Looks delicious, right? I'd love to say that we enjoyed these beautiful Valentine's Day frosted heart cookies for Valentine's Day this year...but we didn't.
I've looked forward to these special Valentine's Day treats ever since my mom began making them when I was around 5-6 years old. Each of the children, as well as my dad, would get a delicious homemade cookie decorated with homemade heart-shaped "peppermint patties" on them.
When I became a teacher, I would make smaller versions of these heart cookies for my students. They loved 'em, as you could imagine! Drool...beg for more...more drooling.
That's why students are all required to bring one box of Kleenex to school on the first day. The Kleenex fiasco started all because of my cookies that made the students drool.
After I got married to my own Valentine, Elmer, I began making a heart-shaped cookie for him. And what to do with all that extra cookie dough but to share the cookie love with my co-workers!
Of course, our children have received these giant heart-shaped cookies every year since they were probably around two years old. (I'm pretty sure that Elmer and I ate most of their cookies each year, especially when they were very small, so they wouldn't truly be eating that much sugar.)
Some of us would take tiny bites from the cookie throughout the day - and week, while someone else would eat half of it in one sitting.
Okay, that's just gross. So I'm not going to identify who used to do that.
But this year was different. We're in a different place in our lives - and in our health.
I'm pre-diabetic, and while I'd still love to enJOY these delicious cookies - drool, drool - that just can't happen anymore.
I've been on a quest to find a low-carb, sugar-free "sugar cookie" recipe to use for Valentine's Day. I was pretty skeptical about finding a recipe that would taste good and be relatively good for us at the same time.
Guess what? I made some sugar-free cut-out cookies! And they were actually very, very delicious! I'll be making this recipe again, when time and the grocery budget allows.
Low Carb, Sugar Free "Sugar Cookies"
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together blanched almond flour, gluten-free flour, and sea salt.
Optional: With a clean coffee grinder, blend xylitol and erythritol together for 10-20 seconds until powdered. Allow it to settle back into the coffee grinder before removing lid.
In a separate larger bowl, cream powdered xylitol, erythritol, and unsalted butter and/or coconut oil together until fluffy and smooth. Add in egg yolk and vanilla, and beat well.
Beat in dry ingredients until dough comes together. (Add a tad more vanilla if dough seems too dry to come together.) Then, shape the dough into two balls. Wrap dough balls in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. The dough won’t hold together as well if it isn’t chilled long enough.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper, peeling off the top sheet and flipping the dough over on to the other sheet as it is rolled out. Flipping the dough and peeling off the top sheet - every few strokes that the dough is rolled with your rolling pin - helps to prevent the sheet of dough from sticking to the paper.
Once the dough has been rolled to 1/4“ thickness, cut it into shapes with cookie cutters and bake them on an insulated cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. With this particular sugar-free, gluten-free dough, it's okay to gather your scraps and reroll the dough to make additional cut-out cookies.
If you prefer thin, crispy sugar cookies, roll the dough out to 1/8" thickness. Store baked, cooled cookies in the freezer for the perfect crisp texture. No need to even thaw!
Bake cookies at 325° F for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown. (Optional: if desired, bake two sheets of cookies at the 1/4 and 3/4 positions in your oven; rotate and switch the pans of cookies halfway through baking time.)
I discovered that I had baked the cookies a bit too long when baking the first tray. However, this dough is far more forgiving than regular sugar cookie dough! The cookies still tasted delicious and were moist despite their slightly darker color than I would normally prefer.
Let cookies rest on lined cookie sheet for a minute or so after removing them from the oven; then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.
Makes 18 three-inch heart shaped cookies; each cookie is under 3 net carbs and is only 83 calories, a far cry from the giant heart-shaped giant cookies I used to make. I'm not even going to go there - as to how many calories and carbs were in those giant heart-shaped cookies!
I decided to attempt to make some kind of sugar-free chocolate frosting for these cookies. Well, we came pretty close to having a good recipe. Two of us liked it, and two of us didn't - so I didn't spread some of the cookies with chocolate frosting. Didn't want to make the frosting haters cry!
While Kelsi and I did like the frosting, we also had to get used to it. It still has a slight taste of the alternative sweetener taste from time to time, which isn't my favorite thing. But it's definitely much better than the first few sugar-free frosting recipes I've tried!
Low-Carb, Sugar-Free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
This will make enough frosting to cover one two-layer cake, or 18 three-inch cookies. 7g net carbs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon erythritol, powdered in a coffee/nut/spice grinder
1/4 cup xylitol, powdered in a coffee/nut/spice grinder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Ghirardelli works well and seems a bit less bitter than some of the other brands; Hershey's will also work well)
1/4 cup half and half or coconut milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 pinches (1/8 tsp. total) of sea salt
NuNaturals pure stevia extract powder, to taste, or a few drops of NuNaturals liquid stevia drops
Cream the butter in a small bowl until fluffy. Powder erythritol or xylitol in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet for a minute or two, until powdered. Let sweetener settle in grinder before opening the top. Stir powdered sweetener into butter with a spatula; beat until smooth. Slowly blend in the cocoa powder, vanilla, and sea salt. Beat in the half 'n half and egg yolk, if using. Add stevia, starting with 1/8 teaspoon. You’ll probably use less than 1/4 teaspoon. Just keep tasting and adjust sweetness to your liking.
So, here we are, sitting down to a beautifully simple Valentine's dinner at home! Brittany grilled some grass-fed sirloin steaks from the freezer (her first time to grill, ever, and they were delicious. Thank you, Brittany!) I made some sauteed brussels sprouts to go alongside Dreamfields penne pasta (low-carb) with a low carb alfredo sauce....and grape tomatoes on the side. Splurge!
I hope your Valentine's Day was a nice day spent with the people you love. While I do wish our day could have included other loved ones who live far away, we made the best of it and enJOYed it in our low carb/healthy style of eating journey my family is on.
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Hi! I'm Julieanne!