Featured — 14 December 2013
Classic Cut-Our Sugar Cookies

How to Lighten Up Family Favorites

By: Jodie Shield, RD

Classic Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

(Makes 2 dozen)

These frosted, tasty cookies are a hit no matter what holiday your family celebrates.  Jean from Hawthorn Woods, IL, submitted this recipe.  It was handed down to her from her Grandmother who taught her the fine art of baking.  While it’s hard to lighten up cookies, here is what I recommend:

  1. To cut back on fat, use fat-free milk instead of 2% or whole milk; substitute 2 large egg whites for every one large egg.
  2. Go easy on the frosting – I cut the original recipe in half!

These small changes made a big nutrition difference!  The recipe still tastes fantastic but has about 25% fewer calories, fat and saturated fat.  To boost calcium, make sure you wash them down with a glass of fat-free milk!

Family Recipe Make-Over Results

1 serving Before After
Calories 276 202
Protein (g) 2 2
Carbohydrate (g) 36.5 27
Fat (g) 14 10
Saturated Fat (g) 8.5 6
Cholesterol (mg) 45 26
Dietary Fiber (g) 0 0
Sodium (mg) 59 59


For Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter or margarine

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

2 large egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

For Frosting:

½ pound bag powdered sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened

½ tbsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp fat-free milk

An assortment of food coloring and decorative holiday sprinkles 


For Cookies:

Mix butter, powdered sugar, egg whites, and the vanilla and almond extracts until creamy.  Blend flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Cover and chill for about two hours.  Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface.  Cut into holiday shapes with cookie cutters.  Bake at 375 degrees F for seven to eight minutes on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

For Frosting:

Mix the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk until creamy and easily spreadable.  Separate the frosting into small bowls and add a few drops of different food colorings into each bowl.  You’ll probably want to choose red, green, blue, and other vivid holiday-inspired hues.  After the cookies have cooled, decorate with the frosting and sprinkles.

If you have a family favorite recipe you would like analyzed and revised, please send it to Jodie@healthyeatingforfamilies.com.

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(1) Reader Comment

  1. I made these cookies for Christmas with my niece. They turned out great! I made one batch with two egg whites and one batch with a whole egg. They both turned out great!!

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