The S-Dubs Team Talks Cookies To Ya
So all of us here at S-Dubs are pretty into food – talking about it, planning around it, eating it in all shapes & sizes, drooling over other people’s plates… you get the picture. We all have our vices, but today we chose to focus on cookie related treats because we sometimes struggle to find options that don’t leave us feeling terrible about our choice. But, before I get into the team’s faves, I felt it was important to explain how I am qualified to be hosting this oh-so-important discussion…
I grew up in a cardboard snack house – you know, the one you never wanted to have playdates at because it was a scary place where cookies and fruit rollups didn’t exist and orange juice was considered a treat. Naturally, the only thing on my mind as a kid was: Get.Candy. And by candy, I mean literally anything with any amount of sugar in it. Early in my junk collecting career, I learned how to climb up on the kitchen counter fast enough to dump sugar into my tasteless shredded wheat without my mom knowing I left my seat. I also quickly learned that baking was a sneaky loophole I could exploit in the name of creativity, so I honed my cookie making skills at a young age. Coincidence that my last name is Baker?
Thankfully, I have grown up since then (in that I no longer risk my life in the off chance I find a hidden bag of chocolate chips behind the wheat germ). I now feel weirdly lucky to have spent years choking down baked flounder and unseasoned steamed broccoli because I seem to naturally gravitate towards healthy foods (the alternative is an angry stomach that never learned to tolerate unhealthy meals). That said, I will never shame, bully or try to eradicate my sweet tooth. I believe dessert is a beautiful thing and after years of being deprived, I will always appreciate every moment that involves a little sweet indulgence.
Now that I’m a real live adult, I have developed more discerning taste in the treat department that goes beyond your average sugar jar and have come to consider myself a cookie connoisseur (are you impressed yet?!). But while I love my treats, I think it’s important to avoid processed food. I never want to see anything like Quinoline yellow E104 listed as an ingredient in something I’m considering eating. And since more and more studies are coming out about the dangers of sugar on your body (increases the risk of obesity & diabetes), brain (impairs memory & learning skills, can negatively impact mood, and increases the risk of cognitive decline & dementia), and skin (breaks down collagen which weakens the skin and can clog pores causing breakouts), I’m becoming increasingly more thoughtful about the type of sweets I’ll dive into.
Brushing that brief buzz kill aside… I am always on the hunt for better-for-you options but feel it’s essential they never taste like a compromise – because what the heck is the point of that?! So I asked my fellow S-Dubbers to help me on my quest to discovering healthier yet oh-so-tasty cookie brands that we can all feel good about munchin on. So break out your coziest blanket, queu up some Netflix original action, and get your milk of choice prepared – it’s cookie time my friends.
Here are the Team S-Dubs top picks:
Julia – the old-schooler
I’ve learned a valuable trick when shopping for packaged goods: Don’t look at the front of the package, look at the back. Front package is loaded with buzzwords like “all-natural,” “gluten-free,” “low fat”; back of package actually lists out the ingredients. Chances are the bizarre, extensive ingredient list of your gluten-free cookie might convince you that gluten-free — as lovely as it sounds — may not be the healthiest choice.
Back of the package, people! So, bearing that in mind, I have a rather unconventional choice for my healthy cookie: It’s ye olden classic Walkers Shortbread Cookies. These cookies have FOUR ingredients (count ’em): Flour, Sugar, Butter, and Salt. No artificial preservatives. No emulsifiers. And they’re still made the same way, with the same recipe, for the past 100+ years. If it worked for my 86 year old grandma, then it works for me.
Lizzy – the stacker
I’m a full-on savory snack gal, and it’s very rare for me to reach for cookies instead of chips. That said, I can really get behind Newman O’s. It harkens back to my childhood – I came from a not-so-healthy household, and my dad was always a big fan of Oreo’s.
When I started getting “weird” and making my family shop at organic health food stores, Newman O’s were one of the first replacement foods I presented to my dad. Even he (tried and true southern man, zero interest in healthy foods) liked them! Now when an occasional sugar craving pops up, I’ll reach for Newman O’s. The crunchy outside sandwiching the creamy inside, and the black wrapping the white. Yum!
