Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth nutrition, fitness and adventure courses, and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+..
Bake up a sweet holiday with these traditional treats—sans sugar
If you have shunned sugar,there’s no reason to hide away during the holiday season when baked goods abound. Bake up these amazingly yummy treats and enjoy—we’re willing to wager you won’t be able to tell the difference between these and the sugar-filled versions.
Sweet-Leaf Stevia Stollen
This traditional German holiday dessert features dried currants, cinnamon, and raisins—and in this version is sweetened with stevia.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- Dash nutmeg
- 1 packet SweetLeaf Stevia Sweetener
- Dash clove
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/8 cups cake flour
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 3 Tbs. rum
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup dried raisins
- 1/2 cup dried currants
- 1/2 orange zest
- 1/3 cup almonds, sliced
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Warm milk to 100°F to 110°F. Add yeast and let stand for 10 minutes. In a stand mixer, place all dry ingredients in bowl and mix on low until combined.
2. When the yeast is ready, add all wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix with the mixer’s bread hook for 4 minutes on low, then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and let sit for one hour, then place in the refrigerator overnight to ferment.
3. The next day, divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Pound each piece into a 6 inch X 9 inch rectangle and roll into a tube. Once done, place all three tubes on a cookie sheet and loosely wrap in plastic wrap. Let tubes stand for 30 minutes in a warm area.
4. Preheat oven to 325°F and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Once removed from oven, liberally brush with melted butter, and wrap each stollen with plastic wrap. When the stollens are cool, place in the refrigerator. To serve, dust with powdered sugar if desired and slice.
Recipe by Matthew Lodes, A Taste of New York, courtesy SweetLeaf Stevia
Per Serving: 377 cal; 7g pro; 17g total fat (9g sat fat); 48g carb; 77mg chol; 346mg sod; 2g fiber; 9g sugars.
NOW Foods Chocolate Macaroons
Makes about 20 macaroons
Full disclosure: these mouth-watering macaroons aren’t “sugar-free” in the sense of being low-carb-diet suitable or safe for diabetics—maple syrup takes the place of refined white sugar. However, although the two sweeteners share a similar glycemic index profile (sugar scores a 58 versus a slightly lower 54 for maple syrup), maple syrup is a natural source of nutrients including zinc, important for healthy immune function, and adds a hint of rich maple flavor.
- 3 cups NOW Real Food Coconut
- 3 Tbs. NOW Real Food Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, melted
- 1 cup Grade A maple syrup
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups NOW Organic Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place shredded coconut in sauté pan on medium low heat. Toss for 2 minutes or until coconut has toasted.
2. In a bowl, pour coconut oil, maple syrup, almond extract, toasted coconut, cocoa powder, almond flour, and salt. Stir until well combined.
3. Using 2 Tbs. mixture per cookie, shape into mounds, packing mixture firmly. Distribute onto a parchment-covered baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between them. Do not press down.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
5. When cool, dust with a little powdered sugar, if desired.
Per Serving: 129 cal; 2g pro; 8g total fat (5g sat fat);14gm carb; 0 mg chol; 37 mg sod; 2g fiber; 0g sugar.
Quest Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites
Makes 10 bites
At just 40 calories per bite, things between you and cheesecake might get serious.
- 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
- 1 scoop Quest Vanilla Protein Powder
- 1 Tbs. coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 stevia packets
- 1 bag Quest Nutrition Sea Salt Protein Chips
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/8 tsp. cloves
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1. With a handheld blender, blend cottage cheese until lumps are gone.
2. Mix in Vanilla Quest Nutrition Protein Powder, coconut flour, vanilla extract, and 2 stevia packets. Mixture should be very thick.
3. Place in the fridge while you make the gingerbread coating.
4. Grind or smash Quest Nutrition Sea Salt Protein Chips into a fine powder. Mix this powder with remaining 2 stevia packets, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg.
5. Remove the cheesecake filling from the fridge. One by one, form 10 round bites and thoroughly roll them in the gingerbread coating. Eat immediately, or for even firmer bites, refrigerate for at least an hour.
Per serving (1 bite): 40 cal; 6g pro; 0g total fat (0g sat fat); 3 g carb; 5mg chol; 85mg sod; 25g fiber; 0g sugar
Xlear Sugar-Free Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches
Makes 24 cookies
These cream-filled delights can hold their own next to any seasonal sugar cookie.
- 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups Xlear Lite&Sweet
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup evaporated milk
- 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean (optional)
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Xlear Lite&Sweet
- 12 oz. sugar-free chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup of evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
1. With electric mixer, whisk butter and Lite&Sweet on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add eggs and salt and continue mixing. Slowly add evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean until combined.
2. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour until combined. Divide dough in two, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Form dough into 1 tsp.-size round balls. Roll each ball in Lite&Sweet and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Lightly dip a small glass in flour and gently press down on dough ball to flatten into cookies. Bake 10–12 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
4. To make filling, place Lite&Sweet, chocolate chips, milk, and salt into saucepan. Heat gently until chocolate is melted, then cool the mix in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
5. Using a spatula, spread desired amount of chocolate filling on each cookie and top with another cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat process with remaining cookies and filling.
Per Serving: 129 cal; 2g pro; 8g total fat (5g sat fat); 14gm carb; 0 mg chol; 37 mgsod; 2g fiber; 0g sugar.