Why not give a gift of love, and treat your family and friends to a sweet treat that won’t break the calorie bank at the same time. A few simple ingredient swaps can make a big difference in the nutritional value of your baked goods and holiday desserts, and I assure you, your family and friends will never taste the difference.
Let’s start with these tasty tips . . .
1. Buy whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour, or even whole wheat flour. You’ll retain the whole grains, but the texture is as light as refined white flour.
2. Replace half the fat with unsweetened applesauce, or pureed baby foods like plums and bananas. This works well in oatmeal cookies where a hint of fruit is appealing.
3. Cut the sugar by 1/4 cup, or replace it with honey or 100% maple syrup, as long as the recipe will allow for the swap and still come up with the same texture.
4. Look for chocolate chips with as much cocoa as you can get. Ideally, 70% or more is best, but that’s hard to find in a chip, and often very expensive. Check this list from Cook’s Illustrated for their recommendations. Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips was a clear winner, and affordable.
5. Add heart healthy nuts whenever possible. Walnuts and almonds work well in almost any cookie or bar recipe.
That’s completes my list of go to ingredients. If you’re wondering what’s on my holiday gift giving list, take a peek . . .
If blueberries don’t make your mouth water, you could replace the blueberries with heart healthy chopped walnuts. Just be careful with the quantity as walnuts are nutritious, but calorie dense.
It’s not often you’ll find someone who doesn’t love peanut butter. This simple five ingredient cookie will please the gluten free eater on your list, not to mention everyone else too.
Chewy Apple and Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
This cookie recipe was originally a breakfast cookie for my nephew, but I’m an oatmeal cookie fanatic from way back, so during the holidays, I make a smaller version of these cookies and replace the raisins with Craisins for a festive look.
Snickerdoodle are classic, and this recipe from my Dr. Cookie cookbook lightens the calories so I can have two! Just kidding. Still this is a terrific Snickerdoodle recipe. I think I’ll dip mine in colored sugar this year. Wouldn’t that be pretty? Red and green would be perfect!
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts
If I’m going to pack chocolate chip cookies into a box, it’s going to have bits of dark chocolate and crunchy walnuts. Why not pack some healthy antioxidants and good fats into the box too!
There isn’t a recipe from Eating Well that I wouldn’t recommend, and these sweet apricot bars top my list of favorite treats. Make a few batches and swap out the apricot preserves with raspberry or strawberry. Fantastic!
Please see disclaimer for further details. Nutrition information is compiled with MacGourmet. If you find discrepancies, please let me know. It’s important to me that I provide you with accurate information.