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December 11, 2017 / Amy Height

Baking with Alternative Sweeteners: 8 Cookie Recipes for the Holidays

Chocolate chip cookies

Winter holidays mean endless dessert tables, treats showing up at the office and a sometimes overwhelming urge to bake. So what do you do when you’ve been cutting back on sugar until now? If you're an expert on your alternative sweeteners, a sugar hangover hardly seems worth it when you’ve gone much of the year being mindful of what you take in.

So, in the spirit of holiday giving, we present 10 cookie recipes to keep your oven busy, your table full, your taste buds happy and your guests impressed. Whether you eat them yourself or gift them in your book club’s cookie exchange, these healthy-ish treats are sure to be a big hit.

Sweetened with Erythritol

Sugar-free Gluten-free Oatmeal Cookies from Wholesome Yum

While these might look simple and unimposing, they pack a whole bunch of flavor and a lot of potential for more “advanced” cookies. The batter makes a great base recipe to add your favorite accoutrements, like cacao nibs, unsweetened cranberries, shredded coconut or raisins.

Holiday Cream Cheese Cookies from Low Carb Yum

Luscious, high-fat, no-sugar cookies perfect for frosting and decorating (if you choose), rolling out, shaping or keeping plain. You can use the dough for a variety of purposes; here, they’re cut out into little trees. The recipe calls for Sukrin:1, a brand name for erythritol, but you can swap in whatever sugar substitute you prefer.

Low-carb Hazelnut Butter Cookies from Low Carb, So Simple!

The perfect swap for shortbread, these no-carb, no-sugar, 5-ingredient cookies are buttery, flavorful and easy to whip up. Great for gifting to the person you can’t figure out what to buy and a surprisingly nutty, unique cookie alternative for the Christmas dessert spread.

Sweetened with Swerve

Low-Carb Almond Cranberry Cookies from Step Away from the Carbs

These festive nibbles are quick to throw together, baking in under 10 minutes. (Waiting for them to cool will be the hardest part.) The cranberries offer a nice colorful festive flair: just make sure you pick up unsweetened ones to keep these sugar-free compliant. The recipe is heavy on the almonds for a filling, healthy-ish skew if you need to qualify eating them. Their sweetness comes from Swerve.

Grain-free Low-carb Cranberry Pistachio Cookies from Sugar Free Mom

A little more involved than some of these other recipes but entirely worth it. These would be a great option for a holiday cookie exchange as they’re merry and bright (but won’t leave you feeling heavy and gross). They’re sweetened with Swerve, but you can swap in the sweetener you like most. They’re citrusy and fruity, but also a little savory from the pistachios.

Cranberry Bliss Bars from All Day I Dream About Food

If your sugar-free lifestyle has you missing those uber-creamy, super sweet treats from Starbucks, here’s the antidote: homemade, low-carb, sugar-free bars from ADIDAF. They’re a little spicy and a little sweet, nestled in and on a buttery, creamy cookie base. If you can’t find cocoa butter, swap in coconut oil as called for.

Sweetened with Stevia

Keto Chocolate Pecan Cookies on the Keto Diet App

Soaked nuts, coconut flour, unsweetened dark chocolate, coconut oil and eggs? Sounds like a dream come to us! These beautiful treats look a lot more difficult to make than they actually are, making them a great option to impress your guests. (Tell them these are actually pretty nourishing for an extra dose of surprise!). They’re sweetened with Stevia extract and erythritol.

Sweetened with Brown Rice Syrup

Thumbprint Cookies from I Quit Sugar

They taste as delicious as they look! Grandma’s classic holiday treats reinvented sans sugar. They’re sweetened with rice syrup and taste surprisingly sweet and indulgent, despite being sugar-free. We love the cinnamon finish and the luscious texture imparted by the coconut oil, coconut meal and almond meal.

Amy Height
Holistic Nutritionist @ From the Ground Up Wellness

Amy Height is the founder of From the Ground Up Wellness, a holistic nutrition practice where she specializes in plant-based nutrition and helping her clients combat food addiction. She completed her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she received her certification in the Health Coach Training Program. She is a triathlete and CrossFitter with a passion for all things outdoors. By night, Amy stage manages Broadway musicals and she frequently travels North America seeking out the best vegan restaurants and the best run courses. Follow her on Instagram or check out her blog for recipe and wellness ideas.

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