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Low- or No-Sugar Holiday Treats

food recipes

Low- or No-Sugar Holiday Treats

Baklava Cookie Cups

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp orange zest
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup honey
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

filling and syrup:
½ cup pistachios, chopped
½ cup honey
3 Tbsp water
2 tsp orange juice
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick

Heat oven to 350° F and grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, orange zest, cardamom and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and honey for about 1-2 minutes. (The mix will look a little curdled at this point and that’s fine; scrape down the sides.) Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. Mix in the flour in two parts. Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven; let sit for about 3-4 minutes before using a dowel to carefully press down in the center of each cookie to make a well. Let the cookies cool for about 15 minutes in the tin before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. In a small saucepan over medium heat, prepare the syrup by combining the honey, water, orange juice, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Drizzle a small amount in the bottom of each cookie cup and then fill with the chopped pistachios. Drizzle more syrup on top of the filled cookie cups. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Courtesy of the National Honey Board. For more information, visit Honey.com.

Baked Apples

4 large Granny Smith baking apples
Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup chopped pecans or another nut
of choice
¼ cup raisins or another dried fruit of choice
1 tsp butter
¾ cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 375° F. Wash apples. Using an apple corer, remove cores and leave ½ inch of the bottom of each apple. (If using a paring knife, just cut the center core out fully.) Make the hole ¾-inch wide, and remove the seeds using a spoon. Place the cored apples in an 8-inch-by 8-inch baking dish.

Sprinkle lemon juice over apples to prevent browning. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, chopped nuts and raisins or another dried fruit. Stuff each apple with the filling mixture. Top with a dot of butter (about ½ to ¾ tsp per apple). Add boiling water to baking pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until tender, but not mushy. Remove baked apples from the oven, and baste apples several times with the juice from the pan. (Apples can be baked in a muffin tin. Place muffin liners into the muffin tins, and place cored apples inside.)

Chef’s Note: Personalize the baked apples with seasonal fillings and spices, such as nutmeg, cardamom or pumpkin pie spice. For a twist, try a savory, fresh herb like rosemary or thyme.

Courtesy of Wellness in the Schools. For more information, visit WellnessInTheSchools.org.

A Dietician’s Healthy Dark Chocolate Bark

This dark chocolate bark recipe is holiday-themed with red, white and green toppings. Other topping options include almonds, dried fruit, sunflower, pumpkin or hemp seeds or granola.
6 oz dark chocolate
¼ cup raw pistachios
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp shredded coconut


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Create a double boiler by placing a saucepan filled with a few inches of water and topped with a glass bowl over medium heat. Bring the water to a boil. Add two thirds of the chocolate and let melt, stirring until smooth. Take off the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate.
Pour melted chocolate onto the prepared baking tray. Spread to ⅛-inch thickness. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle with dried cranberries, chopped pistachios and shredded coconut. To set, place tray in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes or in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Break the bark into pieces and serve. Store extra pieces at room temperature in an airtight container.

Courtesy of Jessica Bippen, MS, RD. For more information, visit HUMNutrition.com/blog.

Honey Lavender Cookies

This recipe was developed after lavender was accidentally weeded from the garden. These cookies are made with honey and whole-wheat flour.

yield: about 24 cookies

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup honey
1 egg
1 Tbsp lavender flowers
2 cups whole-wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat honey, egg and lavender into the creamed butter until incorporated.
Stir flour, ½ cup at a time, into butter mixture until blended. Drop spoonful of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven until cookies are browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes.

Courtesy of Sue B. For more information, visit AllRecipes.com.

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