Looking for the best sugar cookie recipe around? Me too. My memories of cookie baking include tons of time: getting out the heavy KitchenAid mixer, waiting for the dough to chill, rolling out mounds of dough, then cutting out and painstakingly decorating each cookie. Friends, if we’re going to put in the effort for sugar cookies, we better make sure the payoff is amazing! And in this bake off, we found a bunch of different kinds: crisp and flaky, soft and chewy, pillowy and cakey, bronzed and crunchy–in other words, something for everyone!
All cookies were baked the day off, with the exception of cookies from The Kitchn since the icing required 24 hours to harden. Every dough was chilled overnight except for In Katrina’s Kitchen (which didn’t require chilling). Each cookie was paired with the suggested frosting in each recipe (if none was specified, the cookie was served unfrosted. Approximately 28 friends tasted and ranked the cookies for the below scores.
Each taster ranked each cookie on an overall scale from 1-10 (including cookie and frosting), then just the cookie, then just the frosting, and then answered the question “would you want to eat this again?”
Every year without fail, I find myself googling “best pumpkin pie recipe.” With this experiment, we set out to answer the question sans the endless searching.
The recipe selection methodology was less formal than the scraping I did for the best pumpkin bread bake off or the chocolate chip cookie bake off–I basically selected all the recipes that I wanted to try anyway and added two of the winners from this epic pumpkin pie bake off.
All 12 pies were baked the day of the tasting (most crusts were made 1-3 days beforehand and refrigerated; two crusts (Flour and BraveTart) were pre-baked the night before). I made 8 of the pies, and three superstar friends helped me out with the other 4.
At the tasting, tasters ranked each overall pie, its filling and its crust separately on a scale from 1-10, and then answered the question “would you want to eat this again?”
In this post, we set out to answer the eternal question: what is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe on the internet?
Well, at least based on the first three pages of Google.
In which you find out how this came to be
Well over a year ago, my friend Skyler came up with an idea to bake a bunch of chocolate chip cookies and visualize the data of the different recipes. Before we were able to do so, Skyler ended up moving to NYC…but then came back to Houston for a visit–just in time to get stranded by Hurricane Harvey. For all the bad that Harvey wrought, our silver lining was that we finally had time to bring our cookie project to fruition.
In which we bake 200+ cookies and Skyler builds magnificent Tableaus to display our data
The project was two-pronged: the first part was to gather and analyze the top chocolate chip recipes from the web. The second was to bake the top 12 recipes and hold a taste test to see which recipes ranked the highest.
We scraped almost all the chocolate chip cookie recipes off the first three pages of Google (as of September 2017) and then narrowed the selection of cookies to bake to 12, trying to pick some of the most popular recipes and eliminating any duplicate or similar recipes. We omitted recipes that used ingredients outside of the basic butter, flour, sugar, etc. except for a few exceptions that used very small quantities of ingredients like molasses, cornstarch, baking powder or turbinado sugar. Although we excluded oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from this experiment, we included the Neiman Marcus recipe which uses oat flour out of curiosity.
This past weekend, I flew back home to NorCal for my childhood friend’s wedding. It was my first time being in a wedding and though I was v concerned about having to do my own hair and make up and standing out as the singular troll amid a sea of beauteous bridesmaids…after a crash course in hair wands and eyeshadow, I think I turned out okay.
The wedding, though–it was STUNNING. White folding chairs on a lush lawn overlooking a sprawling vineyard that looked like a postcard, an absolutely beautiful dress my friend bought in New York on a mother-daughter trip, a ceremony that was simultaneously heartfelt and moving but also brief enough so that we didn’t freeze in the cool afternoon wind, a small two-tier wedding cake with the best raspberry buttercream I’ve ever tasted in addition to a giant dessert table featuring tiny lemon meringue tarts, chocolate opera cakes and macarons…it was perfect.
On Monday, I caught a death cold (wheezing coughing, extreme fatigue and so much mucus I thought I would never breathe right again) which was probably compounded by staying up until 1 a.m. to finish this cake for my sweet friend, Cali.