Holiday Cookies

Sweets and treats are the center of many festivities and parties during the holidays!

You might get a box of See’s chocolates from a friend or homemade baked brownies or cookies from your dearest neighbor. In the spirit of Christmas, one of the most popular is the Christmas cookie exchange! I am here to give you a few fun cookie recipes that can be healthy and delicious at the same time!

Below are a few healthy cookie recipes with 100 calories or less to prepare for the holiday or your cookie exchange! YUM…Enjoy!!

1.) Holiday Cookie Cutouts

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup low-fat firm silken tofu, (see Ingredient note)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon-Sugar Topping or Decorator Icing

Preparation:

  1. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Puree tofu in a food processor. Add egg, sugar, oil, butter and vanilla; process until smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides. Add the dry ingredients and pulse several times just until dough clumps together.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead several times. Divide in half and press each piece into a disk. Dust disks with flour and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
  5. Working with one piece at a time, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough slightly less than 1/4-inch thick. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Gather scraps and re-roll. Place cookies about 1/2-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. If using Cinnamon-Sugar Topping, add it now.
  6. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until light golden around the edges, 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  7. If using Decorator Icing, decorate cookies as desired. Let stand until frosting has set, 30 to 45 minutes.

Nutrition: Per cookie (undecorated): 67 calories; 2 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 6 mg cholestel; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 25 mg sodium; 23 mg potassium.

2.) Christmas Fruit Squares

  • Butter flavored cooking spray
  • ¾ cup sifted cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup spoonable brown sugar substitute
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup chopped peeled apple
  • ½ cup dried no-sugar-added dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Preparation:

  1. Position the rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C), Gas Mark. Line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat the paper with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar substitute, and walnuts.
  3. In a small bowl, combine apple, dried cherries, apricots, and raisins. Add to flour mixture and using your hands, toss the fruits with the flour, separating the fruits and coating them evenly with flour mixture.
  4. In a large measuring cup, beat together egg, egg white, orange juice, and oil. Mix well. Add to flour-fruit mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture is thoroughly mixed and evenly moistened.
  5. Spoon into prepared pan and press down evenly. Bake for 25 minutes, until top is golden and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut into 25 squares. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition per 2 square serving: 94 calories (29% calories from fat), 2 g protein, 4 g total fat (0.4 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 18 mg cholesterol, 54 mg sodium

3.) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with Applesauce

  • Butter-flavored cooking spray
  • 2 cups (312 g) rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups (185 g) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup dark raisins
  • 1 large egg or ¼ cup liquid egg substitute
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180° C). Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss with raisins.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together egg, canola oil, applesauce, vanilla, and the sugars. Whisk to blend thoroughly.
  4. Fold egg-sugar mixture into flour-oat mixture, 1/3 at a time, mixing well. Drop by the tablespoonful onto prepared cookie sheet, about 2 (5 cm) apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. When cool, store in an airtight container.

Per 1 cookie serving: 74 calories (20% calories from fat), 2 g protein, 2 g total fat (0.2 g saturated), 14 g carbohydrate, 1 g dietary fiber, 6 mg cholesterol, 71 mg sodium.

4.) Chocolate and Vanilla Swirl Cookies

  • ½ cup margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons liquid egg substitute
  • 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup skim milk, warmed to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon chocolate extract
  • Refrigerated butter-flavored cooking spray

Preparation:

  1. Cream margarine, sugar, vanilla, and egg substitute. Beat well. Add flour, baking powder, and 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the milk. Stir to thoroughly mix. Divide dough into 2 parts.
  2. Add cocoa and chocolate extract to one part, stirring until well blended. Chill both halves for at least 1 hour.
  3. Working on a floured surface, roll out each part to a rectangle about 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. Place chocolate part on top of white part, pressing together tightly with a rolling pin.
  4. Brush the chocolate dough with remaining tablespoon (15 ml) milk. Roll up like a jellyroll to make a log about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter. Wrap in waxed paper and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C), Gas Mark 5. Slice cookies 1/8 inch (.5 cm) thick. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet that has been lightly coated with cooking spray.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Per 3 cookie serving: 85 calories (53% calories from fat), 2 g protein, 5 g total fat, 8 g carbohydrate, trace dietary fiber, trace cholesterol, 73 mg sodium.

To learn more about healthy recipes (even including the sweets) that can fit into your diet and lifestyle, schedule an appointment with Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian and Founder of Nutrition For Body And Mind.