A clarification from Biscuit Wakefield
A few of you have written in with an apt observation: tastes, like mileage, may vary. One person’s ideal chocolate-chip cookie is another person’s tastebud nightmare. Obviously, there is some objectivity in cookie reviewing. Is the product overpriced? Is it burnt? Did it result in food poisoning? Past these simple hurdles, however, lies a maze of gray. Is the cookie crunchy? If so, is that good or is that bad? Are there nuts? Are nuts good or bad? Etc., etc., etc.
We all have our preferences when it comes to cookies. And while I strive to be as fair and objective as possible, as Hilly Town’s resident chocolate-chip cookie reviewer, I feel it is only honest to spell out my ideals — my cookie grail, if you will — so this web site’s readers might understand my positions in certain matters of taste.
Texture: My ideal CCC is chewy, thick, not cakey and definitely not crunchy. Sturdiness around the edges is a fine thing, but hardness or crispness is not. My favorite CCCs have that ‘underbaked,’ blondie-like texture in the centers, but greasiness is never good. I think it can be beneficial to derive dough moisture from brown sugar, not overdoses of butter.
Chocolate: Semi- or bitter-sweet chips are my favorites. Chunks are okay, provided they’re not overly large, such that you get the sensation of eating a candy bar dipped in cookie. Milk chocolate can be delicious, but it is rare to find a CCC that a) uses high-quality milk chips and b) balances the sweetness of the milk chocolate with a not-too-sweet dough.
Nuts: I would rather not, thank you. In most cases the simplicity of dough + chocolate cannot be improved by the addition of nuts. And as it happens, walnuts are the nut I like least, yet they are the nut most frequently found in CCCs. Why is this? I would be very interested in trying a CCC made with cashews, almonds (or almond paste!), even pistachios.
So there you have it. Luckily, my explorations of Portland’s cookie scene are nowhere near complete. I have sampled some delicious cookies thus far and for all I know, my ideal CCC is just around the corner.