These cookies have calories that will make your head spin
Consider skipping these store-bought guilty pleasures.
The Christmas season isn't a time for counting calories and keeping a food journal. OK, well maybe it is actually the perfect time to do it, but who wants to? We are in our kitchens hosting all-day baking marathons, piling our crackers high with cheese, and indulging in countless tasty treats. And if you aren’t a baker? You’re likely to stock up on delicious store-bought snacks to help you get your holiday sweet-tooth fix, and that of course includes cookies.
Cookies can be a particularly lethal holiday treat. Sweet, classic, and completely complementary to a wide array of holiday spreads, the chocolate chip cookie is probably the most accessible and most beloved treat you can indulge in. Fattened with butter and exploding with sweetness, though absolutely delicious, these are some of the most betraying desserts you can indulge in.
Chocolate chip cookies, whether they come from a box or from the oven, are rarely going to be good for you. But some of these boxed brands, albeit delicious, pack a particularly calorie-laden punch. To help you indulge smartly in holiday festivities, we pulled together classic chocolate chip cookie options found in the aisles of your average grocery store. Check out what we found on some of the unhealthiest cookies around!
The 10 Best Store-Bought Cookies at the Grocery Store
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Grocery shopping for fruits and veggies isn't fun, but shopping for cookies? Now we're talkin'. The cookie aisle is full of color, variety and flavor. Although it's convenient to have hundreds of options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide the best store-bought cookies to get. Luckily, I came up with the ultimate cookie ranking, so you know what to get next time.
6 Ways to Turn Store-Bought Shortbread Cookies Into a Dessert You Want to Eat
You always end up with a package or two this time of year.
I have this problem. Whenever I see an image of a cookie (which happens quite frequently in my line of work), I’m immediately overtaken by this desperate sensation of needing a cookie. Rationally, I know I don’t need a cookie, but just try to explain rational thinking to a craving. Generally, not having access to the cookie I so desire is what keeps me from consuming 800+ chocolate chip cookies each week.
I experienced a wave of what I’m officially deeming Cookie Monster Syndrome yesterday after lunch, and as soon as the thought formed in my mind, I was writing it out in a message to my colleague, in hopes that she, against all odds, might happen to have (or know which staffer in the test kitchen might have) a fix…
Because our office is oftentimes a bizarre place to work, this editor offered me the giant cut-out cookie iced in Mariah Carey’s likeness (don’t ask) that she made over the weekend. I considered the the offer, but it was at this moment I noticed, among the vast array of product samples and items that never quite made it back to my home kitchen, I have 4 boxes of Trefoils shortbread cookies leftover from Girl Scout season under my desk. Why I ordered 4 boxes of the most generic cookie the Scouts have to offer is beyond me, but you best believe my cookie-hungry a$ tore into one of them yesterday𠅊t which point I realized, I have a new problem.
I’m now fully aware that I have access to 4 boxes of cookies, literally within my grasp. This does not spell well for someone with Cookie Monster Syndrome. Packaged shortbread cookies are fine to scratch a desperate itch, but at the end of the day, my rational brain knows that they’re not worth demolishing at the expense of my general health in the way that a warm, homemade salted chocolate chunk cookie is. But again, just try to explain rationality to a CMS-level sweet tooth. Point being, I need to get these cookies out of my line of vision/reach to avoid senselessly devouring them. STAT. Like yesterday.
And since packaged shortbread cookies are one of those items that many of us end up unenthusiastically having in our possession during the holiday seasonuse you know people who truly believe they make a great gift, or they were on sale and you figured they might come in handy, or you made misguided decisions earlier this year during Girl Scout Cookie season, etc.—I figured I wouldn’t be alone in my journey to make better use of them. And once I really started to think about it, I realized there are actually quite a few ways to transform the box of mundane cookies you settle for into a dazzling holiday dessert you’ll swoon for. Here are a few:
Layer Them Into an Icebox Cake
Wanna know a secret? Icebox cake is one of the easiest, most delightful desserts you can possibly whip up. In other words, if you don’t fancy yourself a baker, this is the route for you. Alternately layered with key lime curd and a sweet cream cheese filling, store-bought shortbread cookies are the perfectly hearty element to give this stunning key lime pie-inspired icebox cake structure. (P.S. If you want to shortcut this recipe while giving it your own custom spin, you can use store-bought, jarred curd in whatever flavor you like.) Your shortbread cookies would work equally well for this eye-catching Pink Lemonade Icebox Cake.
