double-chocolate-peppermint-cookies

Try these gluten- and dairy-free double chocolate peppermint cookies with some superfood hot cocoa for a healthy twist on your favorite holiday treats!

Want to balance out holiday season indulgences without feeling deprived? Bake your own healthy desserts to bring to holiday parties or enjoy at home with family. It’s surprisingly easy to make healthier versions of your favorite holiday desserts. Here’s how we made upgraded double chocolate peppermint cookies and superfood hot chocolate.

WHAT MAKES THESE DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COOKIES GOOD FOR YOU?

Swap butter for applesauce for extra fiber and nutrients and less fat and calories. Instead of refined sugar, these gluten- and dairy-free double chocolate peppermint cookies are sweetened with 100% pure maple syrup. Keep reading to learn what makes maple syrup better for you than white sugar.

Substitute cow’s milk with a plant-based milk (unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk are our favorites) to make any dessert safe for friends and family with dairy sensitivities or allergies. Add almond butter to keep your cookies moist and include some heart healthy fats.

Recommended Reading: Does Sugar Cause Acne?

SUPERFOOD HOT COCOA

Next, make your own healthy hot chocolate instead of using a store bought mix! It takes about the same amount of time to prepare and it tastes way better. Plus, it’s bound to be healthier than packaged alternatives.

Your typical store bought hot chocolate mix has tons of added sugar and is made from refined cocoa, not cacao (the unprocessed, raw form). Our superfood hot chocolate recipe is made from organic, 100% raw cacao, almond milk, pure maple syrup, a few of our favorite superfood powders like maca and turmeric, and some warming winter spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.

Want to know why these ingredients are so good for you? Check out their nutrition facts below.

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Why These Superfood Ingredients are Healthy

CACAO

Cacao is made from ground, raw cacao seeds from cacao beans. Unlike the typical store bought hot cocoa, raw cacao is unrefined and doesn’t contain additives or sugar.

Cacao has a ton of nutrients. However, cacao is best known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, thanks to its high concentration of flavonoids (catechins and epicatechins).

Cacao is also a great source of magnesium, an important mineral that supports more than 300 biochemical processes in the body, including muscle and nerve function. Epidemiological and clinical research suggest that consumption of dark chocolate reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and lowers blood pressure (1).

100% PURE MAPLE SYRUP

100% pure maple syrup is a great alternative to sugar. It contains more nutrients, antioxidants and other phytochemicals.

Unrefined maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees, and has a lower glycemic index than sugar, which helps to minimize blood sugar spikes.

Maple syrup is also a good source of manganese, a trace mineral that supports the brain, nervous system, and enzymes in the body. The darker, grade B maple syrup contains antioxidants called polyphenols that help fight inflammation and free radicals (2).

MACA

Maca is a root vegetable that is native to Peru. Its root is dried, ground into a powder, and used medicinally as an adaptogen to balance stress hormones.

Maca is known for its ability to boost energy without the jitters that you might get from caffeine. Multiple studies have found that maca also balances female hormones and enhances libido in men and women (3, 4).

It’s also a great source of vitamin c, copper, and iron.

Maca has a honey comb-like flavor, and is a great addition to smoothies, baked goods, and oatmeal.

TURMERIC

Turmeric and its active substance curcumin is one of the most well-researched healing herbs. It’s known for its incredible anti-inflammatory properties that have been found to help treat allergies, depression, high triglycerides, and arthritis (5, 6, 7, 8).

Research suggests turmeric may improve brain function and memory, too. The spice is best absorbed when consumed with black pepper.

THE RECIPES

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COOKIES

(GF, DF, OIL-FREE)

Recipe by Gabriella Gavalas

Makes: 10 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup of nut butter
  • ¼ cup of 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ tablespoons of unsweetened plant-based milk (almond, coconut, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1 ¼ cup gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup organic cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chunks
  • ½ cup crushed candy canes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray (I like this coconut cooking spray for desserts).
  2. Combine wet and dry ingredients (excluding the crushed candy canes) in two separate mixing bowls.
  3. Add wet ingredients into the bowl with dry ingredients, and mix until well combined.
  4. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll into a ball, and place on the parchment paper, gently pressing down to flatten the cookies.
  5. Continue with the rest of the mixture, making sure to leave about ½ an inch in between each cookie.
  6. Sprinkle on top the crushed candy canes and then bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Once finished, let cool, and if desired, dip the cookies in melted dark chocolate and the rest of the crushed candy canes.

SUPERFOOD HOT COCOA

(GF, Vegan)

Recipe by Gabriella Gavalas

Serves: 1

INGREDIENTS

Optional Toppings:

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a small saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Add in plant milk of choice, as well as the water, and let that heat up for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and mix thoroughly to avoid clumping. Using a whisk works best.
  4. Continue to stir occasionally over medium to low heat for about 2-3 more minutes.
  5. Transfer to a mug, top with desired toppings, and enjoy!

Can’t wait to see you try it! Tag us with your creations @CulinaHealth on Insta!

 

12/22/20

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies & Superfood Hot Cocoa

written by:

Tamar Samuels

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