These Healthier Sugar Cookies make a delicious and healthy treat to share with your loved ones on Valentine’s Day or anytime your heart desires!
With Valentine’s Day quickly coming up I decided to spend some time baking something special for the kids. But with all the sweets we consumed over the holidays, I wanted to give them a treat that would be appealing and delicious as well as healthier. So I set out to adapt my favourite sugar cookie recipe into a healthier sugar cookie by substituting some of the ingredients with healthier ones and reducing others.
A couple of things I do when I’m looking to bake healthier is to replace some or all of the all-purpose flour. My preferred choices are whole wheat pastry flour and quinoa flour. I like the way quinoa flour works in baked goods. Then I look at the amount of sugar and see how much I can reduce without it having a huge effect on the flavour and tenderness of my baked goods. Of course, this all depends on what you’re baking as it is different for cookies and cakes. For instance, I find it much easier to use honey or maple syrup to replace some of the sugar in cakes and muffins than I do in cookies. The liquid to dry ingredients ratio works differently for those two types of sweets. Although granulated sugar isn’t a healthy ingredient, I think using a small quantity in what is, after all a treat, is justified. However, if you don’t want to use refined sugar in your cookies, you could try coconut sugar. I haven’t tried it myself, but I have a feeling it would work well with these healthier sugar cookies.
This sugar cookie dough comes together quickly and easily. It’s also very easy to work with, just a half hour in the refrigerator was all it took to get these cookies firm enough to roll and cut into shapes without any difficulty. If you happen to leave the dough in the refrigerator for much longer and find the dough hard to roll out, just let it sit for a bit and try again in a few minutes. As you can see in the pictures, these healthier sugar cookies maintain their shape beautifully.
These cookies can be iced if you like but I find the chocolate chips add visual appeal as well as an extra touch of sweetness and therefore makes the icing unnecessary. If you try this recipe I hope you’ll find that it’s still possible to bake healthier cut-out sugar cookies that still taste delicious! If you have kids, why not get them to join you in the kitchen and help you bake these cookies. My kids always have so much fun cutting out the shapes.
Healthier Sugar Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup quinoa flour or all-purpose flour*
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Add the sugar and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes more, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once or twice.
Add the egg and vanilla, beat well. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl.
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk until blended. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add the mini chocolate chips and beat until they're just mixed in the cookie dough.
Remove the dough and shape into 2 disks about an inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour and up to 2 days maximum.**
Once the dough is chilled, remove one disk from the refrigerator. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 350°F. Line two sheet pans with nonstick baking liners (silpat) or parchment paper.
Dust your surface with a little bit of flour, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
With cookie cutter, cut as many shapes as you can, place cookies on the baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and cut out more cookies. Repeat until all the dough is used.
Bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through the baking time. Bake until cookies look set and are slightly golden underneath.
Let cookies rest on baking sheet for a few minutes and remove to rack to cool completely.
*If you don't have any quinoa flour and don't care for it, you can use all-purpose flour.
**If the dough is refrigerated for much longer than 1/2 hour, and is hard to roll out, let the dough sit on the counter for a bit.