Tuesday, 28 July 2015

In search of the ultimate cookie

I have been in pursuit of cookie perfection for a long time. I was tantalisingly close in my previous post here - I even stated boldly (and rather prematurely) that I had found the ultimate cookie. Yet, it was slightly lacking in aesthetics. I still kept one eye on the horizon for the knockout cookie - a killer combo of crisp and chew with a choc-chip /cookie ratio that nailed it visually.

It occurred to me though, that my idea of the ultimate cookie, could be different to yours. So, I thought I would conduct a bit of cookie market research - I decided to bake two very different types of cookie, and ask willing volunteers to vote for their favourite by using the hashtag #CookieA or #CookieB on my twitter feed.

Cookie A is a traditional 'Maryland' style cookie  - chunky, packed full of choc-chips, rustic in appearance, with a crunchy edge and a slightly chewy centre.

Cookie B is more of a modern 'coffee shop' sort of cookie - large, flat and very chewy, flecked with shards of dark chocolate rather than the traditional choc-chips.

So, which one did people seem to favour?

It was a landslide victory for Cookie A! Feedback focused on the sweet/salty balance achieved in this cookie and the rustic appearance, which people tended to associate with the archetypal cookie. People also preferred the more is more approach to the amount of choc-chips that were swirled into the mix.

Cookie B converts gravitated towards the crunch/chew balance addressed in this version. Despite the equal quantities of vanilla used in both cookies, Cookie B seemed to carry the vanilla flavour more obviously, which resulted in a sweeter tasting cookie. Some people were disappointed that this cookie had flecks of chocolate in the mix, rather than choc-chips. However, other testers thought that the chocolate flecks gave the cookie a more sophisticated edge.

I think that the perfect cookie lies somewhere between both recipes. My idea of cookie nirvana would be the amount of choc-chips and sweet/salty balance of Cookie A, combined with the texture of Cookie B.

So what have I learned from the experiment?

I think it's vital that I ask customers to consider what their ultimate version of a cake or baked item would be, so that I can provide them with products that match this ideal. The experiment has also highlighted that small changes to a recipe can yield dramatically different products.

Want to test Cookie A or Cookie B for yourself? Place an order for cookies with me today.

Becky BakesWell on Facebook

Becky Bakeswell x

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