vanilla cookies … a recipe redux (aka how to make holiday treats taste better and make them better for you)

Hi. It’s Jeanne, again.

With another heartfelt confession.

I love holiday treats.

Holiday cookies.

Holiday cakes.

Holiday candy.

I do.

But I’m a bit of a whole-food-foodie (as if you didn’t know that by now) … and we’re working diligently to transition to a more nourishing diet … so I don’t love all the refined sugar and flour and all the processed ingredients, chemicals and preservatives that go into these treats.

And in case you’ve forgotten … I’d like to remind you … that I LOVE holiday treats.

So I thought I’d show  you some of my “secrets” for taking tried and true great recipes … making just a few adjustments … and delivering the memories without the side effects.  Here’s my recipe for Coconut-Vanilla Cookies (adapted from a simple Vanilla Cookie recipe) … these are the ones we leave out for Santa!  And he hasn’t complained yet!


  • 6 Tbls Crisco              replace with 6 Tbls of Coconut Oil
  • ½ tsp Iodized Salt    replace with Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbls Milk
  • ¾ Cup White Sugar  1/3 cup Maple Syrup (or Organic Cane Sugar or Honey or Coconut Palm Sugar)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 – 2 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour      (replace with unbleached organic bread flour)

Why Coconut Oil instead of Crisco?  Because Coconut Oil has a higher smoke point and won’t go rancid in a 350 degree oven.  Also, Coconut Oil is better for you … new studies are showing it’s better for good cholesterol levels and old studies show that native populations who consume a diet high in Coconut Oil have lower rates of heart disease.

Why Sea Salt instead of Iodized Salt?  When you buy Idiodized salt, you’re buying salt that’s been “purified” and “bleached” … all the natural iodine and minerals are taken away, and then a version created in a lab is added back in … minus all the good minerals and nutrients that can be found in natural sea salt.  So … sea salt … it’s just better for you.

Just say no to refined white sugar.  There’s enough information about this in the mainstream media. We are living in an epidemic time.  Refined sugar and corn syrup are running rampant in our diets … as are the rates of diabetes and heart disease and cancer.

And then there’s refined white flour … rather than me going on and on about the dangers of “enriched white flour” check this out.


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Blend coconut oil, salt, vanilla and milk until creamy.  (I use a big wooden spoon for this.)
  • Add the maple syrup and incorporate well.
  • Then add the egg.
  • And then fold in the flour … gradually.  It usually takes about 2 cups to make a smooth medium-soft dough.  If it’s too sticky, add a little more.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface (I use rice flour because of the texture … no other reason).  Cut with the cookie cutter of your choice and place the shapes on your greased cookie sheet and bake for about 12-14 minutes.
sometimes I wish I didn’t feel compelled to post a photo because I’m not doing these little nuggets justice. The lighting … the composition … the missing cookie from the middle of the pan … ah well … I had the joy of making these with our big girl while the little guy took a nap. And every time we make them she gets better with the cutters!

They’re tasty as is, but I’ve iced them in the past.

I bet your Santa will like them, too 🙂

PS – DON’T FORGET … YOU CAN REGISTER FOR OUR WORLD MARKET GIFTCARD GIVEAWAY ONCE EACH DAY until 10 pm (PST) on Wednesday (Nov. 28).  Winner’s announced on the blog Thursday morning.

12 thoughts on “vanilla cookies … a recipe redux (aka how to make holiday treats taste better and make them better for you)

    1. LOL … well … I might not call icing “nourishing” … but a royal icing with organic sugar (or coconut palm sugar) that’s been run through a spice grinder is a little better for you than straight refined powder sugar … oh … and if you color it with tea (we use hibiscus flowers for a fun dark pink color) … then you’re not adding that scary dye into your body 🙂

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