Thank you, dear readers! You did it again. We asked for your best recipes for healthy, festive holiday cookies and more than 300 recipes flooded my mailbox.
As the Test Kitchen manager, I’ve looked forward to our annual cookie contest for the past six years. Even though I was on maternity leave during most of this year’s contest, overseeing the selection process was one part of my job that I just couldn’t give up.
After the recipes were screened by our registered dietitian to cull those that were too high in saturated fat, sodium and/or calories, I brought the remaining recipes home to review one by one. My task was to look for recipes that sounded delicious and were easy to make. In the end, we baked and sampled more than 60 recipes (over 1,500 cookies!) before narrowing them down to the 10 semifinalists that would advance to the final round of voting.
Luckily, my daughter’s arrival cooperated with our magazine deadline, and I returned to the office just in time for the grand taste test. On that day, we gathered all the EatingWell staff members, poured glasses of palate-cleansing milk and voted by secret ballot. This year’s Grand Prize-winning cookie, Nana’s Creole Pecan Cake Bars, packed with inherently healthy dates, pecans and just enough (but not too much) butter, is the perfect example of a truly delicious cookie that you don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying during the holidays.
I’m adding all six winning cookies to my holiday cookie tray, and I hope the recipes inspire you to do the same.