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Recipe: Health(ier) cookies and healthier candy alternatives | Meg Unprocessed

Celebrate Valentine's Day with these cookies and some of these healthier candy alternatives.
Credit: Megan Evans

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Most of the candy we see in stores contains ingredients that are not the best for our bodies. Many of them use ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and a lot of additives and preservatives that can cause some health problems. Luckily, there are some companies now making candy without all those ingredients.

Unreal makes things like peanut butter cups and chocolate covered peanuts that are very similar to M&M's. Instead of artificial dyes, they use real foods, like beet juice and turmeric, to color their candy.

SmartSweets is a company that makes better gummy-type candies. They have gummy bears and peach rings that are vegan and made with healthier sugars than what you might find in candy at the grocery store.

If you turn over a bag of chocolate chips, you'll see a lot of ingredients on most of them, but chocolate chips only need three to four ingredients. Enjoy Life's chocolate chips only have three ingredients. They use dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants and other health benefits--as long as you eat them in moderation, of course.

If you're trying to cut sugars, the chocolate chips made by a company called Pascha have zero sugars, as well as sugar-free alternatives. These chocolate chips taste very bitter, but when you pair them with things like a date or cookie dough that already has sugar in it, they taste much better.

Now that we've talked a lot about candies and chocolates to make your Valentine's Day a little bit healthier, let's make some cookies.

The ones I made have some healthier ingredients, like unbleached flour and coconut sugar. This is a healthier cookie that's fun to make with your family or for someone you love this Valentine's Day.

Healthier cookie recipe

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups flour (I used unbleached all-purpose)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (date sugar or other preferred sugar also works)
  • 2 tsp arrowroot
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup liquid from a can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • ½ cup vegan butter (I used Miyokos)
  • ¼ tsp salt (optional)
  • ⅓ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F
  • In a mixer, or with beaters, cream the vegan butter and sugar together
  • Add in the chickpea liquid and vanilla and mix again
  • Add the dry ingredients (the flour, arrowroot, baking soda and salt) and slowly mix it all together
  • For chocolate chip cookies, add the chocolate chips into the mixture (I used the Unreal chocolates) and mix them all together
  • Place spoonful-sized dough balls onto a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then allow them to cool for a bit before serving

To make traditional sugar cookies with cookie cutters, make sure you flour your hands and the counter or baking mat. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. It should be about ½ inch thick. Then you can use a cookie cutter to cut the cookies and transfer to a baking sheet.

Enjoy your cookies!

WATCH MORE FROM MEG UNPROCESSED ON ABC10: Simple steps for healthy eating in the new year | Meg Unprocessed