Here’s How Your Favorite Holiday Cookies Stack Up When It Comes To Nutrition
No matter who you are, the holiday season pretty much guarantees one thing: you’re going to be surrounded by delicious baked goods for weeks at a time. And while we certainly aren’t complaining about these socially acceptable opportunities to indulge, we do want to be somewhat mindful of how much inflammation-causing sugar we’re consuming as we enjoy our favorite treats.
So we thought we’d dig into the recipes of nine of America’s most popular cookie choices around the holidays to see how their nutrition stats compare across the board. These babies are sweet and perfectly portioned for self-control (if we choose to use it), so pick your favorite(s) and get baking already.
All hail the chocolate chip cookie! This classic favorite provides the perfect blend of butter, sugar and chocolate for virtually any taste bud. And traditional recipes that keep the cookies small are nutritionally less offensive. For example, the Nestlé Toll House recipe makes 60 cookies, so each individual cookie has 10 grams of sugar, 7 grams of fat from the butter and eggs, and 2 grams of protein. However, who can stop at one?
These sweet little clusters of oats, sugar, spices and raisins always feel a bit healthier than their chocolate-laden cousins. However, they are most definitely still cookies and nutritionally still an indulgent dessert. The Quaker oats recipe makes about 48 cookies, and each one contains approximately 8 grams of sugar when you account for both the added sugars and what comes from the raisins. They also have 4 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein. So maybe we can eat two of these…
Peanut butter lovers, these are for you. There’s just something so satisfying about those fork marks on top of each buttery smooth cookie. This classic recipe from Land O Lake’s yields 36 cookies, which means each one is packed with 6 grams of sugar (or more if you like a little sugar dusted on top of the final product), 4.5 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein. It’s no wonder they taste so good.
You can’t have the holidays without gingersnaps… that would just be wrong. They’re perfectly sized for dunking in a cup of milk or mug of coffee, and the aroma they bring to your kitchen is out of this world. This recipe from King Arthur Flour makes 60 cookies, so each cute snap contains about 5 grams of sugar, 2.5 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein. We officially have no guilt in eating these sweet ‘n’ spicy treats.
Bring on the dancing gingerbread men cookies! While the exact nutritional information will vary depending on the size and shape of your cookies, this recipe from McCormick makes 24 large cookies and each contains a whopping 13 grams of sugar, 6 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein. Now, factor in whatever icing and candy toppings you like (and how heavy-handed you are), and you’re definitely going to end up with a pretty serious sugar high.
Ah, every little kid’s favorite. There’s just nothing like turning a perfectly golden sugar cookie into an icing-covered work of art. With this recipe from Betty Crocker that makes 48 cookies, each one comes in at under 5 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein. But that’s before the decorating begins. So just be ready to accept the stockpile of sugar you’re adding to your dessert plate with all of that red and green frosting.
Who doesn’t love snickerdoodles, the spicier, more mature cousin of the sugar cookie? Their oh-so-buttery texture will keep you coming back for seconds and thirds — we have no doubt. This recipe from King Arthur Flour makes 21 cookies, and each cookie contains a little more than 8 grams of sugar (thanks to the dusting post-baking), 4.5 grams of fat and 1 gram of protein. But the cinnamon makes up for all that sugar, right?
No fancy dessert tray is complete without the simple yet decadent shortbread cookie. It melts in your mouth and it’s the ideal mate for a cup of hot, spiced tea. This small-batch recipe from Epicurious makes eight cookies, so each cookie ends up having 7 grams of sugar, 12 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein. We now see why the recipe keeps the dessert portion small. Otherwise, we’d have a very dangerous situation on our hands.
And last but not least, we have these sweet and nutty creations that make us feel equally healthy and indulgent. But do their nutritional stats match their reputation? Well, if you use this classic recipe from Epicurious that yields 36 cookies, each cookie has just over 4 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein. So they certainly aren’t the biggest offender on this list.