This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Homemade sweets and treats are always thoughtful holiday gifts, but many of us just don’t need those tins and baskets filled with sugary cookies and truffles. So we’ve got you covered with 3 good-for-you recipes that can also double as nutritious, delicious holiday gift ideas!


Recipes by Ben McLaughlin, Swerve Marketing Coordinator



Candy Cane Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies


Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Smart Balance oil
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup Swerve Confectioners
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2-1/2 cup Bob’s Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon natural red food coloring

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Swerve, confectioners
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract



Combine first 8 ingredients and mix well. Divide dough in half. Add natural red food coloring to one half of dough and mix well.


On a lightly floured surface, roll a teaspoon of each dough—plain and red—into a four inch long rope. Place side by side, and twist together. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, and curve one end to form a candy cane.


Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes just until edges brown. Let cookies cool. Mix glaze ingredients and brush onto each cooled cookie.


Per serving: 83 calories, 6 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 68 mg sodium, 16 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 0 sugar, 1 gram protein




Chocolate Rum Truffles

Makes 24 servings



  • 12 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking bars
  • 3/4 cup Swerve Confectioners
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • 1/3 cup crushed pecans (or any type of nut, cocoa, Swerve Confectioners, etc)



Finely chop chocolate and put into a heatproof or microwaveable bowl, and add Swerve to chocolate. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine heavy cream, butter, and salt and bring to a slow boil.


Stir continually so the cream doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. Pour over the chocolate and let sit still until completely melted, about 10 minutes.


Stir with a whisk or rubber spatula until smooth—if necessary, microwave in 20-second intervals until the chocolate melts. Whisk in the vanilla extract, almond extracts, and rum until smooth and shiny.


Pour into a shallow baking dish (may need two) or a rimmed cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm—at least 3 hours. Take out of refrigerator and let sit on the counter until room temperature—about 2 hours.


Use a spoon, and scrape out a tablespoon of ganache. Roll ganache into 24 balls. Cover in crushed pecans. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for an hour. Best enjoyed when brought to room temperature.


Note: Can make these two weeks in advance, but do not cover in pecans until ready to serve or eat.


Per serving: 145 calories, 14 grams fat, 8.5 grams saturated fat, 14 mg sodium, 12 grams carbohydrate, 2.5 grams fiber, 0 sugar, 2 grams protein




Swerved Yummy Mini Banana Bread

Makes 24 servings


Bread Ingredients:

  • 1-2/3 cups Bob’s Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown Swerve
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup reduced sugar Craisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup Smart Balance oil
  • 2 large (or 3 small) ripened bananas
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest


Topping Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Brown Swerve (Brown Swerve: ¼ cup of molasses with 1 ¼ cup of Swerve, granular)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange zest



Grease mini-loaf pans. In one bowl, blend: flour, light brown Swerve, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, Craisins, and walnuts (if using).


In a separate bowl, mix: oil, bananas, egg, milk, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Add wet ingredients to dry mix until blended—can use a mixer or wooden spoon.


Pour batter in each pan 1/2 of the way full, so loaf has room to rise. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of bread batter evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of loaf comes out clean.


Enjoy warm or let come to room temperature, and then eat or wrap accordingly and give as a yummy holiday present.


Per serving: 120 calories, 6.5 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 150 mg sodium, 25 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar, 2 grams protein




Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her weekly column in|The Times-Picayune!  And you can follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD