Healthy dessert recipes seem to usually taste like cardboard. And then I just end up throwing it all away while my family makes a bakery store run.
These pecan cookies are the healthy dessert recipe we needed and are a staple during the holiday season in our home. Everyone loves these pecan balls and I love that I can make the dough ahead of time. Make the dough, cover and chill at least 2 hours, but as long as you need to fit healthy desserts into your busy end-of-the-year scheduling. Then, when you want a pecan cookie (or two) or a whole batch, just heat the oven, roll out the dough and 10 minutes later you’re enjoying a delightful treat.
Healthy Desserts = Coconut Sugar
Part of what makes these pecan ball cookies healthier is coconut sugar. There is a caveat here though – the only truly healthy dessert is one with NO sugar. But, if your family is anything like mine, during the holidays fruit just isn’t going to cut it for a dessert. So, enter healthier sugar alternatives such as coconut sugar and stevia. I’ve written many times about the healthy benefits of coconut sugar so I won’t repeat it here. If you are new to coconut, read this article.
Coconut sugar is the traditional sugar made from the sap of coconut flowers. It is boiled down to create either dry sugar blocks (which have to be grated), a soft paste, or granulated form. Coconut sugar has a light taste without excessive sweetness. It almost tastes like it has just a tad of maple syrup or caramel in it. Coconut sugar is low on the glycemic index, so it’s a better sugar for diabetics. It is also full of minerals. Coconut sugar is produced by a natural process of heat evaporation with no preservatives added. Many ethic markets carry the paste form which is easy to cook with. Many health food stores carry the granulated form as it’s rising in popularity. It can easily be substituted for sugar in recipes although depending on the amount of sweetness you are used to you may have to add 1/2 again as much coconut sugar. For example: if the recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon of sugar, you may need up to 1 1/2 Tablespoon of coconut sugar. Personally, I find that most foods could use less sweetness and start with a 1:1 substitution.
Coconut sugar also makes great pancakes, muffins, chocolate cookies, and so much more (links for more healthy dessert recipes). It’s very versatile and gives this healthy desserts a sweet boost without the big insulin swings.
Pecan Ball Cookies Ingredients:
- 1 cup pecan
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- Grated orange zest of one orange
- 1 Tbsp. orange juice
- 10 drops stevia (optional)
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- ½ Tbsp. powdered sugar (optional)
Pecan Balls Directions:
- Pulse pecans and coconut sugar in a food processor until similar to the texture of sand.
- Place mixture in a bowl. Add zest, juice and stevia. Mix well.
- Add egg white and stir until a thin dough forms.
- Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place parchment paper on baking sheet. Using a heaping teaspoon roll each into a total of 16 balls placing approximately 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool before removing from pan.
- Place powdered sugar in a sieve and dust pecan cookies if desired.