Soft Island Bliss Cookies (and a giveaway)

January 19th, 2012 at 6:06 am


It’s the third week of New Year, New You, the month-long pure living event I’m co-hosting with Lexie’s Kitchen. This week, we’re celebrating with wholesome, refined sugar-free treats! Glad you stopped by, aren’t you?

So far in this event, we’ve shared our favorite ways to eat more produce and learned how to make smart snack choices. If you missed any of the posts from the last two weeks, here’s a recap:

Week One: Eat More Produce

Week Two: Snack Smart

Swap Your Sweeteners

This week is all about indulging sensibly in treats that are free of refined sugar. Sugar effects our bodies negatively in dozens of ways and contributes to diseases, weakened immune systems, and many chronic illnesses. Sugar can contribute to hyperactivity, elevated adrenaline, anxiety, crankiness, and difficulty concentrating. Because sugar decreases our bodies’ sensitivity to insulin, regular sugar consumption can lead to the onset of diabetes. It also has the ability to increase metabolic disorders in healthy people and promote a host of degenerative diseases, many of them life-threatening.

This article by Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, lists 76 ways that sugar can negatively influence our health. It’s highly convincing and I would encourage you to read it if you’re on the fence. Another wonderful resource for those looking to eliminate or greatly reduce sugar in their diets is Get the Sugar Out by Ann Louise Gittleman. The book contains over 500 reader-friendly tips that are easy to implement and remember. You might also want to pick up a copy of Amy Green’s book Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free, which contains 180 recipes that are entirely free of refined sugar. (You can read my review of Amy’s book here.)

Of course, just because you don’t eat sugar doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sweet treat once in a while. In all of my cooking and baking, I use only natural sweeteners like fruits and fruit purees, honey, organic maple syrup and agave nectar, coconut sugar, and stevia. I also tend to use much less than typical recipes do because over time, my taste buds have adapted to a less sweet way of eating.

Let me tell you, I don’t miss the sugar one bit. Naturally sweetened treats taste just as good as those made with cane sugar without giving me headaches, puffy eyes, and energy crashes.

Soft Island Bliss Cookies

Take these cookies, for instance. Sweetened entirely with honey, they absolutely hit the spot if you’ve got a pesky sweet tooth. The trio of citrus zest along with the subtly sweet coconut unite to create a soft, chewy cookie that evokes the flavor of the tropics. Close your eyes, munch on a cookie, and you’ll quickly be whisked away to a land of salty breezes, swaying palms, and sun-washed beaches. Ah, bliss!

For more nutritious, refined sugar-free treats, you’ll want to check out this week’s New Year, New You contributors:

The Giveaway

Update 1/25/12 – This giveaway is now CLOSED.

Want to stock up on healthy alternative sweeteners for all of your winter baking projects? We’ve got you covered!

Today I’m giving away a gift package of organic sweeteners from Wholesome Sweeteners, a leader in the natural sweetener industry. The package includes:

Here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post with your ideas or tips for reducing refined sugar in your cooking.
  • Share about this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and leave a comment saying you did.

This giveaway is open until 12:00 pm CST on Wednesday, January 25, 2012. One (1) winner will be randomly selected and notified by email that they have won. They will also be announced in next Thursday’s New Year, New You post. Contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only, age 18 or older.

Congratulations to Erin, the winner of last week’s healthy snack giveaway.

Full disclosure: I was provided with the products from Wholesome Sweeteners for this giveaway at no charge. Opinions expressed about these products and/or the company are strictly my own.

Soft Island Bliss Cookies
Makes about 18

Adapted from Healthful Pursuit

To finely grate the citrus zest, I find a Microplane grater to be the most effective tool. Since citrus is a heavily sprayed crop and you are literally using the peels of the fruits, choose organic citrus if possible here.

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup blanched almond or hazelnut flour
Scant 1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with a rubber spatula to thoroughly combine. Form small (1- to 1  1/2-inch) balls of the mixture into small cookie shapes with your hands. Place on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through, or until golden brown and just firm to the touch. Cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


  1. Oh, Hallie. Your cookies sound delicious. I’d jump right up and bake some, but I broke a bone in my foot and I’m stuck in bed for a while. I do know someone in the house who is learning to bake who might make these for his poor, bedridden Mama, though. Wonder if his dad would stop at the store and get a lemon and a lime?

