There’s a saying I love: If you can’t get out of it, get into it!
I think this applies to the holiday madness that consumes our nation from November through January 1st. You can try to rail against it, shun it, but you’re fighting an uphill battle that you will not win. And I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about the general over-commercialization of the entire season—gifts for a multitude of holidays, lights and decorations galore, holiday albums spilling off of Starbucks shelves…not to mention, the entire holiday line of Starbucks beverages.
So instead of trying to boycott the holidays, I make the holidays work for me. I enjoy the gift-giving process, but I set a moderate budget and don’t exceed it. I say yes to the parties that most appeal to me, and I enjoy them, but I am comfortable turning down others. And when it comes to food, I make healthier versions of classic indulgences!
Which leads me to this absolutely killer holiday cookies recipe. Polvorones, or Mexican wedding cookies, are essentially the Spanish version of a shortbread. Their signature crumbly, dense texture comes from plenty of fat, no leavening and the addition of nuts. In ‘healthifying’ this recipe, I didn’t try to do away with everything that makes them unique. Instead, I reduced the amounts of butter and sugar, and I swapped—coconut oil for the missing butter, maple sugar for refined sugar (higher in nutrients and less processed), and spelt flour for white flour. These changes allow me to experience the pleasure of a beloved holiday cookie, but without the guilt it usually creates.
Even though these don’t contain chocolate (my kryptonite), they are hands-down one of my favorite recipes. The texture and additional richness from walnuts make them positively addicting! I didn’t coat them with the usual powdered sugar, and instead dusted them with arrowroot starch for effect. This is optional, and they don’t need anything.
I hope you enjoy these, taking the holidays with a literal grain of salt!
Healthy Mexican Wedding Cookies
1 1/2 cup raw walnuts, pulsed in a food processor until a fine crumble
1/4 cup room temperature grass-fed butter
1/4 cup room temperature coconut oil (between liquid and solid)
1/4 cup maple sugar (sub another dried sugar, such as coconut or date or sugar in the raw)
1 cup spelt flour (sub wheat flour, all-purpose or gluten-free all purpose)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
In a standing mixer or with a hand-mixer, cream butter and coconut oil together on high until creamy and slightly fluffy, approximately 1 minute.
Add maple sugar and mix, then flour, vanilla and sea salt. Mix everything until just incorporated, then finally add walnut meal until incorporated.
Turn dough out onto Saran Wrap and wrap tightly in a ball. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Remove from fridge and roll dough into 16 1-1/2 inch balls, spacing them 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
Bake for 18 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before enjoying.
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Laura Lea is a Certified Holistic chef, recipe developer and food writer based in her hometown of Nashville. Her company LL Balanced is at your service to provide easy, nutritious, family-friendly recipes that will make eating healthy a pleasure and restore balanced to your life. Laura Lea is a Certified Holistic Chef, not a registered dietician, nutritionist or doctor, and her opinion should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult one such licensed professional before making any significant changes to your diet.