'Tis the season to indulge in your sweet treat fantasies! But thankfully, I have a lot of sweet holiday treat options with less sugar, while not compromising on flavour, and refined-sugar free treats! Aaannnndd I have recipes loaded down with icing sugar. Balance, ya know?
You still have time to send yourself and those you love into a sugar coma so get started baking, cooking, and sipping DIY Bailey's while you do it! Let me know which recipe is your family's favorite!
The right tools makes baking and cooking so much more pleasant+efficient. Dont go out of your way to drop a fortune and upgrade everything, but as things need replacing, plus for birthdays and christmas, is a great time to slowly upgrade your kitchen tools. Your time is worth something too, and being more efficient saves me time!
Some of my favourites include...
Burls, Rolls, and Twists, Oh My!
Apple Strudel- Flaky crust, spicy apple filling, and drizzle of sweet sugary goodness over the top... so where could you go wrong in adding this to your menu?
One(ish) Hour Cinnamon Rolls- Ready so fast your family will think you're magical.
Big Dutch Babies- Sometimes called Puff Pancake, this is another recipe perfect for Christmas morning, or any ol' morning while you have a pile of friends and family staying with you.
My Mama's Scones- These are easy to throw together when you have last minute company, or just decide to have an impromptu party of one afternoon tea while you hide from your kids by the fire. Try white chocolate, dried cranberries, and toasted hazelnuts.
Old-fashioned Donuts- Dessert one night, breakfast the following morning- no complaining from anyone!
Cinnamon Burls- A lighter on sugar cinnamon bun, lovely to enjoy with tea or coffee. Cardamom and cocoa add a twist on your average cinnamon and sugar combo.
Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Bread- The water from the soaked raisins enriches the bread without any additional sugar or oil- its magic.
DIY Bailey's Irish Creamer- I love to make this and gift it at Christmas time! This takes you to my original recipe, or if you want a refined sugar-free recipe I updated the recipe here: Maple Syrup Sweetened Irish Creamer
20-minute Hot Apple Cider- Using powdered spices this is a time saver, while not sacrificing flavour! At your next holiday party leave a bottle of your favourite whiskey sitting by a crockpot or instant pot full of cider as an optional adult upgrade.
Dairy Free Hot Chocolate/Chocolate Milk- Either version is a welcome treat at a bonfire or on movie/game night. This would be spectacular with some of the aforementioned Irish Creamer in it!
Rhubarb Mint Syrup+Cocktail- Bring the taste of the garden back in the cold of winter with this cocktail recipe! Some frozen rhubarb transforms into a delicious drink.
Cookies, Cakes, and Bars
Honey-sweetened Gingerbread Cut-out Cookies- These molasses-y cookies are chewy, and as a result, perfect for decorating! It's nice for one less thing to have refined sugar in it when your icing sugar and leftover Halloween candy are!
Honey-sweetened Cut-out Cookies- These are reminiscent of animal crackers in flavour and perfect plain as a snack, or all dressed up with icing and candy. Click through for the link to my friend Marissa's gluten-free version!
My Mama's Shortbread-bottom Lemon Squares- Another recipe to bring some summer flavour into your winter kitchen, these were a staple growing up. Shortbread lends itself well to being gluten-free, too!
Vegan Chocolate Chocolate Cookies- My mum eats plant-based so I frequently make these when she comes to visit. They are a crowd-pleaser even for the non-vegans in your life (I wont tell if you use milk)
Applesauce Spice Cake- This recipe is sooooooo versatile. I have a lot of different options and ideas listed out in the blog post.
5-ingredient Egg-free Cookie Bars- Our family's version of s'mores bars these are a MUST, no excuses. Just make them. Let me know how many of them you eat in a row!
Classic Dark Chocolate Cake- Better than box and a bonus coconut frosting recipe, this is a decadent, easy treat to make for a crowd. If you prefer, they make great cupcakes!
Rustic Fruit Tart- I’ve been making Rustic Fruit Tart for eons. Or as much as a 28 year old could have baked in their life. It’s the perfect palette for whatever fruit is in season, your fridge, or your freezer.
Saucepan Kisses- These no-bake cookies can be whipped up in a flash, which may or may not be a good thing
Oatmeal Jam Bars- I love this recipe simply because it’s so versatile. You can use whatever flour fits your dietary needs, including gluten-free. This recipe does use butter, and I haven’t tested it myself with coconut oil, but I know others who have. However, it doesn’t have eggs so also fits that need if you have an allergy. Try it with whatever jar of jam needs used up and let me know what you think!
Almond Ring Cake- Marius grew up eating Dutch Boterkoek and admits this recipe from my family cookbook is pretty great too. I love to serve this with tea as a quick treat or to have on hand for quick guests. It freezes super well as it’s a sturdy cake (almost like a shortbread cookie) so just wrap it up nicely and stick it in the deep freeze.
Loaded Popcorn Cake- This is often chosen for birthdays in my house, and is another great way to use up that leftover halloween candy! Or all the candy being given out around Christmas time.
Upscaled Brownie Pudding- Upscaled. AKA: healthier, but still a treat. And it's even more tasty than the traditional recipe. Make it and you'll see!
Dip, Drizzle, Snack
Fruit Dip- Easy to whip up and a staple for large gatherings... which could basically mean my family.
Cocoa Almonds- An easy, grab-a-handful and go, low sugar snack!
Grandma Marg's Maple Fudge- The name is deceptive, as it doesn't have any maple syrup in it. No doubt, Grandma had her reasons and I wish I could ask her. I wonder if it was because it was as close to maple flavor as they could get when syrup was unavailable or not affordable?
Dulce De Leche- Dulce De Leche makes a great gift, or hide it away for yourself! Enjoy it with ice cream, in coffee, with apples…you name it!