for a Healthier Holiday Cookies, maple-walnut and almond-oatmeal cookie recipes and get baking! www.thekitchengoddess.com