As a struggling California transplant struggling out here in the cold and snow, few things give me that much missed home feeling than a solid chocolate chip cookie. Having had limited experience outside of 2 am Insomnia Cookie runs, I decided to expand my horizons with the goal of finding the best cookie in the square. Free the the distractions of milk, I let each cookie stand on its own under the criteria of smell, appearance, chocolate size/density, texture, and, of course, taste.
Cookie A: 24 Hour Market
Smell: Slight brown sugar smell and a dryness that I associate with staleness.
Appearance: The smallest cookie in terms of diameter but the tallest as well. The bottom appears to be significantly darker than the rest.
Chocolate Size/Density: Chocolate seems primarily located on the top surface of the cookie, none visible on the bottom. Biting into the cookie, the top of the cookie (primarily chocolate) melted rather quickly.
Texture: Breaking the cookie in half, the cookie is definitely soft but breaks cleanly (see bottom photo). The bottom of the cookie is more craft but again was not to crunchy to break.
Taste: The dough and the cookie really seem to work hand and hand in this cookie; biting into it the chocolate immediately melts in your mouth and the crunchiness of the bottom of the cookie a slight burnt-sugar taste.
Cookie B: Crema Cafe
Smell: Very strong caramel/maple flavor that was smelt even before taking the cookie out of the bag.
Appearance: Visually the most desirable cookie. Although no chocolate chips were present on the surface of the cookie, the look was definitely the most “home made” out of the three.
Chocolate Size/Density: The chocolate to dough ratio visually seemed attractive. Biting into the cookie, the chocolate seemed to be well placed halfway between the top and bottom which prevented any of the chocolate from burning.
Texture: This cookie broke the most cleanly of the three; a crisp upper and bottom layer filled with a soft inside. Biting into the cookie, there was a strong grittiness of sugar but was hard to tell the difference otherwise between the chocolate and the cookie.
Taste: Despite their strong visual presence, there really was no taste of chocolate in the cookie. Instead the cookie tasted like a caramel cookie that happened to have some chocolate mixed in.
Cookie C: GreenHouse Cafe
Smell: Very strong vanilla scent
Appearance: The cookie was almost too perfectly circular but as the only cookie with the traditional “chocolate chips” (rather thanks chunks) it was somewhat appealing.
Chocolate Size/Density: The chocolate chips seemed very evenly distributed across the cookie, both mixed in well as well as scattered throughout the depth of the cookie.
Texture: Cookie was extremely challenging to break in half because it was too soft and and almost felt undercooked. Was more of a tear than a hard break. Biting into the cookie, it was extremely dense, almost gooey.
Taste: The chocolate chips gave the cookie almost a fake chocolatey taste and the vanilla was overwhelming. The eating experience was more consumed with the bad texture than the taste.
Although prior to consuming the cookies I was expecting the Crema cookie to be my favorite, both because of the look of the cookie and the experience I had buying it, I was surprised to find that cookie A (from the 24 hour market) was my favorite. Although the cookie was not perfect in my mind, suffering from a slight baking soda-esk after taste, the balance of flavor, texture and appearance were optimized most successfully. Good to know my favorite cookie is available 24/7!