A Chocolate Chip Cookie Throwdown!

I have always loved chocolate chip cookies, but most specifically, chewy chocolate chip cookies. As a teenager, I ate way, way more than my fair share of Soft Batch chocolate chip cookies. Once I began baking on my own, I turned my nose up at cookies that were flat and crisp, always leaning toward the thicker, chewier cookies. About four years ago, I was certain that I had found my chocolate chip cookie nirvana in the thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies. It’s the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I have made since that fateful day in June of 2008, up until this past weekend. After seeing a number of different popular cookie recipes floating around the Internet for the past couple of years and receiving questions about them from readers, I thought that taste-testing all of them in a “throwdown-style” fashion would be the only way to truly judge them. It’s hard to compare tastes and preferences when you eat something months apart, so I made four separate batches (three new recipes to go up against my all-time favorite), grabbed a big glass of milk, and got ready to do my tasting.

It worked out that a bunch of my family was getting together this past Sunday for some family time and to celebrate my uncle’s birthday, so I subjected all of them to some cookie taste-testing (I know, slave labor, I had to drag them to the table ;-)). I printed out some forms so they could judge each cookie on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent) on appearance, texture, flavor, and overall. I then asked everyone to pick a favorite.

Everyone was such a good sport and had fun, taking their judging jobs very seriously. THANK YOU to my family for indulging me (and helping to cut down on the amount of cookies that will be staring me in the face for the next week)!

The Contenders

Below are the cookies that contended for the title of “best chocolate chip cookie”:

Cookie A: Cook’s Illustrated Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie B: Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie C: Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie D: The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Results

Below is a recap of the key differences between all of the recipes, and the results of the voting by my taste-testers (11 total). As you can see, there really is no such thing as a bad chocolate chip cookie!

The Winner!

While all of the cookies were enjoyed by the taste testers, there was definitely a clear favorite – Cookie D (the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie) was named a favorite by 6 of those that sampled the cookies. That was double the next highest vote getter, Cookie B (Alton Brown’s “The Chewy”).

I think the task of picking a favorite chocolate chip cookie is much like choosing a favorite child – they’re all special for their own unique qualities.

As for my favorite? It was hard to be completely unbiased with Cookie A tugging on my heart strings – it’s been my favorite for so long! That being said, I really, really loved The New York Times chocolate chip cookies. They are massive, thick, chewy, loaded with tons of chocolate, and the combination of dark chocolate and sea salt really makes for some killer cookies. When I have the patience to wait an entire day for chocolate chip cookies, I’ll be making those. When I need an immediate fix, however, I’ll still turn to my old standby, and maybe even rotate in Alton Brown’s cookie for a change of pace.

I’d love for you to try some of these recipes and let me know what YOUR favorite cookie is!

The Recipes

You can access all of the recipes from the throwdown by visiting the links below:

Cookie A: Cook’s Illustrated Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie B: Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie C: Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie D: The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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98 Responses to “A Chocolate Chip Cookie Throwdown!”

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  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on October 16, 2012 at 2:03 am

    I have seen that new CI recipe and the classic CI recipe has been my go-to for about 3 years now. I was wondering now the new one competed and compared but sounds like really it wasn’t as ‘perfect’ as they maybe hoped for. I have always wondered side-by-side, how the NYT compared and now I just HAVE to make it! It looks like my dream cookie (which I thought was the classic CI recipe).

    Reply

  2. Debra on October 16, 2012 at 2:15 am

    I have been using the same chocolate chip cookie for years. I found it on allrecipes.com. thank you for sharing these

    Reply

  3. Simply Sweet Justice on October 16, 2012 at 2:18 am

    What a great post!! Now, I think it’s time to make a batch. :)

    Reply

  4. Susan on October 16, 2012 at 5:32 am

    So happy to see this post! About a month ago I was working on the same thing. And I too came up with the same result, the New York Times best seller was the winner. Howeverm I have never tried Alton brown’s recipe. Used to love him! May have to try that one. I even took it a step further and was trying to modify the recipe, but it still brought me back to the original.