Make a Crumb Crust
A crumb crust is a mighty fine thing, especially during the holidays when time is scarce and the last thing you feel like doing is flouring up your countertops to roll out homemade pie dough. Toss your cookies into the food processor to pulse them into coarse crumbs, stir in a little sugar, a pinch of salt, and some melted butter and you’re right on track for a deliciously crisp crust, perfect for custard-filled pies and cheesecakes.
Crumble Them Over Ice Cream
Whether you make the ice cream or go with store-bought is up to you, but a few crumbled shortbread cookies make for the perfect finishing touch to a dish of eggnog ice cream (or whatever your holiday flavor of choice may be). Bonus points to anyone who goes the extra mile and toasts their cookie crumbs in a bit of butter, maybe even with a handful of chopped pecans or walnuts tossed in, before sprinkling them over your frozen dairy goodness.
Use Them in a Trifle or Parfait
You know what they say, It ain’t a par-tay until you break out the parfait! (No one actually says this, but as of the last 4 seconds, I believe that maybe we should.) But really, few desserts scream “holiday fun” like pudding, cookies, and other fine dessert elements layered into a large, glass fishbowl. You can really use whatever flavors/elements you like best to build a layered masterpiece to your liking, but here are a few of our favorite trifle recipes for inspiration. Get to it, ya party animals.
Roll Truffles in Them
Have leftover cookie crumbs from making that pie crust? They make a perfect finishing coat for classic chocolate truffles. Or really, any treat you may feel compelled to dip in melted chocolate—such as homemade marshmallows, fruit, or pretzel rods.
Fill Them to Make Sandwich Cookies
And if all else fails, turn your store-bought cookies into better cookies—sandwich cookies! Sandwich leftover cream cheese frosting, nut butter sweetened with a little powdered sugar, or even ice cream between a couple of shortbread cookies for an easy upgrade. And as always, giving your cookies a thin coating of melted chocolate is only going to improve the situation.
How Many Cookies Can I Eat Per Day? You can realistically eat 1-2 cookies per day as long as you aren’t eating many other treats or sources of sugar, and as long as you are sticking to your food budget. It is good to enjoy treats in moderation.
You don’t need cookies everyday, they are a fun treat to enjoy occasionally, switch it up and try other foods that are sweet, but not as sugary instead of cookies each day. Try berries, dried fruit, dark chocolate, a fruit popsicle, a fruit smoothie, etc.
Can I Eat Cookies and Still Lose Weight? If you are focused on weight loss and calorie intakes, cookies can still fit in a healthy eating plan. It’s my belief that “all foods fit” in a healthy eating plan and a restrictive diet will never benefit you long term. Just because you are trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you should limit all types of treats.
Pay attention to your hunger cues as well as emotional eating and “boredom eating” habits. Ask yourself, “Why do I want/need a cookie?” If one cookie will satisfy your craving, then go ahead! If you’re more likely to eat a whole plate of cookies, there’s probably something else going on that you should consider.
It’s good to practice moderation when trying to lose weight, and by eating a cookie a few times a week or so you can definitely still stick to your overall goals and lose weight.
Will I Gain Weight if I Eat One Cookie? If you eat one cookie per day over your calorie budget, you might gain weight over time. If a cookie easily fits within your sugar recommendations per day (about 25-35 grams or 6-9 teaspoons) and food budget, then go for it! You won’t gain weight just by eating one cookie.
You’ll gain weight when the food choices you make each day are focused on highly processed foods that are too high in saturated fat, sugar, salt, and calories. One cookie isn’t the important part, it’s the food you decide to eat all day, every day that adds up into excess calories for weight gain.
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I'm a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a love for coaching others to success in their health goals, especially teenage athletes. Tennis was my sport of choice in high school. Now I'm a little bit older, a little bit smarter, and a little bit worse at tennis.
Too much of a good thing? Protein is a pretty popular nutrient, especially among teenagers looking to be healthier. The need for protein can be easily overestimated. How much protein do you actually.
Puberty is a time of raging appetites, increased hormones, and a ever-changing body. Puberty is also a time of change and transformation. With growth spurts and weight shifts, teenagers can feel that.
11 Sugar-Free Cookies That Won't Derail Your Diet (Even If You Have Seconds)
Don't forget to pin these cookie recipes for later and follow Redbook on Pinterest for more ideas!
Congrats, you can officially enjoy Girl Scout Cookies year-round without hoarding boxes!
Get the recipe at The Pretty Bee.
The classic three-ingredient peanut butter cookie gets a makeover with this paleo, gluten-free, and vegan alternative.
Get the recipe at The Big Man's World.
If you're obsessed with using coconut for everything (and you should be), these cookies are the perfect way to put coconut products in one more part of your life.
Get the recipe at Paleo Running Momma.
Bananas and chocolate: already a perfect combo, made ever better by being in cookie form. These cookies are also vegan (and very fudgy)!
Get the recipe at Running With Spoons.
These coconut balls are basically the healthy version of a candy bar, and are perfect for the holiday season (if you can think that far ahead, which I definitely can't).
Get the recipe at Sweet As Honey.
Cookies that don't have sugar, gluten, or refined sugar, and *don't* require an oven? Yes, please!
These cookies are so healthy that you can eat them for breakfast. Sign me up.
Get the recipe at Kristine's Kitchen.
Go ahead, eat all three sleeves of this healthy Oreo alternative. I won't tell anyone.
Get the recipe at Desserts with Benefits.
How to Make Cookies from Cake Mix
It turns out you can have your cake mix and eat cookies, too.
Food Network Kitchen’s Loaded Cake Mix Cookies
Are you living a sad, cookie-less life? Maybe it's because you're a rookie in the kitchen, or you just don't feel like baking. Or maybe you're absolutely dying for a cookie but you kind of want a slice of cake too. In any case, you don't want a mess to clean up, and you don't want to spend time measuring ingredients — there's also the chance that you won't have them all, and there's no way you're running out to the store. Sigh. Apparently this means you're left to shuffle back to the couch dejected, head down and hands in your pockets.
Or does it? What would you say if we told you you could have your cake and cookies and eat them too, in one convenient package? It's true, and it's called cake mix cookies, or, rather, Loaded Cake Mix Cookies.
Cake mix cookie revolution
OK, maybe it's not truly a revolution — cake mix cookie recipes have been around for a couple of decades. But they're still awesome! This is a way to get fresh-baked cookies with that made-from-scratch taste, no stress about ingredient measuring and hardly any effort. Even the most-baking-challenged among us can't screw up this no-fuss treat.
All of the dry ingredients are already in the cake mix your only chore is to add a couple of additional goodies. Three or four ingredients, 5 minutes of prep time, and 10 minutes in the oven. How easy is that? Before you know it, you'll be eating warm, delicious cookies with a big smile on your face.
Making cake mix cookies is a snap, and the fun part is putting your own spin on them. Just grab your favorite cake mix flavor (Pina Colada, anyone?) and go crazy with anything and everything you can think of to add to it, from candy pieces to chocolate chips to unique sweeteners (maple syrup!).
While it certainly doesn't take many kitchen tools to make cake mix cookies, you will need some basics. Check your inventory and be sure these items are on hand for your cookie-baking extravaganza:
- Cookie sheet
- Mixing spoon (or electric mixer)
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cup
- Cooling rack
So let's get to it. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grab a bowl and a mixing spoon. Easy so far, right? Your fave cake mix is standing by pour it in the bowl. Mix in 2 large, beaten eggs and a half-cup of vegetable oil. If you're sticking with the original cake mix flavor, that's all there is to it. Livening it up with more fun stuff? Add a cup and a half of your favorite mix-ins and stir up the whole works.
The mix magically turns into what for all intents and purposes is cookie dough! Scoop the dough onto a baking sheet the same as you would with "normal" cookie dough and slide the pan into your preheated oven. Set a timer for 10 minutes. (Check the cookies at 8 minutes to see how they're doing.)
When they're done, remove from the oven and let 'em cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack. Enjoy warm or chill for later. The cookies usually finish with a delectable soft and chewy center with a hint of hard edges.
There you go! In about 20 minutes you're diving into a batch of fresh-baked goodness and there's no mess to clean up. All is right with the world.
The Bad Stuff
Sorry, but you knew that Nabisco Oreo Cookies would be on the Bad Stuff list! Oreos are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and the fats in Oreos are palm oil and canola oil.
Nabisco Chips Ahoy cookies contain Bad Stuff like white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.
Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies don’t contain high fructose corn syrup, but they are Bad Stuff thanks to the fats– hydrogenated vegetable oils and “interesterified soybean oil,” a new fat that I hadn’t seen before. According to Dr. Mercola, interesterified fats are being used by some manufacturers to replace trans fats. These oils are highly processed and we don’t fully know health effects, but early studies show similar risks as trans fats.
Keebler Fudge Stripe and E.L. Fudge Elfwich are both Bad Stuff. The Fudge Stripe has partially hydrogenated palm oil and high fructose corn syrup, and the E. L. Fudge Elfwich has high fructose corn syrup and TBHQ, a food additive which studies show increases the incidence of tumors in rats.
Stauffer’s Animal Crackers don’t contain trans fats, but they are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and white sugar. They also contain white flour and soy lecithin.
Nabisco Honey Maid Teddy Grahams are some of the least concerning cookies made by Nabisco because they don’t contain trans fats or high fructose corn syrup. However, they are very sweet, thanks to white sugar, honey, dextrose, and maltodextrin. With the exception of the honey, all of these sugars are highly processed.
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Hemp Protein Bars
Hemp protein bars also come in a variety of flavors including almond and chocolate. If you are allergic to dairy, you may also exclude chocolate because milk is often added to cacao. However, even chocolate hemp protein bars don’t contain milk, but it does contain almonds .
Three of the five flavors are top 8 allergen free, but if you have a tree nut allergy there are two flavors you need to stay away from. With the variety of flavors, you are sure to find an allergy safe treat that you’ll love.
Honey & Cinnamon
All of our protein bars were sweetened by the bees, but one bar focuses on honey. The simple ingredients in the honey & cinnamon bar make it a favorite for Humming Hemp fans. The honey & cinnamon protein bar has four easy to pronounce ingredients.
Hemp seeds, raw honey, cinnamon, and sea salt are all you need. When you search for allergy free snacks the fewer ingredients the better.
Pumpkin Seed & Spice
You can never get enough seeds. With everyone craving pumpkin spice we’ve got a treat you’ll fall for all year round. Why only enjoy the organic pumpkin spice, nutmeg, and cloves in November.
Enjoy this honey-kissed treat whenever you want. Plus you’re getting the benefit of two nutrition-packed seeds, pumpkin and hemp.
Seed & Date
Look no further if you’re in need of a crunchy treat that has the sweet nutrition of dates. The seed & date bar has four types of seeds that give you all the crunch and the nutrition you need. This protein bar contains chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp, and black sesame seeds all wrapped in honey and cinnamon.
