COOKIE SWAP | How I substitute healthier ingredients when baking
Every holiday season, my mom hosts a Christmas cookie swap. I get so excited for this day because I don’t often indulge in cookies throughout the year – I know that might sound crazy, but I think I ate enough chocolate chip cookies in my teen years to last a lifetime!
This year, I chose two recipes: Gingerbread and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. I used this recipe to make the gingerbread, but subbed Spelt flour for Rye flour. I already had Spelt flour in my pantry and it worked just fine. I love that these cookies are full of good fiber from the whole grain flour, iron from the molasses, good fats from coconut oil, and naturally sweet with coconut sugar and spices. Wow, they are delicious! I highly doubt they will last long in my house. In addition to the taste, the smell of warm gingerbread baking is everything I want Christmas to smell like…mmm!
My second recipe had to be an oatmeal cookie. These are Jack’s favorite, especially with white chocolate chips. To make them festive, I added red cranberries and green pumpkins seeds to the top. For this recipe, I wanted to try taking the classic recipe and substituting healthier ingredients. Here are the ingredients from the original recipe (from the carton of rolled oats) and next to some of them, the healthy substitutions I made:
8 oz butter — 8 oz Earth Balance
Earth balance is a plant-based spread that is made from non-GMO, non-hydrogenated oils. It is much lower in cholesterol compared to butter and a good source of ALA Omega-3s
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar — 3/4 cup Coconut Crystals
Coconut palm sugar, or crystals come from the nectar of the coconut tree. They retain more of the nutrients and minerals even after being processed to crystals. This sweetener is also lower on the glycemic index, so it will release energy slower and won’t spike blood sugar as much as white sugar
2 eggs — I did not sub here, but I use local, organic eggs.
There are many great substitutions for eggs in baking – applesauce, flax seed, chia seed, bananas, etc. But, when I can find local, humane eggs from a trusted source, I’m good with it.
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour — 1 1/2 cup Spelt Flour
Spelt flour is the answer if you are not crazy about whole wheat flour. It has a light taste and is easily substituted 1 to 1 with all-purpose flour. It is considered an ancient grain, or one of the first to be grown by early farmers – traced back to 5000 BC! Which some believe it means humans have had more to adapt to digesting it compared to common wheat, which is fairly new.
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups chocolate chips
During these festive times, I like to indulge more than I normally would in sugar and sweets. After having a few right out of the oven, I was bouncing off the walls! Enjoying the traditions are so important. I try not to let my healthy lifestyle keep me from letting loose! But, it’s also satisfying when I find healthy ingredient swaps that taste just as good, sometimes better 😉
Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!