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Food Matters

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Naturally Sweetened Cookies for the Holidays

By Abby Olcese


Tags: Naturally Sweetened Cookies, Holiday Baking Recipe, Healthy Sugar Alternative, Food Matters, Abby Olcese,

Cookies
Photo by iStock

Festive cut-out cookies are a staple of the holidays, and decorating them in the colors of the season is a classic family tradition. If you’re in search of a healthier alternative to refined sugar cookie recipes, try this naturally sweetened version from author Diana Bauman’s blog, My Humble Kitchen. This version uses honey instead of sugar, and can be made with whole-wheat flour or gluten-free ground oat flour. 

Soft “Sugar” Cookies 

• 3 cups unenriched, unbleached all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour or gluten-free ground oat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon salt
• 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
• 4 ounces cream cheese (we like Nancy’s Organic Cultured Cream Cheese)
• 1 cup honey
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 2 egg whites

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and both salts; set aside.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter, cream cheese and honey at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. Add lemon zest, vanilla extract and egg whites until combined, about 2 minutes.

4. In mixer, on low speed, incorporate flour mixture, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until just combined. Do not overbeat.

5. Cover dough and chill overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

7. Working 1 ⁄ 3 of the dough at a time (keep the rest chilled), roll dough onto a floured surface 1 ⁄ 8- to 1 ⁄ 4-inch-thick. Cut into shapes and place on baking sheet, 12 at a time.

8. Bake 7 to 9 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet 1 or 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. 

Honeyed Buttercream Frosting

• 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
• 1 ⁄ 4 cup honey
• 2 cups organic powdered sugar
• 2 tablespoons milk

In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream all ingredients on medium until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.