Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No-Sugar Christmas Cookies

So my husband has been all about the holidays this year: excessive decorating, Christmas music 24-7, asking me to make the house smell Christmassy… and of course, wanting some Christmas cookies.  He’s probably making up for the fact that he spent last Christmas in a very depressing desert in the middle east.  And you can't let down a man who spent last Christmas in the desert right?

I can’t really blame him and I’ve been enjoying the festive spirit around the house.  But up until now, I haven’t really been pulling my weight in the baking department.  It’s not that I don’t want some yummy Christmas treats, but I’ve been busy with so many other things!  I couldn't put this off any longer though.  We needed cookies!!

Today I decided to correct this terrible problem and fill the house with the magical scent of Christmas cookies!  Christmas cookies that everyone can eat, that is.  I asked Andy what kind of Christmas cookies he would like me to make and of course he asked for sugar cookies. “Can you make them healthy?” he asked.  Um, sure, no problem…

But I totally did.  These puppies are gluten free, dairy free and are sweetened only with honey.  Wanna know something else?  They taste just like traditional sugar cookies!  I was worried they wouldn't be right- that they would taste off, or stick to the cookie cutters or fall apart after cooking.  All of that worry for nothing- they were awesome!  The only thing missing now is some healthy-ish icing to top them.  I'll be sharing the icing recipe tomorrow so check back in! (Update: you can checkout the icing recipe here.)

No-Sugar Christmas Cookies

4 cups almond flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup palm shortening (Spectrum is non-hydrogenated and organic)
½ cup honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, combine shortening and honey.

Beat well, then add the egg and vanilla and beat again.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed so your batter is totally mixed

Slowly add flour mixture while mixer is running.

Scrape down sides and form a ball, chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 375.
Divide dough into two balls and place one on a piece of parchment paper and flatten with your hands.

Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll dough to about ¼ inch thickness.

Remove top sheet of parchment.  Your dough should not stick- if it does you'll need to add more flour.

Cut out your shapes, leaving plenty of room between each one.  Your cookies will expand during baking and you don't want them to join!

Remove surrounding dough using your fingers or a knife.  The colder the dough, the easier this is.

Slide your cookie filled parchment paper onto a baking sheet and slide on into the oven.

Bake for 7-9 minutes until edges are brown.

Repeat process with remaining dough.  You'll want to re-chill the dough you pull up off of the parchment before rolling again.  I found the freezer helpful for these mini-chill sessions.

For a crispier cookie, allow edges to brown more, cooking for about 9-10 minutes.  For a chewier cookie, cook for only 6-8 minutes.

These didn't even get iced today but they were a huge hit.  I didn't have to feel bad about the kids having seconds (ok, thirds) since they were packed with protein and healthy fats!

Recipe adapted from this traditional sugar cookie recipe


  1. Your recipe looks great! I love to make cookies out of almond flour.

    1. thanks Katy, I love almond flour for just about anything baked!

  2. Featuring you recipe this week on AFW! Thank you!

  3. Laura, this looks wonderful! Do you think I could replace the shortening with coconut oil? Only because I don't have the shortening on hand and do have the oil and it seems to be the same consistency.

    Thank you so much for this recipe and the icing. I have been a grinch about cookies this year until I could find a recipe like this!


    1. Hey Melissa, I'm not sure about coconut oil- I would be worried that the dough would be too soft to work with when it gets warm. It might work though! If you aren't dairy free, you could try butter too.

  4. What kind of flour could be substituted for almond flour for those who don't eat nuts? Thanks!

    1. Katie, It's tough to replace the almond flour with anything- I'm not sure the consistency would be the same. You could try a GF flour blend but you will probably need to add a binder as well. good luck!

    2. Hmm ok. I bet quinoa flour would work. I have xanthan gum...maybe a combination of the two.