We’ve talked about my holiday health mentality: I absolutely believe that you should treat yourself to those special holiday treats that only come around once per year, and do so guilt-free! But I also believe that the holidays should not be an excuse to eat everything in sight “just because it’s the holiday season” or because you’ve “already ruined the day, so you might as well continue eating unhealthily.” I’m usually all about finding ways to “healthify” my foods and slip good-for-you nutrients into my recipes, and the holidays are no different.
This recipe came about when Amy from Long Drive Journey challenged her readers to incorporate any fruit or veggie into a holiday theme for her Veggie of the Month link-up. She mentioned that she hated beets, so I got to thinking of ways to incorporate beets into a holiday dish that didn’t taste like beets. Beets are one of the 5 healthiest winter fruits and veggies from the article I posted on Facebook on Friday, and I personally love eating them un-disguised, but I know some people don’t. I remember seeing several “red velvet” recipes on Pinterest that used beets instead of red food coloring, so the idea for my Healthy Chocolate Christmas Cookies was born. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually look at any of those recipes (oops!), and I must have used more cocoa powder and less beets than they did, because my version came out looking more like a regular chocolate cookie with a red tint than a true red velvet cookie. But I wouldn’t exchange the less-red look for a less-chocolatey taste, because you know I love my chocolate!
If you’re looking for a healthy, gluten-free holiday cookie to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking your health goals, this may be the one for you! They’re more cake-y than chewy, but they’re a great sweet ending to a meal or a treat when you’re sitting around a holiday fire. I promise you that you can’t taste the beets – even Kevin tried them and couldn’t tell there was a hidden veggie. If you leave the frosting on for a day or so, it actually turns pink, which makes it very pretty. Unfortunately, I took the cookies with me when I went out of town for work and didn’t snap a picture of the pink-tinted ones before they were gobbled up. Another way to make them even more holiday-like would be to sprinkle some crushed candy canes or peppermints on top … I had full intentions to do all of this for you, but time is flying faster than I can even keep track of these days!!
Healthy Chocolate Christmas Cookies
(good any time of year!)
Makes 16 small-ish cookies
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour (I’m sure you can sub other flours if you don’t need it to be gluten-free!)
- 1 Tbsp. almond flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 26g of vanilla flavored protein powder (I used 1 packet of ViShape Sweet Cream flavor, but anything similar will work!)
- 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp. xylitol (could use regular sugar or coconut palm sugar instead)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, softened
- 3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup beet puree
- 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute (or 2 small eggs)
- For frosting: 5 Tbsp. Tofutti cream cheese (or regular cream cheese), 15 drops liquid stevia, 2 Tbsp. almond milk (or regular milk)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together all dry ingredients (brown rice flour through salt).
- If you’re not using pre-made beet puree, simply dump some steamed beets (plus some water to get it to blend smoothly) into a blender or food processor, and blend away! It looks a little gruesome, but tastes great!
- Add in wet ingredients (vanilla through eggs), and stir until combined.
- Place about 2 Tbsp. worth of batter per cookie onto a baking sheet (I sprayed mine really lightly with cooking spray).
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together cream cheese, stevia, and almond milk. It would probably be even better if you mixed with a hand mixer, but as usual, I was rushing around and just stirred quickly by hand. It tasted fine, just didn’t look quite as pretty!
- When cookies cool a bit, frost cookies, and dig in!
If made according to these instructions (for 16 cookies total with frosting), each cookie will have 60 calories, 2g fat, 8g carbs, and 2g protein.
Spill It Sundays
By the way, did you notice that this is a food post, and not a 7 things post? I wanted to get you this recipe even though I didn’t get my Foodie Friday post up as planned, but I’ll still stick to another (new!) Sunday tradition by sharing a bit about myself for Arman’s Spill It Sundays! The theme this week is about Films. Here’s a secret about myself … I really don’t like movies that much. (I know!) I usually just get bored and feel like I should be doing something else – I am NOT good at sitting on the couch for 2.5 hours without multitasking or having a list of the million things I have to do pile up in my head! (I’m working on it, and Kevin will be very happy when I can just relax!!) In order to tell you some of my favorite movies, I went to the source of all personal information … Facebook. Apparently I have “liked” 26 movies, and I’ll give you a flavor for the types that are included: first, there are the “romantic” ones (like Love Actually and My Best Friend’s Wedding), then the “funny” ones (like Meet the Parents and Billy Madison), and finally, what I’ll call the “90s classics” (Forrest Gump, 10 Things I Hate About You, Can’t Hardly Wait, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, Legally Blonde, and Good Will hunting). I have no idea what that selection says about me, but feel free to judge away :).
