Add these Healthy Sugar Cookies to your Christmas cookies wish list this year! They’re incredibly light, buttery, and classically delicious. Made with almond flour and cane sugar (or make sugar free), they’re the perfect cookie to decorate as desired!
Baking with almond flour is such a great way to make our favourites baked treats with a healthier twist like in this almond flour cake, almond flour chocolate cake and gluten free carrot cake. Three other recipes that need to be on your dessert table!
Table of contents
- Why Make Almond Flour Sugar Cookies?
- Ingredients for Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Sugar Free Sugar Cookies
- How to Make Healthy Sugar Cookies
- How to Soften Butter Quickly
- Easy Sugar Cookie Icing
- Optional Add-Ins and Variations
- Tips for Best Results
- How to Ship Cookies?
- How to Serve Sugar Cookies?
- How to Store Cookies
- More Almond Flour Recipes to Try
Healthy sugar cookies do not depart from everything we love about a classic sugar cookie. A buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, a sweet crunch, and a surface area perfect for all kinds of decorating!
These cookies are so easy to make and they’re the perfect holiday treat for any dessert tray or dessert charcuterie board. The kids will love getting involved and what a great beginner recipe for those looking for simple recipes to add to their holiday baking list.
Why Make Almond Flour Sugar Cookies?
- Taste: Tweaking the recipe from the original to a healthier version does not affect its delicious flavor at all!
- Texture: Crispy, buttery, and melt-in-your-mouth cookies are everything we want in a sugar cookie.
- Simple: This easy-to-follow recipe is made even easier by using just a few basic baking ingredients.
- Freezer friendly: These sugar cookies will keep frozen for months!
- Travel friendly: Who doesn’t love getting a surprise box of cookies? These make great gifts.
Ingredients for Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Flour: I use almond flour for this recipe. It’s gluten free, not as coarse and dark as an almond meal, and light enough to give it a lovely flavour. I also use almond flour to make chocolate chip cookies and snowball cookies!
You will also need all-purpose flour or coconut flour for dusting before rolling. Almond flour does not work for dusting; if you need gluten free be sure to use coconut flour!
- Baking soda: Adds a nice light and airy texture to the cookie. Helping it to rise to avoid a dense cookie.
- Butter: Softened butter to give the cookies that melt in your mouth butter appeal.
- Sweetener: You can use organic cane sugar or monk fruit extract. Both are great at putting the “sugar” in sugar cookies, without actually using refined sugar.
- Eggs: Needed to bind the cookie dough together so the cookies don’t crumble and fall apart. Eggs are great at their job 🙂
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract adds delicious flavour, as it usually does in many baking recipes!
Jazz up your cookies with some icing and sprinkles, if desired. You can make a quick frosting by combining icing sugar and cold water. Then, add your favorite festive sprinkles!
Sugar Free Sugar Cookies
To make this sugar cookie recipe without any sugar, use a dry sugar replacement for both the sugar cookie dough and icing. I like to use Swerve for the icing, I also use it to make healthy snowball cookies that melt in your mouth.
How to Make Healthy Sugar Cookies
Before you begin. Bring eggs and butter to room temperature. Having all ingredients at the same temperature makes for even baking, but the softened butter will also be easier to blend into a creamy mixture.
- Grab 2 large bowls. In the first, whisk flour and baking soda until lump free and smooth, and in the other beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until combined and creamy.
- Add eggs and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture. Be careful not to over mix.
- Fold in dry ingredients to the wet with a spatula and mix until a ball of dough forms. The dough will be on the wetter side, no need to add more flour.
How to Soften Butter Quickly
The easiest way is to leave the butter at room temperature on the counter for 4 hours before starting. However, sometimes it so happens we forget to take the butter out of the fridge in time, we’ve all done it.
One of my favorite tricks is to use a tall glass or mason jar, fill it with water, and microwave the water until it’s hot. While it’s in the microwave, I will unwrap the stick of butter and stand it up vertically on a small plate. I then take the cup of water out of the microwave, dump the water (careful, it’s hot) and place the empty glass write overtop of the butter. So now I’ve got a plate, a stick of butter, and a glass on top. I then transfer my setup into the microwave but don’t turn it on. Let it sit there for 10 minutes and voila, soft butter.
- Chill the dough. Divide the cookie dough into two balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and flatten it into disks. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours or the freezer for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare two large baking sheets with either unbleached parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Both are great as nonstick surfaces. Set those aside for now.
- Roll out the dough. Remove the dough and take off the plastic wrap. Dust rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough to about 1/3” thick. This dough is a bit delicate so we want it to be a bit thicker and sturdier.
The dough still hard? If, when you remove the dough from chilling, it’s too hard to roll, allow it to warm up for about 5 minutes.
