The holidays are here and it is time for friends, family, great meals, and desserts. During this time our sweet tooth gets a bit louder because of all the creative options. Well, you can indulge a little more if you take the healthy options.  No, we are not talking about chewing on carrots when everyone is swooning… or singing over the most delicious sweet potato pie. We have some great recipes that are healthy and will satisfy your sweet tooth. Have fun baking and tasting.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies -Makes 4 dozen

Ingredients:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening (or vegan margarine)
1 (15-ounce) can 100 percent pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 (10-ounce) package dairy-free dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a standup mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend the sugar, shortening (or margarine), pumpkin and vanilla on high until creamy. Add flour, baking soda and cinnamon and mix on low until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until set. Cool on wire racks. Store completely cooled cookies in an airtight container.

Cranberry Nut Bread – Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
2 cups raw cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Zest of an orange, chopped
1 tablespoon orange juice
6 tablespoons vegan margarine
3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs or equivalent egg substitute
1 cup buttermilk
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and grease and flour a loaf pan. In a medium-szied saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cranberries, sugar, orange zest and orange juice and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the berries have burst.

In a standup mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition (if using egg substitute, add it all at the same time), until incorporated. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients in mixer bowl, mixing on low until combined. Add the cranberry mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in nuts.

Transfer batter to loaf pan and bake 60 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then invert onto a wire to continue to cool. Slice and serve warm or wrap completely cool bread in plastic and store in a cool, dry place up to three days.

Yvelette Stines

Photo: ElleLiving