Christmas Gift #4: Healthy Holiday Spice Cookies

If I think about my other grandmother and her traditions during holidays, I have to remember her rolled sugar cookies.  We would make these for Halloween, Christmas, and Easter using her tin cookie cutters as well as the newfangled tupperware ones.  Her rolled cookies were always perfect.

I have tried many times to duplicate her cookies and every time I get frustrated.   The cookie dough tears, sticks to everything, or falls apart.   I have not been successful.   Last week, our local paper featured a recipe for a healthy rolled cookie.   I wanted to try them for my “Gifts from the Kitchen” posts.   As I read through the recipe (yes, I actually did this), I found the great tip of rolling the dough between two sheets of wax paper and then freezing the dough until firm.

And, since I have been lax lately, this recipe also satisfy any Sweet Potato-Palooza fans that might be still out there.

Healthy Holiday Spice Cookies

2 T.  butter, softened
2 T.  raw sugar
3 packets stevia sweetener powder
1/4 t.  baking powder
1/8 t.  nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch of ground cardamom
2 T.  pureed cooked, peeled sweet potato
1 egg white (Save egg yolk and throw it in with the morning’s scrambled eggs.)
2 t. pure vanilla extract, divided
1/2 c.  whole-wheat pastry flour
1 T.  flax seed meal
2 T. Neufchâtel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon pad.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, 2 packets of stevia, the baking powder, and spices. Mix until well combined. Add the sweet potato, egg white and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.  Then mix until combined. Beat in the flour and flax seed meal.

Shape the dough into a round, flat disk. Place the disk between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Place the dough on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is very firm.

Remove the dough from the freezer and peel off the top sheet of paper. Use 2 1/2- to 3-inch cookie cutters to cut out 12 cookies. If necessary, place the dough back in the freezer after making the cutouts. This will help the dough firm back up, making it easier to transfer the cutouts from the paper to the prepared baking sheet.

Place the cookies on the lined cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the tops are just dry and edges are just starting to brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

For frosting, combine the cream cheese, the remaining packet of stevia and the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla in a small bowl.   Whisk until smooth. Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a small open tip (or Ziploc bag with a corner snipped out).  Decorate the cooled cookies with the icing.

This is based on a recipe by Rocco DiSpirito.   According to Rocco, these cookies have the following nutritional information per cookie (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 53 calories; 2 g fat (37 percent calories from fat) (1 g saturated); 5 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 45 mg sodium.  The only changes I made to the recipe was to add the cardamom and swap out the fat-free cream cheese for the third-less fat variety, so these numbers should be close.

Well, to be honest, these cookies taste healthy.   The cream cheese added a lot, although my decorating leads a lot to be desired.   Your health conscious friends might like these.   I, however, will probably just try to eat unhealthy cookies in moderation.  (Just being honest here.)

Healthy, yes. Tasty, sort of. Beautiful, not so much due to my technique.

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For even more ideas, check out last year’s posts:  Twelve Days of Christmas Treats.

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