- Cut out cookies: Using your favorite cookie cutters cut out as many cookies as you can and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets. These cookies will spread a bit, so be sure to leave about 2” of space in between each one. Combine the scraps, roll out again and continue cutting out cookies until you’ve run out of dough. Repeat with the second disk of dough.
Fragile dough? Using a spatula to remove the cookie dough from the surface to transfer it to the baking sheet is sometimes helpful. This dough is delicate and soft, so a spatula can help to avoid ruining the shape of the dough.
- Bake the cookies: Place cookies in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. You want to remove them before any browning starts to happen. Sugar cookies should have no more than a slight golden edge, and even that is too much for some people! Don’t stray too far, keep an eye on them.
- Remove and cool: Allow them to start cooling on the cookie tray for 15 minutes and then they can be moved to a wire rack to cool off completely.
Easy Sugar Cookie Icing
- Combine powdered sugar and cold water: Stir together until there are no lumps.
- Pour mixture into a piping bag if you’re fancy, or a Ziploc or any sandwich-size resealable bag if you’re like me 🙂 Push contents of the bag to one corner.
- Cut the corner: Make a small snip in one corner of the bag and push the icing through.
Start small! It’s impossible to make a hole smaller, so start with a small snip and work your way up if needed.
- Start with an outline first and then fill in the centre using a spatula to spread it around if necessary.
- Add sprinkles, while the icing is still wet.
- Set it aside to dry completely. This will take a couple of hours. Do not stack until then!
Optional Add-Ins and Variations
- Sugar free sugar cookies: Replace with a dry sugar replacer like erythritol or monk fruit extract.
- Sugar free icing: Use the powdered version of either erythritol or monk fruit extract for icing. It’s amazing!
- Other icing: Try healthy buttercream frosting or even chocolate icing, instead!
- Gluten free sugar cookies: Use coconut flour for dusting the rolling pin. Unfortunately, almond flour doesn’t work as well.
- Use for all holidays: This cookie recipe is great and obviously festive for the holidays, but it can be used for any occasion! Choose cookie cutter shapes that suit your needs, and the sprinkles to match!
DIY for the Kids! Set up a cookie decorating station. Set out small bowls of sprinkles and allow everyone to decorate their own cookies.
Tips for Best Results
- Avoid using almond meal: As similar as it is to almond flour, it’s different enough! Almond flour is made from blanched (skinless) almonds which creates a lighter, fluffier flour. I use the Kirkland brand from Costco.
- Even baking: Bring butter and eggs to room temperature for even baking and easy mixing.
- Chill time: Ironic that we will then chill the dough! Do not skip this step, it is important for the cookies not to spread too thin.
- Don’t forget, soft butter is NOT melted butter: Melted butter will create a crispy flatter cookie. As well, if you measure out the butter as melted butter, you’ll be using a different amount of butter than what is needed.
- Gentle mixing: Over beating your wet ingredients will cause the butter to possibly separate and no longer be smooth and creamy.
- Avoid over baking the cookies: Sugar cookies can quickly taste burnt if they cross the line from lightly golden to brown, which they can do quite easily. Just keep an eye on them.
- Make sure your cookies are completely cooled before you start to add the icing: If not, the icing will thin out to a runny glaze from the heat.
Top Tip! Measure your flour correctly! Do this by using a spoon to scoop out the flour from its original container into the measuring cup. This will allow the flour to remain light and fluffy and not packed down into the cup. When flour is packed down, leaving no room for air, you’re placing way more flour than the recipe calls for.
Once you’ve spooned out your flour into the measuring cup, you’ll notice it’s probably piled high (or at least not level). Use the back of a knife, and scrape off the excess.
You can use whole wheat flour, yes. It will no longer be gluten free (as you’re probably aware), and it will also change the flavour and texture. Alternatively, you could use whole wheat pastry flour, which is lighter and has less gluten in it.
It is possible to make healthy vegan sugar cookies, but it’s more than just tweaking a couple of things. When you remove something you usually need to replace it with something and in this case, we’d be removing the butter and egg. You can use vegan butter for sure, but the egg holds the structure of the almond flour. If you replace almond flour with a gluten free 1:1 all-purpose flour, then you’re again changing the taste and texture.
I haven’t tried a vegan sugar cookie, nor have I tried a gluten free vegan sugar cookie, because I wanted to make a healthy version as close to the original as possible.
With a few simple baking staples, including a sugar replacer, some chill time, a short bake time and that’s it!
The only dairy in this recipe is butter. I don’t recommend replacing it with anything, as a good sugar cookie has almost a shortbread buttery note to it, but if you want to, I suppose you could try vegan butter.
