30 of Our Family’s Favorite Holiday Recipes (with a throw-back picture from 2007!)

I’ve shared nine years worth of holiday recipes here at Heavenly Homemakers. Nine! 

You guys. Our boys looked like this back in 2007 when my site first became a thing:

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Now they look like this. As you can tell, we got a taller tree. (I’m sure that’s the first thing you noticed.)

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Isn’t that a nice picture? Yes. Of course, this one is more normal:

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I can’t get over how quickly my boys turned into men. I was there, and now I’m here, and I’m not sure how it happened. With love, prayer, tears, and lots of green beans, no doubt.

Today I decided to share 30 of the recipes that I’ve posted through these many Christmas seasons. You can bet the recipes that used more sugar were from my earlier blogging years! Slowly but surely, we’ve cut back on sugar content in our treat recipes. Somehow, the boys have still grown and lived to tell about it.

If you come across any of these older recipes and you think, “Hmm. I wonder if I can cut the sugar down in any of these?” the answer is most likely yes! The treats will still be delicious and your family’s Christmas will still be merry.

30 of Our Family’s Favorite Holiday RecipesYum

Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

Peppernuts

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Low Sugar Frosted Sugar Cookies

Low Sugar Frosted Sugar Cookies

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mousse

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Hot Cocoa

Homemade Hot Cocoa

Peppermint Cream Cocoa

Peppermint Cream Cocoa

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

White Chocolate Popcorn

Cranberry Orange Scones

Orange Cranberry Scones

Caramel Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn With No Corn Syrup!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

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100% Juice Sparkling Punch

Christmas Brunch Punch {with 100 juice!}

Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffle

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Christmas Spice Cookies

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Chocolate Snowballs

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Reindeer Cuties

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Snickerdoodles

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Coconut Macaroons

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies

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Peppermint Patties

Homemade Healthier Eggnog

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Men

Warm Vanilla Soother

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Sweet Pepper Fritata

Quick Eggnog Muffins

Vanilla Muffins with Crumb Topping

Strawberry Christmas Salad

Strawberry Christmas Salad
Christmas Sourdough Biscuits

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Christmas Graham Crackers

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Christmas Pizzas

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Christmas Donuts

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You’ll want to pin this so you can make these treats from now until the new year! —>

30-favorite-holiday-treats

 

Please leave a comment to tell me how long you’ve been reading here! Were any of you around when my boys were as little as that first Christmas picture?

Low Sugar Frosted Christmas Cookies

Some might say that Christmas desserts are treats that should not be messed with. Perhaps whole wheat flour does not belong in a Christmas cookie. Maybe “low sugar” should not be included in a Christmas cookie title. It’s a treat, right? Can’t we just leave it well enough alone?

Sure.

But the more I experiment with cutting down the sweetener in my baked goods, the more I’m discovering that treats still taste like treats even with the sugar cut in half or more.

Low Sugar Frosted Sugar Cookies

 

Wait. I don’t know how to write that. “…with the sugar cut in half or more.” Or should it be “…with the sugar cut in half or less.” I’m talking about cutting out even more than half of the originally called for sugar. Less sugar. Cut it by more than half, so that it’s even less. That is what I’m trying to say. Sometimes writing good sentences is so hard. Who decided that fractions would be smaller every time their bottom number gets bigger? Do you know how hard it is to explain to a small child that 1/8 is bigger than 1/16?? It’s the fraction inventors that are making my sentence writing so complicated right now.

Just for that, I’m not giving the fraction people any of my cookies. They can figure out their own half or more or less sugar fraction in their own cookie recipes. Merry Christmas, fraction people.

Well, there’s no good way to segue after this slightly embarrassing but mostly justified outburst. All any of us really needs to know is that we can cut the sweetener in most baked good recipes and not taste the difference. Truly this sugar cookie is still so sweet I can barely eat it. My kids – who love sugar-covered-sugar just like all the other kids – cannot tell that these cookies are low in sugar. I daresay that if we left these on a plate for Santa, he’d be like, “Wow, these are the best cookies I’ve had all night, but without the sugar crash. This mother must have used half or more (or less) of the sugar called for in the recipe.”

Good ol’ Santa. He totally gets it.

