Let’s be honest. When you’re craving a Christmas cookie, fruit just won’t do as an alternative. When everyone around you is throwing all caution to the wind, it can certainly feel tempting to do the same.
We certainly aren’t advising a cookie-free December. As you dust off your recipes from holiday’s past, here are some tricks of the trade to “healthify” the recipe without sacrificing any deliciousness.
1. Sweet on You. Sweetness is what makes dessert dessert. Therefore, you can’t cut it out entirely and expect your sweet tooth to be sated. If you’re working with another sweetener besides white sugar, you may have to do some kitchen math to make sure that you have great results. For example:
- • 1 cup of sugar is equivalent to a teaspoon of stevia
- • It’s a 1-1 swap with white sugar to coconut sugar
- • With honey or maple syrup, you’ll have a more liquid batter – so only take 2/3 of a cup of the sweetener and add ¼ of a cup of flour
Tip: Turn the oven temperature down with the liquid sweeteners by 25 degrees and you should have foolproof results.
2. Flour Power. All-purpose flour is usually the standby for a baked good, but there are so many interesting ones to choose from! Spelt flour works well in many cases, or you can get your hands on a gluten-free cookbook to learn how to experiment with other types of flour. You often have to add a gum like xanthan in order to replicate the stretching and structural effects of gluten. You want your cookies to taste like cookies, whether they're gluten-free or whole wheat!
3. Skinny Fat. You don’t want to take all of the fat out of a recipe, but you can certainly reduce it or make the fat healthier. Halve the amount of butter in a recipe and replace the other half with a pureed fruit, like applesauce for a light cookie or pureed prunes for a darker cookie. Sweet baby foods work wonderfully. You can also replace some of the fat with chia or flax eggs, created by taking one tablespoon of seeds (chia or flax) to three tablespoons of water. It will keep your baked goods soft and moist.
Start small with your substitutions – doing too many at once can reduce the quality of the cookie. Ultimately, this is a treat, so keep some of the treat elements, whether it be dark chocolate or unsweetened coconut drizzled on top.
You won’t even notice those missing calories.