If you’re following my recipe to the letter, you shouldn’t have a dough that is too sticky. It will be a bit sticky, and more wet than dry. The dusting of the rolling pin will help it not stick, as will using a spatula to transfer from the surface to the baking sheet.
This could be because you didn’t use the correct amount of butter. Either that or it was still too cold from being in the fridge and it needs to warm up a bit. Leave it alone for a few minutes and then try again.
Many people have found success using natural food sources as colouring agents. For example, powdered beet, or beet juice extract or strawberry extract makes red, blueberry extract makes blue, turmeric makes yellow, you get the idea!
How to Ship Cookies?
Shipping: Gift a few to friends and family wrapped in a plastic bag with ties. To ship, I would let the cookie sit for 1 day first to really set for the sake of traveling.
Then, wrap 2 cookies back to back (bottoms to each other) with plastic wrap, place in an airtight container where they don’t tumble around much, with a slice of bread, and ship! I wouldn’t ship anywhere that takes longer than 5 days max. Just in case!
How to Serve Sugar Cookies?
Breakfast or snack: Having a healthy sugar cookie for breakfast is the law, especially during the holidays, right? Pair it with healthy hot chocolate or kombucha tea for an afternoon snack or nibble on a cookie while you sip lemon water recipe or healthy iced coffee in the morning!
Dessert charcuterie board: Add healthy sugar cookies to your dessert tray alongside almond flour thumbprint cookies, shortbread cookies, healthy chocolate chip cookies, healthy oatmeal cranberry cookies, healthy pumpkin cookies, oatmeal cookies and these healthy gingerbread or gingersnap cookies.
How to Store Cookies
- To store: Once completely cooled, these cookies can stay at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- To freeze: Transfer cookies to a freezer friendly bag or container. Separate layers with parchment paper and keep frozen for up to 6 months.
Be sure to let me know how much you love these and my other healthy Christmas cookies!
More Almond Flour Recipes to Try
Healthy Sugar Cookies
Icing and sprinkles (optional)
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cold water
- Sprinkles of choice
- In a large bowl, add almond flour and baking soda. Whisk until no lumps and set aside.
- In another large bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until combined and creamy.
- Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until combined well (don't overbeat to prevent butter separation).
- Add flour mixture and stir with spatula until a ball of dough forms. Dough will be on a wet side.
- Divide it into two balls, place on two separate sheets of plastic wrap, flatten into discs, wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
- Remove chilled dough from the fridge (or freezer) and unwrap. If very hard, let it warm up on the counter for 5 minutes. Dust the surface and rolling pin with all-purpose flour or coconut flour (see notes). You will need quite a bit as this dough is wet. Roll the dough 1/3 inch thick – a bit thicker than for regular cookies because this dough is delicate.
- Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut out cookies and transfer to previously prepared baking sheet (loosening with small spatula if necessary), leaving 2 inches in between. These cookies spread a bit. Combine the dough scraps into a ball, roll it out, cut out cookies and repeat until you run out of dough. Repeat the same step with the second disc of dough.
- Bake for 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven before visible browning and edges start to brown. You do not want that with sugar cookies – they should be of light color. Remove from the oven and let them cool off first on a baking tray for 15 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack to cool off completely.
To decorate cookies (optional)
- In a small bowl, add icing sugar and water; whisk until smooth and no lumps.
- Transfer to a sandwich size resealable bag, push to one corner, twist bag on top and cut a small hole at the tip.
- Decorate cookies as you wish by pushing icing through the hole. Pipe the outline of the shape of a cookie, fill in the middle and push around with small spatula or tip of piping bag to cover completely.
- To add sprinkles, place a few cookies while icing is still wet in a large bowl with edges, sprinkle with sprinkles, shake off excess and transfer onto flat surface to dry. You can transfer remaining sprinkles back into the bottle when done.
- Let icing dry and it will harden and set within a couple of hours. Do not stack them until then.
- Store: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Freeze: For up to 6 months.
- Flour substitutions? Unfortunately not with this recipe. You have to use only fine or super fine blanched almond flour. I use Kirkland brand from Costco.
- Can I make cookies sugar-free? Yes, you can replace sugar with erythritol or monk fruit extract (has to be only dry sweetener). And if making icing, you can use powdered erythritol or monk fruit.
- What is softened butter? Do not confuse softened butter with melted butter. Melted butter will not work in this recipe – baking is a science.
- Making 100% gluten free cookies: Use coconut flour for dusting the rolling pin and surface as it absorbs moisture well. Do not use almond flour as it generally doesn’t work well for dusting.
- Do not overbake cookies: Remove them from the oven before visible browning and edges start to brown. You do not want that with sugar cookies – they should be of light color.