Of course you can enjoy these healthy Christmas cookies any day of the year, but the combination of dried cranberries and dark chocolate makes them a particularly good healthy Christmas treat. They are low in sugar, but taste delicious and have a lovely chewy texture. They are also gluten free.
What you'll love about the recipe
- These healthy cookies are made with oatmeal. So as well as being delicious, they are full of fibre, which is great for your digestion, and will keep you fuller for longer
- Easy to make with just a few everyday ingredients
- Gluten free (use GF oats), egg free and easy to adapt to vegan and dairy free
- Low in added sugar
Ingredients for healthy Christmas cookies
Oats. You'll need traditional porridge oats for this recipe (instant oats won't give you the same chewy texture). If you want to ensure that these are gluten free Christmas cookies, then buy oats that are certified gluten free. Gluten free oats are processed separately to ensure that they have not become contaminated with gluten. In addition to being rich in fibre, oats are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc and folate.
Applesauce. This is what provides these healthy cookies with their natural sweetness and moist chewy texture. You'll need unsweetened applesauce. (This slow cooker applesauce recipe is a great way to make a batch of applesauce for the freezer). If you prefer, you could use banana, but of course it will change the flavour of your Christmas cookies. One large banana will provide half a cup of mashed banana for this recipe.
Butter. Or if you want vegan Christmas cookies, then replace the butter with coconut oil. Take your butter or oil out of the fridge beforehand, so that it is relatively soft and will mix in easily. If you prefer to measure in grams rather than tablespoons, then use 50 g of butter
Honey. These low sugar cookies have just one tablespoon of honey, or you could use maple syrup if you prefer
Spices - I've used cinnamon and allspice in the recipe, but you could use mixed spice, or experiment with other sweet spices such as cardamom
Dried cranberries. Most of the dried cranberries that you buy are sweetened, as cranberries are naturally a very tart fruit. However, the amount that you'll get in each cookie won't add a huge amount of sugar. Of course, you could also substitute most other dried fruits such as raisins or apricots.
Chocolate. These healthy Christmas cookies are particularly delicious with dark chocolate, as it's the perfect complement to the cranberries. Chopping the chocolate yourself means you can have nice chunks, but if you prefer, you could use chocolate chips. You'll need about 30 g of chocolate to make 2 tablespoon chopped pieces, but the quantity isn't critical. I'm sure no-one will complain if they get extra;)
How to make cranberry and chocolate cookies
This is a very quick and easy cookie recipe. Ideally, it's best to use a food processor to make them.
Add the oats, applesauce, honey, butter and spices to the food processor and pulse a few times. Blitzing the mixture briefly means that the oats get slightly broken up, which makes for a better cookie dough. Don't over process them however, as you want to retain some of the oat-y texture.
It's very important to mix in the chocolate and cranberries by hand at the end, as you don't want them to become pulverised.
If you don't have a food processor and want to mix the cookies by hand, either leave the oats whole, or replace half of the quantity with oat flour.
Divide the mixture into 6 balls, and place on a greased baking sheet or baking paper. Flatten each cookie down to about 8mm (⅓ of an inch). You should get 6 good sized cookies from this amount of mixture. If you'd prefer them to be a bit more dainty, then divide your dough into 8.
This type of oatmeal cookie will not spread when it is in the oven, so you don't need to worry about spacing them too widely on the tray.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees (150 fan) for 20 minutes. Do make sure that you keep an eye on the biscuits whilst they are in the oven though, as any exposed cranberries could easily burn.
If you haven't got chocolate and cranberries, you can use a similar recipe to make healthy oat and raisin cookies.
These healthy Christmas cookies are especially delicious whilst they are slightly warm, and the chocolate is still soft and gooey. But they'll store well for a few days in an airtight container, if you are able to leave them that long!
Frequently asked questions
One of these oatmeal Christmas cookies has 150 calories each. They are quite large, filling cookies, so if you are serving some other treats at the same time you might want to make them a little smaller.
Christmas oatmeal cookies contain the natural goodness of wholegrain oats. Oats are a good source of vitamin and minerals. They also contain a particular type of fibre called beta glucan which is good for heart health. The cookies are much lower in added sugar than most Christmas cookies.
These healthy Christmas cookies will store for about 5 days in an airtight container. If you want to make them further ahead, they freeze well too.
Other healthy Christmas treats
Serve them alongside a plate of healthy mince pies, or some gluten free biscotti. You might also want to try this low sugar Christmas cake, or a healthy Christmas pudding. And this post on healthy and delicious Christmas recipes has a roundup of other seasonal recipes you might like to try.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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Healthy Christmas Cookies
- 1 cup oats 80 g
- ½ cup applesauce unsweetened, 120 ml
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 3 tablespoon soft butter or coconut oil 50 g
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 tablespoon dried cranberries 15 g
- 2 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate 30 g
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (150 fan). Either grease a baking tray or line with baking paper.
- Add the oats, butter, applesauce, honey and spices to the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly until mixed. Take care not to over-mix, as you don't want to lose all the texture of the oats. Stir in the cranberries and chocolate by hand.
- Divide the mixture into 6. Roll into rough balls, and place on a greased tray or silicone sheet. Flatten the balls into cookies - they should be about 8mm or ⅓ of an inch.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn halfway if necessary to prevent any exposed cranberries burning or drying out. Cool on a wire rack.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.