This healthy sugar cut-out cookie recipe uses white whole-wheat flour, honey and lemon zest to make a delicious cookie perfect for decorating. Pull out all your cookie cutters and decorate these adorable cookies with natural decorating sugar and icing.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
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Ingredients

Natural Decorating Sugars
Cookie Dough

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare decorating sugars: Divide decorating sugar between two small bowls. Add a few drops of red dye to one and green dye to the other and stir until evenly blended. Adjust color with more dye as desired.

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  • Spread each colored sugar in a thin layer on a separate small parchment-lined baking sheet. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees F for 2 minutes, then immediately turn it off. (The warm oven dries the sugar, but too much heat will burn it.) Let the sugars stand in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. (The sugars may be stored airtight at room temperature for up to 1 year.)

  • To prepare cookie dough: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat oil, butter, granulated sugar, egg and lemon zest in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Beat in honey, vanilla and almond (or lemon) extract until evenly incorporated.

  • With the mixer on low speed, then medium speed, beat about half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until incorporated. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.

  • Divide the dough into thirds. Place one third on a 12-inch-long sheet of parchment paper and shape into a disk. Top with a second sheet of parchment. Roll the dough out between the parchment into an 8-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place the dough in the paper on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Freeze on the baking sheet until cold and firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day. Place another baking sheet in the freezer to chill too (it will be used under the dough as the cookies are cut out).

  • To shape cookies: Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.

  • Working with one portion of dough at a time, remove from the freezer and place on the chilled baking sheet. Remove the top sheet of parchment and cut out cookies with 2 1/2- to 3-inch cookie cutters. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet with a wide, thin spatula, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough. (If the dough gets too soft, freeze until firm again. As you cut out cookies, set aside the scraps. Shape all the scraps back into a disk and reroll between parchment. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before cutting out.)

  • To decorate & bake cookies: Sprinkle cookies with red and green sugars and gently pat to help them adhere. Bake the cookies on the center rack, one pan at a time, until browned on the bottom, 6 to 12 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate colored sugar airtight for up to 1 year. Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough for up to 1 day. Freeze the rolled-out dough airtight for up to 3 months. Store baked cookies airtight in a single layer for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 mon

Equipment: 2 1/2- to 3-inch cookie cutters

Tips:
Find clear (or white) sanding sugar (aka sparkling or coarse sugar) in well-stocked baking stores, gourmet food shops or online at kingarthurflour.com.

Find red, green and other natural liquid dyes plus a rainbow of already-dyed decorating sugars at chocolatecraftkits.com.

White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. It is available at large supermarkets and natural-foods stores and online at bobsredmill.com or kingarthurflour.com. Store it in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts

97.3 calories; protein 1.2g 2% DV; carbohydrates 15.3g 5% DV; exchange other carbs 1; dietary fiber 0.4g 2% DV; sugars 8.3g; fat 3.6g 6% DV; saturated fat 1g 5% DV; cholesterol 8.6mg 3% DV; vitamin a iu 47.2IU 1% DV; vitamin c 0.3mg 1% DV; folate 21mcg 5% DV; calcium 14.4mg 1% DV; iron 0.7mg 4% DV; magnesium 2mg 1% DV; potassium 15.9mg; sodium 39mg 2% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 6% DV; added sugar 8g.

Reviews (4)

Read More Reviews
4 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 0
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
05/20/2015
I made these smaller than the recipe calls for and then made sandwiches out of the them with lemon curd in the center. My family devoured them at Easter. The rolling-freezing-rerolling and refreezing was kind of a pain but the result is worth it. A simple crispy sugar cookie that's not too sweek. Pros: Great simple cookie Cons: Futzy. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
05/20/2015
I made these smaller than the recipe calls for and then made sandwiches out of the them with lemon curd in the center. My family devoured them at Easter. The rolling-freezing-rerolling and refreezing was kind of a pain but the result is worth it. A simple crispy sugar cookie that's not too sweet. Pros: Great simple cookie Cons: Futzy. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/14/2015
Great cookies I made these smaller and thinner than the recommendation and made sandwich cookies with lemon curd inside. I brought them for Easter and my family raved. Read More
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Rating: 4 stars
12/28/2014
Excellent and healthy-got 2 requests for the recipe Great tasting although we did do a few modifications. I used a nice organic stone ground whole wheat pastry flour and replaced 1/4 cup with almond flour and 1/4 cup coconut flour (I added an extra egg and T applesauce to the wet ingredients-coconut flour is very absorbent). Also my husband threw out our zested lemon when he was cleaning the kitchen so I used the zest of 1/2 small lime 1/2 an orange and lemon juice that I reduced to 1/2 teaspoon. We cheated and used commercial cookie icing mostly white. If you dilute it with water it makes a nice glaze! Pros: Healthy. We used NO white flour. Cons: Dough is delicate. Keeping it cold is important Read More