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Happy National Sugar Cookie Day!

Whether you are in the crispy, thin sugar cookie camp, or the cake-like, chewy, sugar cookie camp, they are certainly worthy to enjoying. But what if you wanted to make your favorite recipe just a little bit healthier? Have no fear! Here are several tips to get you started in the right direction or scroll down for a foolproof recipe.

Use unbleached white flour

Not all white flours are the same. If you use unbleached white flour, you will be using flour that is simply refined — rather than using flour that has gone through a chemical bath. I don’t know about you, but the fewer chemicals in my food, the better. Alloxan is a by-product in bleached flour that is highly toxic and is linked to diabetes in animal studies. One brand of unbleached white flour I like to use is Bob’s Red Mill unbleached white flour.

Of course, you can always substitute some of the flour with whole wheat flour as well. My preference is to use sprouted whole wheat flour, but I have to special order it online. Using some almond or coconut flour is also a delicious, protein-rich addition to your cookies.

 Use better sugar

Admittedly, sugar is sugar. However, like the situation with white flour, some sugars are much more refined than others. I also avoid genetically modified (GM) foods, which means I buy organic sugar as sugar beets can be GM. Rapadura or sucanat are the most simply processed, as they are only boiled down to remove the water content. They both have a strong flavor. For a more neutral flavor, evaporated cane juice still retains some trace minerals, and is certainly much less processed than typical white sugar.

Use organic butter 

If you want the best cookies ever, try making your cookies with pastured butter (butter from cows who graze on grass). Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods carry Kerrygold butter, which fits the bill. Make cookies or pie crust with this delicious butter and it makes them instantly taste richer and better (as well as healthier for you!). Pastured butter is a good source of a lesser known vitamin, K2, which is important for bone health.

Option number two would be to use organic butter, which allows you to avoid the high amount of concentrated pesticides found in nonorganic butter. I also sometimes use coconut oil, which is delicious, but is a little trickier to use as a substitution. However, it makes a great vegan substitution, so keep that in mind for vegan guests!

Frosting

Frosting can be one of the most delicious things in the world … or one of the grossest. Using a simple buttercream with basic ingredients is delicious as well as better for you. (Go read the ingredient list on the frosting tubs in the store sometime for a real scare!) You can buy natural dyes at health food stores for making different colors and even organic sprinkles for decorating!

The perfect sugar cookie should be fluffy, buttery, and so delicious it makes you want to polish off the entire batch in a single sitting. This recipe fulfills all of the above requirements… and yet these cookies are whole-grain, lower in sugar, and cholesterol-free at the same time.

Yes, healthy sugar cookies!

Healthy Sugar Cookies!

  • 3/4 cup ww pastry flour (or ap flour, or Arrowhead Mills gf mix)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (just under level)
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup white sugar, or sucanat, coconut sugar, or evaporated cane juice, or xylitol for a sugar-free version
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons milk of choice (or almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter sub, such as Earth Balance (or coconut oil)

Combine dry ingredients and mix very, very well. In a separate bowl, melt the vegan butter, and then stir in vanilla and milk. Pour dry into wet and mix again. Form balls or roll out (not too thin), then use a cookie cutter to make shapes. If you want soft cookies, you’ll need to get the dough very cold. (So roll the balls first, then fridge until cold.)  Cook in a 325F preheated oven for 9 minutes. They will look very underdone when you take them out, but that’s ok! Just let them cool for 5 minutes before touching.

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