Holiday baking can be a huge source of unnecessary calories. The following tips and recipes will help lessen your caloric load.
A few Christmases ago I made my first batch of shortbread cookies. Sorry to ruin it for the folks who have only enjoyed and never made their own shortbread, but did you know that the primary ingredients in this decadent treat are flour, sugar, and butter? And I don’t mean a few tablespoons of butter either—I mean a stick of butter per dozen cookies. No wonder they seem to melt in your mouth …
Now, I’m not trying to be a Grinch, but holiday baking can be a huge source of unnecessary (and unwanted) calories. In addition to copious amounts of butter (and in some cases even lard), typical western baking is also often loaded with white sugar and flour, as well as a variety of other not-so-jolly ingredients such as candy and white and milk chocolate.
Fortunately, there are ways to make our holiday baking a little bit better for us, such as
- ditching the white sugar for brown sugar or other healthier sugars such as coconut palm or organic cane
- experimenting with coconut oil in lieu of butter or lard
- replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour or almond flour (this may take some time to get the ratio right)
- using spices such as cinnamon to dress up cookies, rather than candies or icing sugar
- swapping white and milk chocolate for dark chocolate with high cocoa concentrate
The following recipes use many of the above strategies to the cut calorie count. Consider adding them to your current holiday baking repertoire.
- Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies
- Almond Butter Maple Cookies
- Chocolate Fruit Bark
- Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies
- Amaretti Cookies
- Chocolate Mint Melties
- Chocolate Truffles
- Maple Pumpkin Tea Loaf
- Cinnamon Pecan Banana Bites
- Wholesome Strawberry Thumbelina Cookies
- Chocolate Apricot Walnut Cookies
Also, check out our article “Cookie Swap!” for more delicious cookie recipes and tips on hosting a cookie swap.