Growing up in a (half) polish family, dinner at grandma Betczynski’s house often meant pounds of hand-stuffed polish sausage, cheesy potato pierogis, and for dessert, Kolacki, or polish apricot cookies.
Once I moved out, these cookies became part of my own holiday traditions. However, even though the holidays can be a time for indulgence, I thought it might be worth a try to clean up this recipe to help it fit into my clean eating diet.
While the recipe wasn’t completely unhealthy to begin with, a couple of major changes needed to be made, most notably swapping out the entire cup of white sugar in the topping for an equivalent of natural sweetener (honey, in my case). The other major change was a substitution of strained greek yogurt for the cream cheese. And while cream cheese itself isn’t necessarily against the basic clean eating guidelines (some people do choose to cut out dairy entirely), most store-bought brands have a few added preservatives that you can avoid by grabbing plain greek yogurt. The yogurt also increases the protein in the cookies, and that can’t hurt right? 😉
I also made a minor substitution of ghee for the 2 sticks of butter in the recipe (what polish recipe isn’t complete without gobs of butter??). Butter also is not necessarily bad for you or against clean guidelines, but it does have a very low oxidative stability, meaning it doesn’t handle heat very well before breaking down into free radicals. Ghee has an improved oxidative stability over butter, with all of the butter flavor, so I opted for the ghee, but the recipe will still be clean if you decide to use butter.
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