Christmas Cookies--wheat-free, Dairy-free, Natural Sweetener

The continuous parade of sweets during the holidays is a tradition we all like to partake of. Here's a recipe you and your family can enjoy even if you want to avoid refined sugars, wheat, and dairy.

My husband and I love these cookies. And they are so easy to make.

makes about 16 2" cookies

1/2 cup almond butter
2 cups almond meal (purchase at any natural food store)
6 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the almond butter in a bowl and mix with a fork or mixer to soften. (If you opened the jar and the almond butter had separated, you'll need to mix the oil back together with the butter and then measure.)
3. Add the almond meal, agave or honey, and extracts and mix thoroughly.
4. Place parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet on a baking sheet. If you want, you can roll this dough between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/4" - 1/2" thick and cut with decorative cookie cutters. Or, you can just put all the dough on the baking sheet, pat it down to about 1/4" - 1/2" thick and then cut squares with a dull table knife. Either way, take the cut pieces and spread them out across the baking sheet, about 1/2" apart.
5. Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and set. Cookies will crisp as they cool.
6. Allow cookies to cool and store in an airtight container.
7. For crisper, harder cookies, bake them longer at a lower temperature.

VARIATIONS:

* Roll out dough and use to make cutout cookies

* Add any extract and bits of nuts, citrus peel, dried fruits, coconut, chocolate chips

* Top with spices such as cinnamon sugar

* Sandwich any plain or flavored cookies together with fruit-sweetened jam, flavored cream cheese, nut butters...

* Place dough in parchment paper, roll into a cylinder, then chill and cut as refrigerator cookies. Edges can be rolled in nuts, coconut, etc.

* Add any desired ingredients and bake as bar cookies.

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About The Author, Debra Lynn Dadd
Hailed as "The Queen of Green" by the New York Times, Debra Lynn Dadd has been a leading consumer advocate for products and lifestyle choices that are better for health and the environment since 1982. For more recipes for holiday sweets using natural sweeteners, visit http://www.sweetsavvy.com/holidaysweets.php.