As firmly as we all believe in the power of a homemade cookie, it's hard to deny the immediate satisfaction of a store-bought "break and bake." A warm, freshly baked cookie is still a warm, freshly baked cookie—and you tend to agree. When we asked on @shopcupcakesandcashmere last week if we should taste-test store-bought cookies or vanilla ice cream, you responded in droves for cookies. And who are we to ignore the demands of over 80% of you? On Friday, we diligently blind-tested six different cookie brands, from generic to organic, and judged each on taste, appearance, chocolate, and texture to determine an overall winner. You can watch our actual reactions on the Highlight here*, then read on for our notes, from sixth place to winner:
*While only four judges were recorded for Instagram, we had our entire office weigh-in because we take our cookie voting very seriously. The results of our top two were nearly unanimous (although Kelly notably declared she could live on the fourth-place cookie).
We all had a visceral reaction to this cookie—and not in a good way. Not only did we think it tasted artificial, but we were immediately turned off by the color. The dark brown shade, in comparison to the lighter, fluffier cookies, was off-putting and hinted that the cookies were made with whole wheat and barley flour (which they are in addition to wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid in the flour alone...). We all worship TJ's so much we even wrote a post about it, but this product is sadly a "no" from us primarily for the weird artificial after-taste that remained for minutes...
Taste overall: 1.25
Chocolate ratio & quality: 3.5
Overall score: 2.88
Even with an iconic name like Pillsbury, you can still make mistakes, and this cookie is a clear example of that. It even had Leslie asking "What's that smell?," something that should never be said of a cookie. The cookies felt oily to the touch and tasted of canola oil with every bite. We even questioned if there was any butter in the recipe at all (there's not). With a yellowy appearance, you can definitely pass on these break and bakes.
Taste overall: 2.75
Chocolate ratio & quality: 1.75
Overall score: 3
We love an underdog, and the generic cookie brand Kroger's is no exception. While this didn't top our list, Kelly loved this cookie and would easily rebuy again. It was equally crispy and soft, but we had an issue with the chocolate dispersion—some got a ton of chocolate in their quarter of the cookie, while other judges got none. If you're not splitting it with someone, you'll be safe and satisfied with this choice.
Taste overall: 4.75
Chocolate ratio & quality: 4
Overall score: 4.25
The top three were hard to choose from, and, even a few days later, we're still debating which the front-runner should be. Sweet Martha's is a Target staple for some of us, and now we all see why. The dough is incredible, and, when baked, the cookies are buttery, with a sand-like texture (which most of us preferred, but others found off-putting). Although this ranked third, we continued to nibble on these several hours after we finished judging.
Taste overall: 7
Chocolate ratio & quality: 5.25
Overall score: 5.56
Our team was divided between this cookie and our number one. When it came down to numbers, it was a close call. The ingredients in this cookie felt elevated with what we thought was their hint of cinnamon (surprisingly, there's no cinnamon in this recipe). At the end of the day, the amazing flavor came down to the chocolate chips used, and since Tollhouse chips are what we all usually reach for, loving these cookies was a no-brainer. These cookies also felt homemade due to their crispy bottom and gooey top.
Taste overall: 6.13
Chocolate ratio & quality: 6.5
Overall score: 6.88
Similar to the natural mascara that won our mascara competition, Annie's, the elevated, organic brand, was easily our favorite—to almost everyone's surprise! (We initially assumed we'd have to compromise for a cookie that only uses organic ingredients, for being "too healthy," but in retrospect it makes sense since it uses only the best ingredients.) We were genuinely happy with every element of this cookie, from ingredient to bake consistency. They were "sandy in a good way," the chocolate was perfectly dispersed, and the ingredients felt high-end. When Leslie and Jess declare that they can taste the real vanilla, you know it's good.
Taste overall: 8.25
Chocolate ratio & quality: 7.5
Overall score: 7.63
Fool-proof parchment paper: Reynolds Parchment Paper
Non-stick baking sheet: Nordic Ware Baking Sheet
A chic, gold cooling rack: CHEFMADE 16 inch cooling rack
Books with the best recipes: Baking at Republique or Tartine
Do you agree with our results? What do you want us to test next? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to watch our live cookie reviews on our Hungry Games highlight on our Shop Instagram.
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