Alternative cookies (& other tasty treats) as gifts (second version)

This post was originally posted on November 16, 2010. But, I’ve had some technical issues that I can’t seem to resolve, so I decided to repost it. I hope this works! I left the original post there because some people had that link. Hopefully anyone looking finds this updated one. Happy Baking!

flourless chocolate cookies cookies, gluten-free, unprocessed  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

Flourless chocolate pecan cookies are gluten-free, easy to mix up, and (most importantly) really tasty! (recipe below)

My good friend asked, “the hubby and I make Christmas cookies as gifts, can you recommend some better alternative recipes besides the processed bleached flour and refined sugar ones I have?”

I have lots of ideas. But, I should note, most of my baking is pretty traditional. I believe butter tastes better and is better for you than margarine. Flour can be pretty flexible, and I’ve made many gluten-free things, as well as things with alternative flours just ’cause they’re tasty. One really easy thing I’d suggest is to switch to unbleached flour. It’s more natural, and has a prettier color (in my opinion) than bleached flour.

As for sugar… well, sugar, honey, molasses, anything natural is great. Stevia, although natural, is not sugar and should be used according to the recipe you have, as it’s not always a one for one substitute. However, I can’t suggest the use of fake ingredients like Splenda or Aspartame. If you want to know more about these alternative sugars, I’d suggest reading the book, Skinny Bitch.

With that, here are some suggestions for tasty alternative homemade cookies & gifts…

Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cookies
Makes about 25 cookies
These are delicious! It doesn’t matter if you follow a gluten-free diet or not, you’ll love these. And, anyone you give them to will simply adore them. They’ll work for unprocessed challenges as well. Oh, and they’re great for potlucks.

2 3/4 cups pecan halves
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large organic egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with Silpats or Parchment Paper.

Spread the pecans on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until they are golden and fragrant, about 9 minutes. Let cool slightly, then finely chop the pecans.

In a large bowl, whisk the powdered sugar with the cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in the chopped nuts. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (be careful not to overbeat or it will stiffen). Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds by rounded tablespoons.

Bake the cookies for about 18-20 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are glossy and lightly cracked and feel firm to the touch; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks to cool completely before serving.

Make Ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Holiday Cookies and homemade goodies that include some with no flour (Gluten-free), some are dairy free, low-sugar, high fiber, vegan, unprocessed, and lots of healthier homemade gift options  |  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes: so good you won’t need to tell anyone that they’re vegan

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
The cake recipe is here. And the Caramel Frosting (not vegan) recipe is here.
This cake is so good that no one will guess that it’s vegan! And, everyone loves a cupcake!

Holiday Cookies and homemade goodies that include some with no flour (Gluten-free), some are dairy free, low-sugar, high fiber, vegan, unprocessed, and lots of healthier homemade gift options  |  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

Coconut Oat Cookies: full of fiber and taste

Coconut Oat Cookies
These thin crisp cookies have lots of fiber from the oats and coconut. Find the recipe here.

Holiday Cookies and homemade goodies that include some with no flour (Gluten-free), some are dairy free, low-sugar, high fiber, vegan, unprocessed, and lots of healthier homemade gift options  |  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunkers

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunkers
Makes about 24 cookies
Try adding some chopped almonds for a little more crunch. Easy to mix up, these cookies have no flour, are dairy free, low-sugar, and have lots of antioxidants from the dark chocolate.

1 cup almond butter, well stirred (this can be homemade or purchased)
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large organic egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 oz dark chocolate broken or cut into small chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix first five ingredients (almond butter through salt) until well blended. Stir in chocolate. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto a silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cook completely (about 10 minutes) on baking sheet (cookies are soft when warm, and may fall apart). Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Make Ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Chip-Oatmeal Cookies I’ve never made this low-fat variation, but I keep meaning to. It has 1/2 the fat of the original. Plus, the oatmeal is full of fiber and flavor.

King Arthur Flour’s chewy almond cookies
Chewy, flourless (gluten-free), and unleavened

Meringues
I love meringues. They’re crunchy and chewy. Soft and crisp. You can vary the stuff inside – like nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, or whatever you like. Meringues are gluten-free, super low-fat, and can have some nice fruit inside.

And, there are some non-cookie options, like…

Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Banana Bites This one might be a little difficult because it’s frozen, but it’s really tasty and people love ‘em.

Holiday Cookies and homemade goodies that include some with no flour (Gluten-free), some are dairy free, low-sugar, high fiber, vegan, unprocessed, and lots of healthier homemade gift options  |  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

Honey Roasted Pecans are roasted with a touch of salt so they aren’t too sweet

Honey Roasted Pecans
Makes 2 cups
These are simply wonderful, with a touch of salt so they aren’t too sweet

1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups pecan halves
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread pecans out on a shallow baking pan that’s been lined with a silpat. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle the honey over, then, toss to coat the pecans with the honey. Sprinkle the sugar over the top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until honey is fragrant. Stir, and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and separate pecans with two forks while they are still warm. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Holiday Cookies and homemade goodies that include some with no flour (Gluten-free), some are dairy free, low-sugar, high fiber, vegan, unprocessed, and lots of healthier homemade gift options  |  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

A pile of crisp pecans ready for snacking!

Speaking of pecans, how about some Crisp Pecans. Recipe here.

homemade herbed vinegars

jams, chutneys, and preserves

Holiday Cookies and homemade goodies that include some with no flour (Gluten-free), some are dairy free, low-sugar, high fiber, vegan, unprocessed, and lots of healthier homemade gift options  |  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

Some of the peachy color comes from the peach skins that were infused in the vodka

flavored vodka

spiced olives

Holiday Cookies and homemade goodies that include some with no flour (Gluten-free), some are dairy free, low-sugar, high fiber, vegan, unprocessed, and lots of healthier homemade gift options  |  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

This would also be great with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.

Chocolate zucchini bread or pumpkin bread or zucchini date bread

Holiday Cookies and homemade goodies that include some with no flour (Gluten-free), some are dairy free, low-sugar, high fiber, vegan, unprocessed, and lots of healthier homemade gift options  |  Life Currents http://lifecurrents.dw2.net

Vanilla scented zucchini date bread

shared at:Lifeologia

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Comments

  1. says

    This is great! My step-sister can only eat Gluten free, so I am going to give this recipe a shot! Found you via link party. Thank for sharing!

  2. says

    I love how you have made these delicious recipes healthier. I’m especially taken with the Honey Roasted Pecans and the Flourless Chocolate Pecan Cookies. What wonderful gifts all these trays would make! Thank you for sharing this post with us at the Hearth and Soul hop.

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