The Great Cookie Off

There comes a time when you must make a sacrifice. A sacrifice involving more than 2 pounds of chocolate, 2 pounds of butter, and sadly, all hopes of a bikini body.
For what, exactly, are we sacrificing all this?
For COOKIES. For the best cookies. Because it’s time to get serious up in here! There will be no more mediocre cookies happening in any kitchens. Hopefully. At least, not in mine! Now, how are we going to find this saucily titled “best cookie?”
Easy! I made the three most popular chocolate chip cookies on the web. They are all cookies that have been much praised, highly lauded and (over) analyzed. They are all cookies that I have tried. And loved! Or liked.
The only problem was, I never tried them all against each other. Thus, while we had cookies we loved, and ones my family and friends requested I stick with forever, each time I took out the mixer, I wasn’t sure which recipe to go for. Making three separate batches of cookie dough didn’t appeal to me very much, but with some free time this summer (and motivation from my #SummerGoals), I decided it was time to finally settle the debate and see which cookies would earn the coveted spot of permanence in our kitchen. Read on for the contenders and results!

A: The New York Times Cookie

Source: David Leite for The New York Times, who adapted these from Jacques Torres.
Specs: these cookies call for bread and cake flour, which supposedly leads to a perfect crispy/chewy texture, and a 36 hour rest in the fridge before baking, which allows the slow moving eggs to meld with the other ingredients and yields incredible flavor. The recipe recommends that you scoop these cookies into 3 oz. balls. Apparently, that huge ball of cookie dough then transform into a cookie with three distinct textures: an outer, crunchy edge, a chewy middle, and a gooey center.

The Great Cookie Off

B: The Seven Spoons Cookie

Source: the Seven Spoons cookbook, by Tara O’Brady, author of a site of the same name.
These cookies use melted butter as opposed to most standard cookie recipes, which use creamed. This allows for these to be made right away (since there’s no need for butter to soften) and without a mixer. The butter is melted slowly to ensure minimal moisture loss, and indeed, these are soft and chewy, but not at-all cakey. The recipe says that these cookies improve after an overnight rest in the fridge, although it isn’t necessary, and it’s true: they develop an incredible toffee flavor, although they don’t spread as much as when they’re baked right away.

The Great Cookie Off

C: The Not Without Salt Cookie

Source: the popular ‘Not Without Salt’  blog + ‘Date Night In’ cookbook by Ashley Rodriguez.
Specs: this cookie recipe is unique in that it uses three types of sugar: turbinado, light brown and regular white. The turbinado adds an interesting texture, and they bake up the least flat of all the cookies, staying in thick mounds. Their dough:chocolate ratio is ridiculously high; as Ashley put it, “the dough exists only to hold the chocolate in place.”

The Great Cookie Off

And the winner was…

The Not Without Salt cookie!!! Chosen by the majority of testers, they were liked for the crunch that the turbinado sugar provided, their excessive amounts of chocolate, and their generally sweet, uncomplicated taste.
HOWEVER: they were not my favorite cookie. They were too sweet, too one note for me. I say they were the winner because they were the favorite of the majority, but my favorites were the Seven Spoons cookies, which were perfectly textured and, I found, amenable to changes: they are just as good with some whole wheat flour, or cake flour, or a mixture of the two, as they are with all-purpose, and as good as they are fresh, they’re even better the next day, after some time in the fridge. Half the tasters agreed that the Seven Spoons cookies were the runner up and the other half said they’d choose the New York Times cookies as runner up. The New York Times cookies were certainly runner up for me; their flat yet not crunchy texture was a big draw for me and they also look like a classic, perfect chocolate chip cookie. In terms of flavor, I found them a lot more flavorful than the Not Without Salt cookies, but when pitted against the Seven Spoons Cookies, they were very similar in taste, and since I expected more from them (due to their finicky ingredient list, their required chill time, etc.) they didn’t win.
So, to sum up:

Majority winner: The Not Without Salt cookies
Majority Runner up: split between Seven Spoons and New York Times cookies
My favorite: The Seven Spoons cookies 
My runner up: The New York Times cookies 

Now, go forth and make cookies!!! I’ve provided recipe links for each cookie right above, so if you want to turn into a cookie monster (like I did) and bake all 3 cookies to decide for yourself, you can. But my advice? Go straight for the Seven Spoons cookies. Or, as everyone else will tell you, the Not Without Salt cookies. Whatever! Decide for yourself. Any way you go, it won’t be wrong.
my favorite cookie!

7 responses to “The Great Cookie Off”

  1. Oh my gosh, I love that you did this! Both Tara and Ashley’s cookies have been on my to-make list forever, but I just can’t tear myself away from the Jacques Torres recipe — now you’ve convinced me to try. This is amazing — the best kind of science experiment 😀

    • right?! the NYT cookie is just too good! i had serious doubts before trying the other recipes, but then I wondered, when did I make these the be all and end all of cookies? sure, they’re delicious, but maybe I’ve given up too quickly! and happily, Tara’s cookies surpassed the Jacues Torres ones for us! (i say happily because not only are they delicious- they’re soo simple!) you should definitely try them! thanks for stopping by, cynthia! i love your blog. 🙂

  2. the nyt choc chip cookies are my fave, while the 36 hour wait time is a pain, it’s something i wholly advocate.

    i saw your pic on IG and turned to dw: i haven’t made cookies in a really long time, my jeans still fit me but this pic is really making me think i should size up…

    • I agree with you about the wait time. it’s something I now do with every cookie I make- that and using hand chopped chocolate and a sprinkling of salt to finish the cookie. it completely elevates it!
      I think the nyt cookie has become the cookie that all others are judged against, but I found that it really wasn’t my favorite, despite how much effort seems to go into the making of them. they’re the ones I’ve been making for years now, but I’m going with the seven spoons ones now. I’d love to know what you think of the two, compared! you might have to sacrifice a pair of jeans or two, but it may be worth it 🙂

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