At my cookie swap I'm going to ask all my friends to:
1. Make two dozen cookies. (When we swap, we leave with as many cookies as we came with-just different kinds!)
2. Bring a bottle of wine (it is a party, after all).
3. Fill a container to bring home their share of cookies at the end of the night.
4. Make cookies with a healthy twist (such as low-fat versions or recipes made with whole-grain flour, healthy nuts, etc.).
Since baking a healthy cookie may be a challenging idea for some of my friends, I'll direct them to EatingWell's healthy holiday cookie collection, which includes more than 30 prize-winning recipes from our annual holiday cookie contest. Some of my favorite cookies-like triple-chocolate Lava Rocks-are among these recipes.
Here are more of my favorite healthy holiday cookie recipes:
Pineapple Coconut Bites-a taste of the tropics in a bite-size treat.
One Nutty Date-an extraordinary peanut butter cookie spiked with dates.
Date Bran Jingle Balls-a healthful combination of dates and whole grains.
Raspberry-Chocolate Thumbprints-versatile and decadent, yet packed with ingredients (oats, almonds, fruit and chocolate) that have healthful benefits. Make-ahead tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
1 cup whole almonds
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (see Ingredient note, below)
1/2 cup oat flour (see Ingredient note, below)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup light oil, such as safflower or canola
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips, preferably bittersweet
2 tablespoons raspberry preserves
1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
2. Process almonds in a blender in 2 batches until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and add whole-wheat flour, oat flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk oil, maple syrup, apple juice, almond and vanilla extracts in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir to combine. Use your hands to knead the dough together; add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional apple juice if the mixture is too crumbly.
3. Form level tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Gently flatten each ball into a disk, then make an indentation in the center using your thumb or a small spoon. Place a few chocolate chips in each indentation, then cover with 1/4 teaspoon preserves.
4. Bake the cookies, one batch at a time, until golden around the edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per cookie: 128 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 71 mg sodium; 26 mg potassium.
- Whole-wheat pastry flour is milled from soft wheat. It contains less gluten than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure a tender result in delicate baked goods while providing the nutritional benefits of whole grains.
- Oat flour, made from finely milled whole oats, is a good source of dietary fiber and whole grains. It can replace a portion of all-purpose flour in many baking recipes and adds an oat flavor and texture.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
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