One of our favorite holiday traditions is cookie making. With these healthy, pregnancy-safe cookie recipes, everyone can enjoy filling up the cookie jar!
Having scoured our best holiday cookbooks, we’ve come up with seven of our all-time top recipes. Some are classic, and others are new twists on old traditions. These treats are great for holiday office parties or just for nibbling as a late-night snack. To save time during the busy festive season, all the recipes can be made ahead and frozen, so you won’t have to stress after a long day. Best of all, these versatile cookies can be customized for anyone who has food allergies. Each recipe is designed with health in mind, so those watching their nutrition can indulge guilt-free!
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine or (Vegan butter)
- 1/4 cup (non-dairy) milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp sugar for rolling
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and butter or margarine or (Vegan option).
- Cream the sugar and margarine together.
- Add the (non-dairy) milk and vanilla. Gently mix the ingredients together.
- In the same bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Combine the ingredients. The mixture may look dry at first, but do not add additional liquids. Keep mixing and it will come together to form a dough.
- On a separate plate, combine the cinnamon and additional sugar.
- Roll the dough into small individual balls. You can vary the size depending on how big you like your cookies, but 1.5″ is standard.
- Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Place your dough balls on a cookie sheet and bake for 14 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool before enjoying!
Sugar cookies are loved by kids and adults alike, and these don’t disappoint. Free from dairy and eggs, this recipe uses kitchen staples, so you won’t need to run to the store for any unusual ingredients. The recipe is highly adaptable and accommodates any kind of milk, butter or sugar that you like. It could also be made with stevia. The cookies freeze exceptionally well, so you can make a large batch and save it for your holiday gatherings. The addition of cinnamon gives these classic cookies a bit of extra holiday sparkle, too.
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done, they will look dry, but still be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, the cookies can be frosted with the icing of your choice.
Whether you’re making a gingerbread house, gingerbread men, or an entire gingerbread family, this recipe will do the trick. With cloves, nutmeg, and molasses, it will fill your kitchen with all the flavors of the season. To make it vegan, just use an egg replacement of your choice and use vegan shortening. For an added health boost, consider using coconut sugar or stevia in place of the brown sugar.
- 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- About 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- Chocolate ganache (recipe follows)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until well blended.
- In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill until dough is firm but pliable, about 30 minutes.
- Place about 1/3 cup turbinado sugar in a shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in turbinado sugar to coat. Place 1 inch apart on buttered or cooking parchment- lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Press your thumb into the center of each cookie to make a 1/2-inch-deep indentation.
- Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely (if indentations have disappeared, make them again while cookies are warm).
- Carefully fill each indentation with about 1 teaspoon chocolate ganache. Let stand until ganache is shiny and firm to the touch, about 1 hour (or chill for about 30 minutes).
Chocolate Ganache :
In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (bottom of bowl should not touch water), occasionally stir 6 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, 2 tablespoons whipping cream, 1 tablespoon corn syrup, and 1 tablespoon butter until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool until thick but not firm, about 15 minutes. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
With their gooey centers, these chocolate thumbprints have delighted Santa and holiday guests for generations. To keep these indulgent cookies as healthy as possible, use an egg replacement to cut calories and experiment with different types of sugar, stevia or xylitol as substitutes. To save time, you can make both the cookies and the chocolate filling a few days ahead and freeze them until needed.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper, set aside
- In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter.
- Mix in egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
- Stir in red food coloring. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined.
- Using a mini ice cream scoop, scoop out the dough and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. (roll the balls to make them smoother on the surface)
- Bake for 7-8 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cookies sit in the pan for 1-2 minutes and then place on a cooling rack.
- To make the cream cheese filling, cream together cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract until combined.
- Place filling in a piping bag.
- Once cookies are cooled, pipe cream cheese filling in the center of a cookie and top with another cookie.
- Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set the filling.
- Store in the fridge.
A new take on a classic cake, these elegant red velvet cookies will be the most popular item on your holiday table. To keep these healthy and safe for everyone, use natural red food coloring (available from health food stores). If making these for people with egg allergies, use an egg replacement of your choice. For cookies, using a quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce plus one teaspoon of baking powder to replace each egg generally works well. To cut down on the butter and sugar, you might wish to experiment with using your favorite lower-calorie, natural options. Some chefs find that they can leave out at least one-quarter cup of the sugar called for in a cookie recipe without affecting the taste.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups french vanilla boxed cake mix
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup sprinkles
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly disbursed.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookies from spreading too much. If you chill longer than 2 hours, make sure you roll the cookie dough into balls after the 2 hour mark. Place dough balls on a plate, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
- Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie. Remember to keep dough chilled when working in batches.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack.
This recipe combines the best of your favorite holiday cakes in an updated cookie form. To give these cookies added health benefits, use a gluten-free, vegan, or organic boxed cake mix (or better yet, make your cake batter from scratch). Be sure to use natural red and green sprinkles for that holiday twist and use dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet for extra flavonoids!
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp. orange oil
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pink, Gold and Silver Sugar Crystals
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer set on low, mix the butter, powdered sugar, orange oil, vanilla extract and orange zest together thoroughly. Add in the flour and salt and stir, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
- Place the three sugar crystals in separate bowls. Roll the cookie dough into 1″ balls using the palm of your hands. Roll each ball in sugar crystals, covering completely and place on a parchment lined sheet tray.
- Bake until the cookies are just firm to the touch, but not browned, 10 minutes or so. Let cool completely on the tray.
A modernized version of the Russian tea cake, these gold and silver glitter cookies will make a decidedly colorful addition to your festive meals. These are one of the quickest cookies to put together, so they’re ideal if you’re pressed for time. The orange oil and orange zest in them give the cookies a fragrant aroma that you can smell right out of the oven. The best way to make these as healthy as possible would be to experiment with using less butter and powdered sugar than the recipe recommends; most cookies are highly adaptable, and you likely wouldn’t notice any difference. Also, use natural sprinkles to avoid any artificial colors.
- 1/8 cup coconut oil (or sub olive or vegetable oil)
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup (or sub any other sweetener)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- one medium sized carrot, grated
- 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut
- 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup ground almonds/ almond meal
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1 cup plant based milk of choice (almond, coconut, soy)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the coconut oil in a large bowl and melt over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave (skip this step if using any other oil)
- Once melted, add all the other ingredients to the same bowl
- Mix well, adding a tiny splash more milk if it’s looking too dry
- Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and use your hands to form it into little patties
- Lay it out onto a baking tray lined with greased baking paper
- Repeat until the rest of the batter is used up – you should be able to make 16 cookies
- Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes until golden brown
- Leave to cool completely
We couldn’t leave without sharing one last recipe, and we’ve saved the best for last! One of the most naturally healthy cookie recipes on our list, these carrot cake cookies give you all the goodness of carrot cake in one gluten-free, vegan bite. Not much is needed to give these a healthy boost; just experiment with different types of milk and nuts, and you can eliminate the desiccated coconut (and possibly the oil) if desired. These cookies freeze well, so make them ahead for all your seasonal events.
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