Chocolate chip cookie taste test: It’s a cookie kerfuffle! Sally versus Alton: which way will the cookie crumble?
Sometimes the availability of recipes on the internet seems like a double edged sword: there are tons of quality recipes out there, but yet there are still only 24 hours in the day, so which recipe should you make? Well, when the chocolate chips are down, we figured we could help you out by baking a couple batches of chocolate chip cookies from sources we know and love, and pitting them head to head in a delicious fight to the finish. Many cookies were eaten, but it was a sacrifice we were willing to make for you, our readers. So without further ado, let’s meet the challengers…
In this corner, hailing from the Food Network, the heavy weight of three cookie brothers, give it up for… Alton Brown’s “The Chewy“!…
And in this corner, hailing from Philadelphia and one of our favorite blogs, make some noise for Sally’s Baking Addiction’s “THE Chocolate Chip Cookie“!…
Of course, personally, I love our Rocky Mountain Chocolate Chip Cookies, but Liz tells me that those don’t count because with the addition of oats and nuts, they fall outside the realm of a “classic” chocolate chip cookie. Fair enough. Sometimes you just want the classic.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Alton Brown, he might be best described as the Bill Nye of cooking.
If you don’t know who Alton Brown or Bill Nye is, you probably don’t spend enough time watching TV. Anyway, he took a scientific approach towards cooking in his TV show “Good Eats,” which is worth watching even when he focuses on ingredients that may not interest you, just because some of the tips and techniques are pretty universal. In one episode, he executed chocolate chip cookies in three variations: the chewy (our preferred style), the puffy (a bit more cakey), and the thin (thinner and crispier). He gets into how the various ratios of fats, sugars, and liquids affect the final product. And since he did a lot of leg work for his recipes, we decided to pass along the results of his research to all of you.
Sally’s Baking Addiction is a delightful blog we stumbled (or maybe I should say “yumbled”) upon several years ago.
Liz was looking for some pretty, chewy, delicious cookies that fit the holiday mood. Since then, we regularly visit her site to see what she’s whipped up. Liz even got to meet her when she came to Houston to promote her new cookbook. Apparently she’s super nice. Her recipes have been reliable and well received whenever we have tried them, so she was an obvious choice to throw in the ring for this bout.
Some notes on how we managed our chocolate chip cookie taste test…
I made both sets of cookies just as prescribed in the recipes, except for the baking time, because the first time I made “The Chewy” I cooked them until they became “The chocolate chip hockey puck.” But I made another batch that I manged to NOT incinerate, so we really did our best to give it a fair shake. We even held back on surgically placing individual chocolate chips on the cookie surface for the visual effect you all know and love, because let’s face it, the average home cook isn’t going to take that extra step, because they got stuff to do, ya know? (Liz bemoaned the lack of beautiful chocolate chips dotting the tops of the cookies in the photos. I said: huh?) In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that the samples of Alton Brown’s recipe were actually half cookies, because his recipe makes a much larger cookie that Sally’s.
As for the tasting crew, we decided that it would be best to test the cookies on a single set of people all at the same time so there would be no question of freshness or the cookies suffering from improper storage. So we took it to a Saturday class at our gym, Paperstreet Crossfit. Also, we figured that post workout, people’s minds are going to turn to food, and they are going to be too tired to give anything other than candid and honest opinions of what they are eating.
So the highly scientific results from the gym? Very, very close. Drumroll please!
Alton Brown’s “The Chewy“: 6
Sally’s Baking Addiction “THE Chocolate Chip Cookie“: 5
So was Alton the winner? Not necessarily!
It was 6-5…before we cast OUR votes. And while we legitimately liked both entries – both are chewy, buttery, and delicious – Liz and I both thought that Sally has the superior classic chocolate chip cookie, and so tipped the scales in her favor 7-6.
And Sally takes home the championship belt!
Congratulations! Of course, most people liked both offerings, with the primary difference being that people found Alton Brown’s cookie to be a bit more cakey, while Sally’s was a bit more chewy. So it also depends on what you are in the mood for.
If we were to make these recipes again, or if you want to try them at home (which we encourage!), we found there were a couple ways we would tweak them for very slightly improved results. First, as mentioned, Alton’s cooking time was too long for our oven. Your oven may differ, but we recommend checking them for doneness around 8-10 minutes, instead of 15. Also, the Good Eats episode explaining the recipe appears to recommend 1.5 ounce cookies by volume (not weight), using essentially an ice cream scoop. We measured the cookie dough balls out to 75 grams, give or take, which gave a nice hefty cookie.
As for Sally’s cookie, a few tasters commented that it could use a little more salt. This is entirely personal preference, but we would probably increase the salt from 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon on our next batch.
And believe me, there will be many many more batches of both.
Well folks, there you have it: our first head to head show down. Is there a special dish that you’d like to see featured in a challenge here at Ready to Yumble? A taco toss-up? A fajita fight? A bellini bout? Let us know in the comments, and happy eating!