Months slip by without warning and if you aren’t looking summer turns to November in a blink of an eye. That’s how I felt yesterday when my daughter, Meghan declared, “Mom! You need to change the calendar to November!” Welp, I guess that means I can officially start sharing some healthy Christmas cookie recipes.
Wait! Too early, you say? I think we should make a deal. Let’s be good planners this year. Even though Thanksgiving is still lurking around the corner, let’s start thinking about our December holidays, too. My mission this year is to create as many healthier Christmas cookies and treats as I can. If we’re going to have treats (And who are we kidding? We are.) we might as well make them as healthy as we can. So as I share them, you can start your planning and save the ones you think you’ll like. Last minute scrambling is so 2014. Deal?
Here’s my criteria for creating healthy Christmas cookies:
- Use whole grain flours instead of white, processed flour.
- Don’t use refined sugars.
- Create a variety of treats for different diet restrictions (vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, etc.)
- They must taste delicious!
I started out with a classic ginger cookie. I swapped out all-purpose flour in favor of whole wheat pastry flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is such a light whole grain flour that it works beautifully in baked goods such as cookies. Instead of refined, white sugar, I used coconut sugar. I love the flavor of coconut sugar and it worked fantastically here. Coconut palm sugar has a lower glycemic index than regular white sugar, so it’s a great swap when trying to make healthier baked goods.I didn’t try to cut the fat in these ginger cookies. I will do that in some of the treats I share, but these classic cookies really need the fat for the proper texture. I used this this organic vegetable shortening, which is made with organic palm oil that is non-hydrogenated.
Healthy Ginger Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 8 minutes
Total time: 38 minutes
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetables shortening
1 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup sugar (for rolling the dough in)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the shortening with a mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup coconut sugar and beat until combined. Beat in the eggs and molasses. Finally, beat in the flour mixture.
4. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in the 1/4 cup sugar. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart.
5. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the bottoms are light brown and the tops are puffed. Do not overbake. Cool on a cookie sheet for one minute, and then gently transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Note: Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 100 Best Cookies