#212: Rank chocolate chip cookies

31 Jul

I’m not typically a ratings girl–meaning, if you give me a list of the best burgers, I’m going to try many of them, but I’m not going to necessarily agree with the rankings.  So many things in this city are so overly hyped that it’s nearly impossible to develop your own opinion about them (or, more accurately, you can have your own opinion, but it won’t matter because everyone else has already read the list and swears by it).

So, while I’ve always had it in my mind to try some of the so-called best chocolate chip cookies, I hadn’t ever gotten around to it.  But while staying with a friend near one of the city’s legendary bakeries, I decided I’d be remiss not to see what all the hype was about.

Without further ado, my chocolate chip cookie ranking:

-Levain Bakery
-Jacques Torres
-McDonald’s (because we need a baseline here)

Best Flavor:

  1. Jacques Torres
  2. Levain Bakery
  3. McDonald’s

This one was actually tough to judge for the first 2 places because there was so much chocolate, it was hard to tell what the actual cookie tasted like.  While I love a lot of chocolate in my cookie, what makes a great cookie stand apart from a decent one is the delicious taste of the cookie itself.

Best Texture:

  1. Jacques Torres
  2. McDonald’s
  3. Levain Bakery

If you’re a list pursuer, you may be shocked to see Levain at the bottom.  But I’m telling you, the texture of this cookie is not what I want when I crave a chocolate chip cookie.  The outside was more like a scone, and while I was pleasantly surprised to find the inside much softer, it was still too chewy for my liking, and the walnuts just added to the weird texture.

Best Quality:

  1. Levain Bakery
  2. Jacques Torres
  3. McDonald’s

Just biting into the Levain cookie, I could tell it was made from quality ingredients.  The cookie from Jacques was extremely greasy (this may have been due to the fact that I ordered a warm one, so the chocolate was essentially oozing out of it), so it was hard to tell whether it was fresh.

Would Get Again:

  1. McDonald’s
  2. Jacques Torres
  3. Levain Bakery

Yeah.  The word you’re probably looking for is: outrage.  But here we have to take into account the cookie’s price.  At $4 for a huge mound of walnutty mass, I just can’t see myself ever buying a Levain cookie again.  At $3 for a gooey, greasy patty of oozing chocolate, the Jacques Torres cookie might be one I’d purchase one day if I’m in the neighborhood and craving a giant cookie.  But the McDonald’s chocolate chip cookies, while clearly sub-par in terms of quality of ingredients and flavor, are still acceptable.  When you want a little chocolate goodness and only have $1 in your pocket, you can emerge with 3 small, usually soft, sometimes even warm disks of snacking satisfaction.

When it comes to food, while I appreciate a decadent meal or carefully prepared dish, and I’ll take a well-prepared cupcake over Crumbs’ dry mess any day regardless of price, I usually proclaim that quantity trumps quality.  That is sacrilege for a foodie, but for a girl on a budget, it’s just good sense.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Food/Drink


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