The snow is falling, stockings are hung, shopping is done and our houses are decorated in preparation for the holidays. As with any holiday, food is a focus. Christmas is no different with an overabundance of bars, cookies, cakes and loaves at our fingertips. It is a tough time of year to stay focused on eating well, that’s why this week’s blog post is dedicated to highlighting healthier options for holiday desserts. We’ve broken this into two sections: the many ways you can bake with sweet potatoes and the glories of vegan desserts. Enjoy!
These orange-fleshed spuds not only taste like dessert but also provide some surprising health benefits, which is why it’s considered a superfood.
Sweet potatoes are a source of vitamin C, which wards off cold and flu viruses and helps us cope with stress, and vitamin D, which builds healthy bones. The latter is especially important this time of year, as we experience less sunlight; these potatoes can help prevent the depression that often comes with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Sweet potatoes also contain potassium, which regulates heartbeat and nerve signals. Though they’re naturally sweet tasting, they have no effect on your blood sugar. Finally, they’re versatile – try them roasted, pureed, steamed, baked or grilled. However, in the spirit of the holidays, we’re more interested in how we can make them into cookies and other treats!
Sweet Potato Bites- Need a last-minute holiday appetizer? Look no further. These sweet potato bites turn the classic marshmallow casserole into a party appetizer! They’re easy to make and even easier to toss in your mouth.
Sweet Potato Scones- When we think of the holiday baking season, it’s not just cookies that come to mind. These sweet potato scones with a cardamom glaze are made with coconut oil and coconut milk, making them both dairy-free and vegan. With all their warming spices, you can’t help but feel cozy when you’re nibbling (or devouring) them.
Individual Sweet Potato and Apple Soufflés- If you want an even healthier sweet potato recipe, ditch the marshmallows. But add in apples for an alternative burst of sweetness. Keep cozy this winter with this delicious blend of sweet potatoes and apples – all packed into a warm, fluffy soufflé.
Sweet Potato Brownies- Everyone needs some chocolate in their lives during the holidays. The sweet potato in these brownies makes them incredibly rich and moist. They’re unbelievably good.
Some of the above recipes are already vegan – or can easily be modified – but we also wanted to provide you with a few recipes for vegan treats this holiday season.
Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies- These cookies are crisp on the outside with a soft, chewy center. They have a classic red velvet taste, all squished into one perfect powdered sugar-covered cookie.
Coconut Thin Mint Cookies- This interpretation of the famous Girl Scout cookie is a wonderful, vegan, holiday miracle. The recipe includes dark chocolate chips and candy canes – what could be better than that?
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men- This is a great take on the classic holiday gingerbread man cookie.
Frosted Eggnog Cookies- People generally split down the middle when it comes to eggnog - you either love it or hate it. Well, even if you’re in the latter category, anything is better in cookie form. Frosted and sprinkled with nutmeg, these mouthwatering cookies just might become a new holiday tradition!
It’s easier than you think to bake mindfully. Experiment with some of these recipes during the holidays and let us know what you think.