Cocoa-Oat Truffle
They look like decadent truffles, but they are a healthy mix of dates, almond butter, and oats.

Christmas is not my holiday, so I can’t explain the religious significance of baking dozens and dozens of cookies in December. I do know, however, that the trick of enjoying your holiday treats is to do so in moderation, and make them a little healthier when possible. So here are three recipes, which you can file under Healthy, Healthier and Healthiest:

Healthy:

Today I went to a holiday party for the Health Coaches of Chicago and decided to bring the one kind of cookie that goes well with wine: Tuscan Rosemary and Pine Nut Bars.  It’s from my favorite dessert cookbook, Short and Sweet by Melanie Barnard. It is heavy on the butter, but very light on sugar, and if you substitute white whole wheat flour (I got mine at Trader Joe’s) for the all-purpose flour in the recipe, you will add a little protein and fiber to the party without any sacrifice in taste.

Healthier:

Who can resist a good chocolate chip cookie? Certainly not I. So when the Tribune food section came out with this recipe for Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies, I had to try it out. The secret ingredient, tahini (a sesame seed paste available in any grocery store), not only replaces half the butter, it also adds a great nutty flavor. It is a little more labor intensive than the usual kind, but really yummy. I would cut the chocolate chips down from a full cup to ¾ cup, since they didn’t all fit in the dough.

Healthiest:

Cocoa-Oat Truffles, a recipe from Whole Foods’ “Health Starts Here” series, is just about the healthiest cookie you can make. Seriously. No wheat, dairy, butter or sugar. Rolled in cocoa powder, it resembles a “real” truffle, but it has an entirely different taste and texture. Don’t expect chocolatey goodness, but they are quite tasty. Their sweetness comes from dates, and their richness from almond butter and ground oats.

Do you have any healthy cookie recipes to share?

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Lisa Browdy

We all know what to do, and many of us resolve to do it every year: eat better, exercise more, lose weight and reduce stress. We may have many demands on our time and energy, and not a lot of cash to spare...