The Store-Bought Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge: Not Much of a Challenge

Categories: Sweets

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Photos by Katharine Shilcutt
One bite of each was all I could handle.
Spoiler alert: Store-bought cookies suck. I wish I could be more positive about this, but I just can't. They are full of so many chemicals and preservatives and weird "softening" agents that they don't resemble a real, home-baked chocolate chip cookie any more than a clay pigeon does.

I had forgotten just how much they suck until recently asked to do a store-bought cookie challenge for EOW, for those times -- and they are many -- when you need to stop and pick up something sweet on the run: last-minute snacks for an office meeting, for your kid's friends coming over after school, for your other kid's soccer game, for a friend's party, for a friend's break-up...what have you.

Just don't, for the love of Christ, pick up any store-bought chocolate chip cookies. You might think you're doing everyone a favor by bringing chocolate chip cookies. They will just end up resenting you as they slowly masticate one chalky "cookie" while trying to decide between swallowing the flavorless dust or excusing themselves to spit it into the sink.

But in the interest of science, the full results of the cookie taste-test are below. It wasn't a matter of determining the "best" cookie of the half-dozen that I sampled; it was a simple matter of choosing the lesser of six evils.

The Competition

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I bought six different brands of cookies from my local Randall's (a.k.a. Safeway). Each brand was between $3 and $4 for a package, so price doesn't really come into play here (with one notable exception below). You're buying cheap crap, and you get what you pay for.

Each cookie was judged on appearance, texture and taste on a scale of 1 to 5 -- 1 being "objectively awful" and 5 being "as close to home-baked as you'll get." (Spoiler alert, part two: No one got a 5.)

On to the results...


Keebler Chips Deluxe

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Appearance: 3
They don't look homemade, but they look like cookies. With lots of chocolate chips.

Texture: 3
Far too crunchy for me, but some people prefer a little crunch in their cookie.

Taste: 2
Excessively bland, to the point where I almost thought I had a stroke before starting the competition; I could barely taste any chocolate, let alone any hint of butter or sugar.

Overall score: 8


Famous Amos

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Appearance: 2
I know they're supposed to be "bite-sized," but these just look like anemic runt cookies, with very few chocolate chips per cubic inch.

Texture: 2
These surpass "crunchy" and move precipitously close to "drywall" territory.

Taste: 2
Stale, with a weird barley aftertaste and hardly any chocolate.

Overall score: 6


Pepperidge Farm Soft Baked Montauk

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Appearance: 4
These are actually quite lovely-looking cookies on the surface.

Texture: 1
OH GOD. The fake soft texture is so off-putting, it's all I can do to swallow my bite and I don't normally have "texture issues" with food. What do they put in these cookies to make them feel like this in my mouth? It's like the uncanny valley of cookies. To apply cookie analogies to the "uncanny valley" hypothesis of robotics, it's like this: When human replicas chocolate chip cookies look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings chocolate chip cookies, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers/cookie-eaters. This is all the stranger to me considering how much I love Pepperidge Farm Milanos.

Taste: 0.5
These are by far the worst of the bunch. They taste excessively fake and overly sweet, with a weird chalky aftertaste that reminds me of astronaut ice cream. And considering that you only get a handful of cookies per package, you're paying a lot more for these disasters per ounce, even though the bag itself is $3.49.

Overall score: 5.5


Location Info

Map

Randalls

9660 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: General


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17 comments
Joanna
Joanna

I stand by Randall's cookies, especially the big frosted. Oatmeal raisin are also decent.

Rina O'Malley
Rina O'Malley

This is a pretty useless challenge. It would've been more interesting (and fair) to compare the different grocery store bakery cookies around town.

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

"Also, I'm pretty sure Sloth would love these Treasure Chips as much as he loves treasure ships. AMIRITE?"

I love you.

Brian
Brian

Chocolate-chip cookies or the white-chocolate macadamia nut cookies from Valero gas stations. Amazing. 

JAG
JAG

Where do Costco cookies fall on this list? I find them to be better than the average grocery store bakery option.

Bambiwallace
Bambiwallace

tate's cookies at central market are pretty amazing.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Speaking of Sloth, the FOX comedy "Bob's Burger's" did a decent Goonies tribute this week, complete with a Cindy Lauper song.  Check it out on Hulu.

rgwalt
rgwalt

Or if you are really in a pinch, why not go for America's favorite cookie, the almighty OREO!

Jarod Frank
Jarod Frank

I'm a chocolate chip cookie snob as well. None of them taste good to me (except the ones from the in store bakery). Why can corporations get it right with other cookie flavors though? As you said, the Pepperidge Farm Milanos, for one. Nilla Wafers, Lorna Doones, and anything vanilla with "fudge" slathered on it are fairly passable. Not to mention my guilty pleasure, frosted Animal Crackers.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I had hoped it would be useful. But - like I said - I'd forgotten just how unrepentantly bad store-bought chocolate chip cookies are. I wish the outcome had been more pleasant, and therefore more helpful...

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

 The sugar cookies are pretty damn good, too. It's quite surprising.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

Daughter and I love Bob's Burgers. I like to watch that and Archer and then envision Bob as Archer and vice versa. Makes it even funnier.TA

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

YES. I had that on in the background while I was cleaning on Sunday and I thought I was hallucinating until I put down the broom and watched. God, I love Bob's Burgers.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

"Why can corporations get it right with other cookie flavors though?" A very good question.

Rina O'Malley
Rina O'Malley

Didn't mean that to be quite as bitchy as it came across. Guess I gave up on processed grocery store cookies a long time ago. As for bakery cookies, the chocolate chunk cookies at Rice are pretty damn good. About $8 for a box of a dozen but SO worth it.

Brian
Brian

Never tried those, but given how much butter they seem to use, I bet they're great.

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