Healthy Holiday Treats
For many people, cookies and other sweets are a big part of holiday festivities. You may have your favorites that you make every year and give out to your friends, family, and coworkers or bring to holiday parties. You may have a recipe that has been handed down from your grandmother. However you enjoy holiday sweets, special treats and traditions contribute to the joy of the season. Here, we have three holiday-cookie recipes for you to try. They represent three different takes on “healthy” holiday cookies. The banana almond butter bites provide chocolatey sweetness without any added sugar and offer protein and healthy fat for a balanced treat. The raspberry Linzer cookies are made with some healthy ingredient swaps, substituting olive oil instead of butter. You can make it even healthier by making your own no-sugar-added raspberry compote instead of using sweetened jam—just combine raspberries and lemon juice in a saucepan and simmer on low until the mixture thickens into a spreadable jam consistency. And the chocolate truffles are pure decadent goodness (because sometimes just enjoying a rich, chocolatey treat in a mindful way is the “healthy” thing to do!). You get to decide which approach to healthy holiday sweets you want to take this year!
In the spirit of enjoying the holidays from a place of balance, without guilt, we did not include nutrition information for these recipes. You get to decide which approach to healthy holiday sweets you want to take this year (see our previous post about dessert HERE). It can certainly involve chocolate, and does not have to involve counting calories and fat grams!
Banana Almond Butter Bites
Serves: 12 cookies, about 1.5” in diameter
8 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium bananas
1 cup almond butter, unsalted
1.5 cups rolled oats
Combine all ingredients except oats in a food processor and mix until a soft, sticky dough forms.
Mix oats into the sticky dough until well-combined.
Form dough into small cookies, about 1.5” in diameter.
Refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
Store in the refrigerator.
Olive Oil Raspberry Linzer Cookies
Serves: 12 small sandwich cookies (about 2” diameter) or 6 large sandwich cookies (about 3.25” diameter)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¾ cup olive oil
4 Tbsp water
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Choose: About ½ tsp jam for each cookie OR about 2 cups berries or frozen berries combined with ¼ cup lemon juice for homemade raspberry compote
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Add in wet ingredients, and combine until a dough forms.
Roll out cookie dough and cut into circles, or the shape of your choice.
For half of the shaped cookies, cut a small hole in the top. You may want to use the larger side of an icing tip to do this.
Bake cookies for 14 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Let cookies cool completely.
Optional: combine 2 cups raspberries and ¼ cup lemon juice in a saucepan, and simmer on low, occasionally mashing the berries until a jam consistency forms to make a homemade berry compote.
Spoon about ½ tsp of raspberry jam or homemade raspberry compote onto the cookies without holes in them.
Place cookies with holes in them on top of cookies with jam, making cookie sandwiches.
Serves: about 12 truffles, about 1” in diameter
¼ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk, but any type will work)
500g semisweet baking chocolate, separated
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat milk in a saucepan until brought to a boil.
Turn heat down and add half the chocolate (250g), salt, and vanilla extract.
Heat on low and stir until chocolate melts and ingredients combine.
Let mixture cool slightly, then pour into a baking dish or bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
Once refrigerated and firm, scoop chocolate mixture and form into small balls, about 1” in diameter.
In a double boiler, heat the remaining 250g chocolate until melted.
Using a toothpick or two forks, dip the chocolate balls in the melted chocolate until well-coated, and place on a cookie sheet.
Freeze coated chocolates until the chocolate shell hardens, about 20 min.
Store in refrigerator or freezer to avoid melting.
The information presented here is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or health condition. As always, please speak with your registered dietitian regarding any dietary modifications or nutrition-related questions.