Category Archives: contest

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (According to Cookie Connoisseurs)

For years, I’ve been considering whether my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe was, well, wrong. That the whole time I’d pledged allegiance to the original Toll House classic, out there existed another cookie recipe that was superior in chocolate content, chewiness and cookie dough consumption potential.

For that reason, I decided to host a chocolate chip cookie tasting. I carefully selected the recipes and not-so-carefully selected the judges, culminating in an afternoon of sugary, buttery, chocolatey goodness and 120 cookies in my kitchen. (I know. I should have halved the recipes.) The judges were given index cards on which to rank each of the three cookie recipes on a scale of 1 through 5, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best.

The cookies were ranked on the following criteria:

  • Chewy-to-Soft Ratio
  • Cookie-to-Chocolate Ratio
  • Salt Content
  • Milk Dippability
  • Thickness
  • Taste of Cookie Dough

I also asked the judges what their favorite cookie was overall and, if each cookie was a celebrity, which celebrity it would be.

First, let’s meet the judges. In the interest of parallel structure, their biographies consist of where they attend(ed) college. (I like to think I achieved diversity by drawing from UNC and Duke. It’s reassuring to know that being in the same geographical area isn’t our only commonality. We all love cookies.)

Rachel: UNC graduate
Cookie preference: A

Ryan: UNC graduate
Cookie preference: B

Gwynne: UNC graduate
Cookie preference: A

Melissa: Duke graduate
Cookie preference: A

Lauren: Duke student
Cookie preference: B

Me, Meghan: UNC student
Cookie preference: between A & B (my blog, my rules!)

As you can see, the race was a close one. Cookies A & B were quite similar in their ingredient ratios, but not quite. Check out each cookie’s profile below.

Cookie A: The Tollhouse Original
Ranking:

  • chewy-to-soft ratio–3.9
  • cookie-to-chocolate ratio–2.8
  • salt content–3.1
  • milk dippability–4.2
  • thickness–4.6
  • taste of cookie dough–4
  • overall–3.78
Celebrity Equivalent: Julia Roberts

Cookie B: Martha Stewart Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ranking:

  • chewy-to-soft ratio–4.4
  • cookie-to-chocolate ratio–4
  • salt content–3
  • milk dippability–3.9
  • thickness–4.1
  • taste of cookie dough–4.1
  • overall–3.9
Celebrity Equivalent: Dakota Fanning

Cookie C: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ranking:

  • chewy-to-soft ratio–2.1
  • cookie-to-chocolate ratio–3.5
  • salt content–3
  • milk dippability–3.4
  • thickness–2.2
  • taste of cookie dough–1.6
  • overall–2.6
Celebrity Equivalent: Snooki

As you can see, our results were inconclusive. Cookie B won in rankings, but the majority of judges preferred Cookie A. I felt bad for Cookie C, because I wanted to believe that the extra step (browning the butter) would be somehow redeeming. Rachel said it was “trying too hard.” Naturally, I have to try making it again, just to be sure I didn’t mess up royally during the production process.

I’d say that if you like a chewier cookie, go for B. If you like a softer cookie, go for A. Melissa also wavered between A and B, but said that A had “some magical superiority” that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. If you like your cookie GTL-style, go for C.

As for the The New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe, I decided that, in the interest of maintaining some semblance of a budget on this blog and in my life, spending $20+ on Valrhona chocolate discs contradicted my food and finance principles  (food is worth the investment, but let’s not get crazy). Also, a lady I met while contemplating the Valrhona chocolate at Whole Foods declared the cookies “nothing special.”

Ultimately, I’ve learned that sometimes, all you need is a little tweak to the original to keep things interesting. Change the ingredient ratio, change the type of chocolate, bake the cookies a bit longer, etc. Like music. (“American Pie” album version versus live version is all well and good, but never, ever the Madonna cover.)

Like life, in fact. Tweaking ourselves in the quest for self-improvement, but still maintaining our original integrity, our core beliefs, our buttery-sweet goodness. Never compromise on that. (And always use real butter.)

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And the Judges Are…

Can I just say that this decision was really, really challenging? You all love cookies–we’re kindred spirits.

Which is why everyone who commented is invited to my cookie tasting. I can’t deny you a love we share. That’s right; acruisingcouple, deMandy, Hannah, Courtney, Leah, Chelsey, Gwynne, Meghan, Andrea, Carly, Molly, Lauren and Melissa are all invited.

The tasting will be from 2 to 4 (approximately) on April 23rd. If you’re still interested in attending, please email me at nestmeg [at] gmail [dot] com by Monday, 4/18 at 9 p.m.

This is gonna be sah-weet!

Oh, and by the way, if you love me, or if you love when good things happen to good people, OR if you love love, you should click this link and give it a thumbs up (the icon is above the video).

Desperately Seeking: Taste Testers / Cookie Connoisseurs

I think it’s been established that I have a thing for cookies. I love cookies. Love ’em. The combination of sweet cream butter, brown sugar and all manner of fixins’ improves the quality of my life tremendously. (Although its effect on my life span is significantly more questionable.)

One question, however, has caused me deep emotional turmoil these past few months:

What is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Some claim Toll House got it right the first time. Others swear by The New York Times formula. Sometimes I like mine with oats. Which is superior?

That’s where you come in. I’m seeking three voracious cookie-eating appetites for a taste test of three cookie recipes–to be rated based on a variety of criteria.

The application process is simple: leave a comment telling me why you’re qualified to be a chocolate chip cookie taste tester.

Applicants must:
1) Live in or be willing to commute to Chapel Hill for an afternoon in one of the last two weekends in April;
2) Be comfortable eating raw cookie dough;
3) Be capable of consuming at least three chocolate chip cookies.

Qualified? Tell me why in the comments.

Valentine’s Day Giveaway Winner

Congratulations, Laura! You won my Valentine’s Day giveaway with your comment.

Email me at meghanaprichard [at] gmail [dot] com to collect your prize! (Oh, and happy belated birthday.)

Thanks to everyone else for participating. It was great to hear from many of you for the first time. I’m hoping to do more giveaways in the future, so stay tuned!

How the winner was chosen: I numbered each individual comment/tweet on Word. I then went to Random.org, put in the range of numbers, and it chose a number from within that range for me. The comment/tweet that corresponded with that number won.