holiday-cookies_on-dish

(This photo is my submission to this month’s No Croutons Required – the ceramic reindeer was handmade by my Nana (there is a second deer to complete the set) and was handed down to me last year. I love Reindeer decorations and ornaments this time of year!)

I feel like I am so behind on my holiday cookie posts! My friend Judy has been doing the 12 days of cookies, Maria and Amy have been baking up a storm, even Peter who says he doesn’t really fancy baking has several cookie recipes posted and here I am, with only my first cookie post! Oh well, it was worth the wait, because not only are these cookies delicious, one is even packed full of healthy delicious goodness and they are both quick to make! Perfect for a busy holiday schedule!

I was on the quest for some different cookies these year. My family has traditional Sicilian cookies ( Cuccidata and Pizelle ) that we usually make every year. I even made cute little night before Christmas mice one year. But this year, I felt like I wanted to branch out and explore some new…and old flavors.

Growing up, I remember having these yummy no-bake apricot-coconut balls and I really wanted to make them this year. So I found a recipe on World Famous Recipes. I went to the store and got all the ingredients. On the day that I decided to make them, I had a change of heart and got inspired to give them a healthy make-over. So instead of using sweetened condensed milk, like the recipe calls for, I used a combination of Coconut Peanut Butter and Coconut Cream Concentrate – so there is no added sugar in these, only that which comes from the natural fruit sugars. These cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free!

I received samples  of both of these items from Tropical Traditions. They are going to be sponsoring a giveaway in January on Foodieblogroll.com and so they sent me a box of the products that they will be giving away to sample! The substitution worked wonderfully. I also used a mixture of unsweetened dessicated coconut, and fresh coconut, since all four brands of the baking coconut at the grocery store have propelyne glycol in them – which is a “safer alternative to anti-freeze”, and just doesn’t sound too good to me. I only had a little bit of the dessicated coconut in my pantry, so I got some fresh because I was in a pinch! These are really cute bite sized cookies – perfect for those who want something a bit healthier for the holidays. If you don’t have coconut peanut butter or coconut cream, you can use a regular organic peanut butter, tahini or any other nut butter you have on hand. Recipe to follow…

As for the second cookie…I love egg nog, in fact besides Gløgg it is my drink of choice during the holidays. I have it in my morning coffee, straight up or sometimes with a little booze mixed in to keep it festive in the evenings! I sometimes make my own eggnog, and other times just buy the organic stuff at the store. This year I was inspired to make cookies with it! These cookies are a breeze to whip together. I used a recipe from KickedUpCookieRecipes.com and followed it to the letter. These cookies took no time to mix up, and only 25 minutes to bake. You can have 3 dozen of these babies in less than 45 minutes! That is what I call quick holiday baking.

holiday-cookies_collage

(No bake apricot-coconut balls/ Egg nog cookies)

I brought both of these cookies to my friend Sunshine’s house. She hosted a really fun cookie exchange party last weekend. Basically it was an open house, and all you had to do was bring a plate of holiday cookies. She had holiday beverages and some snacks. She also had some blank cards, where she wrote down what everyone brought to place next to each plate of cookies. Then while at the party you could walk around and sample some, and then before you left to go home, she gave you an empty bag to fill up with a variety of cookies! It was a lot of fun and a great way to try out some new holiday cookies! Also an easy and stress-free way to have a holiday party! Happy Holidays everyone!

Read more for recipes!

Healthy Apricot-Coconut Balls – No Bake

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups finely chopped dried apricots (I used un-sulphured, which are a bit darker – so, no, those are not chocolate chips – although I bet chocolate chips would be yummy in these…)

1 cup fresh coconut, chopped finely in food processor
1 cup organic dessicated coconut flakes (you can use two cups of this, instead of one cup fresh)
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds
4 oz coconut peanut butter
3 oz coconut cream (or just 7 oz of peanut butter – or any other nut butter)

METHOD:

In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well with your hands. Shape into one inch bite sized balls. Store in the fridge – makes 4-5 dozen.

Egg Nog Cookie Recipe – see KickedUpCookieRecipes.com