Healthy Holiday Cookies
Food is an important part of almost any holiday celebration! But for people with IBS, these foods can lead to discomfort. However, with more awareness of the culprit foods, a modification of portion sizes and a few resources such as a collection of tried and true recipes like these low fodmap holiday cookies can add to more joy during the holiday festivities!
Making Low Fodmap Baked Goods
With a few modifications, recipes can be made more GI friendly with the type of fruits, vegetables and flours used along with amount and type of nuts used. I have included some tips for low fodmap baking and links to resources below.
How do you make a healthy holiday dessert?
Here are some additional ideas to make holiday desserts a little healthier in general. My definition of a healthier dessert is including more whole food ingredients instead of relying on just processed foods. Adding fruits and vegetables adds lots of color, flavor and nutrients. For example, blueberries and pumpkin in the cookie recipes below. Or adding carrots in a carrot cake.
Nuts also can increase the nutritional value in a holiday dessert but it is important to make sure that everyone can eat them. Make sure that no one eating the nuts has an allergy to them. Many nuts are high in fodmaps so if you are sensitive to them, you might want to reduce the portion or choose a lower fodmap nut.
Processed sugar and even natural sugars can be anti-inflammatory but eating a small amount during the holidays along with higher nutrient foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains can help them be a part of the celebration. In other words, balance, moderation, and variety is the key!
Dark chocolate is rich in beneficial antioxidants like polyphenols. Some people with IBS may be sensitive to an excessive amount of chocolate because of the fructans (and the lactose if it is milk chocolate). But, spacing out the portions and enjoying it along with other lower fodmap foods can help keep someone symptom-free.
Whole-grain flours rather than processed flours can add an additional nutritional boost and fiber to recipes. However, when used in baking these flours can make a product heavier and can affect the texture. Small amounts may be successfully added to recipes without considerable notice but this probably needs a little experimentation before taking it on for a special holiday recipe.
Modifications to Traditional Family Recipes
Many recipes made during the holidays are handed down from generations and are only made seasonally. Traditional family recipes may be best not altered unless it is crucial for someone’s health (for instance substituting gluten-free flour for someone who is intolerant to gluten). Above all, portion sizes are the key for spacing out the joy and not eating too much at one time.
Low Fodmap Baking Tips
Two baking blend mixes that I have used in dessert recipes have a few whole grains included in them. King Arthur Gluten-free Flour includes white rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free 1 to 1 Baking Flour contains sweet rice, brown rice, potato starch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour and xantham gum.
There are other brands out there also and as I mentioned when you get a chance to experiment, you may actually come up with your own baking blend that would be great foo. I have tasted several delicious desserts that have included garbanzo bean flour but have not really experimented with it.
Healthy Holiday Treat Recipes
Here are my two new cookies recipes to add to your low fodmap and gluten-free list. I have included some additional cookie recipes at the end of this post.
Holiday Cookies Fodmap Blueberry Lemon Cookie
The lemon and blueberries together give these cookies a refreshing sweet and tart flavor. And the blueberry juice mixed into the icing provides the cookies a beautiful color. I think these cookies are especially beautiful made into a snowflake shape.
2 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup dried blueberries (I used Stone Ridge Orchards Dried Blueberries)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon blueberry juice (made from approximately 1/3 cup thawed frozen blueberries that have been smashed and strained)
Small amount of lemon juice around 1 tsp
To make glaze mix the sugar, blueberry and lemon juice. Adjust to get the consistency that you want.
Directions for cookies:
In a large bowl, mix gluten-free flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and butter well. Add eggs and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Stir well. Chill cookie dough at least one hour.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured piece of wax paper (gluten-free of course), carefully roll out and cut cookies. Add to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake approximately 10 minutes. Take off carefully from the cookie sheet and onto a baking rack.
To decorate cookies drizzle with glaze and use grated coconut and dried blueberries
Low Fodmap Pumpkin Pecan Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Glaze
The pumpkin in these cookies makes them very moist. I love the combination of cinnamon and maple syrup also.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (see my notes on ingredients above)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon softened butter
A touch of maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.
To make glaze add powdered sugar, butter and a toast of maple syrup and cinnamon. Make to the consistency desired.
Pecans to decorate the top of glazed cookies
To make cookies:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon). In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and blend it into the sugar/butter mixture. Slowly add sugar mixture with the dry ingredients.
Lightly grease the cookie sheet and drop about 2 teaspoons of batter two inches apart and bake approximately 13 minutes. While the cookies are baking, make maple cinnamon glaze.
Carefully take cookies off of the sheet and place them on a cooling rack. After cookies are cooled, Drizzle the cookies with glaze and top with a pecan cookie if desired.
Other Low Fodmap Cookie Recipes
Here are some delicious dessert ideas from some of my favorite nutrition blogs that are low in fodmap also.
I love making and decorating sugar cookies with my grandchildren. If you are looking for a classic sugar cookie recipe that is also low in fodmaps, check out Patsy Castos’ classic sugar cookie from her blog IBS-Free At Last:
Holiday time means getting your chocolate fix. Try these decadent chocolate cookies from Kate Scarlata’s For a Digestive Peace of Mind Blog:
And here are lots of holiday treats from E.a. Stewart’s Spicy RD Nutrition:
And if you love a raspberry bar that has a delicate, buttery crust-you might want these from my Vine Ripe Nutrition blog and I also included a few low fodmap baking tips.
Here are a few more tips on baking for the holidays plus a recipe for a cranberry coffee cake.
In short, if you are looking for a great cookie without gluten and that are low in fodmaps, these new low fodmap holiday cookies will be some yummy options! They are so delicious that your family members and friends will love them as much as you so there is no need to make a different batch for everyone.
But, don’t feel that you have to wait for the holiday season to make them! Have a warm and meaningful holiday and I look forward to sharing more recipes and healthy living tips with you in 2020!