Enjoy a lighter version of this year’s  Chicago Tribune cookie contest winner!

By: Jodie Shield, RDN

December ‘tis the cookie baking season. My lightened up Frosted Sugar Cookies are so easy and a winner with my family and friends. But if you’re looking for more holiday baking inspiration, check out this year’s Chicago Tribune annual cookie contest winners. For the past 29 years, the Chicago Tribune has hosted a cookie contest. I’ve been analyzing their recipes for 21 of those years, and I must say, this year’s winner is my favorite!

First Place: Grandma Georgean’s Gingersnaps

Second Place: Peanut Butter Buttons

Third Place: Pistachio Thumbprints

Honorable Mention: Dad’s Almond Tart Bars

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

However, I decided to tweak Grandma’s recipe a bit to save time and a few calories. While Grandma Georgean’s original recipe dipped the gingersnaps in white chocolate, I skipped that step and they were still de-lish! Also, I used white whole-wheat flour and never noticed a difference. A few cookie-baking tips: measure your ingredients because accuracy is key in baking. Also, skip the pan spray and line cookie sheets with parchment paper; the cookies will be less greasy and the pans easier to clean.

Still need a few more holiday menu ideas? I’ve added all sorts of holiday recipes to my iTunes app Time to Eat Healthy. Buy one for you and order a few for your friends – I’m donating a portion of the proceeds to charity.

Gingersnap Cookies

42 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes


1 ½ cups vegetable oil

2 large eggs

½ cup molasses

2 1/3 cups sugar (divided use)

4 cups white whole-wheat flour

4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place 1/3 cup sugar in small bowl; set aside.
  2. In large bowl, mix together with a wooden spoon vegetable oil, eggs, molasses, remaining sugar, white whole-wheat flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Roll dough into small balls (1 ½ tablespoons in size). Roll each ball in sugar.
  4. Place balls on baking sheet and space out to give them room to expand. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to baking rack to cool.

Nutritional Information (per cookie):

176 calories, 2 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams fiber, 180 milligrams sodium

Related Articles


About Author


Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N.
Jodie Shield has been a consultant and spokesperson in the field of nutrition for over two decades. A former national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (1989-1995), she has worked extensively with the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center and taught nutrition and medical dietetics at the University of Illinois. Currently she is a complemental faculty member of the College of Health Sciences in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University in Chicago.

(0) Readers Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *