I'm a huge cookie snob. If it's not homemade and perfectly soft, I'm not interested. My coworkers have high expectations about cookies, too, and why shouldn't we? We've been spoiled by a city that offers some of the best baked goods in the world. But all of those delectable cafés and bakeries aren't much help when it's 10 p.m. on a Tuesday and an insatiable chocolate chip cookie craving hits.
Sure, you could wait it out or drink a tall glass of water, but let's get real-you're going to the corner market or nearest 24-hour supermarket to get your fix. But amidst those rows of packaged sweets, which one's the best bet? Luckily, members of the DivineCaroline staff taste-tested various packaged cookies to make sure your next chocolate chip cookie purchase is a well-informed one.
Newman's Own Organics Champion Chip Cookies
True to its name, the chocolate chip version of Newman's Champion Chip Cookie line was the overall winner. Granted, it's nothing like a traditional homemade chocolate chip cookie. It's crumbly and dry, but taste-wise, it was the most palatable. The flavor was natural and the chocolate chips, though small, were subtly sweet.
Pepperidge Farms Soft-Baked Dark Chocolate Chunk
This cookie came in at a close second for top choice among the testers. The texture was soft and chewy, but the cookie itself tasted slightly dry. Most agreed that the chocolate chips, which were deemed "quality," were the perfect size. One coworker commended Pepperidge Farms on its chip-to-dough ratio. Now if only we could combine Newman's flavor with this brand's soft-baked texture, we'd be set.
The Not-Quite Losers
Brent & Sam's Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chunk
The first thing I thought of upon sampling this one wasn't chocolate, but coconut. It's got a strong coconut taste that overwhelms the rest of the flavors, which probably isn't what you're looking for from a chocolate chip cookie. However, most testers thought the cookie itself was decent. It kind of reminded me of a vegan cookie-not the ones I like, but the ones I'll begrudgingly eat just because they're there.
Keebler Chips Deluxe Original
It was hard to form an opinion about this brand because the cookies dissolved in our mouths almost instantaneously. A couple of people detected a hint of peanut butter in the taste, though I didn't pick up on it. Basically, this one made it into the "okay in a pinch" category because I didn't spit it out immediately, which is more than I can say for the following samples.
The Don't-Even-Go-There Brands
Cadbury Luxury Cookies Chocolate Chunk
I didn't even know Cadbury makes cookies and after tasting their version of a chocolate chip cookie, I think it was better that way. These were the driest and crunchiest of the bunch (and that's saying a lot). One person said that the taste was "dirty"; another likened it to a sponge. 'Nough said.
Despite the exclamation point at the end of its name, there's nothing remotely exciting about these cookies. They're bland and-as my coworker so aptly put it-the chips are so small, they're inconsequential. Labeling these as chocolate chip cookies is practically blasphemy.
Mrs. Fields Milk Chocolate Chip
Out of all seven brands, Mrs. Fields was by far the worst. They all tasted relatively processed (these are packaged cookies, after all), but one bite of her chocolate chip catastrophe was like an explosion of artificial, chemical badness. The cookie was sickeningly sweet and left an awful aftertaste to remind you of just how bad it was. Incidentally, this brand also provoked the best comment of the taste test-"It's like an oil slick in your mouth by the end." For shame, Mrs. Fields.
So what did we learn from our exploration into the world of store-bought cookies? First, there's no way anything that comes in a bag from a supermarket will ever rival the fresh-baked deliciousness of a bakery cookie. In the end, it might just be better to buy pre-made cookie dough and wait a few extra minutes for something more worthwhile-at the very least, it'll be warm and soft. When all else fails, it's good to know there are a couple out there that taste relatively decent and will at least satisfy a sweets craving. But if all that's available is Mrs. Fields, a glass of water will definitely serve you better.