  2. What an awesome giveaway! I am always looking for ways to use alternative sugars. Traditionally I have only experimented with sugar and maple syrup. I would love to have more options though. :)

  3. What a fantastic giveaway! My biggest tip for cooking without refined sugar is to use fresh fruit as a sweetener. I used to eat a big bowl of oatmeal every day loaded with brown sugar, now I eat it with a mashed banana instead and I love it!

  4. Oh yum, I love that you added citrus to these cookies! What a great idea :)

  5. These cookies look delicious. I am a big fan of natural sweeteners. I think the best way to reduce sugar intake is to go on a sugar detox and slowly introduce natural sweeteners. Thanks for the recipe and giveaway!

  6. Kristin W. said on January 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    What a great giveaway. My tip is to, just try it, it is amazing how you can sub another sweetener for white sugar.

  7. Hallie, this is a great giveaway. The perfect starter pack!! And I’m glad you reminded me of this recipe. I saw it on HP and intended to try it. xoLexie

  8. This is an interesting giveaway. I don’t bake often because of all the processed sugar, so I would be interesting in altering a few cookies recipes with these sweeteners for a healthier cookie.

  9. These cookies sound amazing! Definitely making some of these! We have replaced refined sugar with coconut sugar, honey and stevia. I sometimes use evaporated cane juice, but when I do it is in small amounts. I use fruit and fruit purses as well. I tend to reduce the amount of sweetener in treats whenever possible. And it is amazing that my daughter now prefers treats that are less sweet! It is my husband that has a sugar addiction! ;)

  10. These look so good! I am always looking for slightly sweetened snacks for my family! The way I reduce sugar for my family is to swap out cane sugar (in moderation) for natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. The kids and the hubs don’t know the difference!

  11. I am still learning the sweetener swapping magic, but I’m getting bolder as time goes on. It does help to know the properties of all the ones you have, as some are more hydroponic, some more bitter, some more mild than others. Stevia, yacon syrup, inulin, and veggie glycerin are my standbys, and I find them quite satisfactory. :)

  12. ohhh gosh. Coconut, my weakness. I will have to try these very soon! I might swap the honey with some raw honey but since I am almost out of honey, it may have to be cut with dates or thai coconut sugar.* Hope I win the sweetener swag so my stock gets replenished ;) !

    *I get thai coconut palm sugar at asian groceries, in tubs. I like the version at a semi-liquid stage but it also comes in hard dry bars similar to the hard cones cane sugar used to be sold before refined white, granular stuff became the practice. You do have to check to make sure there’s no cane sugar cut in any palm sugar you get from the asian grocery though.

  13. I use dates and applesauce a LOT!

  14. What an awesome recipe! I am making this as soon as the kids get home from school today. They will love these. And this is such a perfect giveaway for this week!!

  15. Hallie, what a fabulous giveaway! I love the combination of zest added in your cookie recipe. I love it when zest is used, it gives a burst of flavor thats unexpected in each bite…I have a favorite orange walnut shortbread cookie that has orange zest in the cookie and frosting.. I am trying to find an alternate sweetner path for powdered sugar, to go down to bring it back on my plate…. Soft Island Bliss .. love it.. will be baking these cookies later today…thank you!
    I keep a Stevia plant year round growing in my south window for extracts and sweetening hot/cold teas. There is always a 5# container of local Buckwheat Honey, local Maple Syrup and Amber Agave Nectar on the pantry shelf. I am just starting to use coconut sugar. It took awhile for my husband to adapt, but he loves them all now.

  16. Nice giveaway! I typically use stevia and agave for my sugar replacements.

  17. Wow, this is a fabulous and totally unique cookie recipe Hallie. I bet it tastes amazing! I’m honored to be a part of your event, thanks for the invite. Great prize pack too :)

  18. This recipe reminds me of the healthy tropical cookies from Caveman Cookies. Love them, but now you’ve given me a way to make my own–YUM! Great post, Hallie! :-) Swapping out sweeteners is a wonderful way to make the transition from refined sugar to refined sugar free. I’m still a work in progress there, but it doesn’t take long being away from cane sugar to see its effects when you even get a little of it!


  19. This is a great giveaway! I use liquid stevia to sweeten my smoothies, coffee etc. When a recipe calls for sugar, I substitute with honey or coconut sugar and reduce the amount over all. I also experiment with stevia in my baking, especially if it’s just me that will be eating it!

  20. Susan Ruffalo said on January 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Stevia is my friend!! I use it in my tea all the time. :-)

  21. I am a neewbie to trying to replace sugar in our diet and look forward to experimenting with different natural sweeteners to find out my family’s personal preferences! :-)

  22. I took a no refined sugar challenge beginning 1 week before Thanksgiving. I am happy to say that I am still living refined sugar free and haven’t looked back! I feel so much better and my tastes have definately changed. I use coconut palm sugar and date sugar in baking. I use agave, local honey and local maple syrup in baking and in other treats. My favorite ‘treat’ is to take a medjool date and stuff it with a few raw almonds – who needs an Almond Joy candy bar?!

  23. I’m a recent college grad experimenting with living on my own and cooking wholesome healthy meals every day when I get home from work. My pesky sweet tooth gets in the way and sometimes Greek yogurt and berries just doesn’t cut it. I’ve been DYING to try some stevia and hadn’t heard of some of these other sweeteners but am definitely interested in experimenting!! Right now I’ve been subbing applesauce into baked goods instead of oils but I need to figure out something for the sugar. These would be great and I’d love to try them! I have repinned on pinterest as well :)

  24. Hallie, Love you website.
    Recipe really looks tasty.
    I use organic fruit for a sweetner.
    Would love to try all the other types in your giveaway.

  25. I have thrown out all the refined sugar and have been using honey and coconut sugar and a healthier substitute. I am currently on the first phase an anti-candida diet and will beusing the above sweetners to make myself treats. Awesome giveaway!!!

  26. I shared this awesome givwaway on my FB =)

  27. I love using fresh fruit as a sweetener :)

  28. Rachel B. said on January 19, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Those cookies look great! I’d love to wean my household off sugar. I’m sure my kids would do great, but their mommy has to be the one to start!

  29. Ingrid Teboe said on January 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    These cookies sound devine! And your giveaway is out of sight! I use local raw honey and molasses all the time and only just experimenting with other sweeteners. Maple syrup is out…I’m allergic to it. Weird, I know, but hubby loves it ;)
    And I’m just starting out with gluten free but know I feel better with less gluten in the diet!

  30. I have only used maple syrup, honey and sucanant as my sweeteners since changing how our family eats. I’d love to try some other options. Depriving myself hasn’t been working too well . . AT ALL!! These cookies look fabulous I will have yo try them!

  31. I am the sugar addict in our house, but am taking baby steps to reduce sweeteners / sub for real food sweeteners and totally replace white sugar. Thanks for the yummy recipe and awesome giveaway.

  32. I am baking these cookies now and my house smells wonderful. I love this giveaway. I use ray honey, agave and my fave tip is pureed fruit with stevia.

  33. Yum! Well, I like using stevia. The only problem is that I am in possession of a lot of LIQUID stevia, which in itself doesn’t substitute well.

    The problem was solved when I found a post suggesting to fill the bulk with applesauce.

    (I’ve also tweeted this post on twitter!)

  34. Karin Goodman said on January 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I would love to learn more about sweateners. I have a great gluten free cook book that uses agave and I love it. Is there a standard for swapping agave for regular sugar in the recipes I currently use? Not sure about swapping a liquid for a “solid”.

  35. Dana Coughlin said on January 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    These cookies sound wonderful. I am just starting to use more natural sweeteners; so this giveaway would be wonderful.

  36. Dana Coughlin said on January 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    shared on facebook

  37. How do I avoid refined sugar in my recipes?

    I simply use your recipes!! :)

    Thanks for this great opportunity!

    I’ve never tried Stevia before, but have a ton of recipes bookmarked that use it, so this would be amazing!

  38. These cookies look amazing!
    One way I avoid sugar especially with my small children is using sugar-free syrup to sweeting their yogurt or oatmeal and in sauces and some cooking too :)

  39. I’ve used honey as a substitute for refined sugar. Would love to try this starter pack!

  40. Sheryll Ziemer said on January 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I use most of these choices. I only keep regular (poison) sugar for friends that need it for their coffee. So far I really like coconut palm sugar!