    Reply

  5. Danielle @ Dani Cakes on October 16, 2012 at 5:38 am

    The NY Times cookies are definitely my favorite!! I’ve tried the Cook’s Illustrated before, but they can’t beat it. I think it is so great that you actually had a cookie throwdown. It sounds like heaven to me!

    Reply

  6. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on October 16, 2012 at 6:40 am

    How fun!! I would of loved to sample the cookies!! I’m so glad you posted the links with the recipes! Now I want to have a cc cookie throw down!!

    Reply

  7. Jenn on October 16, 2012 at 7:24 am

    can’t wait to try these! I LOVE homemade chocolate chip cookies

    Reply

  8. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking on October 16, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Totally awesome! Thank you for doing the legwork ;)

    Reply

  9. Athena R on October 16, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Alton Brown’s cookie is my favorite. It is so good, especially when I bake them in my muffin top pan. They’re huge and chewy…yum! I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes.

    Reply

    • Emilie on October 16th, 2012 at 10:23 am

      I’ve tried lots of chocolate chip cookie recipes, but it never occurred to me to bake the big ones in my muffin top pan. Can’t wait to see how that turns out. Thanks for mentioning it!

      Reply

  10. grace-anne on October 16, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I recently stumbled across the NYT chocolate chip cookie recipe and it has become our “in-house” cookie. This is truly the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. I sent these cookies to my two daughters teachers (all 15 of them) the first week of school and the teachers were mad about them. I am hoping for lots of A’s now.
    Thanks for doing all the hard work by making and testing these recipes.

    Reply

  11. Allison C on October 16, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I have tested all of these cookie recipes and my go-to CC cookie recipe is also the NY Times! You can also substitute the chocolate chips with toffee, white chocolate, etc. and the cookies taste great too.

    Reply

  12. Terri A. on October 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I’ve been making the NYT version for awhile and someone once told me, after tasting them, that that was the CCC to compare all CCC’s to. I really like them, but they do take planning. I recently discovered the CI version on your website and it’s become my favorite as a quick go to recipe.

    Reply

  13. shelly (cookies and cups) on October 16, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I want to come to your parties! Chocolate Chip Cookie tasting? Yes please!
    I really need to try the NYT cookie…

    Reply

  14. Amy on October 16, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Wow, you weren’t kidding around with this throwdown! The Cook’s Illustrated “perfect” version has been my favorite for years, but I definitely want to try these other ones.

    Reply

  15. Amy on October 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Funny, I’ve recently begun my search for the perfect ccc after seeing the Cooks Illustrated thick & chewy recipe on your site. My favorite ccc’s have been the recipe from the Butter Crisco can and a cookie from a local food truck that I could probably get the recipe from if I asked, but I’d hate to eat them too often! So I made the CI thick & chewy one week and my Crisco cookies the next. Really liked the CI cookies but still preferred the Crisco. I’m anxious to try the NYT recipe and see where that fits in.

    Reply

  16. Alyssa on October 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I loved this post. It makes me want to have a cookie tasting test with my friends.

    Reply

  17. Tracey on October 16, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I love the recipes you chose to compare!! The CI perfect ccc is my favorite, though it’s been forever since I’ve made the NY Times one so I might need to give it a go soon just to be sure :)

    Reply

  18. Tracey on October 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    My favorite tweak to the NYT CC is to use dark brown sugar instead of light, and replace the vanilla with some dark rum. It adds that caramely-toffee flavor you were talking about, and pushes them into Oh My God territory.

    Reply

  19. Virginie on October 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Thanks for posting and sharing. I tried your thick and chewy recipe this week-end and looved it! I did refrigerate the dough before baking it. I cannot imagine a better recipe so I will definitely try the NYT to check for myself :-)

    Reply

  20. Jodi P on October 16, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Ok, I love this post! I have been waiting for it since I saw your Instagram post over the weekend. I will definitely be trying the other recipes, but I really do love your thick and chewy recipe. I guess next up will be the new york times recipe! Thank you!!

    Reply

  21. Brandi on October 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

    The taste test sounds like something I would do! Thanks for sharing the recipes. Now I want to try the winner.

