Behind the Scenes: The EatingWell Holiday Cookie Contest Taste Test

More than 30 EatingWell staff members and interns took on the delicious, but challenging, job of taste-testing the top 10 semi-finalists in our holiday cookie contest, chosen from more than 300 entries submitted by EatingWell readers.


Watch: See us bake chocolate chip cookies.

While “healthy” isn’t usually a term that one associates with cookies, the ones we tested met EatingWell’s nutritional guidelines, while still being sweet and satisfying.

Test Kitchen Manager Stacy Fraser prepares samples of each cookie for the official taste test.

Nana’s Creole Pecan Cake Bars were one of our top 10 semi-finalists. Comments about this bar cookie included: “Fabulously sweet. The combination of brown sugar, butter and dates is a winner!” and “Love the texture, love the dates.”

Meredith White, our advertising services coordinator, carefully tasting each cookie before casting a vote for her favorites.

Judy Billard and Lisa Pawlik from our Circulation Department in the EatingWell Test Kitchen during the cookie tastings.

Deputy Editor of Features & Nutrition Nicci Micco and Associate Editor of Nutrition & News Brierley Wright tasted all 10 semi-finalist cookies (with palate-cleansing Organic Valley milk or seltzer between bites), before selecting their favorites.

A carefully organized tasting plate of cookies. One of the cookies here will be this year’s grand-prize-winning cookie. The lucky winner receives a $2,000 “Baker’s Dream Kitchen” gift certificate from and a year’s worth of organic dairy products from Organic Valley (over $700 value). Five runners-up each receive a $200 gift certificate from Best of luck to this year’s contestants!