  41. Rebecca A. said on January 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I am on the fence about sweeteners but I have been starting to add in some to what I cook. Is there a chart that tells you how much of what to substitute into recipes? We have some favorites that I would like to change over but I don’t want to try and have it not turn out.

  42. I use Wholesome Sweetners! I buy their big bag of organic sugar and agave at Costco. If I let sugar creep back in, I wean using the organic sugar for a few days and then switch to agave and stevia when used to less sweet/diff taste. I haven’t tried coconut sugar yet!

  43. These sound so good, I can’t wait to try them. Sugar subs include honey, agave, and stevia as well as fruit.

    I shared on FB also!

  44. I’ve only recently started experimenting with sugar alternatives in my baking, using honey and powdered stevia, mainly. My husband doesn’t like the taste of stevia, though so I usually end up eating most of the stevia-sweetened goods. What a great giveaway! Thanks!

  45. pinned on pinterest!

  46. shared on Facebook :)

  47. Can’t wait to try these cookies! My favorite sweeteners are fruits such a as bananas and shredded apples, local honey, and coconut sugar.

  48. Stephanie T. said on January 19, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    I have been experimenting with subbing out coconut palm sugar for evaporated cane sugar lately and it works great for most recipes! And I love Amy Green’s book!!! Our family members all love the carob chip cookies, made with regular chocolate chips.

  49. Rachel Blom said on January 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I don’t have any tips yet because I’m just starting to look into sugar alternatives because I think sugar may be contributing to behavior and gut issues…

  50. I use unsweetened applesauce to my oatmeal to make it sweeter!

  51. Thanks for the great recipe, I think I shall try is at my first foray into gluten free baking. I’m very excited!

    I shared your recipe on Facebook :)

  52. Ronnda Stapleton said on January 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I use coconut sugar or Stevia instead of refined sugar. =)

  53. A great giveaway! I’ve never even heard of flavored agave nectar so I just learned something new. I’ve switched to using only organic honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup for my baking and I love it. You get to enjoy the actual taste of food without the excess sweeteners. Getting some of my family members to make the switch has been a little tricky but I’m hopeful!

  54. I shared the recipe on pinterest!

  55. What an amazing giveaway! I usually use wild honey, pureed fruit, or a bit of agave nectar instead of sugar in my cooking. I’ve only been Paleo for 2 months, so I haven’t got too much experience with it yet! :)

  56. What a GREAT giveaway! I don’t buy refined white sugar anymore but still do bake with coconut palm sugar, stevia, honey (raw and local), sucanat, agave, yacon, and maple syrup. I have a bottle of brown rice syrup that I want to use up and probably won’t buy again. I would like to use more fruits as sweeteners.

  57. I just started using agave and I love it. I would love the chance to try some other sweetners to reduce my sugar intake

  58. These look wonderful! I struggle a lot with sugar and having good recipes that reduce or eliminate sugar is very beneficial to my health. Please keep posting! Thank you!

  59. I’ve used date sugar when baking as well as stevia, but I have a hard time baking with stevia. To keep the sugar cravings down, I often have a taste of honey or some peanut butter. Molasses is also something I’ve used in the past when baking.

    Those cookies look delicious :)

  60. Thank you for this giveaway! I’d love to win, as I’m trying to eat better for not only myself but also my new daughter. I’m using more stevia instead of refined sugar, and I’m learning how little sweetness I actually need in order to feel sated. :)

  61. Also, I tweeted about this giveaway. Hoping to win!

  62. Shari Galloway said on January 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    My husband is going to LOVE these cookies. I think I will surprise him with some this weekend.

  63. I have fallen in love with palm sugar, personally, and will never use white sugar again in my baking!! I haven’t found a recipe yet that hasn’t worked with the substitution. Thanks for the opportunity to win some great new sweeteners!

  64. Using fruit preserves or juices (100% and non-sugar-sweetened, of course) is a great way to stay away from refined sugar.

  65. Possum Combes said on January 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Fantastic cookies!! This is almost exactly the recipe I personally devised last week!! They are so good & you can even eat them for breakfast too ;-)

  66. I’ve been experimenting with alternative sweeteners for awhile now and love swapping in fruit purees, honey, and stevia. I’m seeing a lot of recipes using palm sugar and would love to try it sometime! Thanks for offering such an amazing giveaway!

