I have been seriously obsessed with holiday baking this December. I don’t know if it’s baby girl in my tummy trying to make up for my serious sugar aversion during the first two trimesters, when just the smell of something sweet would send me running away crying and puking, or if it’s just a strange side of my nesting instinct as we head into the final 6 weeks or so of pregnancy. Either way, I keep wanting sweets and am dreaming up all sorts of ingredient combinations. Yes, literally dreaming as well as daydreaming.
Last week, the idea of peppermint white chocolate chip cookies kept permeating in my brain. I had several bits and pieces of mini candy canes left over from my Hot Cocoa Mug Cookies that I created for SheKnows, and thought they would be perfect to experiment with.
But I really didn’t feel good about all the white flour and sugar we were consuming this month. After years of not even having the stuff in the house, I’d been baking with it non-stop for various other sites and companies who wanted easy baking recipes, and I really wanted to create a holiday cookie that had at least some nutritional value.
Fortunately, I have a recipe for Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies that I’ve perfected (what? Thought I’d posted that already! Okay, look for it next week.), so I simply adapted it with white chocolate chips and candy cane pieces.
For the sugar, I used sucanat, which is dehydrated cane juice. Unlike white or brown sugar, it is unrefined and unprocessed. It retains the molasses, so has a molasses taste, which gives some great flavor in addition to sweetness. I’ve read a lot of conflicting claims on the health and nutritional benefits of sucanat, so I’m not going to make any claims here other than what both sides confirm as fact. Sucanat is the most natural form of sugar and is organic. It contains small amounts of various vitamins and quite a bit of potassium and also has less sucrose than refined white sugar.
I order my sucanat from Azure Standard, which is far cheaper than I’ve ever seen it in stores or online. You can buy sucanat on Amazon, which is currently about $12 for a 2 lb bag, but my 2 lb bag from Azure Standard is just under $6! It’s even cheaper if you buy in bulk, which we do once a year. Azure Standard is also where I buy my bulk whole wheat from, which we grind ourselves. But even buying bulk whole wheat flour already ground is cheaper from them than in stores. I highly encourage checking their site out to see if there’s a drop point near you.
The sucanat I get tends to be a bit coarse compared to granulated sugar. While this is no problem for using in cooking, stirring into drinks, or really wet recipes like banana bread, I find it doesn’t work as well for baking things like cookies and cakes. Not to worry. I just give it a quick whir in the blender to get it to a finer consistency, then measure it out again.
I used Ghirdadelli white chocolate chips because they don’t have a bunch of unnecessary fake ingredients like artificial flavors. I used regular old mini candy canes for the peppermint candies, but if you really want to go a healthier, more natural route, there are organic peppermint candies that are naturally sweetened and dye free. But mini candy canes are probably your cheapest option.
To crush up the candy canes, I put them in a zip top bag and then beat them to pieces with a rolling pin. Corban really loves this step and comes over to march in time with my hitting.’
While these cookies are still dessert, they are a much healthier holiday cookie option, and something I feel a lot better about feeding myself and my family.
This Friday, the day after Christmas, I’ll be sharing Corban’s new favorite snack, an Olaf snowman made of cheese! Meanwhile, Eric, Corban, and I hope you and your family have such a wonderful Christmas and holiday season full of joy, love, and laughter. Merry Christmas!
- 2 ounces sticks salted butter 8
- 1 1/2 cup sucanat ground in the blender if you have a coarse variety
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups soft white whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup crushed peppermints divided, I used mini candy canes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sucanat.
- Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- While the mixer is on its lowest speed, add the dry ingredients about 1/4 cup at a time to prevent them from flying out of the bowl all over your kitchen.
- Once the dough is well mixed, add the white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the peppermint pieces.
- Scoop the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart.
- Press each ball slightly flat and sprinkle with the remaining peppermint pieces.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden.
Approximate cost/serving: Because I get my sucanat and whole wheat flour in bulk, these are really affordable for me. I also got the white chocolate chips and mini candy canes on sale, so this cost me just about $5 for two dozen cookies. That's just 21 cents per cookie.
Looking for more whole wheat baking recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.