Healthy Sugar Cookies

These healthy sugar cookies are made with whole wheat flour and are naturally sweetened with maple syrup. They have a delicious, buttery flavor and the perfect texture for making cut-out cookies!

Sugar cookies are so nostalgic to me! Growing up, I had so much fun making and decorating them each Christmas and now I’m keeping the tradition alive in my home. I can’t wait to involve Liv this year – I know she’s going to love helping me decorate!

An overhead photo looking at a plate of healthy sugar cookies. Some of the cookies have been decorated with white icing and red, green or white sprinkles and some of the cookies are plain.

Why You Need to Make These Healthy Sugar Cookies

  • They’re made with whole wheat flour so packed with fiber and nutrients… an upgraded cookie!
  • This is a classic recipe that will stand the test of time.
  • These cookies will bring you right back to your childhood!
Ingredients measured out to make healthy sugar cookies: baking powder, maple syrup, sea salt, vanilla, almond milk, egg, whole wheat pastry flour, powdered sugar and butter.

Ingredients Needed

  • whole wheat pastry flour – whole wheat pastry flour works better than regular whole wheat flour if you’re looking for the light and fluffy bread that regular all-purpose flour provides, but still want the nutrients of whole wheat flour. My go-to brand is Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour you can also use white whole wheat flour, a blend of all-purpose and regular whole wheat flour or just regular all-purpose flour.
  • baking powder – helps the cookies rise.
  • sea salt – brings the flavors together and also helps the cookies rise a bit!
  • unsalted butter – butter helps create light and fluffy cookies. Make sure you let the butter soften to room temperature before using in this recipe.
  • maple syrup – again, make sure this is at room temperature before using in this recipe.
  • egg – helps structure the cookies by holding the fat and liquid components together.
  • vanilla extract – a flavor enhancer.
  • icing – a simple mixture of powdered sugar, vanilla extract (or almond extract) and almond milk.
Collage of four photos showing the process to make healthy sugar cookies: wrapping cookie dough in plastic wrap to chill, rolling out the dough, cutting star shapes with cookie cutters and cooling the cookies on a rack.

How to Make Healthy Sugar Cookies

Start by mixing the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat butter (that’s softened to room temperature) and maple syrup on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing on medium speed until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined. Make sure you don’t over-mix or the cookies will be too dense. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If the dough seems too sticky, add a little more flour, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or just place the entire bowl in the fridge and let the dough chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight. This step is super important so the dough is firm enough before making cookies. If you skip this step, the cookies could turn out too flat. 

When the dough is chilled and you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. 

Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to let it soften just slightly. You can roll your dough out on a clean, flat surface or place parchment paper down on your counter for easy clean up. Sprinkle a little flour on the surface and the rolling pin to prevent sticking. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it’s about 1/4-1/3 inch thick. The thicker your cookies are, the softer they will be. 

Use your favorite cookie cutter shapes to cut the dough out and place them 1 inch apart on your prepared cookie sheet. After cutting out the first round of shapes, gather the dough scraps, and re-roll the dough scraps and cut again. Repeat until all of the dough is used. Add additional flour to the surface and rolling pin as needed to prevent sticking. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges and bottoms are lightly golden. Let the cookies cool a few minutes on the sheet pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they are cool, you can frost and decorate the cookies!

pro tip! If you like soft cookies, roll the dough a little thicker (about 1/3 inch thick) and bake them closer to 8 minutes. If you like harder, crunchier cookies roll the dough 1/4 inch thick and bake them closer to 10 minutes. The thicker the dough is and less time the cookies bake, the softer they will be. 
Various sized star shaped healthy sugar cookies scattered around a countertop. Some of the cookies have been decorated and some are plain.

Variations & Notes

Vegan – I haven’t tested these with vegan substitutes but you could try swapping the butter for vegan butter and the egg for a flaxseed egg.

Grain-free or gluten-free – looking for a grain-free or gluten-free sugar cookie recipe? Try my coconut flour sugar cookies instead! It’s so delicious but made with coconut flour instead of whole wheat flour.

Sugar – I have tested these cookies with cane sugar and they turned out delicious! I personally liked them better with maple syrup, but if you want to use cane sugar use ½ cup cane sugar and add 2 Tablespoons of milk (I used unsweetened almond milk).

Almond extract – For a flavor twist, you can swap the vanilla extract for almond extract or use 1/2 vanilla and 1/2 almond.

A hand holding up a star shaped healthy sugar cookie that has been decorated with white icing and white sprinkles.

How to Store Leftovers

There are two options when it comes to storing sugar cookies! You can frost and decorate them and then store or you can store unfrosted and frost/decorate when you’re ready to serve. If you choose the first option, I recommend layering the cookies in an airtight container with parchment paper. If you choose the second, still store in an airtight container.