Wheat-free, dairy-free. Made with mostly organic ingredients
Adam – the sworn off sweets guy
I’m not much of a sweets guy, so I like cookies that have bonus nutrients packed into them. These Sustainable Indulgence cookies all have superfoods in them and are delicious too!
Non gmo, low sodium, gluten-free, vegan. No dairy, cholesterol, soy, preservatives.
Elana – the dough expert
There’s truly nothing better in the world than warm cookies fresh out of the oven. But what if you’re a lazy baker and can’t deal with precise proportions, a potential oven fire (ahem…that only happened once), and remembering to pick up random things like wax paper (I mean, is it really necessary)? If that’s the case, do you have to deprive yourself of homemade treats or succumb to the nastiness of Pillsbury? No way, no how. Hungryroot exists and they will save your lazy wanna-be healthy self. I recommend immediately buying all of their desserts, but their Almond Chickpea Cookie Dough is my absolute favorite. It’s super gooey (no chalkiness like so many other vegan cookie brands), high in fiber, and not overly sweet. Go get ‘em, tiger!
Made almost exclusively from chickpeas, sweet potato & almond butter. Vegan, gluten-free, and nothing fake in this ready-to-eat dough.
Adina – the no-chemicals-for-me-please-eater
My fave cookies, partly because they make you feel like you’re baking even though you aren’t, are Sweet Loren’s. They are ridiculous. Super indulgent and satisfying, but made with whole grains, real sugar, and dairy-free. Loren started her company in her kitchen after battling cancer–she is a gem and a hustler. All of the flavors are amazing and you will NOT miss the chemical-filled counterparts. But you’ll also eat an entire batch in one sitting so prepare for that.
All natural, 100% whole grain, non-dairy, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, no trans fat.
Michael – the I love you I hate you cookie guy
It’s a rare occasion when I can eat a cookie and not feel the aftermath of guilt and regret creeping up inside me. But these lemon ginger cookies from Emmy’s leave me feeling genuinely great about what I just ate. There are a ton of vegan, organic cookies out there, but for me, these are the holy grail! It’s like I’m biting into a fresh, zesty party and coconut is the grand host.
Certified organic, vegan, gluten-free and only uses real ingredients.
Mo – the dunker
To be completely honest, I’m more of an ice cream eater than a cookie eater, so my favorite types of cookies (healthy or not) are generally the snackier type (think Annie’s Bunny Grahams, Social Tea Biscuits, etc). I prefer a less-sweet cookie with a little crunch to an indulgent or cakey rich cookie. They’re better for dunking into coffee and don’t beget the sugar high of traditional cookie aisle treats. So if you’re forcing me to eat healthier, cookie like treats…well then I’d choose Annie’s Bunny Grahams.
Certified organic, non-gmo verified and no artificials, synthetics, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup.
Bri – the crispy cookie muncher
Tate’s chocolate chip cookies are my #1. They are crispy, crunchy, make amazing ice cream sandwiches, and the recipe is super easy if you want to make them at home! And they are so thin that you can eat an entire bag while your toddler is napping.
Made with fresh, high-quality, real ingredients – without the preservatives.
Mads – the cookies for breakfast-er
I really love these granola cookies from Cachafaz because it’s such a good excuse to have cookies for breakfast! So many natural ingredient and less decadent than maybe a chocolate or almond croissant! Definitely a keeper for the top drawer of my desk.
Vegan, 100% Whole Wheat flour. No additives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or preservatives.
Hannah – the connoisseur of all things cookie
My personal favorite is Liz Lovely because it tastes exactly like cookie dough but has no raw egg and only real ingredients – bonus that they are gluten-free and vegan. But seriously I’m telling you, I would potentially eat these even if they did have Quinoline yellow E104 in them because they’re just that good. Sorry mom?
Gluten-free, vegan, non-gmo, made in Vermont.