Low Sugar Christmas Cookies (That Don't Taste Low Sugar)Low Sugar Christmas Cookies

Low Sugar Christmas Sugar Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ½ cup sucanat or raw sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3½ cups of whole wheat flour (give or take)
Instructions
  1. Stir together melted butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla, and baking powder.
  3. Stir in flour until a solid ball of dough forms.
  4. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.
  5. Roll chilled dough on a well-floured surface and thin or thick as you like.
  6. Cut with cookie cutters and place them about a half inch apart on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake in a 350° oven for about 12 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.
  8. Makes 20-30 cookies depending on the thickness and size.

If you’d like to frost your cookies but keep them low sugar, I recommend this stevia sweetened frosting.

Stevia Sweetened Cream Cheese FrostingYum

8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid stevia to taste (I use 2 droppers full)

Whip ingredients together until smooth. Frost cookies just before serving.

This frosting is not like regular powdered sugar icing. It’s delicious on these cookies, but does not harden or hold up well for the long term. I recommend only frosting a few cookies at a time, as needed. I use the term “as needed” loosely because we are talking about cookies here. Although these are low in sugar so the half or more or less sugar fraction does the lessen the guilt.

Take that, fraction people.

More Christmas Memories – Making Peppernuts

It seems like all week long, I’ve been traveling back in time to the days I was a little girl during the Christmas season. Listening to the Muppets Christmas CD has been such a fun blessing as I remember special Christmas traditions with my mom. And now, I’m thinking about my grandma. Why? Because every year she made oodles of little Peppernuts that we would munch on.

What are Peppernuts? Some of you likely eat them each year just like I did growing up. If not, allow me to introduce you to the best little cookies in the world:

Peppernuts

These cookies are a little bit time consuming to make, but they make a large quantity for you to enjoy. They are also wonderful to package up in baggies to deliver to others.

Tell me if you’ve had Peppernuts before! And be sure to check out the recipe here.

Fun {healthier} Holiday Baking

What with all the butter I hear you’ve been going through lately, it sounds like there’s a lot of fun Christmas baking going on out there! I actually haven’t even started doing my baking yet, but I will start soon. Oh yes, the butter and sucanat are going to start flying around here.

As I began to make my baking plans, I put together a list of some of my favorite holiday cookies and treats. All of these are made with healthier flours and sugars (usually honey or sucanat). I won’t be making all of these treats, but  I’m really hungry right now, so I just kept adding to the list.

Gingerbread Men

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Applesauce Bread

Peppernuts

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Christmas Graham Crackers

Reindeer Brownies

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Coconut Macaroons

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Snickerdoodles

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Orange Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies

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Christmas Spice Cookies

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Chocolate Snowballs

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Reindeer Cuties

What’s on your Christmas baking list this year?

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Men

Whole Wheat Gingerbread Men
It may be that I’ve gone a little loopy with all of the recent Christmas preparations, but for some reason I got really hung up on what I should call these cookies. Are they Gingerbread Men? Or are they Gingerbread Boys?  But then, I didn’t want to leave out the girls…so maybe some of them should be called Gingerbread Girls. Or maybe I just go with the politically correct name and call them Gingerbread People?

When did Christmas baking become so complicated? :)

Gingerbread Men/Boys/Girls/People/CookiesYum

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sucanat
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Sucanat Powdered Sugar Frosting

Cream butter, sucanat and molasses together. Add eggs, vinegar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda and spices. Stir in flour and mix well. Cover and chill dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours (more is fine).

Roll out dough on a well floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut into desired shape. Bake cookies about 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet in a 375° oven for 5-8 minutes.

If you don’t put your cookies 1 inch apart on the pan, you’ll end up with one cookie kicking another cookie in the head. I tell ya, I can’t even get my cookies to behave sometimes. A mother’s work is never done…

I recommend spreading Sucanat Powdered Sugar Frosting on the cookies. I had a little bit of Chocolate Fudge Frosting leftover in the fridge and used that for faces and buttons.

I figured they wouldn’t mind if I put chocolate on their faces. I know I would never mind if someone wanted to put chocolate on my face. ;)

Smells Like Christmas Cookies! Reindeer Cuties

These simple cookies are a hit. Fun to make…fun to eat. I like that they are made with honey and whole wheat. And they really don’t take much time at all.

