Healthier Holiday Cookie Recipes

Holiday baking is one of the joys of the season. Make cookies and gingerbread that are delicious, but a little bit lower in sugar and fat.

| December/January 1992

Forget the granola bars; you can have your cake and eat it too.  

Holiday cookies are frequently rich in fat, cholesterol, and sugar, and are poor in nutrition. While it can be tricky to cut down on fat and sugar without creating big, soggy blobs, there are several ways that you can make cookies healthier without sacrificing taste and texture.  

There are people who are counting down to Christmas right now. Of course, they are either under the age of 14 or they've bought—and wrapped—their holiday gifts by Labor Day. Others will be frantically baking cookies on Christmas Eve, and then wrapping presents in Sunday comics (or anything else resembling wrapping paper). As a member of the latter group, I speak for all of us when I say—we too are waiting for the big day. In fact, we'll be waiting until the last possible minute.

Then there's that old weight-gaining tradition to consider. With all the last minute aerobic shopping, one would expect to lose 10 pounds or so by Christmas Eve. This never happens though; there are always those few extra pounds roaming around, waiting to suction themselves onto body parts while you're not looking. You can stall the pounds by baking cookies but not eating them (impossible), declining all rich desserts and taking up jogging. But that's not exactly celebrating, now, is it? Holidays are meant to be a time of perpetual feasting, celebrating with family and friends.

And how about those time-consuming—and frequently frustrating—holiday traditions we adhere to so dearly? Take the Christmas tree, for example, my own holiday hang-up. I must have a beautifully decorated tree in my living room or Christmas can't occur. One winter, I convinced my husband to accompany my son and me on our annual tree hunt. We dressed for the Arctic and spent hours searching through heaping piles of affordable trees... until we found it—the perfectly shaped tree, the one that would make the relatives weep.

My husband hauled the giant pine home, lugged it upstairs, and attempted to place it into the tree stand. Let me tell you, the Sequoia-size trunk would not have fit into the Jolly Green Giant’s tree stand. So my husband hauled the tree back outside for a little strenuous sawing. When we finally managed to wedge the tree into the stand, we discovered it had grown on a slant. It was now leaning to the left—at a 45° angle. No problem. Being a resourceful guy, my husband remedied the situation by tying the tree to a nearby curtain rod with a long piece of kite string to straighten it out. It made quite a nice conversation piece over the holidays. Still, my husband officially retired from the tree ritual forever—that is, of course, until next year.

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