3 Guilt-Free Holiday Baking Recipes You’re Guaranteed to Love

With Christmas right around the corner, it’s officially the season to indulge in all the delicious holiday treats. So many tasty temptations — but you don’t want to throw all your health goals out the window. How can you enjoy the Christmas goodies without that post-dessert guilt?

Good news: we’ve got 3 delicious and health-conscious recipes for your annual Christmas baking, that swap out traditional ingredients for lighter substitutes. Enjoy a few of your holiday favs with these gluten-free and low-sugar alternatives. Guaranteed hits at the holiday get-together, your family and friends won’t even notice that they’re low-carb and low-sugar.

A stack of three pecan pie bars sitting on a plate.

1. Paleo Pecan Pie Bars

Recipe by Megan, Allergy Free Alaska

 

One part pecan pie, one part gluten-free short-bread cookie — and 100% delicious. Not only are these decadent pecan pie bars low-carb and paleo friendly, but they’re also vegan-friendly, too. Serve them up for your plant-based and carb-conscious friends at your annual holiday get-together. They’re sure to be a hit with the whole crowd.

 

INGREDIENTS

 

Shortbread Base:

2 ¼ cups blanched almond flour

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

5 tablespoons Viva Naturals organic coconut oil, just melted

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Pecan Pie Filling:

½ cup chopped dates (packed into the measuring cup)

½ cup maple syrup

6 tablespoons Viva Naturals organic coconut oil  

2 tablespoons almond milk

⅛ teaspoon sea salt

2 cups chopped pecans

 

DIRECTIONS

 

Prebake Vegan Shortbread Crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉/180℃. Place the dough in a lightly greased and parchment lined 9×9” baking dish. Use your hands or a spatula to press the dough out evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  2. Bake for 17 minutes, the crust should just be starting to turn golden around the edges.
  3. Allow the crust to set/cool for at least 10-15 minutes (or longer) before topping with the gluten-free pecan pie filling.

 

Make The Filling:

  1. Soak the dates in hot water; this softens them and makes them easier to blend.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, almond milk, and sea salt. Stir until the coconut oil is just melted and then remove from heat.
  3. Drain and discard the hot water from the dates, and place them in a blender with the saucepan contents. Blend until smooth, pour back into the saucepan (so you don’t have to dirty another bowl), and then stir in the chopped pecans.

 

Assemble and Bake the Bars:

  1. Spoon the filling onto the prepared vegan shortbread base and use a spatula to spread out the filling evenly.
  2. Bake for 16 minutes, or just until the filling feels like it has set.
  3. Cool completely before enjoying.

 

Close up image of a Christmas roll cake with decorations on top.

2. Christmas Roll Cake

Recipe by Mira at My PCOS Kitchen 

 

A French holiday staple, this Christmas Roll Cake is a gluten-free, sugar-free take on the classic Yuletide Log. Soft, creamy and delicious, this dessert is always a crowd-pleaser. And a big bonus: Mira’s recipe is also gluten-free, making it the perfect guilt-free alternative to a timeless Christmas classic.

 

INGREDIENTS

Roll Cake:

4 eggs

¾ teaspoon stevia powder

1 tablespoon arrowroot starch*

¼ cup blanched almond flour (30 g)

1 ½ tablespoon Viva Naturals organic cacao powder 

 

Filling:

300 mL heavy whipping cream (or coconut cream)

¼ tsp stevia powder

½ tsp vanilla extract

275 g strawberries (1 pack)



DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉/180℃.
  2. Separate the egg whites and egg yolks into two different bowls. Add in ¼ tsp of stevia powder to the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Add ½ tsp of stevia powder to the egg yolks and beat for a minute until the egg yolks are nice and creamy. Add the almond meal, arrowroot and 1 tbsp cacao powder to the egg yolks and mix with a silicone spatula. Do NOT use a whisk as the batter will get stuck inside. This will form a pretty thick batter, but make sure it's carefully mixed together.
  3. Add ¼ of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and mix together until all of the chocolate mixture has mixed to the egg whites and nothing is stuck to the bowl. Add the next ¼ of the egg whites and gently fold it in. Repeat this step for the last two quarter egg whites.
  4. Pour the roll cake mixture over a baking tray (9x11” works best) covered with parchment paper and make sure the batter is evenly distributed everywhere. Place the tray into the oven on the middle rack and bake for 12 minutes. Take it out of the oven, carefully roll the sponge cake up into a roll with the parchment paper still on and let it completely cool down.
  5. While the cake is cooling down, make the whipping cream. Add the cream to a large bowl and start mixing for about a minute. Once the cream starts to thicken a little, add stevia powder and vanilla to a bowl and beat until whipped.
  6. Dice the strawberries and leave maybe 2-3 whole ones for the top of the cake.
  7. Once the cake is cooled, roll it out and peel the parchment paper off the cake.
  8. Spread ⅔ of the whipping cream over the cake and evenly top with some strawberry pieces.
  9. Roll the cake up gently and place it over the serving dish of your choice. Cut the ends of the cake with a bread knife so that it is perfectly equal on both sides. Sieve ½ tbsp of cocoa powder over the entire cake.
  10. With the remaining ⅓ of the whipping cream and strawberries, design the cake as you wish with or without plastic decorations!

 

*You can leave out the arrowroot, but the cake won't be as 'spongy' and will be more eggy

 

 

Cranberry chocolate chip cookies on a counter.

3. Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by Arman Liew at The Big Man’s World

 

Soft, chewy cookies packed with chocolate and cranberry. Sure to be a hit at the dessert table, these decadent cookies deliver the perfect mix of sweetness and tartness. And the best news? They’re secretly low-carb and naturally sweetened. Go on, grab another.

 

INGREDIENTS

 

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour

3 tablespoon Viva Naturals coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup Viva Naturals coconut oil, melted

¼ cup maple syrup (keto or traditional)

2 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup chocolate chips of choice - swap out traditional chocolate chips for Viva Naturals cacao nibs for a keto friendly alternative



DIRECTIONS

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉/180℃. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or prepare a Silpat cookie sheet.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients and mix well. Add your wet ingredients, and mix until combined. Fold through your cranberries and chocolate chips.
  3. Using your hands, form 12 small balls of dough and place on the cookie sheet. Press into a cookie shape and top with extra cranberries and chocolate chips. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until just golden around the sides.
  4. Allow cookies to cool on the tray completely.

Bring these delicious treats to your holiday gatherings and they’re guaranteed to be hits. And you get full bragging rights — not only are they delicious, but they’re low-carb and low-sugar, too. Help yourself to a second serving.

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