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Swedish Almond Cookies and a No-Fruit Smoothie

The Holidays Don't Have to Be All About Indulgences

Article by Lindsay Sellin, ARNP, RD

Photography by Lindsay Sellin, ARNP, RD

Originally published in Kirkland Lifestyle

Staying on Track During the Indulgent Season

Fika is a Swedish custom of making time to share a cup of coffee or tea and a bite to eat with friends or colleagues. According to, it requires you to slow down, socialize and relax. We could all use a little fika this time of year, and these Swedish Almond Cookies are the perfect nibble to enjoy with your fika. 

Almond flavoring is iconic for Scandinavian holiday treats, and these cookies are extra almond-y with the almond extract in the dough and the icing. The slivered almonds not only make a beautiful design on top, but they also cue your taste buds on what’s to come. These cookies are sure to be a beautiful addition to your holiday dessert table or cookie plate. 

Swedish Almond Cookies

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies


1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg, beaten 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, almond extract and egg with a hand mixer until well combined.

Sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a spatula until just incorporated.

Roll batter into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Flatten to 1/4 inch with a buttered glass cup or jar dipped in sugar.

Bake 7-9 minutes, or until edges just start to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

4-5 teaspoons water

Slivered almonds


Whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract and water.

Frost a couple of cookies at a time, then top with slivered almonds in a star-shaped pattern. The frosting sets quickly, so top with the almonds as you go or else they won’t stick.

No-Fruit Smoothie

Most people associate smoothies with fruit, especially bananas since they give smoothies unmatched creaminess. But alas, there is another ingredient to do just that: avocado! It’s low in carbohydrates, high in healthy fat and oh so creamy! After several days (OK, weeks!) of decadent eating and drinking, it’s important to plan some healthy meals into your packed schedule. A green smoothie (with or without fruit) is a great way to fuel the day.

Cheers to our health, the greatest gift of all! 

No-Fruit Smoothie

Yield: 1 serving


5 ice cubes

1/4 Hass avocado or 1/2 small avocado

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 large handfuls spinach

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

2 tablespoons peanut butter (or powdered PB for lighter version)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth, adding more almond milk or water as needed to desired consistency.


Regular PB version: 575 calories, 24g carbohydrates, 35g fat, 34g protein and 12g fiber

Powdered PB version: 435 calories, 23g carbohydrates, 21g fat, 33g protein and 11g fiber