  67. I have shifted from using refined sugars to replacements and there are still a few i have to try but are in my cupboard such as Stevia and palm sugar. I like to use agave and dates and I ‘d like to try coconut sugar too.

  68. Awesome giveaway! I love palm sugar, honey and dates as sweeteners. To get a good flavor, sometimes it is good to combine sweeteners. I also usually use less of any sweetener than a recipe calls for. Those cookies sound yummy!

  69. With cooking, you can always just gradually add less and less sugar to get used to the taste. Or, you could try swapping refined sugar for fruits and fruit purees, molasses, honey, or maple syrup.

  70. I would love this! I’m a really big fan of baking- it’s my comfort habit- but I’m trying to get processed sugar more or less out of my life. Having a package of alternatives would be the motivation I need to start experimenting.

  71. Denise Gehrke said on January 20, 2012 at 12:51 am

    I am new to cooking and baking in a more healthy way. I love learning about the natural sweeteners. My family doesn’t like to eat things that might be healthy but maybe I can trick them with some of these cookies. I am definately sharing this with my friends on face book.

  72. we try to half the sugar in our recipes and use evaporated can juice when we can…trying to start heading away from sweets…trying…

  73. I pinned it on Pinterest!

  74. domestic diva said on January 20, 2012 at 2:33 am

    We now replace refined sugar with other sugars — coconut sugar works great in place of white sugar, as it performs similarly without adjusting the recipe.

  75. I’m almost totally off white sugar. I suppose it’s in chocolate chips, tho. I use agave, honey, turbinado, palm sugar. I haven’t yet warmed to stevia. The only recipe I use stevia in is my spaghetti sauce, & not very much!

  76. My tip is to seek out the spices you like (cloves, cinnamon, etc.) and rely on them for flavor.

  77. Woo hoo! Pinned these super-yummy looking cookies and I can’t wait to try them, however I’ll have to try to track down the funky flour options. I admit I only have rice flour and regular old white here in my abode.

  78. We are beekeepers. We use honey and/or applesauce to replace white sugar in many of our recipes.
    I’ve pinned this on pinterest

  79. I can’t wait to try these cookies!

    My tip for using alternative sweeteners is don’t be afraid to experiment! find recipes to follow at first, and then start looking at your family’s habits and see what you can change on your own.

  80. Yummm- i am definitely making those cookies! Im noticing that the less I use refined sugar the sweeter natural things like fruit seem, which makes it easier to use alternatives. Thanks for all these great recipes!

  81. Hi
    Vanilla stevia is yummy and dates work great in raw desserts. I think it was the Spunky Coconut that turned me on to the vanilla stevia.

  82. i use a spoon of maple syrup to make hot chocolate along with cocoa powder, it doesn’t taste like maple which was what i was worried about before i tried it

  83. Colleen M. said on January 20, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Since going GF I haven’t experimented with many different sweetners, but your cookies look delicious and I am going to give these a try.

  84. I am SO loving the theme of less sugar. I have found food that are “triggers” for me–and avoid them (80 and above dark chocolate). I have found blending raw cacao nibs( no sugar added) with almond milk, almond butter, hemp, flax & chia plus a frozen banana in the vitamix satisfies that craving. I think identifying pitfalls, fresh fruit, and reducing sugars in recipes and swapping in the unrefined have helped me. Great job on the blog by the way.

  85. I often bake with coconut sugar and stevia. However, sometimes just adding in a pinch of cinnamon to a recipe allows me to omit adding in a sweetener.

  86. I love using flavored stevias in my tea

  87. I am stopping a the store to get these ingredients! These cookies sound wonderful. Thank you for the giveaway.

  88. Hi :) Great post! I must admit that I used to use artificial sweeteners because I thought that low-calorie meant healthy. Boy, was I wrong! When I switched to natural sweeteners, I noticed the harm I was doing – for example – my headaches went away and some of my digestive issues stopped (although not all :( )

    In any case – I like to use stevia for sweetening my teas and cereals. Although, often I can get away without using stevia in my cereals if I add things like raisins. Yes, they are high in (natural occuring) sugars, but they also provide my body with iron. (As women – we need that!) For smoothies – bananas work! Yacon syrup is great for sweetening homemade puddings – and RAW honey – well…that is just delicious on everything :)

    Anyways – those are my “two cents”. Much love!

