These diabetes-friendly cookie recipes will help you satisfy your sweet tooth while staying with a healthy eating plan

One of the hardest parts of life with diabetes is having to be ever-vigilant about indulgences like cookies. Sugar-free varieties may seem doomed to disappoint, but today's increasingly sophisticated selection of sugar substitutes has changed all that.

"Believe it or not, sometimes sugar-free recipes allow the other flavors—like lemon, cinnamon, peanut butter and, of course, chocolate—to really shine through," says Liz Scott, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sugar-Free Cooking & Baking (Alpha Books, 2012). So, bake up a few batches of these holiday staples and see for yourself just how tasty sugar-free can be.

Tip: Using cake flour in cookie recipes creates a softer, melt-in-your-mouth consistency.

Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Sugar-free Cookie Recipe Image

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar substitute
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, beat together butter and granulated sugar substitute for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat for 1 minute or until well combined.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 3 batches, beating on low speed until dough forms. Do not overbeat.
  5. Place dough on floured work surface. Form into 2 discs. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness, cut into 2-inch circles or other shapes, and transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10–12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.
  8. Cool cookies on wire racks and store in an airtight container.

Per cookie: 67 calories, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 0.1 g fiber, 0.6 g sugar, 4 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 41 mg sodium

Royal Icing

Makes 1 cup

2 cups granulated sugar substitute
1 large egg white
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a blender, pulse sugar substitute to a fine powder.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar substitute, egg white and lemon juice until smooth.
  3. Use immediately.

Per cookie adds: 10 calories, 0.2 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 mg sodium

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies Image

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar-free creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
2 Tbsp light agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar substitute
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together butter and peanut butter for 2 minutes or until well combined.
  3. Add egg, agave nectar and vanilla extract, and beat for 1 minute.
  4. Add sugar substitute and beat on medium speed for 1 minute or until well blended.
  5. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture in 2 batches, beating just until blended.
  7. Form tablespoons of dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with a fork and bake for 7–9 minutes, or until edges are golden.
  8. Cool on wire racks.

Per cookie: 104 calories, 3 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 54 mg sodium

Luscious Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars Image

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp plus 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar substitute
Pinch salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup light cream
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 2 Tbsp sugar substitute and salt.
  3. Add butter and combine mixture into a coarse meal, using a pastry blender or fork.
  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake for 15–20 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together light cream, eggs and egg yolk. Add the remaining 1/3 cup flour and 1 1/4 cups sugar substitute, and whisk to combine. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest and pour into hot crust.
  6. Bake the bar mixture for 12–15 minutes or until center is set and edges are lightly golden.
  7. Cool completely before slicing and removing from pan.

Per bar 116 calories, 3 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 0.3 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 7 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 63 mg cholesterol, 26 mg sodium

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Image

Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 cup granulated brown-sugar substitute
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar-free chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together brown-sugar substitute and melted butter until blended.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract. Beat by hand for 1 minute.
  4. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add flour mixture to egg mixture in 2 batches, beating well to combine. Fold in sugar-free chocolate chips.
  6. Drop the mixture by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 9–11 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges but still soft in the middle.
  7. Cool cookies on wire racks and store in an airtight container.

Per cookie: 155 calories, 2 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 11 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 29 mg cholesterol, 87 mg sodium

From our sister publication Diabetes Focus Winter 2012. Recipes reprinted with permission from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sugar-Free Cooking & Baking by Liz Scott (Alpha Books, 2012).

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 19 Nov 2012

Last Modified: 25 Mar 2015