I think we’d get to an infinite number if we counted the calories that Santa consumes as he drops in on every house around the world, taking bites out of all those treats and glasses of milk left out for him. So this year, in the name of keeping the big man healthy, how about a healthier snack or two for him. And the Reindeer.
If you want to leave cookies, the two recipes below are from my book, Sprout Right Family Food, and are healthier gluten free brownies and shortbread.
Ants on a log - celery with peanut butter (for protein and fibre) and raisins
Apple slices with cinnamon sprinkled- even Santa needs his fibre
Carrot sticks for Sanda AND Ruldoph - why just give it to the deer?
And we don’t want him to drink and drive, so leave him a nice big glass of water so he gets a boost of energy and hydration. Or if you want to leave him something bubbly, try Kombucha. His ho, ho, ho belly will be grateful for more friendly bacteria from this fermented tea.
Of course, a bunch of veggies for those reindeer carrying all those gifts all over the world too. They need their strength. I’ve also mixed sparkles with oats and sprinkled it on the front lawn so they have a bit of a light show to know where to come!
Sinless Chocolate Almond Brownies
Gluten-free, Nut-free, Vegetarian, Wheat-free Makes 16 brownies
Although not as sweet as what you might be accustomed to, these brownies are quite addictive! You can easily substitute unsalted butter for the goat’s milk butter and cane sugar for the brown rice syrup.
3 ounces (90 g) dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
2 tablespoons (30 mL) goat’s milk or unsalted butter
½ cup (125 mL) brown rice syrup or barley malt syrup
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
½ cup (125 mL) gluten-free flour mix (Bob’s Red Mill)
½ cup (125 mL) chopped raw almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease and then line an 8-inch (2 L) square baking pan or glass dish with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in the brown rice syrup and remove from the heat. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla. Stir in the flour and almonds (if using).
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly to the corners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until just set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing the brownies from the pan. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (if they last that long!) or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION Dark chocolate is high in magnesium and contains an abundance of antioxidants. Almonds are high in calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, and fibre.
Sprout Right Divine Cookies
Gluten-free, Nut-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wheat-free Makes 18 to 24 cookies
Chopped nuts can be used in place of the coconut, and apple butter can be used in place of the apricot or blueberry fruit spread. Play with different combinations to see which one you like best!
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, room temperature
2½ teaspoons (12 mL) pure vanilla extract
¼ cup + 2½ tablespoons (100 mL) pure maple syrup
1½ cups (375 mL) brown rice flour
¼ cup (60 mL) potato starch
¼ cup (60 mL) tapioca starch
¾ teaspoon (4 mL) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt
¼ teaspoon (1 mL) xanthan gum
Shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
Unsweetened apricot or blueberry fruit spread
Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat the butter, vanilla, and egg. Pour in the maple syrup and beat for 3 minutes longer. The mixture will look curdled. Add the flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum and mix thoroughly. If possible, let the batter stand for 10 minutes at room temperature. This will give time for the gluten-free flour and xanthan gum to bind.
Drop the dough by the spoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, or form into balls and roll each ball in the shredded coconut (if using). Use your finger to make an indentation in the centre of each ball and fill with fruit spread.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven, let stand 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION These healthy cookies are made without gluten or refined sugar and contain protein, iron, and potassium.
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