Healthy Cookies – Coconut Orange Snowballs

Coconut and Orange flavored crisp cookies covered in powdered sugar are a lighter, healthier option for a Christmas cookie. Healthy Cookies to the rescue.

Lightened Coconut Orange Snowball Cookies - Healthy cookies

Every once in a while I find a cookie recipe that is worth adding to our traditional Christmas cookies. When I first saw a recipe for Coconut-Orange Snowballs in Gourmet magazine, I knew I wanted to make it but make them healthy cookies. They were incredible.  Sometimes snowball cookies are really dry, not these.  They have lovely coconut and orange flavoring, a perfect balance.  They were quickly added to our traditional Christmas cookie list.

I started trying to “lighten” them last year.  They were a bear.  I’ve been through many different versions and finally decided to go with this one.  It is not as low-fat as I normally try to make but the integrity of the original cookie is there.  That ended up being the most important part to me.  You have to use “real, full-fat” butter.  Do not substitute!  I repeat, do not substitute!  I tried but yuck!  Forget it.  Keep these in the freezer and have one or two for a treat at night.

To make healthy cookies, I did lower the sugar considerably though.  Yeah!  I swamped out sweetened coconut for unsweetened flaked coconut and I cut the confectioners sugars.  So that is a mini win for our health.  Considering we only make these once a year, I’m OK with the nutritional value on them.  One bite and you will realize they are worth it.

Coconut Orange Snowballs are  healthy cookies, Santa would love to eat.  Be sure to keep a plate out for him.  His little elves will also enjoy them.  Spread the love and make them for your neighbors too.  Just remember the dough has to sit for an hour.  Every year I forget until I start to make them.  Then I hit my head against the wall because I should have started them earlier in the day.  You would think I would learn.  I’ve only been making them for almost 10 years.  As my daughter would say “Turn your brain on Mom”.  They are worth that little bit of aggravation.

Lightened Coconut Orange Snowball Cookies
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Lightened Coconut Orange Snowball Cookies

Coconut Orange Snowball Cookies

Healthy Cookies

Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 36
Calories 77 kcal
Author Christie Daruwalla


  • 1 1 /4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut I find it in the freezer section of my grocery store
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened (must be regular fat butter)
  • ¼ cup 2% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar sifted
  • 1 1 /2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp coconut extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 ½ tbsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Bake coconut on a baking sheet until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Turn off oven.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, yogurt, 2/3 cup powdered sugar and both extracts in a bowl until well blended.
  4. Beat in both flour, orange peel and salt.
  5. Stir in coconut.
  6. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  7. Let dough soften slightly.
  8. Preheat oven again to 350°.
  9. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Measure out 1 level tbsp. of dough for each cookie and roll dough between the palms of your hands to make a ball.
  11. Place ball onto baking sheet leaving 1 inch between each.
  12. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 18 minutes.
  13. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, cool for 5 minutes.
  14. Place remaining confectioners’ sugar into a zip lock bag.
  15. Place a few cookies in the bag and shake gently to cover completely.
  16. Cool completely on rack.

Recipe Notes

I calculated 4  Weight Watcher Smartpoints.

Nutrition Facts
Coconut Orange Snowball Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 77 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Total Carbohydrates 10g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 1g 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Adapted from Epicurious Happy Healthy Eating,


But wait, there’s more.  Check out these deliciously, light cookie recipes:

A crisp, lemony cookie topped with jam and sprinkled with almonds

A crisp, lemony cookie topped with jam and sprinkled with almonds

Linzer Cookies

Love these cookies and they are light. Oatmeal, Coconut, Cereal Cookies www.fooddonelight.comOatmeal, Coconut, Cereal Cookies

Honey Lemon Cookies #lightcookies #healthycookies #mothersday #lemoncookies #honeycookiesHoney Lemon Cookies


  1. Charlotte Moore says
    I love coconut and orange. YUM!!
  2. These look wonderful. Do have a question though. Is regular whole wheat flour interchangeable with whole wheat pastry flour? Have just about switched over to using whole wheat but am a bit confused. Thanks so much for all your wonderful healthy and yummy recipes!
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Whole wheat pastry flour is lighter kind of similar to white cake flour. You can use regular whole wheat the cookies may not be quite as light in texture though. Pastry flour will make for a "lighter" cookie.
  3. Hello, is it possible to substitute with 0% Greek Yogurt? And does it matter the brand? I find that nowadays there are different textures to different brands Thanks so much for sharing!! Can't wait to try them!
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Hi Sylvia, I use Fage as I prefer the taste of it. I don't think it will matter which brand you use. You should be able to use 0% yogurt. I don't think it will make much of a difference maybe just slightly in the texture.
  4. These cookies sound delicious. I would love to make them, but have a few issues. 1. I'm not sure I'll be able to find whole wheat pastry flour. What should I use instead? 2. It is difficult for me to find unsweetened coconut. I like using it, but in a pinch, could I substitute regular sweetened coconut and expect the same results? 3. I love the idea of adding in the Greek yogurt, but could I use flavored yogurt? I think the flavor could be boosted by using orange Greek yogurt!
    • Christie Daruwalla says
      Hi Cynthia, 1. You can use regular whole wheat flour. I would sift it first though. 2. Yes regular sweetened coconut will be fine and will not effect the results. 3. You could use a flavored yogurt. It will make them slightly sweeter. You will be surprised at the orange flavor you get from the zest. If you really like orange yogurt than I would try it. Otherwise, I think you will like the flavor with plain and lots of fresh orange zest.
  5. Anything with cranberry and orange in it and I am sold! These are screaming to be on our Christmas dessert table!
  6. I just LOVE that you find a way to lighten pretty much anything :)
  7. OMG..these looks so gorgeous..I can have so many :)


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