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Chocolate-chip cookies

Chocolate-chip cookie buying guide

Last updated: August 2013
Getting started

Getting started

Craving home-baked chocolate-chip cookies but don't have the time to do it yourself? Not to worry; there are store-bought cookies that can satisfy that craving for chocolate-chip goodness.

Taste testers at Consumer Reports recently got down to business and dutifully nibbled 18 different brands of fast-food and store-bought chocolate-chip cookies. The sweet treats from Tate's Bake Shop were the clear winners. The large, crispy cookies tasted freshly baked, with big butter and chocolate flavors. One downside: Tate's are expensive and sold in limited locations, including Whole Foods, Balducci's, Bristol Farms, and Central Market. They are also sold online at www.tatesbakeshop.com.

As for other brands, Target's Market Pantry Crispy were decent and cheap, and among fast-food cookies, McDonald's was very good and cost less than Starbucks. Our professional tasters also found decent choices from Subway.

Despite being tops when it comes to sales, Nabisco Chips Ahoy cookies were just OK, and did not stand up to other chocolate-chip cookies sampled in our taste tests.

Tests of ceramic cookie sheets

We tested two ceramic sheets, from The Pampered Chef, $34, and Hartstone Pottery, $40. They browned cookies about as evenly as air-bake cookie sheets and more evenly than coated sheets, and cookies didn't stick. The drawbacks of ceramic sheets, in addition to price: They're heavy, they broke when dropped on the floor, and they cooked a bit slower than the alternatives. They also retained heat, so they couldn't be used for another batch right away.

Practically perfect chocolate-chip cookies

We wanted a chocolate-chip cookie with a chewy interior, crunchy edges, and well-blended flavor. Above all, we wanted a chocolate-chip cookie with a high overall chocolate impact to give a sensuous rush to the chocoholic. After much experimentation and perhaps a few cumulative inches added to staff members' waistlines, we created a chocolate-chip cookie with all those assets. Our recipe makes 40 medium-sized cookies.

(The recipe for this cookie first appeared in the February 1985 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.)

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 level teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb.) sweet butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 12-oz. package Nestlé semisweet chocolate chips

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

  • Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Use a stand-type electric mixer to mix the two sugars briefly at low speed. Add the butter in small gobbets, mixing first at low speed and then at high. Beat the mix until it's pale, light, and very fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla at the mixer's lowest speed, then beat at high speed for a few seconds. Add the eggs, again at the lowest speed, switching to high speed for the final second or so. The eggs should be well beaten in, and the mix should look creamed, not curdled.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, one-half cup at a time, mixing at low speed for about one minute, then at high speed for a few seconds.
  • Scrape down the bowl's sides with a spatula, add the chocolate chips, and mix at low speed for about 10 seconds. If need be, scrape the bowl's sides again and mix for a few more seconds.
  • Put tablespoonfuls of the mix on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until the cookies are pale golden brown (nine minutes in an electric oven, 10 to 11 minutes in a gas one). Remove and let them cool on a rack.
   

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