Taste Test: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
We taste-tested dozens of chocolate chip cookies from the grocery store and online to find our favorites.
Tate's Bake Shop
Much to our surprise, the best-tasting cookie came from the grocery store, not an independent bakery. Panelists were wowed by its thin, flat shape and buttery caramel taste. "Looks homemade," said one judge. "Like a human actually baked it," added another. A real human did: Company founder Kathleen King, who started selling cookies in 1971, when she was 11, launched Tate's in 2000. She's a purist, refusing to use artificial ingredients. The resulting cookies are so delicate, she and her staff have to pack them by hand. ($5 for an 8-ounce bag, tatesbakeshop.com, 631-283-9830)
The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company
Everyone likes a chewy cookie fresh from the oven, but a chewy cookie that's a few days old? That requires preservatives, and many of the ones we sampled tasted artificial. The winner managed to stay soft around the edges and still taste fresh. The "mega hunks," as one taster called them, were the biggest chocolate chips of the bunch. Said one fan, "I can imagine having one as an afternoon pick-me-up." ($20 for a 2-pound box, famouscookies.com, 888-625-9870)
Dancing Deer Baking Co. Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
These crunchy, crumbly Boston-made beauties were more chocolaty than any other chocolate-based cookie we ate -- with a deep, dark color and a slightly "Oreo-ish" flavor, according to one taster. Another called them "pleasantly smoky." Dark, fudgy chips put them over the top. ($4 for a 6-ounce box, dancingdeer.com, 888-699-3337)
Newman's Own Organics Champion Chip Cookies: Orange Chocolate Chip
We tried chocolate chip cookies with lime, raspberry and coconut, but our favorite crossbreed came from Newman's Own Organics -- a product line headed by Paul's daughter Nell. Her inspiration came from a gift she used to make for her dad: chocolate-dipped orange peels. Our tasters loved the cookies' "zesty" orange essence. ($3.30 for a 10-ounce bag, newmansownorganics.com, 831-685-2866)
Brent & Sam's Chocolate Chip Pecan
Brent Bumpers and Sam DeWitt launched their cookie business in 1984 with one flavor -- chocolate chip pecan -- and it's still the top seller. Brent insists on using extra-large pecan pieces, which he says stay fresh longer. Our panelists picked up "salty" caramel notes. ($3.25 for a 7-ounce box, brentandsams.com, 800-825-1613)
Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in October 2006.