  89. I try to sweeten baking with fruits or stevia in place of sugar.

    Can’t wait to make these cookies!

  90. Shared on FB :) These cookies remind me of some I made over the holidays. I love the citrus notes!

  91. I’m definitely trying to give stevia a try but if I try a new recipe I ALWAYS cut down the sugar or use palm, coconut, or agave for the sweetener.

  92. This is so helpful, thank you!

    I like to use way less sweetener as well. I use 1/8 c of agave in a batch of muffins etc…it’s all we feel we need and still tastes like a treat. :)

  93. These cookies look delicious! To reduce sugar I use the liquid flavored stevias paired with either xylitol or coconut sugar in my baking. I would love to win! Thanks for the opportunity.

  94. Shared on facebook

  95. Put onto Pinterest

  96. Unsweetened applesauce and agave are my two go-to sweeteners!

  97. ♡♥♬ Louis ♬♥♡ said on January 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    so far I have only swapped refined sugar for honey, love getting more ideas

  98. I’m currently going through a liver detox program and the only sweeteners we are allowed to use are stevia and xylitol. Though in the past I have also used Agave and coconut sugar in some of my recipes. I’ve also used applesauce in baking but as a substitute for oil.

  99. I usually use dates, bananas, applesauce or agave to replace refined sugars.

  100. I’m a big fan of agave nectar. It’s been a blessing to be able to eat “sweets” that don’t affect my hypoglycemia and I have lost weight too.

    I’m printing this cookie recipe – looks delicious!

  101. Emily Jelassi said on January 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    these cookies look fabulous! and the give-away is awesome. thanks so much for all the delicious recipes :) i can’t wait to make these cookies!

  102. I am just now trying to switch from regular sugars (white & brown) to other, more healthy sweeteners, so I really don’t have a good tip. But, to cut out sweets in our diets, we gave them up for a week and are just now adding some back. So, we are looking for healthy, better-for-us sweeteners. This week, mine has been honey, which I have added to plain Greek yogurt. Just a little, but it’s good!

  103. I love a good giveaway and THIS is a good giveaway! I’ve been swapping my sweeteners for a while now. My top tip would be to go for the fruit. I add cherries to my oatmeal, bananas to my smoothies, raspberries or peaches on my pancakes. These are natural sugars that, well, naturally sweeten, no added sugar necessary.

  104. My daughter is the baker in our family, filling our house with wonderful healthy low glycemic, allergen free, baked goods. She loves to sweeten her foods with agave and honey, but her favorite thing to use both in place of eggs and sugar are squeezable organic baby purees. Not only do they add good flavor and texture, but they also add fiber thus increasing the health benefit and reducing blood sugar spikes.

  105. I’m new to the whole gluten-free thing so I’m just learning about all this healthy eating. In the past I’ve used splenda. But I want to get away from that obviously. I do sweeten things for my husband with honey. I have also used applesauce in baking. I plan on trying maple syrup and agave soon. I’m getting all these wonderful ideas from great blogs. Thanks for the giveaway!

  106. Tweeted this post

  107. your cookies look delish! I like to use bananas, applesauce or pureed pumpkin/squashes in my sweets and for sweeteners i like unsweetened chocolate, it is melty and so good! then i sprinkle stevia across the top to add a sweetness.

  108. Your cookies look fabulous! I generally try to sub in applesauce or stevia for sweetening, or just reduce the overall amount of sugars. We are way too addicted to “sweet” even if it is “alternative” :)

  109. This sounds lovely! I try to eat less sugar every day but it’s nice to have less-harmful alternatives. Thanks :)

  110. Wow, great giveaway!
    I’m a stevia fan generally, but I’ve been experimenting lately with xylitol and erythritol. I also like sweetening with fruits, like apples or dried dates.

  111. My best tip is to remove the sugar from your home so it isn’t available. Make sure to have the alternatives around to use. It sounds extreme, but with sugar it was easiest for me to go cold turkey! I don’t use it at all and avoid it at all costs. I don’t miss it at all and find that my homemade latte tastes that much better knowing I am not taking in all the unhealthy sugars. That and I feel so much better without it!

  112. Lynn Paul said on January 21, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Omg! I wish I had power so I could make these!