    Reply

  22. Allie on October 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

    My favorite ones are the New York Times CCC but I only make them when I have enough willpower to wait the 36hr to let them chill in the fridge. Otherwise I love Alice Medrich’s CCC which can be baked right away!

    Reply

  23. Sweettwist_Meg on October 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I have tried the cooks illustrated thick and chewy and the NY Times… they are pretty close in my book but like you I tend to go to back to CI… I just sometimes leave that one refrigerated for a little while.

    It’s true though as long as they are thick and chewy I would eat any.

    Reply

  24. Dena on October 16, 2012 at 10:59 am

    How fun to compare them! Can’t wait to try the “winner”. I did pick that one as my visual favorite in the very first picture before reading the post. I hope it holds up as my favorite after the taste test :)

    Reply

  25. Abby on October 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

    This is such a great idea! We’ll have to give NYT cookie a try.

    Reply

  26. Loretta E on October 16, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I’ve made the NY Times recipe and it was truly amazing, but mine looked more like cookie A. I think you’re right though, there are no losers when you’re eating chocolate chip cookies! Thanks for posting this. I can’t wait to see if I can get a new favorite!

    Reply

  27. Stephanie on October 16, 2012 at 11:12 am

    haha I love this. Cookie throwdown! Whenever I have a large company of people over, I may just throw a cookie throwdown party myself. =)

    Reply

  28. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel on October 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I love that ‘D’ won. I’ve been wanting to try it for ages

    Reply

  29. Kelster on October 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve always been an Alton Brown fan. Now I want cookies!

    Reply

  30. Ana on October 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I am so… gonna make all four batches and be your #12 tester. I am highly addicted to chocolate and absolutely L O V E chocolate chip cookies!! You Rock!

    Reply

  31. Brandi on October 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Our family has also been on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie and so far, The Infamous Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies are the best, hands down.

    Reply

    • Lisa on October 16th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      If you go to the NYT site, you’ll see that these actually are the Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies. It says “adapted from” but I can’t see where the difference is. I saw your post and was curious so I did a little investigating. Not sure why it’s actually called a NYT cookie!

      Reply

  32. Sharon on October 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Some of my family like thin and crispy chocolate chip cookies, some like thick and chewy. Do you have any great thin and crispy chocolate chip recipes you can sugguest?
    Thanks for your blog, you make such fun out of cooking.

    Reply

  33. Katie @ Blonde Ambition on October 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’m a chewy chocolate chip cookie lover too, and just from the looks of that 4th one I knew it would be the best! I must try my hand at it soon!!

    Reply

  34. Erin on October 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I’m so glad you did this! I’ve always wondered how these recipes would stack up against each other. I personally have been a big fan of both the America’s Test Kitchen and NYT cookie and I LOVE that I could tell which ones they were just by looking at your first picture. I’ve been trying to combine the best elements of both to make the perfect cookie. Not much luck thus far. I wonder where the next “must try” chocolate chip cookie recipe will come from?

    Reply

  35. Ezen on October 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I’ve actually tried most of these recipes myself and loved the browned butter one the most! :D


    Reading via the NuffnangX app- keep up with your favorite bloggers on the go!

    Reply

  36. Dayna on October 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    A little trick I do to keep my cookies chewy is as soon as I take them out of the oven I flip them upside down onto my granite and let them cool that way. I’m not sure if it’s because the heat escapes from the bottoms so they don’t get crunchy but it definitely works! I do it with all cookies I bake now.

    Reply

  37. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on October 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I have a favorite family recipe, but have been meaning to try some of these others. Now I know which to try. Thanks for doing the “hard” work!

    Reply

  38. Christina @ Diary of a Teenage Baker on October 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I hadn’t touched another recipe since I tried the Thick & Chewy one, but it looks like I’m going to have to break out a bag of chocolate chips for the NYT one soon…

    Reply

  39. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on October 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    This is just fantastic!! I’ve always heard great thing sabout the NYT chocolate chip cookies…guess it’s time to give them a try, finally!

    Reply

  40. Nicole Shugars on October 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Try the Ny Times with the Valhrona Feves. It creates a layer of chocolate that is amazing. I used the “caribe” — 2 cups. You won’t go back. Yum.

