National Sugar Cookie Day falls on July 9 each year. This day honors the popular dessert that is a holiday favorite and hard to resist. For someone who is trying to be health conscious, sugar cookies might not appeal to you. However, there are some healthy ways to make sugar cookies. Take grandma’s famous recipe, and make your own (healthier) sweet treat! 

How can you make your cookies healthier?

Most sugar cookie recipes have at least one cup of white granulated sugar which can add up in your daily sugar intake. Using coconut sugar instead of white or brown sugar instantly makes your sugar cookies healthier, while keeping them delicious! According to Hershey’s Kitchen, it’s a 1-for-1 conversion of coconut sugar to white or brown sugar. Agave nectar, honey or maple syrup can also be substituted for sugar and add a bit of extra flavor to your cookies. For agave nectar, use ⅔ cup to every cup of granulated sugar and for honey and maple syrup, use ¾ cup to every cup of granulated sugar. 

Gluten-free? Vegan? Paleo? Even if you don’t typically follow these lifestyles, you can still enjoy their version of a healthy sugar cookie. Gluten-free, sugar-free recipes often use almond flour or xanthan gum to create sugar cookies. Vegan sugar cookies still call for granulated sugar, but use almond extracts and vegan substitutes for dairy products, making them even healthier. Paleo sugar cookies use honey and vanilla extract to keep the cookies sweet, but also use almond flour and coconut oil for the recipe. 

The options for substituting sugar in sugar cookie recipes are endless. It just takes time and patience to figure out what route is easiest and tastes the best to you. All of these variations in recipes allow you to not only create a healthier version but a consistency of a cookie you may enjoy more. Most alternative recipes still create soft, chewy and irresistible cookies. Put on your apron and get baking!  

by Morgan Hill