Christmas Cookies for Santa - Grain-free, Paleo, Low-Carb, Vegan

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Yummy cut-out cookies that are grain-free, gluten-free, Paleo, low-sugar, low-carb and vegan! Made with coconut cream frosting.
 
 
One of my fondest holiday memories from my childhood is the years we left Christmas cookies out for Santa. Since I enjoyed it so much, I've made it a tradition to make Christmas cookies with my kids on Christmas Eve and put a plate out for Santa. They enjoy every part of it, from licking the beaters after we make the frosting, to decorating the cookies, to preparing the plate for Santa, to seeing nothing but crumbs the next morning. It's just so fun!

The past couple of years, I've used a gluten-free and vegan Christmas cookie recipe that tastes great, but it uses a combination of gluten-free flours and more sugar than I use any other time of year. As much as I've enjoyed the recipe, it was time for a different one.


Made from almond flour, these cookies are grain-free, Paleo / Primal, vegan, and extra nutritous!I wanted a cookie recipe that used almond flour so they would be low-carb and as nutrient dense as a cookie could be. I also wanted a frosting recipe that cut way back on the sugar. I found a couple of recipes that inspired me. In fact, the recipes were so good that I just sort of merged the two! I ended up using a combination of this Paleo sugar cookie recipe from Jake's Gluten-free Market and this grain-free cut-out cookie recipe from Powerhungry.com. It resulted in cookies that kept their shape, are perfectly tender and crisp, and absolutely delicious!

To make these wonderful cookies I used Honeyville almond flour that I bought at Costco for around $15 to $18. Costco typically has one or two brands of almond flour in stock for this price, but it's not the only place you can buy almond flour at a reasonable price! Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage sells a large bag of almond flour in the refrigerated bulk section for around $20, and you can find almond flour on Amazon. Just be sure to buy almond flour that is fine ground and made with blanched almonds for the best results!


Of course, once I baked wonderful cookies I had to figure out how to make the perfect frosting! In the past, I've used either traditional icing made from lots of powdered sugar and a little (non-dairy) milk or traditional buttercream frosting, which is also made with a lot of powdered sugar. But neither of those would do because I was on a mission to make frosting with less sugar! Enter Camilla's recipe for coconut cream frosting from Powerhungry.com. I admit, I had my doubts. After all, I didn't want my Christmas cookies to taste like coconut. But I was surprised how good this frosting tasted when I followed the recipe, and even more surprised after I made a few tweaks!

I didn't want to have to refrigerate the frosting to thicken it up, so instead I added arrowroot and just a tiny bit of xanthan gum. I also added just a little bit of almond flavoring. You have to be careful with almond flavoring because it is so powerful, but in this case, a little is magical! It covers up the slight coconut flavor that the frosting had and compliments the flavor of the almond flour cookies perfectly. And the frosting set up well. Woo hoo!

Delicious cut-out cookies that are gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo / Primal, low-sugar, low-carb and vegan!

So there you have it: my new Christmas cut-out cookie recipe that has a lot  more nutrients and a lot less sugar than frosted sugar cookies typically have. In fact, since all I use is a little bit of honey to sweeten both the cookies and frosting, I'd consider these cookies low-sugar and low-carb! Don't forget, these Christmas cut-out cookies are also grain-free, gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, and they can be made vegan. If you think these cookies sound healthy, you are right. Eat up, Santa!

Made from almond flour with coconut cream frosting, these cutout cookies are gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo / Primal, and can be made vegan. They're also low-carb since they're made with just a little honey instead of sugar!

Christmas Cut-Out Cookies

Gluten-free | Grain-free | Vegan | Paleo | Primal | Low-Sugar | Low-Carb

Makes about 18 medium-large cookies

Ingredients:

- 2 cups almond flour
-   ¼ cup softened butter (Spectrum brand butter-flavored shortening if vegan)
-   ¼ cup honey
-   ½ tsp baking soda
-   ½ tsp salt
-   ½ tsp vanilla extract
-   ¼ tsp almond flavoring

Directions:


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.


Wisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, wisk together the honey, vanilla and almond flavoring. Add the butter and wet ingredients to the dry and mix together with a sturdy spoon. If your butter is soft enough, you may be able to mix the dough thoroughly with the spoon. If your butter is not soft enough to mix easily, you may need to lose the spoon and use your hands to break up and knead the remaining butter. When you are done, you will have a ball of dough that you can wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

After the dough has refrigerated for 1-2 hours, remove from plastic and roll out between two pieces of parchment paper until about ¼ inch thick. Use a wet cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Remove the excess dough from around the shape, put your hand under the parchment paper and gently push up to remove the cookie from the parchment paper. Put the cookies on the parchment paper at least 1 inch apart.


Bake for about 9 minutes, being careful not to let the edges or bottoms turn brown (even slightly burned almond flour can taste bitter). Let cool before removing from the pan or frosting.
 

Coconut Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

-  ½ cup coconut cream
-  2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
-  1 Tbsp non-alcoholic vanilla flavoring (not vanilla extract)
-   ¼ tsp almond flavoring
-  1/8 tsp xanthan gum, if needed


Directions:

Scoop the solidified coconut cream off the top of a can of coconut milk (it will leave clear coconut oil in the can). Put it in a bowl with the arrowroot powder and vanilla flavoring and wisk until smooth.

Let the frosting sit while the cookies cook and cool so that it can thicken. If it is still too runny, 1/8 tsp xanthan gum can be added. Let it sit for another hour after adding xanthan gum so the frosting can thicken up.

Frost the cookies and immediately add decorations, if desired.
 
Healthy cut-out cookies that are made from almond flour with coconut cream frosting! Grain-free, gluten-free, Paleo / Primal, low-sugar and low-carb and can be made vegan.

I hope you enjoy making these Christmas cut-out cookies with your kids! My kids taste-tested these and devoured them. Hopefully your kids - and Santa - enjoy them as much as my family did!


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