12 Healthy Cookies, Treats and Giftables

It’s that time of year.  Lots of lists, lots of tasks, and hopefully a good dose of merriment to go with those lists and tasks.  I don’t know if it’s a sign of my age, but I’ve found that an increasing number of people on my gift giving list don’t really seem to want or need a present from me. They want my presence (which is flattering), and I’ve found over the last few years that if my presence is accompanied by something to eat, the greeting I receive is all the warmer.  In looking back through our posts, I see we have quite a collection of treats that are great to share with friends and family and that still provide some nutrition during this season of culinary madness (check out this post for some healthy holiday tips).

And so a bit of a roundup for those of you who are preparing to get baking, who need some ideas for gift giving, or who are invited to all manner of holiday celebrations at which you do NOT wish to arrive empty handed.  Healthier treats galore!

Perfectly Packable Gifty Treats

1. No Bake Brownie Balls (GF,DF)- dark chocolate taste, low sugar joy, great gift for a dark chocolate loving adult

2.  Healthy Pumpkin Cookies (GF,DF) – sweet enough to feel like a treat, healthy enough to do the bod some good

3. Sweet Potato Cookies with Walnuts and Dark Chocolate Chips  (GF,DF) – fantastically delish healthy cookies

4.Crancherry, Almond, & White Chocolate Cookies  (GF,DF) – slightly sweeter than many of our other cookies – a great starter cookie for a lifetime of healthier treats

5. Intensely Good Banana Bread Mini-Loaves (DF) – not your grandmother’s banana bread (which I’m sure is divine), this puppy packs some molasses for a spicy edge and an iron boost.  Lovely gifted in mini loaf pans (because WHO doesn’t want mini bakeware?!)

6. Healthier Holiday Fudge (GF,DF) – Oh yes, it’s that good. Nobody will call you a health whack for this one…

7. 2 Ingredient Caramel Fudge (GF,DF) - WHAT DID SHE SAY?!  Yes, 2 ingredients.

8. Roasted Chili Lime Nuts (GF,DF) – I’ve heard tell there are folks who prefer savory snacks.  Ok, I admit it, I’m even related to a couple.  A tin of these babies will knock their unsweet socks off.

9. Nut Butter Bliss Balls (GF,DF) – Pleasing normal treat eaters everywhere… or at least in parts of Tennessee and Maryland

If You’re To “Bring Dessert”

10. Cranberry Apple Pecan Crumble (GF,DF) – Easy for you, delish for everyone.

11. Cocoanutty Good Bars (GF,DF) – No it’s not your imagination, I served these bars as cake and it was a huge success.  Drooling a little, and I guess you didn’t need to know that.

12. Pumpkin Pudding (GF,DF) – Bigg Sis wondered what would happen if you stopped worrying so much about the pie crust… and it was good.

Well, there it is.  Now you have a pretty good idea what’s going to be going on at my house for the next few weeks.  Here’s hoping your house is full of delicious and healthful food and wonderful people.

Almond Lemon Jots

As Little Sis told you in her post of some fabulous cookies that include garam masala, that intriguing Indian spice blend, we, like so many of you have a strong Christmas Cookie tradition in our family.  I particularly loved making cookie press cookies with my Mom and Little Sis and sprinkling red and green sugar on top of the various shapes.  So what’s a sugar-busting, gluten free baker to do?  Apparently lots of GF bakers are using almond flour.  Well, almond flour is a bit over the top price -wise, but why not make your own?  Especially in the interest of making a healthier iced lemon cookie!

I placed a handful of raw almonds in the Vita-Mix at a time and ground them until a few chunks were still flying.  You don’t want to go too long or you will create gooey, pre-almond butter.  Then I poured it through a colander to remove the big pieces which I threw back in with some more almonds until I had enough almond flour.  (I used whole almonds, Detoxinista suggests using blanched, slivered almonds, but again… I’m cheap!)

This lot of almond pieces got dumped into a container with sweet potato, rice, raisins and cinnamon for the next morning’s breakfast!

sifting almonds

Now I was ready to adapt Detoxinista’s frosted almond sugar cookie recipe into Almond Lemon Jots.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, softened (or use butter instead)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 – 2 tsp. lemon zest (I say the more the better!)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Frosting: 2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
 Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie ingredients

    lemon cookie dough - zest

    I doubled the recipe, so I used a LOT of zest.

  3. Drop by Tablespoon-ful onto a baking sheet, lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  4. Bake for about 8 minutes at 350F, or until the edges turn golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For the frosting, cream together the coconut oil, honey, lemon zest and salt, until well combined. If the coconut oil starts to melt (it melts at temperatures above 76 degrees), briefly place the mixture in the fridge to help it set.
  7. Frost the cooled cookies, and let them set in the fridge for a more solid-frosting.lemon cookies lemon cookies - done
  I really like these cookies, and both my boys young and young at heart love these cookies.  The original recipe states you can also chill the dough and then cut out shapes by smushing out a bit on the silpat/ parchment and using a cookie cutter.  I’m afraid I don’t have time for pretty this year… I’m so glad to have time for yummy!
We hope you are enjoying this phase of the holidays.  It can be so overwhelming and so hard to stick with dietary goals.  Just remember, every meal and every snack offers another chance to make healthy choices.  Don’t beat yourself up over the slips.  Remember the Baby Steps and which we’ll be getting back to very soon.  Happy Holidays!