  113. I usually use unsweetened applesauce as a substitute for sweeteners in recipes…just bought some coconut sugar to try out…hope to try out that cookie recipe in the near future…sounds delish~!~!

  114. I like sweetening things up with dried fruits, especially berries. I also use alternatives like Stevia.

  115. I like to include fruit in baked products so that less sweetener is needed. Also, having a sufficient amount of spices and vanilla means you can get away with less sweetener.

  116. Jessica A said on January 21, 2012 at 4:29 am

    I never knew there were so many sugars until I had to eliminate refined sugars. I use a lot of Stevia with some occasional agave, honey, maple syrup, and succant.

  117. What a wonderful giveaway! I use coconut sugar/nectar, honey, maple syrup, yacon syrup and stevia in various combinations when I bake. There’s a synergistic effect when you use several in combination and all are much healthier than refined sweeteners.

  118. It’s crazy how much sugar is in flavored yogurt – it is so overly sweet! My tip is to buy plain yogurt and add honey and fruit to it. Tastes so much better and eliminates the sometimes 30+ grams of sugar in a tiny cup of yogurt.

  119. I just tweeted the link :)

  120. I’m going to bake those cookies at work and see how my customers like them!

    At home, I reduce refined sugar by frequently subbing honey or maple syrup I buy at a farmers market during the summer and fall. My kids aren’t big fans of fruit juice subs yet, but I keep trying. Reducing refined sugar at home has really helped me to manage my oldest’s ADHD. So thanks for more recipies!

  121. Suzanne H said on January 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I like to use dates in making desserts.

  122. Suzanne H said on January 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I tweeted.

  123. Suzanne H said on January 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I shared on Facebook.

  124. These cookies sound amazing! Can’t wait to bake them. Great give away too, I absolutely love natural sweeteners. Right now I’ve been big on liquid Stevia, french vanilla flavour is my favourite!

  125. Jessica T said on January 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    After substituting sweetners in my baking, I have also noticed I don’t need as much sugar anymore. Most sweets are too sweet for me! I try to substitute whenever possible. I think its best to start small, half and half or 1:4 of whichever sweetner you’re substituting and slowly go more. That has definitely worked for me!

  126. My pantry – my family! – needs those!

  127. I have found that stevia makes a great sugar substitute in my baking :)

  128. Gwyn Suttell said on January 24, 2012 at 2:36 am

    Just pinned on pinterest about your site and the info about sweetners. Thanks for sharing such great information. I am making the change to natural sweeteners. I love agave but notice I don’t need as much as most recipes call for.

  129. I’ve been trying to reduce sugar in my diet for a while now! It’s my one crutch, but I know how detrimental it can be to health.

  130. Gretchen Corbin said on January 24, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    great topic & giveaway ! trying any and all sweetener substitutions is a great idea. One of my favorites is coconut sugar (learned about it on the Spunky Coconut site)

  131. Gretchen Corbin said on January 24, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I tweeted this post

  132. Gretchen Corbin said on January 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    I pinned this recipe on pinterest

  133. I shared on twitter!

  134. Jen Springstead said on February 9, 2012 at 4:37 am

    I just tried these cookies today with my 3 year-old niece. We loved them! Mine didn’t flatten out at all like the pictures, but they were a great texture and flavor. I would probably add more zest next time because I love citrus. Would coconut palm sugar substitute straight across for the honey, or is the honey needed to make it all stick?

  135. Jen: I’m glad you liked the cookies! They don’t change shape much once they’re baked, so you pretty much need to flatten them into the size you want them to be when they’re done. And you’re right about the honey. It helps bind the cookies together. But you could try scaling back a tad and adding palm sugar to compensate if you wanted. Have fun! :)

  136. I made these yesterday and thought they were delicious! Next time I will omit the citrus and instead dip them halfway in a dark chocolate after they bake. Can’t wait to try it.

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

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The Pure Kitchen Books

In Hallie’s cookbooks you’ll find gluten-free, dairy-free recipes made with whole, natural foods.

The Pure Kitchen: Amazon | Hallie's eStore

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Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free: A Whole Food Starter Guide and Cookbook

About me

I'm Hallie Klecker, a professional recipe developer, author, and passionate gluten-free foodie. As a certified holistic nutrition educator, my goal is to inspire others to live a balanced, nourished life through eating well and living pure—one bite at a time. Learn more.