What would Christmas be without the baking and the cookies? One of the biggest traditions around for the holidays beside decorating and shopping is eating. And, we are all too well aware of what all that good eating can do to our bodies and minds if we are not careful.

Too many sugary sweets, too many carbohydrates, and a lot of over-indulging are responsible for weight gain, lethargy, and a little after Christmas feeling of letdown, as well.

In order to avoid these feelings, it is important to stick with your great-grandmother’s recipes, but to incorporate some new healthy cookies, as well. These new recipes will resemble and duplicate those old favorite recipes, but with a lighter and softer touch.

These lighter and softer touches will make for yummy treats that are good for your heart and your health, but satisfying to your taste buds at the same time.

The Loaded-Up Macaroon

Everyone loves a macaroon. They are full of flavor and a delightful surprise in every bite. The wonderful thing about making macaroons is that you can mix and match ingredients for different flavors and textures. No matter the concoction, everyone will be surprised and delighted with the taste.

1 can(s) (14 ounce) nonfat sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon(s) almond extract
1 ½ cup(s) sliced almonds
1 ½ cup(s) coconut flakes
1/2 cup(s) dried cranberries
1/2 cup(s) chopped shelled pistachios
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt

To bake, simply preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake cookies for about 15 to 20 minutes.

To make the cookies, simply mix the condensed milk and almond extract, adding the almonds (chop them in your food processor). Add the coconut, cranberries, and pistachios.

Beat the egg whites along with salt until you have peaks forming. Fold the egg whites into the cookie mixture as you go along. Drop approximately two teaspoons of dough onto your prepared baking sheet and into the oven, they go.

Feel free to top with chocolate chips or another type of nut, as well.

Basic Light Cookie Dough

When you have a basic cookie dough recipe, the world is your oyster – or perhaps your cookie. You can always play around with the amount of sugar you use and make it according to taste.

1 cup butter (softened)
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda

This is your basic cookie dough recipe; however, you can substitute egg whites instead of eggs, you can try to use low-fat cream cheese or yogurt, you can substitute applesauce for some of the vegetable oil or butter. Instead of bakers chocolate try using cocoa powder. Since sugar substitutes are much sweeter than sugar, some experimenting is necessary. Some types of sugar substitutes do not convert well at all, so trying different things is key when using sugar substitutes.

When it comes to healthy Christmas cookies the possibilities for substituting are endless. It just takes patience, practice, and creativity and you will find yourself indulging without being indulgent.

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