For longer storage, you can refrigerate or freeze these cookies. If you are freezing them, I recommend freezing unfrosted, letting them thaw when you’re ready to enjoy and frosting right before serving.

A wire rack with various sized star shaped cookies that are being decorated. There are small dishes around the wire rack with assorted sprinkles. A hand is apply icing to one of the cookies.

Be sure to check out my full collection of healthy Christmas cookies as well as all the cookie recipes here on EBF.

Healthy Sugar Cookies

5 from 12 votes
These healthy sugar cookies are made with whole wheat flour and are naturally sweetened with maple syrup. They have a delicious, buttery flavor and the perfect texture for making cut-out cookies!
An overhead photo looking at a plate of healthy sugar cookies. Some of the cookies have been decorated with white icing and red, green or white sprinkles and some of the cookies are plain.
Print RecipePin Recipe
Prep Time 10minutes
Cook Time 8minutes
Chill Time 1hour
Total Time 1hour18minutes
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾cupswhole wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling
  • ½teaspoonbaking powder
  • ¼teaspoonsea salt
  • ½cupunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½cupmaple syrup, at room temperature
  • 1large egg, at room temperature
  • 1teaspoonvanilla extract

Icing

  • ½cuppowdered sugar
  • ¼teaspoonvanilla extract, or almond extract
  • 2-3teaspoonsalmond milk, plus more to thin

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, mix together whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    Whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder and salt being mixed together in a bowl.
  • In a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together butter and maple syrup on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract, mixing on medium speed until combined.
    An egg and vanilla extract added to a bowl of creamed butter and maple syrup. A hand mixer is ready to mix them together.
  • Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix on low speed, until just combined. Dough should be soft, but not sticky. Add a little more flour if it seems too sticky, 1 teaspoon at a time.
    Flour mixture being added to the egg, vanilla, butter and maple syrup mixture by a spoon. The hand mixer is in the bowl.
  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap or place the entire bowl in the fridge and let dough chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours, or overnight.
    A hand is using saran wrap to wrap up a ball of sugar cookie dough.
  • When dough is chilled and you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF, line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Remove dough from fridge and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly. On a clean rolling surface (or a parchment lined surface) sprinkle 1-2 Tablespoons of flour on surface and rolling pin. Roll out dough, using a rolling pin, until it's about 1/4-1/3″ thick. The thicker your cookies are the softer they’ll be.
    Two hands using a small rolling pin to roll out healthy sugar cookie dough onto parchment paper. Two star shaped cookie cutters are nearby as well as a bowl of extra flour.
  • Use your favorite cookie cutter shapes to cut out the dough and place them about 1 inch apart on your cookie sheet. Gather and re-roll the dough scraps as many times as needed until all the dough is used. Add additional flour to the surface and rolling pin as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.
    A hand using a star shaped cookie cutter to cut out cookies from rolled dough. The cookies are being placed onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges and bottoms are lightly golden.
  • Allow cookies to cool a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
    Freshly baked star shaped healthy sugar cookies on a wire cooling rack.
  • Once cookies are cool you can frost and decorate them. To make homemade icing, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and almond milk in a small bowl. Whisk until all lumps of sugar have dissolved and icing is the thickness you desire. You don't want it to be super thick, but also don't want it to be too runny where it melts off the cookies. Frost cookies with icing and add sprinkles right away, before the icing has a chance to set.
    A wire rack with various sized star shaped cookies that are being decorated. There are small dishes around the wire rack with assorted sprinkles. A hand is apply icing to one of the cookies.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookieCalories: 145kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 58mgPotassium: 74mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10g
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy sugar cookies
Web Story: https://atrivialmindatwork.com/web-stories/healthy-sugar-cookies/

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    5 comments
    1. Yaffa Tajtelbaum
      September 4, 2022 AT 4:27 pm

      5 stars
      I had to add about a cup extra flour and I used coconut oil and half honey half maple syrup but they came so amazing! my kids love them and loved to roll and cut out.
      so excited to feed them healthier cookies!

      Reply
      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 6, 2022 AT 4:19 pm

        So glad these cookies were a hit with your family, Yaffa. Thanks for making them and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

        Reply
    2. helene
      February 20, 2022 AT 5:10 am

      5 stars
      excellent post thank you for sharing

      Reply
    3. Deepti
      December 23, 2021 AT 6:51 am

      wow..!! very interesting recipe.Thanks for sharing

      Reply
    4. Georgia
      December 16, 2021 AT 5:08 pm

      5 stars
      Omg! I want to thank you for this recipe which despite my doubts, it turned out to be fantastic!! 🥳😄
      You say 1and 3/4 cups flour but I had to use about 1/2 cup more to stop the dough from sticking.
      Nevertheless, everything worked great in the end and the cookies were vanished in less than 24 hours! 😅🤭😋
      Love from Greece! 🙋❤️⛄🙏🎄

      Reply
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