Easy Reindeer Cookies

Reindeer Cuties Yum

1 /2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour

tiny pretzels
chocolate chips
red hot candies

Stir together butter, peanut butter and honey. Add egg, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla. Mix in flour. Chill dough for about an hour.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a well floured surface. Cut circles using a small drinking glass. Place on cookie sheet. Use fingers to squeeze the circles in the middle.

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 Place two pretzels at the top for antlers, two chocolate chips on for eyes and one red hot candy for a nose.

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Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow reindeer to cool 2-3 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.

Allergic to peanut butter? Simply make your favorite sugar cookie recipe and create reindeer that way instead!

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From the Land of the Misfit Cookies
I just had to show you Malachi’s attempt at a reindeer.
He sure did have fun helping!

Smells Like Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Snowballs

Chocolate Snowballs
Here’s the promised Chocolate Snowball recipe. I like that these aren’t super rich or heavy…just kind of like a little ball of chocolate cake.

Chocolate SnowballsYum

3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup rapadura or sucanat
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 t. baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
powdered sugar

Cream butter, rapadura and cocoa. Add milk and eggs and stir well. Mix in baking powder, salt and vanilla. Stir in flour. Chill dough for at least two hours. Roll dough into teaspoon sized balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until the tops are cracked slightly. Roll balls immediately in powdered sugar.

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Be sure not to miss the recipes for Christmas Spice Cookies and Orange Cream Cheese Cut Out Cookies!

Smells Like Christmas Cookies! Orange Cream Cheese Cut-Outs

I have decided that these are my favorite Christmas cookies. And this recipe makes a lot of them…which is why it’s a good idea to have lots of people in mind to share them with!!  Because having them just sitting around the house screaming at me to come eat them is a bad idea.

I’d like to give in to the notion that since they have orange juice in them, they’re good for me and just packed with vitamin C.  Oh, if only.

Orange Cream Cheese Cut Outs

Orange Cream Cheese Cut-Outs

1 cup melted butter
1 8 oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar (I used organic unbleached sugar crystals)
2 eggs
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1 t. finely shredded orange peel
3 T. orange juice
4 cups whole wheat flour (I used freshly ground soft white wheat)

Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, baking powder, vanilla, orange peel and orange juice. Stir in flour one cup at a time until mixed well. Chill dough for about 2 hours.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness, cut with cookie cutters and bake on a cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
2 T. orange juice
2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and orange juice with beaters. Gradually add powdered sugar.

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If you’re wondering if this recipe is worth going to all the trouble of actually shredding orange peel (a step that takes a total of about 20 seconds), it is. If you’re wondering if I’m serious about making them, and then giving them away as quickly as you can so that you won’t eat too many of them, I am. And if you’re wondering if there will still be other fun Christmas recipes soon, there will.

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas…Cookies!

As you all know, I love tweaking recipes and working to create a healthier version of recipes I find. Thanksgiving and Christmas time give me plenty of excuses to exercise this crazy hobby of mine. Nobody around me seems to mind. :)  (Hehe, funny that I used the word exercise…talking about baking cookies! Hey, exercise comes in many forms.)

My favorite part of holiday baking:  I LOVE THE WAY CHRISTMAS BAKING MAKES THE HOUSE SMELL!!!

I’m planning on baking up quite a few treats in the next few weeks to share with neighbors and friends…so be looking for several new recipes coming up here!!!

The first recipe I’ll share is one that smells just like Christmas!! MMMmmm!!

Christmas Spice CookiesYum


It's Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas...Cookies!
 
Author:
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • ½ cup sucanat or brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 2¼ cups whole wheat flour
Instructions
  1. Stir together melted butter and sucanat.
  2. Mix in egg, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. Add flour gradually until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Chill dough at least 2 hours.
  5. Roll dough into teaspoon sized balls. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake at 350°for 10-12 minutes.

 

Christmas Spice Cookies

These cookies are soooo yummy with a cup of hot cocoa!!! (If you haven’t tried this hot cocoa recipe, you really, really should!)

Upcoming cookie recipe:  Orange Cream Cheese Cut-Outs!!  Possibly my favorite!

P.S. Don’t fall out of your chair, but some of the recipes I’ll share might contain some compromising ingredients like powdered sugar and (gasp!) sprinkles.   What’s Christmas without an occasional red and green sprinkle??

So, what are your favorite kinds of Christmas cookies??!!