4 Guilt-Free Holiday Cookies Under 70 Calories

What a better way to end the Fall 2013 semester than to bake cookies? The holiday season is among us, therefore we must pay tribute to a favorite holiday tradition, baking cookies. Did I mention that each of these cookies are under 70 calories? So step away from the books for a little, and give yourself a break. Go make some of these delicious, easy, and most importantly, health-oriented cookies this holiday season.

Gingerbread Sparkles-51 Calories (2 cookies per serving)

Start to finish: 3 hours

Servings: 85 (170 cookies)

2 cups white whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup molasses

2 tablespoons sparkling sugar

Whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Once combined, add brown sugar, egg, applesauce, and molasses until smooth. Then add flour. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop dough on baking sheets, 2 inches apart, using a spoon. Sprinkle tops with sparkling sugar. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool.

PB&J Thumbprints-44 Calories

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 8 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chunky peanut butter, not natural or old-fashioned

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup seedless strawberry jam, stirred to loosen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl beat peanut butter, sugar, egg, ¼ cup water and vanilla until combined. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Pinch off a teaspoon of dough and roll into a 1-inch ball. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat, covering both sheets, spacing dough balls 1 inch apart. With end of a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in center of each ball. Fill each indentation with 1/4 teaspoon jam. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool.

Mocha Nut Fudge Flats-43 Calories

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 24 cookies

1/4 cup hazelnuts, skins removed

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee, cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Toast nuts on a baking sheet for 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then chop finely. Mix confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, salt, egg white, and coffee until smooth. Drop teaspoons of dough on lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.

Raspberry-Chocolate Meringues-27 Calories (2 meringues per serving)

Start to finish: 2 hours

Servings: 54 (108 meringues)

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in sugar until mixture is glossy with stiff peaks, about 3 minutes. Pour in extract. Spoon meringue into a Ziploc bag with a small slit in one of the corners. Pipe onto sheet, 1/2 inch apart. Bake 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cool. Put chocolate in a bowl and in the microwave for 1 minute. Dip bottom of 1 meringue in chocolate, and set aside on a parchment sheet.

By: Marisa Malanga