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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Holiday Baking: Delicious Healthy Treats

photo by: Stephen Blancett

There’s nothing so comforting as the scent and taste of home-baked treats. To fill a home with cheer, try these delectably healthy recipes. Some are gluten- or dairy-free, others pack less butter and sweeteners (thus fewer calories) than their typical counterparts, and a few are vegan (containing no animal products, including honey). All are perfect for holiday celebrations, hostess gifts or exchanges.




Chocolate Pudding

Serves: 4 to 6
2 bananas or 5-6 dates or 2 Tbsp honey
2 avocados
¼ cup carob powder or cacao powder
Prep time: 5 minutes. Blend until smooth.

Sylvia’s Famous Peanut Butter or Almond Butter Cookies

1 jar organic crunchy peanut butter or
crunchy unsalted almond butter (like Trader Joe’s)
1 stick butter
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup honey, lucuma, coconut sugar or coconut nectar
2 cups almond meal (like Trader Joes)or a mix of rice and coconut flour
2 Tbsp organic vanilla flavoring

Melt butter on stove and leave sit until last. Blend all ingredients together and stir in the butter at the end. Drop each teaspoonful onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. If you like them more done, bake them for 7-10 minutes. Enjoy.

Oat and Seed Candy Bar

2 cups gluten free oats
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
2 or 3 Tbsp chia seeds
½ cup honey or maple syrup
2 Tbsp unsalted butter or tahini

Preheat over to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Spread oats and seeds on baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring twice to assure uniform toasting. Transfer to a medium bowl. Pour honey into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 7 minutes or until honey reaches 275 degrees on a candy thermometer. When it starts to condense and thicken it is ready. Stir in butter. Pour hot syrup over oat mixture and stir to combine. Spread in pan evenly. Cut into bars. Tightly wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper.

Above recipes contributed by Sylvia Haskvitz, MA, RD 

Gluten-Free Apricot Scones

These scones freeze well and taste even better warmed the next day. Serve with apricot jam or honey.

Yields 8 servings (342 calories per serving)
1½ cups brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup potato starch
2½ tsp baking powder
2½ tsp xanthan gum
¼ cup natural cane sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cubed
5 eggs (divided)
½ cup plus 1–2 Tbsp plain
low-fat yogurt
¾ cups dried apricots, finely chopped
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp water
¼ cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Sift together first 7 ingredients (brown rice flour through salt). Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a separate bowl, whisk together 4 eggs, yogurt, apricots and extracts. Add to flour butter mixture. Mix until just combined. Dust work surface with brown rice flour. Turn out scone mixture and pat into a nine-by-nine-inch square. Cut scones into desired shape or use a biscuit cutter. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Whisk remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush mixture over scones. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.