Healthy Holiday Treats

Revamp your favorite cool-weather sweet treats with our easy tips for healthy holiday baking.

Holiday cooking ingredients

Avoid refined sugar and unhealthy processed oils by using wholesome health and flavor-boosting substitutions.

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The holiday dessert table is usually piled high with refined white flour, refined white sugar and plenty of highly processed vegetable oils. Our guide to healthier baking will show you how to replace these ingredients with wholesome versions in ways that boost both nutrition and flavor. You’ll love applesauce and pumpkin purée in muffins and cakes; mashed banana in cookies; avocados or black beans in your brownies (we promise!); ancient grains and whole grains in your cakes; and much more. 

Healthy Baking Substitutions

Replace 1 cup white flour in...

• Any baking recipe: 1 cup whole-wheat flour

• Brownies: 1 cup puréed black beans

• Cakes, cookies, sweet breads: 1 cup nut flour

• Cakes, cookies, pancakes: 1⁄3 cup coconut flour plus 1 extra egg.

Replace 1 cup sugar in...

• Any baking recipe: 1 cup unsweetened applesauce.

• Cakes, cookies, sweet breads: 1 teaspoon liquid stevia, or 2 tablespoons stevia powder plus 1⁄3 cup mashed fruit.

Replace 1 cup vegetable oil in...

• Cakes, cookies: 1 cup mashed banana

• Dark baked goods: 3⁄4 cup prunes plus 1⁄4 cup boiling water (blended)

• Brownies, chocolate cookies: 1 cup puréed avocado

• Muffins, sweet breads: 1 cup applesauce

Replace 1 cup frosting on...

• Cakes, cookies, cupcakes: 1 cup meringue

Replace chocolate chips or cocoa powder with...

• Raw cacao powder or cocoa nibs

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Emmer Pear Spiced Cupcakes Recipe
Spelt Orange Bundt Cake Recipe
No-Sugar Whipped Coconut Cream

Adapted from The Ultimate Guide to Healthier Baking by Kate Morin, from Greatist.