Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fifteen Delicious Low-Sugar or Sugar-Free Cookies to Bake for the Holidays (many are gluten-free)

Fifteen low-sugar (or sugar-free) cookies to bake for the holidays, and many are gluten-free as well!
Fifteen low-sugar (or sugar-free) cookies to bake for the holidays, and many are gluten-free as well!

In more than eight years of food blogging I've probably tried about 50 different variations for low-sugar or sugar-free cookies, and yet only 15 cookie recipes have been posted on Kalyn's Kitchen.  That might be partly due to my poor baking skills, but it's also because I feel there's not much sense in making a low-sugar or sugar-free cookie if it doesn't really taste good.  Admittedly, nothing tastes quite like real sugar, which I'm sure is why so many people have a hard time avoiding it.  But these fifteen cookies are all delicious, and all of them can be made with either Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener or Splenda (or sugar, if you don't care about the whole low-sugar thing.)  Many of the cookies are also flourless, which makes them gluten-free as well.  Of course making a cookie that's low-calorie is another matter indeed, so use portion control when indulging if you're trying to avoid holiday weight gain!

Before I start talking about specific cookies, let me talk about why some cookies are labeled "low-sugar or sugar-free" in the recipe title.  In my experiments through the years with low-sugar baking, I've learned that whether you use Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener or Splenda as your primary sweetener, substituting just a few tablespoons of real brown sugar makes a big difference in the taste.  (Some of the cookies that say "Sugar-Free" were made before I discovered that, so I might use a little bit of brown sugar if I made them now.)  If you don't feel comfortable doing that for medical or dietary reasons, just use all Stevia or Splenda for sugar-free cookies.  Depending on how indulgent I was feeling that day, some of these cookies were made with butter, but I'm guessing you can substitute coconut oil or Smart Balance in any of them if you prefer.  (If anyone tries a slightly different variation on any of the cookies, please let us know in the comments on that recipe.  And please, use either Stevia, Splenda, or sugar, depending on your personal dietary needs or preferences, but no judgements about what sweeteners other people choose to use.  Those kinds of comments will not be published.)

Low-Sugar Cookies
First up, Flourless and Low-Sugar (or Sugar-Free) Chocolate Shortbread Cookies that are also gluten-free.  These cookies use butter and almond meal so they're definitely calorie-dense, but delicious!

The only Phase One cookie of the group is these Low-Sugar Coconut Almond Macaroon Cookies.   (Even though these are phase one, you still need to limit them to only a couple if you're actively trying to lose weight.)

Whole Grain Low-Sugar (or Sugar-Free) Chocolate Cookies with Pecans are a healthy cookie made with whole wheat flour.

These Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free Triple Almond Cookies have almond butter, almond meal, and chopped almonds in the cookies.

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Ranger Cookies with Pecans, Coconut, and Chocolate are a reduced-sugar version of this famous cookie.

If I had to choose a favorite cookie, it would probably be these Flourless Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Cookies that are also gluten-free.

My first cookie success with coconut oil (instead of butter) was these Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cookies with Almonds and Coconut Oil.

These Flourless and (almost) Sugar-Free Cookies with Peanut Butter and Chocolate are also gluten-free.

Low-Sugar (or Sugar-Free) Almond Flour Snickerdoodle Cookies are also gluten-free.

This post has two versions of Sugar-Free and Flourless Chocolate Oatmeal Cluster Cookies.   Both versions are gluten-free, but the one with agave nectar is technically not 100% sugar-free.

These Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free Cookies with Almond and Flax-Seed Meal use trans-fat-free margarine instead of butter.

Low-Sugar and Whole Wheat Molasses Almond Cookies are another of my personal favorites.

Flourless and Sugar-Free Pistachio Cookies are also gluten-free.  This is a tiny cookie that's really fun for Christmas.

My most recent cookie experiment is these Low-Sugar and Flourless Chocolate Coconut Drops with Almonds, and these are gluten-free.

And finally, these Low-Sugar Cookies with Meringue and Pecans from 2006 are really good, although they could use use a new photo!

I hope those of you who are limiting your sugar at this very sugar-saturated time of year will enjoy trying one of my low-sugar or sugar-free cookie options!  And if you're a blogger who has made a successful cookie that's sugar-free or low in sugar, feel free to share those recipe links in the comments.
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  1. I think these days we all could use at least one low-sugar cookie at the holiday table. These look great!

  2. Great selection of cookie possibilities for those of us who must watch our sugar intake, especially during the holidays.

  3. Stopped by to let you know how much I've enjoyed your blog posts this year. I have a link to your blog on my sidebar.

  4. Wow, love all these cookie recipes, especially since I am trying to bake gluten-free cookies this holiday season. Great roundup Kalyn!

  5. Thanks Joanne! And so true.

    Lydia, I am hoping it can be helpful to anyone who's in that position.

    Cozy in Texas, thanks! Always appreciated. I am going to check out your blog.

    Jeanette, so glad it's helpful!

  6. Wow, look at all of these fantastic ideas! Those chocolate and oatmeal clusters caught my eye.

  7. Thanks Dara. And if you have not tried Stevia-in-the-Raw, I bet you would like it!

  8. Who says you can't have deliciousness without sugar? Not you!

  9. Thanks Donna! I must have a few cookies, don't you think?

  10. Low sugar is *so* good...I've spent ages losing my weight I don't want to gain it all again over Christmas if I can help it!

  11. Scott, I think there are plenty of people who feel just that way!


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