So tell me in the comments … Do you like beets? Can you imagine eating beets in cookies? What is your favorite movie?
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the website is
WHAT??? Beets in cookies? I might just have to sneak those into the cookies I make for the hubs!
Haha! I learned my lesson on sneaking things into food with Kevin – I will never again sneak mushrooms into a dish! But if you do sneak them in, let me know :).
Mmm they look absolutely delicious! I’m not sure I can wait until Christmas, so I might try them this week 🙂
Thanks, Alexandra! Let me know if you try them!
I love beets but I have a hard time incorporating them into recipes. Easy hide the vegetable idea 🙂
Yes, it is pretty easy, Jill! Between beets, pumpkin, and zucchini, there’s always a way to sneak in some veggies 🙂
Beets in cookies…great minds think alike 😉
Oh yikes, I hadn’t even seen yours until now (you know I’m behind as usual and had skipped straight to the gingerbread granola bars which I IMMEDIATELY made tonight! But yes, great minds think alike!! Will have to try yours now! http://www.thehealthymaven.com/2013/12/healthy-peppermint-oreos.html
Great recipe – always looking for cool new things! Our baking day was definitely neither gluten-free nor healthified! 🙂
I have always loved movies, but when there is no one else home I won’t watch TV of any sort. Like sitting with Lisa and/or the boys to watch stuff. In fact, Friday night we watched The Exorcist together – Lisa and I went out for a little date night, and when we came home the boys had started watching it on Amazon Prime, so we joined in and watched it together … still an amazing movie 40 years later.
Glad you enjoyed some “real” baking, Michael! There’s definitely a time and place for that! Also glad you got a date night … not so sure I would have participated in The Exorcist “fun” – sounds a little intense for me :).
I’m not a huge movie lover either… I always fall asleep during them 🙂
Me too … that either means we’re too chronically tired, or just too child-like because we need to be doing 10 things at once :).
I have to admit- I laughed just then when I read your recipe because I remember being in awe last week after clicking on several of your pins on pinterest which had strange twists on baked goods! I love beets- In Iran they sell steamed beets on the streets- so good when its cold! I’m keen on trying these out- Although probably use a different flour!
…Legally Blonde? Oh no. :p
Hahaha – I’m glad SOMEONE made fun of me for Legally Blonde!!!!! Thanks for keeping it real :). Oh my goodness, the idea of selling steamed beets on the streets is amazing! My curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to learn how you actually eat them once you buy them on the streets. I found this photo and now I’m dying to try them!!! http://www.flickr.com/photos/shapourbahrami/1860886787/in/set-72157602890115217
Yummmmmm!!! I got to taste them and I’m definitely a fan. Btw, I actually like beets, but couldn’t taste them.
Great creation Megan !!!!!!!
Thanks, Mom 🙂
I’ve never had beets… period! However, I will take your word that their delicious!
Jessie, you have to try beets!!!!! Are you “scared” of trying them? I had them built up in my mind as totally nasty food that I wouldn’t try until 5-7 years ago, and now I love them!
I love your treats philosophy, I agree! And so funny, I get the same way with movies. I have to be really, really interested to sit through it!
Laura, I agree! If it’s a REALLY awesome movie, I’ll get into it and watch, but otherwise … multi-tasking gets the best of me 🙂
Great recipe Megan! I may have to try these during my Christmas baking later this week 🙂
Did you try them, Sara? Regardless of what you baked, I hope it was delicious!
Beets are so fantastic to sneak into healthier dessert recipes! I’ve also used them in brownies.
I’ve seen some beet brownie recipes on pinterest, Danielle! Might have to check them out!