Most of the holiday treats you can pick up at the store are loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats and even a number of harmful toxins. Eliminate the guilt and the potential harm to your family’s health by ditching those store-bought options and making one or more of these healthy but delicious recipes instead.
These Santas are lots of fun to make and to eat. They’re sure to be a big hit with the kids, or at any holiday party. When you make them just be sure to use fresh and not frozen strawberries as when frozen strawberries thaw, they get mushy, which means mushy Santa treats. The cream cheese needs to be extra soft, which makes it easy to mix with the honey, and easy to stuff inside the Ziploc bag. If you plan to bring them to a party, it’s best to make them the night before as they’ll need to be refrigerated overnight so that they’ll hold their shape.
- 16 ounces fresh strawberries, washed
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tbsp raw unprocessed honey
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Mini-chocolate chips, to decorate
- Slice the stems off of the strawberries, aiming to cut as “flat” as you can as the strawberries are used as a base.
- Cut the top third of each strawberry to use as the hat.
- Beat the softened cream cheese, honey, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Keep in mind if the cream cheese hasn’t softened enough, it’s going to be difficult to do this.
- Place the cream cheese mixture inside of a Ziploc-type bag and cut one corner off. Make this first cut a little larger as you’ll be filling the Santa faces first.
- Top the strawberry bases with the cream cheese mixture, and then top with the strawberry hats, squeezing a bit more of the mixture on top of the hat.
- Now cut the opposite corner or the bag to make a smaller opening. This end is used to decorate the buttons on Santa’s jacket.
- Use the mini-chocolate chips as Santa’s eyes.
- Serve immediately or store them in the refrigerator for up to three days – do not freeze or you’ll end up with some sad looking Santas.
The Best Ever Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
Missing those wonderful old-fashioned gingerbread cookies because you’ve gone gluten-free? These are not only sans gluten, but your whole family is sure to love them and probably won’t even know the difference.
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 3/4 cup tapioca flour
- 3/4 tsp ginger, ground
- 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1/8 tsp cloves, ground
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 1/2 tsp 100 percent maple syrup
- 3 tbsp molasses
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the almond flour, tapioca starch, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and sea salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla to the dry ingredients, and then beat using an electric mixer until a thick dough form. Since it doesn’t contain gluten, you don’t have to worry about over-mixing.
- Place the dough in-between two sheets of parchment paper and then roll it out until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Peel the top layer of parchment off of the sheet of dough.
- Cut out the gingerbread to make them into gingerbread men shapes using a cookie cutter and place them about one-inch apart on your parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.
- Allow them to cool and then decorate with your desired toppings.
Raspberrylicious No Bake Cookies
These cookies not only taste delectable and look beautiful on your holiday table, they require just five ingredients and less than 5 minutes of prep time too.
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup raspberries, frozen
- Add oats, cashews, maple syrup and coconut oil in a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine using an electric mixer, being careful to avoid over-mixing.
- Add the raspberries and mix again, just for a few seconds. The goal is to have some pieces of raspberry that can still be seen. If they aren’t mixed in enough, use a spoon to fold them in throughout.
- Add the mixture, one heaped tablespoon at a time, to a baking tray and place them in the freezer to set for about three hours.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Pecan pie is practically a holiday staple, and these chocolate pecan bars make an ideal alternative, or addition to that decadent dessert, but they’re made without using any refined flour or sugar.
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (+ extra for greasing)
For the Topping:
- 1 cup raw pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
For the Caramel:
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup coconut cream
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine all of the main ingredients.
- Grease an 8 X 8 baking dish with coconut oil
- Press the dough into the greased baking dish and then sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans on top.
- Combine the ingredients for the caramel in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it begins to caramelize, stirring frequently.
- Pour the caramel over the pecan and chocolate chip topping.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the caramel is bubbling.
- Cool slightly before serving.
Festive Fruitcake Cookies
These fruitcake cookies are sure to please even the most avid fruitcake haters, with their light, soft, sweet texture and a subtle hint of warm cinnamon. An added touch of brandy and natural dried fruit makes them especially tasty, yet they are arguably much healthier than your traditional fruit cake recipe too.
- 2 tbsp dried apricots, diced
- 2 tbsp figs, diced
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries, diced
- 2 tbsp dried blueberries
- 6 tbsp brandy
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 tbsp grass-fed butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- In a small bowl, combine dried apricots, figs, cranberries, blueberries and brandy. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and chill for to -6 hours, or up to 24 hours
- When the fruit has absorbed the majority of the liquid, drain the brandy and lay the dried fruit on a paper towel, blotting off any excess.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, cornstarch, cinnamon and sea salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the brown sugar, breaking up any clumps along the side of the bowl. Add the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the dried fruit.
- Chill the cookie dough for at least 30 minutes.
- While it’s chilling, preheat your oven to 350°F, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 24 balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, and flatten each to about 3/4″ thick. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes.
- Cool the cookies on the pan for about 10 minutes to complete the cooking process, and then place them on wire racks.