Lavender Pistachio & Blueberry
This combination of flavors will knock your socks off. Lavender and blueberry were meant to be together. The simple ingredients list contains raw honey, pistachios, blueberries, sea salt, and lavender. Of course, it starts with protein-packed hulled hemp seeds.
Be careful with this one if you are allergic to tree nuts because it contains pistachios .
Almond & Chocolate
Our chocolate is dairy free. We love real organic cocoa that doesn’t contain milk. The almond chocolate bar does contain almonds , so it’s not for those who are allergic to tree nuts.
If you want to try all Humming Hemp hummingbar flavors, the Give Me 5 Humming Bar sample pack has everything you need.
The Pioneer Woman's Best Cookie Recipes for Holiday Baking Season
Celebrate the most-merry time of year with Ree Drummond's collection of cookies, ideal for family baking marathons and impressive edible gifts.
Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Photo By: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014 Television Food Netword All rights reserved
Photo By: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Chocolate Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
Blanket the cookie dough balls in a mound of powdered sugar to achieve a gorgeous snowy effect. The crinkling happens as the cookies bake and expand.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Shortcut Peppermint Bark
Hidden inside the white chocolate robe is a mint-flavored chocolate sandwich cookie you know and love.
Coconut Lime Butter Cookies
Similar to crispy rice treats, these colorful beauties are made with crunchy cornflakes and gooey marshmallows.
Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Breakfast for dessert or dessert for breakfast? You decide when it comes to these simply iced cookies.
It takes only a handful of ingredients to make these crunchy-sweet treats. The best part, though, is that there's no rules when it comes to forming the haystacks no matter how they're dropped onto the baking sheets, they'll turn out looking perfect.
10 Healthy but Delicious Cookie Recipes for People With Diabetes
These RD- and CDE-approved cookie ideas are low-carb without skimping on flavor.
Swapping regular sugar for the sugar alcohol erythritol can help make your cookie more diabetes-friendly.
’Tis the season for all things sweet, and for many people, the go-to indulgence is, you guessed it, cookies.
For people with type 2 diabetes, this time of year can present challenges on the sweets front — you want to enjoy the dessert table at your company party or dessert on Christmas Day, but you don’t want to risk spiking your blood sugar.
Rest assured: Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you have to avoid all holiday treats you just have to get a little creative during your homemade cookie prep.
The traditional cookie recipe calls for ingredients that tend to be off-limits on a diabetes meal plan: refined (white) flour and added sugar. But the good news is there are lower-carb, higher-fiber alternatives that don’t compromise on taste!
As a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and recipe developer myself, I focus on finding ways to adjust my favorite desserts to do just that — because what’s the point in eating a bland cookie? You can see some of my creations on my website, such as my Chocolate Chip Prune Cookies and my Raspberry Yogurt Breakfast Cookies.
What’s the trick to making recipe swaps work? You have to look for ingredients that maintain the sweet taste and texture of the food. For instance, pureed fruit, such as prunes and bananas, can make the perfect replacement for added sugar. All-purpose flour can be swapped with lower-carb, higher-protein options such as almond flour, coconut flour, or whole-wheat pastry flour.
If you’re ready to start enjoying cookie season again without the guilt (or the worry that you’ll send your blood sugar levels soaring), consider whipping up these 10 delicious, diabetes-friendly cookie recipes perfect to enjoy this holiday season.
15 Sweet Wedding and Bridal Shower Cookies
Wedding season is on the horizon, and all of the bridal showers and wedding celebrations are about to fill your calendar. That means it is time to get your cookie game in gear. Bridal shower cookies are one of those menu items that are ideal for entertaining. They can be made ahead, in large quantities, they often freeze and transport easily and beautifully, and everyone loves them. But wedding shower cookies are usually a little bit more delicate and fanciful than your usual cookies, so we thought you might need some inspiration to help get you ready. While a casual or rustic event makes your usual chocolate chip, peanut butter, or oatmeal cookies a logical choice, here are our favorites for party cookies that are elegant enough for any fancy affair.