    Reply

  41. Fran@fransfavs.com on October 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I think those of us who blog have gone down this path trying to find “the” best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. I’ve been traipsing down this path for 50 years now. If you follow the NYT recipe exactly and use the bittersweet feves, you get a cookie that is in a class all of its own, and it’s really unfair to compare it to others. If you make the NYT recipe and swap out the feves (which are very expensive), then you might as well make the Levain Bakery chocolate chip cookie clone which makes me weak-kneed when I bite into one. Currently, that’s my #1 fav with CI’s perfect cc cookie a close co-tie for 2nd with Baking Illustrated’s cookie. As a fellow blogger, it seems we have zeroed in on most of the same cookies It’s hard to go wrong with any of these! If you haven’t tried the Levain cookies, though, you owe it to yourself to make them! My post on the NYT cookie will lead you to all of the aforementioned cookies. Loved your post on the chocolate chip cookie odyssey! http://www.fransfavs.com/2012/09/new-york-times-chocolate-chip-cookies/

    Reply

  42. Marie | FeelingFoodish on October 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    The NY Times Cookie sounds great – another must try for me. One question though…what is the purpose of combining a high-gluten bread flour with a lower gluten cake flour? Why not just use AP flour?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 17th, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Hi Marie, My guess would be to get the benefits from each type of flour, which you can’t necessarily get by just using all-purpose flour. The bread flour gives the cookies a chewy texture and structure, while the cake flour ensures that the interior crumb is tender and not necessarily crispy.

      Reply

  43. Jan on October 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve made Cookie A for years now…it is my go to recipe for CCC. I think I’ve only tried one other CCC recipe since discovering Cookie A. I’ve heard a lot about NY Times CCC but, have never tried it. I think I will have to make a batch today for this weekend.

    Reply

  44. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet on October 16, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I did a whole series on CCC and Cook’s Illustrated won hands down. Comparing all of the amazing recipes make for one delicious challenge, that’s for sure :)

    Reply

  45. Emily on October 16, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I agree the NY Times cookie is amazing but I gotta say, I still really love your chewy chocolate chip cookie! I always make it with bread flour because (at least for a while) it was all I kept around besides whole wheat — you must try them with bread flour. I really love adding vanilla bean paste, a mixture of chocolate chips and sea salt — they’re really spectacular cookies. I took them into work last week and got compliments on everyone who ate them. I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and they stay so soft, even after a couple days.

    Reply

  46. Riley on October 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I haven’t made th others, but I have made the winner! Those cookies are to die for!

    Reply

  47. The Food Hound on October 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I LOVE that you did this! I have blogged about Alton’s chewy cookie (except made with browned butter… WOW, it’s the best!) but I’ll have to try the NY Times version. I’ve heard good things. Darn, gotta make more cookies :)

    Reply

  48. Katy on October 16, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I just made the NYT recipe last week – I was blown away by how good they were (even though I cheated the refrigerator rest time… haha!) and my neighbors agreed. Even though I love your standby, the thick & chewy cookies from Cooks Illustrated!

    This might help make your sugar ratios more comparable to each other:
    Cookie A – 2.00 parts brown sugar : 1 part white sugar (7 oz to 3.5 oz)
    Cookie B – 4.00 parts brown sugar : 1 part white sugar (8 oz to 2 oz)
    Cookie C – 1.5 parts brown sugar : 1 part white sugar (5.25 oz to 3.5 oz)
    Cookie D – 1.25 parts brown sugar : 1 part white sugar (10 oz to 8 oz)

    Reply

  49. Katrina on October 16, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    LOVE the NYT cookie, it is my favorite and go-to recipe (slightly adapted) that everyone I give them to loves. Fun to test them all. I’ve made each of those before, too but never compared them on my blog. (Really, all four of yours look great!)

    Reply

  50. Laura Dembowski on October 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I think A looks the best but there’s nothing wrong with the giant size of D! I’m allergic to chocolate so no chocolate chip cookies for me but my favorite are Momofuku Confetti Cookies. They’re outstanding! Here’s the link to my blog post about them: http://www.piesandplots.net/momofuku-confetti-cookies. I’d love for you to take a look; I know you’d enjoy them :)

    Reply

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