Helpful info for a healthier lifestyle
Holiday cookie recipes

A Less Added Sugar Favorite: Holiday Cookie Recipes

December 5, 2014

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Growing up, holiday foods at our house rarely varied from year to year, so they became family traditions. One of those traditions, aside from the can’t-be-missed meals, was for my mother to make everyone’s favorite candies, cakes and cookies (with a little help from me when I was old enough). Without these special goodies, something seemed a little “off” about the holidays. However, when neighbors and relatives came to visit, one could expect them to have in hand a platter overflowing with their family’s traditional favorite sweets to share.

In retrospect, I now see this sweet-sharing as a precursor to today’s “cookie swaps” or “cookie exchanges” – without the guidelines. To my disbelief, thanks to the Internet, there are actually formal guidelines for these cookie “trading” events! Who knew? Even Martha Stewart has her own rules, pictures and all!

From these early cookie swaps, I learned that holiday cookies are much more varied than what my family had every year. Cookies come in all shapes, sizes and flavors; they can be described in a variety of ways, too: drop, bars, balls, pressed, cut-out, hand-shaped, no-bake, refrigerated, rolled, frosted, unfrosted…phew! (and that doesn’t cover them all).

So many cookies to whip up, so little time…unless you are one of those can’t-wait-until-the-holidays-so-I-should-start-baking-now type of person (that’s great if you have a big freezer). I am not that kind of plan-ahead cookie person.

While I love cookies of all kinds, there is a special place in my heart (and stomach) for the cookies that are relegated to tantalizing our taste buds only once a year. They are more than cookies. They also are memories.

Should someone ask me to name my favorite holiday cookie, I would be hard pressed to do so. But if I really must select one… good old iced sugar cookies made with real butter make my holidays special. Ah, such sweet memories.

But here we are in 2014 and luckily there is no need for holiday cookies to be the high-sugar versions of days gone by! Thank goodness SPLENDA® Sweeteners have come to the rescue. You can indeed have your sugar cookies (and other favorites) and eat them, too, without all the extra sugar.

To help you reduce the added sugar content of your favorite holiday cookie recipes, check out the guidelines for using SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated in place of regular sugar, and also the conversion chart. Also, consider baking with SPLENDA® Sugar Blend, a blend of sugar and SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener which provides functional properties for baked goods, such as browning, volume, texture and moistness.

Here are a few popular holiday-oriented cookie recipes you may want to try, with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products in place of full sugar. These recipes might just become a new family tradition!

Sweet As Sugar Cookie Recipe

This sweet treat will bring forth childhood memories.

Serves 30
Serving Size: 1 Cookie


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup SPLENDA® Sugar Blend
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer in a medium-sized mixing bowl until creamy.
  2. Gradually add SPLENDA® Sugar Blend, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to SPLENDA® Sugar Blend mixture, beating until blended. Do not over-mix.
  4. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough in half; pat each half into a circle and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill cookie dough for one hour or until slightly firm.
  5. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator. Work with one portion of dough at a time. Roll each portion to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a cookie cutter, and place on lightly greased cookie sheets.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool slightly on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Top with optional garnishes or glaze with Sweet ‘n Simple Powdered Sugar Glaze if desired (recipe below).

For Nutrition Information

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Sweet ’n Simple ‘Powdered Sugar Glaze’

This cookie glaze is so simple and versatile, it’s sure to become your old standby for sugar cookies and any other baked goods that require a glaze.

Makes 5 servings
Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon


  • 1 1/2 cups SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 5 teaspoons water


  1. Place SPLENDA® Sweetener, Granulated and cornstarch in blender jar.
  2. Cover and blend until SPLENDA® Sweetener, Granulated is a very fine powder.
  3. Pour into a small bowl. Add water and stir well. This recipe makes a thick glaze. Add more water for a thinner glaze.

Note: To flavor the glaze try adding any of the following: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 drop maple flavor, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon orange zest, or 1/2 teaspoon rum flavor.

For Nutrition Information

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Merry Gingerbread Cookies

This recipe makes a large batch of cookies - ideal for parties, for the holidays or for giving as gifts.

Serves 54
Serving Size: 1 Cookie


  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons water


  1. Blend together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cream butter, SPLENDA® Sweetener, Granulated and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add the molasses and water. Stir well. Add the flour mixture and stir until well blended. Refrigerate dough 1-2 hours before rolling out and cutting into shapes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll cookie dough out slightly less than 1/4 inch. Cut into desired shapes. Bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.

For Nutrition Information

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Single Bake Anise ‘Biscotti’

A traditional taste in half the time and with less added sugar, these Italian cookies made with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener and sugar are perfect for a morning coffee break or anytime.

Serves 48
Serving Size: 1 Biscotti


  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/8 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 tablespoon anise seed


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with baking spray and set aside.
  2. Mix the oil, SPLENDA® Sweetener, Granulated and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add anise extract. Stir until blended. Set aside.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, nonfat dry milk and anise seed in a medium size mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the oil and egg mixture and stir until blended.
  5. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a log approximately 3 1/2 inches wide by 12 inches long. Place the logs on the prepared pan 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Slice the loaves with a sharp knife into 48 slices, approximately 1/2 inch wide.
  8. Cool and store in airtight containers. Cookies will stay fresh up to 5 days.

NOTE: Biscotti made with SPLENDA® Sweetener, Granulated has a slightly different texture than biscotti made with sugar.

For Nutrition Information

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White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Perfect for the holidays, this rich and buttery oatmeal cookie has cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Makes 2 dozen
Serving Size: 1 cookie


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup SPLENDA® Sugar Blend
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips
  • 3/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil 2 cookie sheets. Set aside.
  2. Mix butter and SPLENDA® Sugar Blend together until light and creamy in a medium size mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until well blended. In a separate bowl, stir together oats, flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add to egg mixture. Stir until well blended. Mix in chocolate and cranberries.
  4. Drop tablespoon size pieces of dough onto cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

For Nutrition Information

Sue Taylor is a consulting nutritionist with more than 35 years of experience. She is passionate about sharing her nutrition knowledge and fondness for good, healthy food. Sue will put relevant information in consumer terms and provide valuable perspective to clear up misinformation and confusion about nutrition and food safety.

December 5, 2014  |  POSTED BY: Sue Taylor, MS  |  IN: Cooking & Baking, Sugar Substitutes


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